Lifestyle / Travel

Welcome To Paradise: Vanuatu honorary citizenship programme

LUXUO conducted an exclusive interview with Investment Migration Insider, head of the Vanuatu Information Centre, James Harris.

May 22, 2018 | By Lynette Kee

Global Network Vanuatu Information Centre is offering an honorary citizenship programme – your chance at claiming citizenship to the beautiful Pacific nation of Vanuatu.

Started in January 2017, The Government of the Republic of Vanuatu has created the new Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship regulation to establish the Development Support Programme (DSP), the provision enacted by the powers of the Prime Minister himself. The application fees will, in turn, be contributed to promoting the infrastructure and economical development of Vanuatu. In an exclusive interview with the recently appointed managing director James Harris, we discuss the highlights and how one can apply to own a second citizenship to the tropical island that is ranked 4th in Happiest Planet Index.

Interview With James Harris

What event led to the establishment of the Development Support Programme and the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship programme that followed?

The Development Support Program (DSP) was launched in early 2017.  It is the successor to several earlier versions of the Program and features enhancements which make it the most globally relevant Program to date to have emerged from the Asia Pacific Hemisphere.

Can you describe the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship programme in a few words?

Vanuatu citizenship appeals to individuals and families who seek to maximize the freedom to be based anywhere in the world for business and home-life, whilst enjoying the enhanced personal security of holding a passport from one of the world’s happiest and safest nations.  As a Vanuatu Passport holder, Citizens enjoy a tax-free financial base in a peaceful, beautiful Island Nation, and visa-free access to some 127 Countries – including the UK, Schengen Europe, Hong Kong and Singapore.  The Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship Program is unique in the Asia Pacific Hemisphere.

The Citizenship is “Honorary” in that it is a recognition made of individuals for their valued contribution to the development of the Republic of Vanuatu.

Who is eligible for the programme? Is the Honorary Citizenship valid for a lifetime? What are the costs?

Vanuatu is a most welcoming Nation and the eligibility criteria for becoming a Citizen are not onerous to fulfil.  Applications can be made either as an individual or as a family (including spouse, dependent children up to 25th birthday or dependent parents over 65 years of age).  Vanuatu Citizenship once conferred is not only for life, but is hereditary, and newborn children may be added.

The cost structure is extremely simple and straightforward:

 Single Applicant:  Eur179,000

Family Application (up to four qualifying members):  Eur205,000

Additional family members (over four):  Eur20,000

 A one-time due diligence fee of Eur4,500 is charged on commencement – which covers all applicants on a submission.

How many countries is the Citizenship giving access to without a Visa required?

The list of Visa-free/Visa on arrival countries is dynamic and growing each year.  Currently, the number of countries is 127 – which includes the recent addition of Thailand and UAE, both awaiting formal ratification, which in each case is imminent.

How stable are the economy and political regime in Vanuatu?

Consistently voted one of the “Happiest” Nations on the Planet (, Vanuatu is proud of its welcoming people and the fact that it does not even maintain a regular Armed Forces!  Crime, guns and drugs are almost unknown in Vanuatu which makes it a genuine safe-haven in an ever more unstable world.  The country is ruled under a Parliamentary Democracy – and has a strong legal foundation inherited from its Franco-British Colonial roots.  Vanuatu is a member of the British Commonwealth – and is enjoying a resurgent relationship with the UK, which recently announced the reopening of a High Commission in Vanuatu.  Japan has also recently announced the opening of an Embassy in Port Vila – both statements of the growing importance of Vanuatu to the International community.

The Honorary Citizenship programme does not need to visit Vanuatu. Yet, for those who wish to visit the archipelago, what are the highlights?

With its 83 Islands, strung out in a “Y-shaped” archipelago stretching some 1300km, Vanuatu offers a huge variety of unspoiled, natural beauty – from 2000m high peaks, to dramatic volcanic landscapes, azure blue lagoons and some of the best diving sites in the South Pacific.  Visiting Vanuatu is a “must” as a Citizen – if only to feel like a real “Ni-Vanuatu” (Vanuatu National).  To step off the plane proudly bearing your Emerald Green Vanuatu Passport is genuinely like “coming home” – as it is your home, and you will receive a welcome, the like of which will keep you coming back again and again to this South Pacific gem.

What have been the most memorable comments you have received from newly made Vanuatu citizens?

We do on a very regular basis receive gleeful messages from our Honorary Citizens as, for the first time in their lives they breeze through Immigration in places such as Singapore, Zurich, London…..this is the first time that they genuinely sense what it is to have “Global Freedom”.

Aside from that, our Chairman Geoffrey Bond, himself a Vanuatu Honorary Citizen has a wonderful anecdote of his first time in Port Vila (the Capital), with newly awarded Vanuatu Passport in-hand.   Arriving at the head of the queue in Immigration (for Vanuatu Passport Holders, not visitors!), he produced his passport for the first time of entry into Vanuatu.  The Immigration Office looked at the passport, then looked at him and asked whether it was his first visit there……to which Geoffrey replied in the affirmative.  At this point, the Immigration Officer put down the passport, stepped out of the Immigration booth and stood in front of Geoffrey.   All he did then is smile, extend his hand and say “welcome home bro’ “.  I think that epitomizes the feeling of belonging in a small Island Nation.

For all information on the Vanuatu Honorary Citizenship programme, please email

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