Asia-PacificEuropePolicy Updates

European Council Suspends Vanuatu’s Visa-Free Travel to Schengen for Post-2015 Passport Holders

The European Council has adopted the partial suspension of the visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu, as proposed by the European Commission in January. Ni-Vanuatu citizens whose passports were issued after May 25th, 2015 – when Vanuatu’s CBI operations began in earnest – will need visas to travel to the EU once the suspension takes effect, some two months from now.

In its press release, the Council states:

Based on careful monitoring and assessment of Vanuatu’s investor citizenship schemes, the EU has concluded they present serious deficiencies which could pose a risk to the EU, notably due to:

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    • 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 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 will now publish the decision in its Official Journal, two months subsequent to which the suspension will take effect.

More on Vanuatu’s loss of visa-free travel to Schengen: