When we came to Vanuatu almost 5 years ago, my wife and I started a company. We used that to apply for a FIPA* certificate so we could do business here as foreigners, and then we were able to obtain Permanent Residency status. *Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Authority
By experience I learned all sorts of things like:
– Which Government offices are closed for an hour-and-a-half lunch and at what (different) times.
– Where they are – often in an unmarked building that you would mistake for a private house, which indeed it was in times past.
– How most payments had to be in cash or cheque.
– The exact order in which things had to be done so you don't stand in the wrong line for half an hour (or more).
– What to look for to find the right local employees.
– And a long list of other things the locals already knew.
Being a babe in the Vanuatu woods at that time, frankly I found it labyrinthine, frustrating, and very time-consuming.
These days the government has lifted their game, some of it can be done online. Some of it can even be paid with a Credit or Debit Card (but usually not online or by phone – only in person)
Nevertheless, there are still quite a few “gotchas” to trip the unwary, and many of our clients ask us for help in getting their applications through with a minimum of friction. Some even ask us to manage the whole lot from start to finish, which is one of the things we do.
You can conduct an international business via a Vanuatu company without a great deal of setting up.
But if you want to get a Permanent Residency visa so you have the right to live here, there are a number of avenues open to you.
Quickest (and the highest cost) is to use our Fast-Track system which gets you a ten-year visa in less than a week if you have all your paperwork in order at the start. No business required, but you need to demonstrate a certain asset level.
There is a list of other ways, and one of the most popular is what we did: start a local business.
The government sees this as one of the ways forward for the country: they want to attract foreigners to come and create jobs and upskill the locals. Therefore they put out the “welcome mat” to encourage foreigners to set up a new business that will have local employees.
It begins with company registration, a Business Licence, and FIPA certificate. THEN with all this in place you can apply for Permanent Residency.
Get help with the process by using someone with hard-won insider knowledge and “flip-flops on the ground”: https://lanceinvanuatu.com/stand-in-concierge-service/
Lance in (business-minded) Vanuatu