Vanuatu Citizenship Programme to introduce Real Estate Option

Parliament approves amendments to the Citizenship Act

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | Published on 04 May 2021

Vanuatu Real Estate option

The Parliament of Vanuatu has approved amendments to the Citizenship Act which would see the introduction of a Real Estate investment route to citizenship. Currently, it is possible to apply for citizenship by investment in Vanuatu through a donation option. The Vanuatu Citizenship by Investment Programme was initially launched in 2017 under Chapter 112 of the Laws of Vanuatu with the aim of raising funds to support the country's economic development. 

In an explanatory note to the amendment, it is explained that the real estate option existed in 2014 but was repealed by parliament in 2015 and this amendment seeks to reinstate the option under the Citizenship Act. The main consideration of introducing this policy is to attract investment by designating important projects that meet stringent government imposed conditions. All investment facilitated by the policy must provide substantial benefit to Vanuatu in terms of expansion of infrastructure, growth of the economy and increase in employment. In addition, there must be commitment by major investors to build and expand existing health and education facilities in Vanuatu. Vacant land will be excluded as approved investment and investors will only be allowed to invest in constructed houses, apartments and condominiums. 

The statement also makes reference to the processing timeline under this proposed option. It states that the Citizenship Commission must within three months of receiving an application under this route make a decision on whether to approve and grant citizenship.

The amendment is only the first step in the design and implementation of this newly approved option. The task of formulating the specific requirements including minimum cost and time frames falls under the responsibility of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission. The Citizenship Commission will now engage experts within the field to designate the requirements and technicalities of the real estate option route. 


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