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Obtaining Vanuatu citizenship by investment

Jordan Levy-Bograd
Jordan Levy-Bograd

This article discusses obtaining Vanuatu citizenship by making an investment. We present one of the newest programs (as of 2017) for obtaining citizenship and the only program for obtaining citizenship by investment in Southern Asia and the Pacific. Before we explain the advantages of acquiring citizenship of the Vanuatu islands by investing, let’s get to know this fascinating place.

History of Vanuatu – Location, climate and geography

The country of Vanuatu is an archipelagic island country made up of about 83 islands located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, roughly 1,750 kilometers east of Australia and 500 kilometers northwest of New Caledonia. The Republic of Vanuatu lies between latitudes 13°S and 21°S and longitudes 166°E and 171°E. Vanuatu’s total area is roughly 12,274 square kilometers and its territorial waters extend over 450,000 square kilometers.

Vanuatu citizenship

The Vanuatu climate varies significantly from a tropical climate to a subtropical climate, depending on wind exposure and altitude. The north is wetter and damper than the south. The average temperature at midday in the capital Port Vila is 29 degrees C. in the summer and 25 C. in the winter. Yearly rainfall amounts to roughly 235 millimeters. The climate, together with the vast agricultural spaces, allows for efficient management of land and pasture.


The population of Vanuatu is estimated at over 280,000 people. Roughly 95% of the population are indigenous people known as “Ni-Vanuatu”. The rest of the population consists of foreign expatriates from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and other islands in the Pacific. Twenty percent of the population is situated in the two largest cities – Port Vila and Luganville. Port Vila has a population of more than 40,000.

A Brief History

Vanuatu or the New Hebrides Islands, as they were known during the days of joint French-British rule, have been inhabited by humans for 4,000 years. The islands were discovered by Europeans in May of 1606 with the arrival of Spanish explorer Pedro Fernandez de Queiros. After Queiros, the islands were visited by James Cook in the year 1774, followed by French and British missionaries, merchants and slave-traders who shipped locals to work as slaves in sugar farms in Queensland, Australia. Most of them never made it back home.

Vanuatu became independent, after 74 years under the “joint rule” of Britain and France, on 30 July 1980. In December of 1994, the 11 local councils were replaced by 6 districts which were given autonomy to decide what is best for their people, while remaining under the central government’s rule.

Political and Bureaucratic Model

The Republic of Vanuatu is an independent parliamentary democracy, with 52 members of parliament and elections every four years. The head of state is the President of the Republic, who is chosen for a five-year term by a voters’ assembly consisting of members of parliament and heads of district councils. The prime minister and the 12 members of the ministers’ council oversee the management of Vanuatu’s 13 government departments.

Vanuatu is a full member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, the French League of Nations, the United Nations, the Agence de Cooperation Culturelle et Technique, the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation (SPEC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Vanuatu at a glance

Population: 299,822 (2019)

Capital: Port Vila

Area: 12,274 square kilometers

Time Zone: GMT +11

Language of Business: English/French

Government: Parliamentary Republic

Head of State: President

Date of Independence: 3 July 1980

Legal System: Based on the conventional British legal system.

GDP: $820,000 (2018 estimate)

Inflation: 2.92% (2020)

Currency: Vatu (VUV)

Main industrial sectors: tourism, agriculture, financial centers abroad, fishing, forestry

Exports: Copra (coconut), coconut oil, kava, vanilla, coffee

Main export markets: the European Union, Australia, New Caledonia, Japan and New Zealand

Imports: Machinery and transportation, food and animals, fuels

Main import suppliers: Australia, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea.

Vanuatu citizenship

Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment

The Vanuatu citizenship by investment program, also known as “The Vanuatu Development Support Program” (DSP), is a program in which an applicant donates a sum of money to the government for it to use towards a joint activity and the financial development of the country. In return, the government grants the applicant Vanuatu citizenship and a passport. This is the fast track to obtaining citizenship by investment. There is a second program for obtaining citizenship, even faster than the first, which is offered to those who invest within two months, without requiring a physical stay in the country. The minimal amount for investment is $130,000 to the local development fund, and a passport can be obtained within 30 days of filing the application.

Advantages to a Vanuatu passport

  • A South Pacific country with more than 80 islands
  • Visa-free travel to over 100 countries, including England, the Schengen Countries, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and more.
  • Option to apply for a visa online, including a long-term visa to Australia.
  • Option to extend citizenship to your spouse and children under the age of 25
  • English and French as official languages
  • The only citizenship by investment program in the South Pacific
  • No need to learn a language in order to obtain citizenship or residency
  • Tax haven with extensive tax benefits:
    No income or corporate tax.
    2. No tax withholding or capital gains tax.
    3. No property, capital or gifts tax.

Contact us

Our law office specializes in emigration and in finding the right destination for our clients in accordance with their specific needs. We have local and international partners throughout the world, and we can help you obtain a European or South American passport or one from a variety of tropical islands.

For further questions, please contact attorney Joshua Pex who specializes in emigration law, or any of the other associates in our office. We will be happy to help you with any questions.

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