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EU Proposes to Suspend Visa Waiver Agreement with Vanuatu

Vanuatu's citizenship by investment program seems to be at risk after the EU Commission announced that it is pursuing to suspend its visa waiver deal with Vanuatu, partially, justifying that this investment immigration program that is also known as the golden visa, is endangering the EU.

The EU Commission stated, “the suggested decision is essential to diminish the risks associated with Vanuatu's investor citizenship, on the security of the EU and its member states," in an official statement released on January 12.   

The statement highlighted several serious issues about Vanuatu's CBI program, these issues are related to the screening of applicants that does not meet the highest standards so individuals who were wanted by the Interpol had managed to successfully get the country's citizenship. The statement  also mentioned that the rejection rate of the citizenship applications was "very low", and only one person's CBI application had been rejected from the day of the program’s inception in 2015 until 2020.

The EU Commission also took serious issue with the fact that Vanuatu had been commercially promoting its program as a way to avoid the visa restrictions that are usually applied on citizens from non-EU countries. The European body also criticized the country for refusing to amend its CBI program despite bilateral meetings on this issue in 2019 and 2021 and blamed the government in Vanuatu of taking more measures to form a new citizenship program.

If the proposal to partially suspend the visa waiver deal gets approved by the EU Council, all Vanuatu citizens who were issued ordinary passports from May 25, 2015, onwards would have to apply for the EU visa just like other non-EU countries who do not have a visa waiver deal with the union, and they would no longer enjoy the current visa free travel to the union for three months within a six-month period, according to the EU Commission.

The EU commission likewise offered an exit plan to Vanuatu in a similar statement, expressing that assuming the nation totally mitigates the security dangers to the EU due to its identification program, then, at that point, the halfway suspension of the visa free arrangement could be lifted.

Vanuatu would likewise have two months for arrangements with the EU Commission before the suspension is applied after the EU Council's endorsement.

Alternatively, Grenada Citizenship by Investment is one of the most pursued citizenship worldwide, given the unique advantages associated to the program.

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