On May 4th this year, the EU formally instituted a partial suspension of its visa-waiver agreement with Vanuatu over what it characterized as “serious deficiencies” in the country’s citizenship by investment programs. Ni-Vanuatu citizens whose passports were issued on or after May 25, 2015, will now need a visa to visit the Schengen area, at least until February 3rd next year. Unless the Vanuatu government can reform its procedures to the satisfaction of the European Council by then, the suspension will be extended by another 18 months, i.e. until August 2024.
The move sent shockwaves through the CBI industry and has certainly focused minds in other CBI countries that rely on Schengen access for the continued success of their programs. See also:
- St-Hilaire: Vanuatu Was Only the Beginning – Brussels Is on a Crusade Against Global Mobility
- Are We Witnessing the Extinction of Citizenship by Investment?
- Vanuatu Citizenship Program Without Schengen-Access: What Happens Next?
- Vanuatu Establishes Task Force in Hopes of Overturning EU Decision on Visa-Waiver Suspension
This week, Switzerland has followed the European Council and suspended the same post-2015 Vanuatu passport holders from its visa-waiver agreement, with the same timeline; the ban will remain in place until February, at least.
In a statement, Switzerland’s Federal Department of Justice and Police explained it had taken the decision on June 10th, with reference to the EU’s March decision.
It now remains to be seen whether the remaining non-EU Schengen countries – Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland – will follow suit.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.