Answers provided by Vanuatu DSP experts NTL Wealth Advisors
What are the Regulations that govern the DSP program?
- Official Gazette No. 28 of 2018 (dated 23 April 2018).
- Republic of Vanuatu Citizenship Act (Cap 112), Citizenship (Development Support Program) Regulation Order No. 215 of 2016.
Is a child born to a couple who previously obtained the Vanuatu citizenship by Investment automatically eligible for citizenship and is there a difference if only one of the parents obtained the Vanuatu citizenship by Investment previously?
The Citizenship Act has legal provided, whereby a child born to a couple who obtained Vanuatu Citizenship is also eligible for the Citizenship. However, in the case of Citizenship by Investment, the applicants are given honorary citizenship. Whether their children can or will be eligible for citizenship is a matter for the Attorney General to provide legal advice on.
What is the definition of a dependent child, and what needs to be proven and when is a child not eligible anymore to enter as dependent from the main applicant?
Dependent child or children can be up to under 18 and 18 to 25 years old. But it needs to be proven that the child or children is solely Dependent on the principal applicant for the types of: food, money, tuition fees and/or the child is employed by the principal applicant and is housed by the applicant. As soon as the child or children earns their living and/or is married, they will not qualify any more as dependent.
What is the definition of a dependent parent, what needs to be proven, and when is a parent not eligible to enter as dependent of the main applicant?
A dependent parent is someone who is solely dependent on his/her child to provide for his or her food, water, security, accommodation and care. If parent(s) still earn their living, they will not qualify any more as dependent, neither do parent(s) of the spouse of the main applicant fall under dependent parents even though they are supported by the main applicant.
Grand parents can apply as dependents. The cost of one (1) grandparent is USD $ 10,000.
When a couple is applying we understand that there needs to be a certificate of marriage. If the couple is from one country for example Russia but was married in another country, for example Las Vegas, is the marriage certificate from country where the wedding took place sufficient or does the couple have to show proof that their marriage was registered in their country of origin (at least in one of them) and/or also in the country of their current domicile?
The certificate of marriage is to confirm where the marriage was celebrated. If the couple is from Russia and was married in Las Vegas, a certificate of marriage of Las Vegas is necessary but also if the marriage was registered in Russia that document of registration is also sufficient to confirm the status of their marriage in the US was recognized by Russian authorities.
Application Process FAQ, step by step
The applicant makes the initial payment and provides copies of passports and translated police records (plus any preventive documentation, e.g. affidavits regarding potential issue). These documents then are submitted to The FIU (Financial intelligence Unit) to assess the suitability of the applicant(s) and whether they will be approved by The Vanuatu government.
The FIU clearance means that the applicant is eligible to lodge his application for honorary Vanuatu citizenship. The approval of his honorary Vanuatu citizenship is subject to all his documents being in order and the applicant meeting the requirements and providing the documents set out in the DSP checklist nomination form. If all those documents are provided, the application will always be successful.
The local CBI lawyer will liaise with FIU and provide them with further documents if the initial due diligence check discovers adverse findings against the applicant. The FIU will request further documents from the applicant to provide and once the documents are provided a further Due Diligence Check is made and if the FIU is satisfied then they will provide written confirmation that the applicant is suitable to continue the process under the Development Support Program to attain honorary Vanuatu Citizenship.
The Applicant wires the remainder of the government and legal fees and then completes the application and supporting documents according to Vanuatu requirements.
Once the complete application file is submitted and the government fee paid to the government’s official bank account, the waiting period will be 1 to 2 weeks from the submission of the documents, is that correct? Can it be longer?
The Citizenship Committee which is called “Vanuatu Citizenship Board”, meets twice (2) every month. Divided on the first (1st ) time at the beginning of the month and the second (2nd) time at the end of the month. The maximum period from the date when the documents are lodged to when the passport is processed and ready is one (1) month. The minimum time frame is 1-2 weeks. So if the documents are submitted prior to their meeting, they will approve the application within a week. Practically speaking the process takes a maximum three weeks. There have been rare occasions however, when the Committee couldn’t meet for reasons of illness of one of its members or urgent Government Business.
Can the applicant face any other issues or problems at this stage?
The FIU clearance serves basically as approval. In principle that is because also we have met with The FIU and gone through the supporting documents. In other words the applicant will not necessarily face any other issues or problems at this stage. Because at this stage the fees have been paid and the application has been approved in principle.
The FIU check is not an approval in principle. It is simply a Due Diligence check on the applicant. The check will determine whether the applicant can lodge his or her application or not. The Screening Committee is the first group of people who meet 1 day before the Citizenship Commission. They check through all the applications and make sure all the documents needed and required under the Law are satisfied. The Commission simply meets to endorse the application when it is satisfied with the documents provided.
What is the asset/source of funds documents that the client is required to show?
The Source of Funds is important because it will be done to ensure that the funds can be cleared and can reach Vanuatu. Source of funds needs to be from an originating bank account, with the exception of bitcoin or any form of crypto currency will not be permitted or accepted by the Bank, because it is not yet regulated here. Vanuatu Republic is required to satisfy itself that the client’s funds for the passport are sourced from legal sources. Also that the client has assets of at least USD 500,000 of which liquid funds in a bank of at least USD 250,000 for a single applicant and USD, for family.
The Citizenship Committee approves the application and issues a formal letter of acceptance plus the Prime Minister signs citizenship certificate(s) for the main applicant and each of their dependents. In order to receive the passport(s) and citizenship certificate(s), the applicant and their dependents must arrange to travel to Vanuatu for an Oath of Allegiance Ceremony.
How are the logistics arranged, who looks after applicant arrangements, how does the Oath Ceremony happen, what is the cost of the ceremony, etc.?
Under The laws of the Republic of Vanuatu all new applicants for citizenship must first swear an oath of allegiance to their new country. This is a requirement for all adults over the age of 18. The oath of allegiance is sworn in front of two authorized representatives of the Republic of Vanuatu, an Oath Commissioner and a Passport Officer, after which citizenship certificates as well as their passports are handed over to the applicants. NTL Vanuatu office assists in both ways.
The Oath Ceremony is very short, usually fewer than 30 minutes.
For more answers about the Vanuatu DSP, visit NTL’s website.