Buying & Living in Vanuatu
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you supply a sample real estate contract?
Yes. We have attached a sample REAL ESTATE PURCHASE AGREEMENT. This document is being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; Vanuatu Property Sales bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content within the document. Seek legal advice for answers to questions regarding its content. We do advise you to use a local Vanuatu lawyer when you buy or sell in Vanuatu.
Do I have to be a resident or a citizen to buy Vanuatu property?
NO, You don’t need to be a resident to purchase property in Vanuatu. You do not need a license of any kind. If you want to come and go as a tourist, that is perfectly fine as long as you abide by the rules of tourism entry. Generally speaking, when you purchase a property valued over 10 Million Vatu (approx. AUD $110,000), you are entitled to apply for a residency permit which means you can permanently reside in your home all year round.
How long can I stay in Vanuatu on a tourism permit?
Citizens of over 120 jurisdictions, including Australia, New Zealand and most South Pacific nations do not need a visa if travelling to Vanuatu for a holiday, visiting friends and family, researching business potential in Vanuatu or conducting meetings (but not employed in Vanuatu). When you arrive, you must be in possession of a confirmed onward or return ticket, have sufficient funds and a passport valid for six months beyond intended stay. These citizens can stay in Vanuatu for up to either 30 or 90 days (depending on passport held). Persons from the other jurisdictions will need a VISA.
Who is eligible for a Vanuatu residency permit?
A Vanuatu Residence Permit/Visa allows applicants to stay in Vanuatu for 12 or more months. If you are not related to a Ni-vanuatu citizen you can apply for one of the following:
Employee Residency if you have accepted employment, from a business operating in Vanuatu for a period of at least 12 months.
Self-funded Residency if you have an income certified by a bank operating in Vanuatu of at least 250,000 vatu per month, or 500,000 vatu per month if you are including your spouse or de-facto partner in your application.
Land Owner Residency, if:
You own a property in Vanuatu with a value of 10 million vatu or more, and
You have a monthly income certified by a bank operating in Vanuatu of at least 250,000 vatu per person included in the application
Foreign Investor Residency, if:
You have been issued with an approval certificate by the Vanuatu Investment and Promotion Authority (VIPA) as a 'Foreign Investor', and
If the foreign investor certificate issued by VIPA indicates that you will be operating a business in Vanuatu, a business license issued by the relevant official body.
If I have resided in Vanuatu for a period of time can I become a naturalised Vanuatu citizen?
YES. If you can demonstrate your residency in Vanuatu for a minimum of ten years you can submit an application for regular naturalisation to the Vanuatu Citizenship Commission. Applicants must also verify that they are of good character; are financially self-sufficient; and have sufficient knowledge of the civics, language and culture of Vanuatu to pass a citizenship test in the local Bislama language (a form of Pigeon English). You will then be eligible for a Vanuatu passport
Is it possible to buy a Vanuatu citizenship without waiting for ten years?
YES. Applicants must make a one-off, non-refundable contribution to Vanuatu's Development Support Programme. The donation amounts are: USD $130,000 Single applicants USD $150,000 Couples USD $180,000 Families of four. There are also additional government, professional and due diligence fees that apply, and in all cases applications must be made via the Designated Agents for Vanuatu Development Support Program (DSP)
Is Vanuatu property freehold?
NO, There is no freehold land in Vanuatu. All investments and privately held lands in Vanuatu (apart from custom land and public land) are leasehold in nature. The leasehold term is usually 50-75 years. The Constitution states that the maximum term of lease is 75 years. Your property title is always guaranteed, and investors are protected by Vanuatu’s Land Leases Act. This means that when a property is registered, it is registered as a leasehold title.
All urban leases can be renewed for a fee. This is 10% of the “unimproved land value” (as assessed by the Government’s Valuation Unit) and administrative fees. Land that is rural will have a different renewal fee depending on the Lessor. This can range from a simple one off payment from 100,000 Vatu (around $1,000 AUD), up to 2% of the unimproved land value. A renewal of lease can be negotiated at anytime, with your local Custom Owner, at terms suitable for both lessee and lessor.
What are the government fees if I buy a Vanuatu property & should I use a lawyer?
Stamp duty is an extra 2% of the purchase price, and Government registration fees are 5% of the purchase price. If buying a business or property owned in a company name it is possible to reduce these down to 4% in total. Your lawyer or accountant will advise you of this a the time of purchase. We do advise you to use a local Vanuatu lawyer when you buy.
If I am selling a Vanuatu property what are my responsibilities and costs?
A seller of property in Vanuatu is responsible for getting the Lessor's signature on a Consent to Transfer and lodging this signed Consent with the Vanuatu Government for registration prior to the Settlement Date. Payable to the Lands Department, the processing fee is 3,375 Vatu and the certification fee is 11,250 Vatu. Also, all fees payable to local government authorities and to the Custom Lessor for the year in which the sale occurs, are the responsibility of the Seller, and these must be paid in full prior to the Settlement Date.