The European Council has suspended the agreement between the EU and Vanuatu on the short-stay visa waiver effective from 4 May 2022. On Oct 10, 2022 the EU commission has announced permanent suspension will come into effect from February 3, 2023 after failing to reach agreement with government authorities of Vanuatu. The decision was taken at Brussels and shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union
The suspension will apply to ONLY citizens of Vanuatu holding ordinary passports issued after 25 May 2015. Holders of these Vanuatu passports will now need a schengen visa to travel to the EU and Schengen area. The UK has not implemented any ban of Vanuatu passport holders traveling to UK under the visa free regime.
Vanuatu until March 2021, it issued over 10,500 passports under DSP/VCP schemes with an extremely low rejection rate. Recently a real estate investment program was announced under REO scheme. Since last year, after losing waiver agreement with EU, the passport power of Vanuatu has plunged to less to only 98 countries. In 2021, before the ban, it had visa free access to 131 countries.
Switzerland which is a part of schengen area has imposed border controls (visa) to Vanuatu citizens adopting the council decision. Holders of passports issued by Vanuatu having entered the EU before the date of entry into force of this Regulation may continue their stay in the EU and exit without a visa.
The European commission has said Vanuatu has not taken measures in view of remedying the circumstances that led to the temporary suspension of the visa exemption, and thus the increased risk to the internal security and public policy of the Member States persists. At the same time, the Commission considers that Vanuatu does not act engage in a dialogue with the Union. Thus, the Commission considers that a suspension in whole of the Agreement is required. EU expressed concerns on reliability of the security and due diligence screening carried out by the Vanuatu authorities Therefore, Council Decision (EU) 2022/366 should be replaced by a Council Decision on the suspension in whole of the application of the Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Vanuatu on the short-stay visa waiver.
The ETIAS electronic authorization will commence from Nov 2023 to all countries with visa waiver agreements with EU. If the council decides to lift the visa waiver suspension by 2023, ETIAS pre registration will still apply to Vanuatu nationals. If not a schengen visa will be required to all Vanuatu nationals whose passports are issued after 25 May 2015.