Vanuatu has nearly too many reasons to visit. And it’s mainly unexplored (but another reason to go: everyone wants to escape off the beaten path and have their private paradise!)
Plus, it’s consistently ranked as one of the world’s happiest countries. Aside from the cruise ships that visit Vanuatu, the country is virtually unknown and undeveloped. Cruise ships from Australia visit for only a few days, primarily to explore the main island.
Vanuatu, on the other hand, has so much to offer, and with such a wide archipelago with distinct cultures on each island, the only problem you’ll have is deciding how to spend your time.
Head to one of Vanuatu’s distant islands to experience real Vanuatu with few if any other tourists. With flights from Australia and Fiji, it’s also surprisingly accessible. Although domestic travel can be costly, ships and aircraft are generally reliable.
Vanuatu’s people, known as ni-Vanuatu, can be classified as typical islanders. They’re cheerful, friendly, laid-back, easygoing, always smiling, and always willing to assist. Their joy is both inspiring and contagious.
You can become a Vanuatuan in one of two ways: pay a flat fee for their modified citizenship by investment scheme or simply wait through the naturalization procedure and get your passport years later.
Naturalization is a less expensive, slower option; Vanuatu permits anyone who has lived in the country for ten years to petition for citizenship very readily. You could practically relocate in full-time, pay your dues, and not lose a dime because there are no taxes here. While it is true that naturalization requires full-time residence in Vanuatu, it is not required. The only way to lose your citizenship after becoming a naturalized Vanuatu citizen is to be sentenced to ten years or more in prison. Dual citizenship was previously illegal, but it is now legal.
The government naturalized 149 long-term inhabitants of the country in 2016, and none of them had to surrender their previous citizenships, according to sources.
Vanuatu was devastated by a major cyclone in 2015, which destroyed several of the country’s 82 islands. On top of the enormous damage to the nation’s infrastructure, eleven people died and hundreds more were injured. To help pay for the rebuilding, the government reintroduced the Citizenship by Investment program, which granted “honorary citizenship” to people who contributed a six-figure sum to the government’s coffers. Due to several challenges within the intended market of Chinese citizens, this software had to be altered in the end.
There was a scandal a few years ago with a government employee selling citizenship to Chinese businessmen for anything between $10,000 and $300,000, and the Government wanted to make sure everything was in order. Many sites still suggest the government’s former attitude of “absolutely not” selling citizenship; this is one of those times when online research typically causes more harm than help. Citizenship in Vanuatu can now be obtained by donating to the Vanuatu Development Support Program. Vanuatu is collaborating with cryptocurrency agents to allow citizenship investors to make donations in Bitcoins as of 2018.
To decrease paperwork, Vanuatu has streamlined its due diligence requirements for prospective citizens and moved the application process online. Getting a second passport in this country isn’t the cheapest choice, but it is an intriguing one: for $200,000 all-in, a single applicant may become a citizen in two months and travel to most of Europe without a visa, including Russia. Vanuatu is now the only citizenship by investment program that allows visa-free travel to Russia, which is advantageous for anyone doing business in Russia due to the lengthy visa process.
A non-refundable $130,000 donation to the DSP, as well as $40,000 in due diligence fees and $30,000 in agency fees, make up your entire contribution. You might save roughly $65,000 by going to Dominica or St. Lucia in the Caribbean; your personal needs will determine which program is ideal for you. Again, since 2013, Vanuatu has recognized dual and multiple citizenships, so you won’t have to renounce your current nationality or worry about the passport renewal.
Vanuatu residency could be a good fit for someone looking for an off-the-grid tax haven. It’s a fantastic flag to plant for those seeking privacy and independence.