BRUSSELS: The Council today decided to partially suspend the visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu due to the risks posed by its investor citizenship schemes (‘golden passport’ schemes). The suspension concerns only citizens of Vanuatu holding ordinary passports issued since 25 May 2015, when these Vanuatu investment citizenship schemes entered into force. At the end of this process, holders of such passports will need a visa to travel to the EU.
Based on careful monitoring and assessment of Vanuatu’s investor citizenship schemes, the EU has concluded 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 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
The decision will now be published in the Official Journal and will enter into force two months after publication. Under the visa waiver agreement, the decision on suspension is to be notified to the other party no later than two months before its entry into force.