EU Grants Vanuatu 18-Month Extension to Reform CIP and Avoid Full Suspension of Schengen Visa-Waiver

In November, the European Council stated that it would upgrade its partial suspension of Vanuatu from the Schengen visa-waiver program to a full suspension, unless the country’s citizenship by investment program was reformed by February 3rd.

Extension of Deadline for Vanuatu’s Visa-waiver Program Suspension

Vanuatu seeks extension of the deadline to avoid full suspension from Schengen visa-waiver program. The European Council has granted an extension of 18 months to Vanuatu to implement reforms to its citizenship by investment programs.

The country now has until August 3rd, 2024, to meet the EU’s requirements for the program.

Planned Reforms for Citizenship by Investment Programs

Vanuatu’s relatively new government has announced plans to reform its citizenship by investment programs to address the EU’s concerns about inadequate security screening.

The planned reforms include administrative and policy changes to how the Citizenship Office is managed, how citizenship applications are processed, and how approved agents are managed.

The country also intends to enact a series of legislative reforms, including the Civil Registration and Identity Management Act, aimed at preventing name changes upon naturalization.

EU Monitoring and Involvement

The EU will continue to closely monitor the progress of Vanuatu’s citizenship by investment program through virtual meetings with established committees.

If Vanuatu receives the EU’s approval after implementing the reforms, it will effectively legitimize the concept of citizenship by investment. Vanuatu’s decision to involve the EU in the planning of its citizenship by investment program reforms is notable.

Uncertain Future of Citizenship by Investment Program

While Vanuatu has been granted an extension to reform its citizenship by investment programs, it remains to be seen whether the country will be able to meet the EU’s requirements.

The EU has been critical of such programs and has sought to regulate them to make them unappealing. The success or failure of Vanuatu’s reforms could have implications for other countries with similar programs.

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