The EU Cancels Visa Free Travel Arrangements for Vanuatu Passports

The EU cancelled visa free travel arrangements with Vanuatu this week. The reason for this was its Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

The EU stated that Vanuatu failed to engage with it to improve vetting of applicants under Vanuatu’s CBI programme.

The EU considers that Vanuatu’s CBI programme has serious defects. These include:

  • the extremely low rejection rate, which raises doubts as to the reliability of the security and due diligence screening
  • the absence of physical presence or residence requirements, short processing periods and a lack of information exchange with applicants’ countries of origin or residence
  • the granting of citizenship to applicants listed in Interpol databases
  • the nationalities of origin of successful applicants, which include several countries whose nationals require a visa to enter the EU

The EU and Vanuatu have had a visa waiver agreement since 2015. This allowed Vanuatu passport holders to stay in the EU for 90 days in every 180 days without a visa.

The EU Investigated Vanuatu’s CBI Programme for 5 Years

The EU started investigating Vanuatu’s Citizenship by Investment schemes in 2017. They have raised security concerns with Vanuatu since then. The EU warned Vanuatu in 2021 that the visa waiver scheme would be suspended if they didn’t implement serious changes. Since then Vanuatu expanded their CBI scheme without implementing changes.

Vanuatu’s Passports Now Have Less Value

Anyone who paid $100,000+ for a Vanuatu passport in recent years now has a much less valuable document.

We have never been fans of Citizenship by Investment schemes. All the small nations selling passports now are the same as those selling bank licenses 20 years ago. Every single bank license they took money for was cancelled. The CBI passports will likely go the same way.

Other CBI Programmes Will Lose Visa Free Access

You can guarantee that the EU and the UK will be looking closely at all visa waiver schemes in place with CBI countries. We can expect to see more of these being cancelled in the coming years.

CBI passports don’t offer visa free travel to other large countries such as Australia, the US and Canada. It’s difficult to see the value of these Citizenship by Investment programmes without the EU.

Residency is Likely to be Needed in the Future

CBI programmes are likely to change in years to come and require applicants to spend time and buy property in the countries concerned. That will severely limit the number of people who are interested. The market for people who want to spend a year or two living in Grenada, Dominica or Vanuatu is likely to be pretty small.

There are also much better options available. Most Latin American passports are better than CBI passports. Many have better visa free travel options. EU countries are seeking new residents and all offer citizenship after spending time in the respective countries. We have detailed all the current opportunities to get a second passport completely free in Second Passport Blueprint.

A second passport is a key tool for increasing your freedom. It’s becoming more and more important in todays’ world to expand your options and avoid being owned by any one government. CBI programmes generate a lot of revenue for the countries issuing them.  They won’t be going away anytime soon. But anyone considering buying a passport from a CBI country should look at the other options available. Best to get a better quality travel document. One that’s not going to be cancelled or have its utility undermined by the cancellation of visa free travel arrangements in the future.

Get in touch with us to find alternatives to CBI programmes. We help high net worth clients protect their assets and expand their freedom.