Foreign investors wishing to establish or purchase an existing business in Vanuatu must apply to the Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (VFIPA) who is responsible for the assessment and certification of foreign investments. Do not start your business without VFIPA approval.
To complete an application, you will need a business plan, projected profit and loss statement, personal details of the investor(s), a recent Police Clearance and other documents. You may also need support or approval from other government departments depending on the nature of your proposal.
Some business categories are reserved solely for citizens of Vanuatu (such as road transport operators, public taxis and bus services) and will not be approved. Other business categories are only open to foreign investors with a minimum investment or turnover thresholds (such as tour agents and operators, guest houses or bungalows).
VFIPA certification entitles investors to apply for residency and may also entitle your business to a certain number of work permits and residency visas for foreign workers. However, application must be made to each appropriate government agency for the issue of applicable visas, permits, and licences, and comply with other Vanuatu laws for annual renewals, labour counterpart training plans and other requirements.
VFIPA Certificate holders must file an Annual Survey and pay an annual fee to continue to carry on business in Vanuatu. Any changes to business categories, ownership structure or other changes to your VFIPA Certificate must also be first approved by the VFIPA before commencing.
By the way…
- If you are looking to acquire a land lease (the only type of land title ownership that is available), be aware that it can be a tricky and lengthy process.
- Reductions in import duty are available for certain industry sectors, however you will need to apply to the respective government agency for a recommendation to the Department of Customs.
- Our Corporate and Business Services team can assist with any or all aspects of your application for VFIPA Certification and other government agency approval, and support you to maintain the ongoing compliance of your business.