Vanuatu: Council fully suspends visa free travel agreement

F.P. Report

BRUSSELS: The Council today decided to fully suspend the visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu due to the risks posed by its investor citizenship schemes (‘golden passport’ schemes).

A partial suspension of the agreement had already been adopted on 3 March 2022. Following the partial suspension, the Commission started a dialogue with Vanuatu on 12 May to address the EU’s concerns. However, since then the country has failed to engage in any meaningful way and the circumstances that led to the temporary suspension still persist.

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

  • 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 a 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

Next steps

The decision will now be published in the Official Journal and will apply as from 4 February 2023.