Work Permits and Visas

Applying and dealing with the various authorities for your applications for work permits and visas.

Vanuatu has laws and policies to support and promote the employment of Vanuatu citizens. However a one year or temporary Work Permit or an Exemption may be obtained enabling non-citizens to be employed in positions requiring specific skills, qualifications and / or experience not readily available in Vanuatu, or those wishing to visit Vanuatu for business purposes.

Note: various occupations are reserved for Vanuatu citizens only. Therefore, Work Permits are not available for occupations such as: bricklayer, joiner, clerical, nurse, painter, typist, restaurant and bar staff, hairdresser and unskilled labour.

Specific criteria apply and a Vanuatu citizen counterpart training plan submitted with applications.

By the way…

  • Foreign investors do not require a work permit to work in their own business.
  • Foreign investors cannot work for another business with a work permit.

Law Partners can provide guidance about the most appropriate Work Permit option for you and your business. We can compile and submit your applications including assisting you with counterpart training plans, and liaising with the respective authorities.

All foreigners wishing to reside in Vanuatu must hold a Residence Visa, and this includes:

  • individuals with current Work Permits;
  • investors with a current Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (VFIPA) certificate;
  • investors in Vanuatu with property valued at VT 10 million or more;
  • retirees with evidence of a monthly income of at least VT 250,000 per person or VT 500,000 per couple;
  • self-funded individuals with evidence of a monthly income of at least VT 250,000 per person or VT 500,000 per couple or family; or
  • an accompanying spouse and children of the above.

It is best to obtain a Residence Visa prior to arriving in Vanuatu; it is no longer possible to change your status from a Tourist Visa to a Residence Visa.

We can assist you with your visa application, which usually takes about four weeks to be processed.

A person who is a citizen of the Commonwealth, European Union or Melanesian region can enter Vanuatu on a Tourist Visa for a period of up to 120 days, provided they hold a return ticket, and evidence they are here on a genuine holiday, and have proof of accommodation booking and/or a letter of support from a friend or family member in Vanuatu.

There is no extension possible.

You can apply for an Interim Visa if you have submitted a Residence Visa application or need to begin employment duties or are awaiting approval from the VFIPA.

An Interim Visa is valid for 30 days. Once your Residence Visa application has been granted, there is no change of status fee applicable. We can assist you with your interim visa application, which usually takes about a week to be processed.