In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak impacting lives on an unprecedented global scale, many citizenship by investment countries have responded by adapting their operations to protect their citizens while ensuring applications continue to be processed efficiently. Vanuatu, however, announced business (almost) as usual.
In a letter dated 25 March 2020, the Secretary General of the Vanuatu Citizenship Office announced that the office of Vanuatu’s Citizenship Commission will remain open and that all scheduled sittings to consider applications under Vanuatu’s two citizenship by investment programmes, the Vanuatu Citizenship Contribution Programme (VCP) and the Development Support Programme (DSP), will proceed. However, although Citizenship Certificates will continue to be issued to successful applicants, they will not be delivered abroad. This is because air traffic to and from Vanuatu will remain suspended for 30 days beginning on 24 March 2020.
Vanuatu’s response stands in contrast to other citizenship by investment countries, many of which have hastened to operate remotely and to ensure a reduction in in-person meetings.
Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis, for example, have announced they will be accepting applications uploaded via their online portals in order to commence applicant processing. However, both have stated that physical documentation will need to be submitted prior to an applicant receiving full citizenship.
Although on 25 March 2020 Vanuatu’s detected cases of COVID-19 stood at 0, the exponential growth in COVID-19 cases worldwide makes it unlikely that Vanuatu will remain unaffected for long, and suggests the country should look to establish online systems at least in anticipation of the possible imposition of stricter measures.
How can I find out more?
If you would like to find out more about how your citizenship by investment application may be affected by COVID-19, or if you have any further questions regarding the citizenship by investment process, please contact CS Global Partners.