In today’s article I want to tell you about the advantages of having a second passport and how you can get citizenship in Vanuatu through a Bitcoin investment.
Now you’ll be saying, ‘a second citizenship, in a country I don’t even know? Besides, invest or pay for another passport? Why should I do that? My current passport is perfectly good enough!’
Citizenship and second passports are one of the flags to which little attention is initially paid, at least when we’re not citizens of a country at war or in crisis.
One of the big problems with the passport is that, in general, nobody really cares about it until they really need it. But when you really need to leave your country to move to another one, they end up shutting the door in your face and/ or freezing your assets.
If we take a brief look at history, we can see that this is a repeated phenomenon and that no one really expects it when it happens (even though the signs are often have been there for some time).
So, whether you see it as useful or not (which hopefully you do), today we’re going to explain how you can get a second passport, specifically your economic citizenship in Vanuatu.
Let me warn you: there are all kinds of dodgy websites and agencies that rip people off selling them every type of supposedly official passports in exchange for bitcoin.
For around $15,000 they promise you a second passport for a country with high freedom of movement. Then, the end up not giving you anything, or at most, a well-forged document. Of course, these types of forgery can bring you more problems than you would expect when entering other countries.
As always, the best lies contain an element of truth. The fact is that you can buy citizenship for most countries.
There have long been programmes for granting citizenship in exchange for perfectly legitimate investments or donations, that are legitimised by the State and are official.
Of course, information about these programmes isn’t secret and can be accessed online and from official sources (even if you sometimes have to look quite hard).
Second citizenship in the Caribbean
These programmes originally come from the Caribbean, whose small island nations want additional sources of revenue. This has been the case in St. Kitts and Nevis, who still have this model with slight modifications, since 1982.
After the devastating hurricane in October 2017, a $100,000 donation to the Hurricane Relief Fund will guarantee quick and easy acquisition of a passport from the country.
This passport permits free movement in at least 130 countries, including the UK, Schengen countries and Russia.
A few years ago, Canada and the US were also visa-free. However, after the entry of Iranian scientists with St. Kitts and Nevis passports, entry has become more difficult.
Just like St. Kitts, the other Caribbean islands also offer a similar degree of freedom of movement (between 120-135 countries, plus the Schengen area) and with similar costs.
With a donation of about $100,000 you’ll also be welcome in Dominica or Saint Lucia. For Antigua and Barbuda or Grenada you’ll have to set aside a little more money.
Aside from the donation option, you can also choose an investment in any of these countries. However, the amount should be significantly higher.
The investment will generally have to be between $250,000 and $500,000, in well-defined product types. This way you don’t lose money, but you can’t expect a positive return in the years that the obligation to continue investing lasts.
You must also bear in mind that this results in considerable costs for due diligence and processing costs, which often reach 25% of the donated or invested sum.
More and less expensive ways of getting a second passport
Of course, there are economical options as well as other very expensive ones for getting second citizenship.
The cheapest legal passport can be obtained in the island country of the Comoros, in the Indian Ocean. However, the passport of this impoverished developing Muslim country only offers you visa-free entry to about 37 countries.
The United Arab Emirates is said to have negotiated this option with the small state to provide an official passport to many stateless people with long-term residence in the UAE, as they want the UAE passport to remain a rare privilege. In principle any foreigner can get dual citizenship for only €45,000.
Citizenship is much more expensive in European countries.
In Malta you’ll have to put nearly a million euros on the table, and in Cyprus around 2.5 million, by way of investment to finance current ambitious construction projects in these islands.
It might also be speculated that in the future Macedonia and Moldova become members of the EU. These states sell their passport for an investment of around €400,000.
You generally have to pay attention to comings and goings, as many countries suspend their programmes and resume them after a while.
When these programmes are exposed to the public, there are often protests by people who object to selling citizenship. When these protests die down, states usually carry on with their programmes.
This is why there can be perfectly legitimate programmes about which it is impossible to get much information online.
Unfortunately, 90% of information on second citizenship on the internet is outright fraudulent. Spotting rotten eggs isn’t always easy.
Economic citizenship through cryptocurrency investment in Vanuatu
After this brief introduction to economic citizenship, this article will focus on the only country in which the entire process of obtaining citizenship can be bought with Bitcoin.
It’s the only Pacific island that currently offers citizenship in exchange for money (a so called economic citizenship): the island nation of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu is a dream archipelago in Polynesia, bordered to the west by Australia and to the south by New Zealand. The country is made up of 83 islands and is part of the Commonwealth.
You don’t pay tax there, and it’s a completely autonomous country, that is, it isn’t governed by larger nations, such as New Zealand, France or the US, something that’s very common in the region.
The official language of the 230,000 inhabitants is English and French, but the country has a lot of diversity, with more than 100 languages. Statistics show that its inhabitants are amongst the happiest in the world, behind people in some Latin American countries.
Vanuatu doesn’t sell its citizenship but offers it in exchange for a substantial investment. This investment is governed by a law passed at the end of 2016, following Vanuatu’s old programme.
Following the devastating tropical storm Pam in 2015, 41 citizenships were granted in exchange for 5.5 million euros. This money was used to reverse some of the damage caused by the storm.
The new programme is better designed to ensure sustainable development in the country via investment, instead of donations.
We’re talking investments of $210,000 for a single person and $240,000 for four-person families. Aside from children, they may also be the applicant’s own parents.
The investment will go to the Vanuatu Regional Development Fund for a 5-year retention period. Unlike Caribbean countries, a slightly positive return can be expected here. Unfortunately, the most useful information isn’t available to the public.
In addition to the investment, the approximately $10,000 in fees per head should be taken into account for the due diligence and paperwork process.
Conditions and process of obtaining economic citizenship in Vanuatu
You don’t need to visit Vanuatu during the application process, nor do you need a minimum annual stay there: the entire programme can be done remotely.
This also makes it interesting for those who find themselves trapped somewhere due to a lack of freedom of movement due to their passport being seized or for some other reason. The citizenship oath ceremony can be done in several of the world’s metropolises.
There are no language requirements or restrictions on applicants’ prior nationality. Only Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis and North Koreans are excluded. Anyone who can pay the investment is welcome in the South China Sea. This is an honorary citizenship, i.e., political activity and the right to vote are excluded in Vanuatu, otherwise you have the same rights as the other inhabitants of the country. Citizenship can be easily transferred to future generations.
Following the submission of all documents and the positive resolution of the Vanuatu government, the average for nationalisation is between 45 and 60 days.
As a minimum, the following documents must be submitted:
- Proof of over $250,000 in assets, stock exchange, real estate etc.
- Filled-out application forms
- Certified copy of passport and national ID number
- Marriage certificate (if any)
- Criminal record certificate
- Birth certificate
- Health certificate
- CV, job references and titles
- Bank and character references
- Passport photos
When you are made a citizen of Vanuatu you also get completely tax-free residence in the country and a passport.
In 2018, the Vanuatu passport gave you visa-free entry into 116 countries, including all of the Schengen Area, the UK and Russia. You also have a great freedom of movement in Asia and Central America.
Although, by comparison, the Caribbean islands can easily overcome this freedom of movement, Vanuatu offers an exclusive feature: the option to pay in Bitcoin.
Anyone with a high level of unrealised gains in cryptocurrencies knows how difficult converting large sums of money into dollars, euros or any other type of fiat money, can be.
Ultimately, most banks still disapprove of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Thus, converting the required investment into fiat money can pose a problem for many Bitcoin owners.
But we don’t have this problem in Vanuatu. In this case you can make the entire payment for your investment and the processing fee in Bitcoin. And, of course, you can convert any currency into Bitcoin and make the transfer in a few minutes.
So, can you really get a second citizenship with Bitcoin?
During the cryptocurrency boom in the autumn of 2017, news of being able to acquire Vanuatu nationality with Bitcoin spread like wildfire in the press. In the end, the government was forced to declare that it would not accept Bitcoin. Soon disappointment came and the media itself fell for this hoax.
In fact, the Vanuatu government still does not (directly) accept cryptocurrencies as investment in exchange for citizenship.
What many people do not know is that they have officially declared that they will explicitly authorise Bitcoin payments through nationally accredited agencies if those agencies undertake to convert the Bitcoin they receive into the fiat currency required for the investment.
Tax Free Today works with the only agency specialised in citizenship in exchange for money, which makes Vanuatu’s nationalisation programme entirely possible with Bitcoin payments.
In the Caribbean countries we talked about at the beginning of the article, processing fees can be paid with Bitcoin, but the sum to be donated or invested must be paid in US dollars.
So, anyone with $220,000 in Bitcoin might want to consider investment in a Vanuatu citizenship for greater security and diversification.
This is not just about asset diversification (5- year fixed-term deposit with a slightly positive return), but above all about personal protection.
Depending on which country you are a citizen in, there is a greater or lesser risk that a universal tax associated with your citizenship will end up being imposed, or even that a conflict breaks out or some other crisis that leads to a mass emigration and causes other governments to stop letting people trying to enter the country with this passport in.
Of course, you should first find out if your state makes it hard to get dual citizenship. In any case, Vanuatu does not object to multiple citizenship.