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How to get Vanuatu second residency by investment or bank account

Second residency in Vanuatu just became an attractive way to invest in an emerging paradise, pay zero income tax, and work toward a second passport.

Dateline: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The number of new second residency programs continues to increase, offering more alternatives to the much-hyped residency programs you’re familiar with.

While Panama and Paraguay are good turnkey solutions for some Westerners seeking a second passport, they are not the best solution for everyone.

I started this blog as a way to write about the flags I myself was planting as I traveled the world, seeking the best offshore strategies. Some of the strategies I use today are commonly used, while others are rather unique.

And there are a number of unique second residency options that may make sense for you. One of those is Vanuatu.

Vanuatu is a South Pacific island chain on volcanic lands. The place is pretty small and sits north of the halfway point between Australia and New Zealand.

Even the cheap airfares from Kuala Lumpur make getting to the islands rather time-consuming and a bit expensive.

That said, Vanuatu’s residency program just got more exciting. For years, the country’s passport was rather worthless; it allowed access to barely fifty countries — many of them the “usual suspects” that allow access to almost anyone — compared to the 170 or more that the world’s best passports do.

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A few months ago, however, the European Union signed a mutual visa waiver agreement, allowing Vanuatuans to travel freely to Europe’s Schengen Area and elevating island nation’s citizenship from being one of the world’s worst passports to being a rather respectable one.

In addition to all 26 Schengen Area countries, Vanuatuans may now visit the non-Schengen Member states of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria.

With Vanuatu’s passport now packing more punch as a travel document, obtaining residency in the country with the goal of becoming a naturalized citizen in the future seems more appealing.

For one thing, Vanuatu has no income tax. None. Nor any estate taxes or capital gains taxes.

In fact, other than enforcing a rather lax VAT, Vanuatu has few taxes at all.

At one point, 15% of the entire economy was derived from the country’s tax haven status.

Now, we frequently discuss the idea that the shady days of bearer shares and anonymous bank accounts are over, and Vanuatu’s status as a rather opaque banking jurisdiction means it may not be your best option to set up your e-commerce business.

However, the trend for being a Vanuatuan citizen is excellent, with a recent seal of approval from the European Union. If you are interested in spending some time far away from the rest of the world, Vanuatu is a good option to consider.

How to obtain residency in Vanuatu by banking

Becoming a resident of Vanuatu is fairly simple. Besides the normal visa procedures for spouses, dependent children, and employees, residency can be obtained merely by proving a stable income — such as from a pension — or by making an investment in the country.

If you have a monthly income to bring to Vanuatu, becoming a resident can be as simple as applying as a “self-funded resident”. This option requires that a Vanuatu bank certify your ability to deposit 250,000 Vanuatu vatu (US$2,250) per month.

If you are married or living with a “life partner”, you must double that amount. Not exactly peanuts compared to some Central American options, but most people with an active business or investment portfolio can qualify, and there is no need to subject the income to tax.

How to obtain residency in Vanuatu by investment

As with many other countries, residency by investment requirements have become more stringent in Vanuatu. Formerly, you could invest as little as 5 million vatu — less than $50,000 — and become a resident for one year, with the ability to renew that residency every year thereafter so long as the investment or land ownership continued.

Now, however, residency requires a 10 million vatu investment (approximately $89,000) in some form of real estate or agricultural project. That is similar to the necessary investment for Malaysia’s My Second Home program; however, Vanuatu citizenship is faster and easier to obtain than Malaysian citizenship.

Vanuatu is an emerging destination for agricultural investment, with plantations offering turnkey investments in papayas and other tropical fruits. These turnkey investments could be an easy way to obtain residency with an investor visa, but you must do your due diligence on the promoters as many agricultural investments are poorly managed.

The good news about residency by investment is that you can apply for up to a ten-year visa by paying an additional government fee. That means that you can avoid having to renew your visa each year merely by paying more upfront.

How to get Vanuatu citizenship

Vanuatu allows those who have been resident in the country for 10 years to apply for naturalization and a Vanuatu passport.

Once you become a naturalized Vanuatu citizen, the only way to lose your citizenship is to be sentenced to a prison term of ten years or longer, or to obtain another citizenship.

Vanuatu residency could be a good fit for someone who wants a tax haven residency that is off the grid. I’ll bet 99% of people couldn’t even find Vanuatu on a map, fun as it is to say. Many people might think you were just making it up.

While being from a country with poor name recognition may not work for all, it is a great flag to plant for those seeking privacy and a life away from bankrupt governments and their madness.

One word of caution, however: there was a scandal involving a government worker selling citizenships to Chinese investors for anywhere from $10,000 to $300,000.

That scam has now been shut down and the Vanuatu government has made it clear that their citizenship is not for sale under any type of citizenship-by-investment program. If you are looking for an instant passport, stick to the legal options in countries like St. Kitts and Nevis or Dominica.

To determine the best location for you to plant your flag, contact us and we can help.

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If you liked this article and are curious how to apply the Nomad Capitalist lifestyle for yourself, check out the quick video below. Then, if you'd like some help doing it, click here to let me know.

Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson

Andrew has been internationalizing since 2007, and has learned what works and what doesn't work when it comes to reducing taxes, increasing personal freedom, and creating wealth. Click here to work with him personally.
Andrew Henderson