Officially known as the Vanuatu Development Support Program (VDSP), the Vanuatu Citizenship By Investment Program has gone from strength to strength in 2021. The program shattered its previous sales records by quite some margin. And going into 2022, it is one of the top citizenship by investment programs in the world.

But what does the future hold for the program?

Vanuatu Investment Citizenship: Potential Incoming changes and program developments for 2022.

While we don’t have a crystal ball, the following program developments look likely in 2022: 

  1. Visa-free agreements with 7 additional countries: Vanuatu is in talks with the governments of 7 additional countries, including China and Turkey, with a view to gain visa-free travel access to these countries. While these agreements have not been finalized, it is likely that a number of these will be completed during the course of 2022 (if not before).

  2. Refinement and further enhancement of applicant due diligence procedures: Worldwide, the trend is for countries with CBI countries to continually enhance their due diligence procedures in accordance with international best practice guidelines, and Vanuatu is no exception. While exact specifics regarding screening enhancements have not been released as at 14 April 2021, we will update this article with the details as they become available.

  3. The likely introduction of a real estate investment option: While details pertaining to the country’s real estate investment option have not been released, the legislative requirements to afford this investment option have already been tabled in the Vanuatu parliament.

    It must be noted, however, that Vanuatu presently only offers 50-year leasehold properties (NOT freehold property), and it is not clear how this attribute is going to impact the overall appeal of a property-based citizenship investment option.

  4. Increasing program popularity among North Americans, Canadians and EU nationals: While the overwhelming majority of CBI applicants historically used to hail from China, the number of applicants from developed countries has risen meteorically in 2020 and beyond.

    Given Vanuatu’s price point and its unmatched application speed, combined with its appeal as a Plan B destination and tax haven, it is expected that more Americans, Canadians and Western Europeans will be applying for Vanuatu citizenship as income and wealth taxes start biting in their native jurisdictions.

  5. Emerging competition from other CBI programs in the South Pacific: While no formal announcements have been made regarding the launch of additional new Pacific CBI programs, industry insiders are of the opinion that countries such as Tonga and Solomon Islands may well launch their own new CBI programs in 2022.

    Whether these programs will pose any significant threat to the Vanuatu CBI Program remains to be seen – and will likely depend on the extent to which large international citizenship planning firms are empowered to market these programs internationally.

This article will be updated as and when new information on program developments become available.