THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) WANTS TO PARTLY SUSPEND VISA-FREE TRAVEL AGREEMENT WITH VANUATU
The European Commission (EC) proposes partial suspension of visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu linked to Vanuatu citizenship by investment program (Vanuatu golden passport program)
The EU Commission is considering requiring certain citizens of the island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific to get visas again to enter the EU. Precisely, the authority proposed on Wednesday January 12,2022 to the EU states to moderately suspend a visa agreement.
The EU Commission proposed that EU states partly suspend visa agreements with Vanuatu because of its - Citizenship by investment program (CIP) - Golden Passport program. The EU and Vanuatu have had a Visa Waiver in place since 2015. It allows citizens of Vanuatu to enter any EU Member state and stay there for up to 90 days visa free in any 180-day period.
VANUATU CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT PROGRAM (CIP)
In exchange for an investment of at least USD $130,000, Vanuatu would grant citizenship giving the new passport holders visa-free access to the EU and its member states.
BRUSSELS WANTS HARSHER VISA RULES FOR VANUATU
Holders of the Golden Passport do not have to go through the procedure for a Schengen visa. THEREFORE, the EU Commission sees increased risks for the security of the EU and its member states. The visa waiver agreement is, therefore, to be suspended for those people whose passports were issued from May 25, 2015.
HOW WILL THE EC’S SUSPENSION OF THE VANUATU VISA WAIVER AFFECT THE CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT (CBI) ?
If the EC adopt this partial suspension against Vanuatu passport holders it will instantly remove 27 countries from the list of countries that Vanuatu citizens can access visa-free. This would severely impact demand for Vanuatu passports from CBI investors. Nevertheless, this EC suspension would only apply for recipients of a Vanuatu passport who got their passport since the May 25th, 2015. Unfortunately, any other Vanuatu citizens who have attained their passports in this time (through birth, or other naturalization routes) will also be impacted by this suspension.
WHAT MESSAGE IS THE EC SENDING TO ALL RESIDENCY & CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT (RCBI) COUNTRIES ?
The EC will have two months to alert Vanuatu that the suspension is in force and it will only be lifted if the deemed security risks and compliance risks in the Vanuatu CBI program are eradicated, to the satisfaction of the EC.
The message to all Non-EU Member States who have EU Visa Waiver agreements, specifically those who offer RCBI programs- is clear. Citizenship by investment programs in other non-EU states will be scrutinizing their due diligence standards and procedures to ensure they too don’t suffer the same fate as Vanuatu.
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