In 2017, Vanuatu launched its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program. The said program was announced under Chapter 112 of the Citizenship Law as well as the Vanuatu Government Order No. 215. However, back then, at the time of its launch, the program did not provide any real estate investment options as are found in several such programs across the globe. It was only in 2021 that initiatives were taken to include such an investment option within the purview of the program.
Considering the rising costs of properties and the need to attract foreign investment, especially after the pandemic, these recent changes should be of immense interest to investors out there. Today, our agenda is clear. It is to explore Vanuatu’s CBI program with special emphasis on the newly added real estate investment option.
Original Investment/Contribution Requirement
Before the amendment to the program, there was only one option available for the applicants. Interested applicants were required to make required contributions to the National Development Fund. The concerned contribution was non-refundable and varied as per the number of applicants.
A single investor will have to make a minimum contribution of USD 130,000 whereas a married couple is required to contribute a minimum of USD 150,000. The amount increases to USD 165,000 for a family of three and USD 180,000 for a family of four. The addition of a fifth member and beyond will incur an additional expense of USD 15,000 per member.
Real Estate Option
In 2021, the Parliament of Vanuatu approved the introduction of the Real Estate Option Program. Under the said program, wealthy foreign investors will have the choice to take the real estate investment route to citizenship. To be able to avail of this option, applicants must purchase a property in any of the Vanuatu Government Approved Projects in the country. A minimum purchase amount has been stipulated at USD 200,000 (exclusive of taxes). Such an investment can be made in shares or titled properties.
Approved Real Estate Options
The number of real estate options is limited. A total of 4 such options are available under the program and have been provided below:
- Pacific Springs properties located at Rentabao on the island of Efate
- FPF Rainbow City Project in Narpow Point on the Island of Efate
- Narpow Point Coral Bay in aforesaid location
- Milai located on the Island of Espiritu Santo
Who can be added to the application
Under the program, there are only certain members of the family that can be added to the application.
- The main applicant, of course
- Spouse of the main investor
- Children aged below 18 years
- Dependent children between the age of 18 and 25
- Parents over the age of 50 years
The newly launched Real Estate Option will surely attract more investments for reasons very much understandable:
- Property rates in the country are among the lowest in the world.
- There are no mandatory residence requirements
- Arguably the fastest processing time under any CBI scheme. It takes about 1.5 months to have your passport processed.
- Visa-free access to 130 countries including Russia.
- It is a generally tax-free country with no income, wealth, or inheritance tax.
- The entire process is remote so you don’t have to spend your time traveling to and from Vanuatu.
- It is a scenic destination with a great touristic appeal and peaceful local life.
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