What's in store for the Vanuatu programme?

Acquisition of Vanuatu citizenship "for investment" remains one of the most available options, with applications for citizens of Belarus and Russia ending on 29 November 2023.

In order to make the decision to acquire the citizenship, many people are interested in questions we will answer in this article:

If I have time to submit the documents within the deadline, will I be denied the citizenship of Vanuatu on the basis of my current citizenship?

According to the information from the official authorities, the documents submitted until 29 November 2023 will be considered in the same order, there will be no new legal grounds for refusal of citizenship. If the applicant has submitted the required documents and passed all the stages of Due Diligence, citizenship will be approved.

In order to secure the right to participate in the programme, it is necessary to submit the application before 01 November 2023.

What are the prospects for the restoration of the visa-free entry regime to the Schengen Union countries and Great Britain?

Currently, visa-free entry is suspended for Vanuatu passport holders obtained after 25 May 2015 (the start date of Vanuatu's citizenship-by-investment programme). The reason is due to insufficient vetting of applicants, the case of citizenship acquisition, and usage of the Vanuatu passport as an alternative to Schengen visas.

The European Commission has given Vanuatu a phased timeline to reform the programme to strengthen the vetting of new citizens. Vanuatu has the deadline until 3 August 2024 to make programme changes to respond the European Union's comments. One of the changes aimed at strengthen the vetting of applicants, will stop accepting new applications for citizens of Belarus and Russia from 29 November 2023. It should be noted that the government of Grenada made an analogous step in a similar programme "citizenship by investment", had stopped accepting applications from citizens of Belarus and Russia from 31 March 2023, as well as introducing personal online interviews for citizenship candidates.

Taking into account the consistent agreement of the European Union on postponements for the reform of the programme and the suspension (not a complete ban) of the "visa-free entry" regime to the Schengen countries and the UK, it can be predicted that after the reform of the citizenship programme happens, the suspension will be lifted and the visa-free regime will be restored. This can happen at the end of 2024.

What is the timeframe for obtaining a passport?

On average it is from 3 to 6 months (depends on the number of applicants). According to our clients practice in 2023 passports were received in 7 months (from the moment of decision making to receiving the documents in hand). Based on our experience with the Grenada citizenship-by-investment programme, Vanuatu's cessation of accepting new documents of applicants from 29 November 2023 will increase the timeframe for receiving documents in 2024.

What is the cost?

Taking into account the mandatory Vanuatu governmental fees and investment fee - the cost for single applicant is $205,000 (plus documents collection costs), family of 3 members (spouse + minor child) will cost $273,000 (plus documents collection costs).

You can read more about the procedure in our article.

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