The History of Vanuatu citizenship by investment goes back to 1990’s when passport for sale schemes from pacific islands became very popular. Pacific island tax havens were among the first countries to enter the passport selling business in the 1980s and 1990s.
Vanuatu ran a passport for sale scheme between 1996-1997. The passports were known as convenience passports offered several benefits including tax benefits, overcoming visa restrictions, alternative second passport, and avoiding military service.
Vanuatu government revived the idea of opening new economic citizenship programs (ECP) to boost revenue after being hit by Cyclone PAM. The Cyclone Pam crippled Vanuatu’s infrastructure: an estimated 90 percent of the nation’s buildings were impacted by the storm’s effects bringing damages VT63.2 billion (US$600 million)
1997-1998: Vanuatu ran a passport scheme along with Pacific offshore tax havens between 1996-1997 selling 300 passport making $3.3 million, equivalent of 1.5% of GDP at that time. This was closed after 9/11.
2014 – The Capital Investment Immigration Plan (CIIP) which was originally introduced in 2014, The objective of the plan is to create local jobs, stimulate the economy and keep the national budget balanced. The citizenship is for life, and does not require visiting Vanuatu.
2015 – Vanuatu Economic Rehabilitation Program (VERP), a fast track citizenship by investment scheme was introduced after Cyclone Pam (March 2015) to raise additional fund for recovery activities.
2016 – CIIP was replaced by Vanuatu Real Estate Option Program (REO Program) in November 2016. The REO Program required applicants to invest USD 230,000 in real estate related investments to obtain Vanuatu citizenship.
2017 – VERP was later replaced by Vanuatu Development Support Program (VDSP) and Vanuatu Contribution Program (VCP) in March 2017. The DSP offers citizenship to foreign investors against one-time contribution, ranging from USD 200,000 for a single person application to USD 280,000 for a family with elderly parents.
2018 – Vanuatu made legislative amendments cutting the prices of DSP/VCP schemes to USD 150,000 (from USD 200,000) as the minimum selling price. This was to ensure the scheme remains competitive with Caribbean passport programs.
2019 – Amendments were further made to DSP regulation to reduce the prices to USD 130,000 for single applicant (cut by USD 20,000)
2020 – No price changes were made during Covid but the government has tightened the DSP with strict regulations
You can download the various citizenship acts and amendment regulations (pdf) related to the citizenship investment program of the Republic of Vanuatu
Vanuatu Citizenship Act [Cap_112]
Citizenship ACT NO. 34 OF 2018 (Amendment)
Citizenship ACT NO. 39 OF 2013 (Amendments)
Citizenship Amendment Act Order No. 18 of 2014 (Amendments)
Citizenship Amendment Act Order No. 40 of 2014 (Amendments)
Citizenship regulations Order 91-95 of 2018
Citizenship Regulations (Order 32-33) of 2019
Citizenship Regulations (Development Support Program) Order No. 39 of 2020
Citizenship Regulations (Contribution Program) Order No. 38 of 2020
Dual Citizenship Amendment Act 2014
The Constitution of the Republic of Vanuatu
Vanuatu Citizenship Commission
The Vanuatu Citizenship Office and Commission is responsible for administering Development Support (DSP) and Citizenship Contribution Program (VCP)
The Citizenship’s Office and Commission is a statutory entity of the government of the Republic of Vanuatu established by the Vanuatu Citizenship Act [Cap 112]. Its role covers:
- Consider and approve or differ or reject applications of Vanuatu citizenships
- Revoke a citizenship if it was not granted according to other provisions of the citizenship Act [cap 112] and/or the national constitution and other powers specified or implicatedby the Act.
Its vision is to be recognised as a competent commission and it values strict legal compliance, quality delivery of service, effective leadership and integrity and diligence.