EU suspends visa-free access to Vanuatu over ‘golden passport’ scheme | European Union News

The suspension will take effect from February 2023 as Brussels continues to crack down on investor citizenship schemes.

The European Union has announced a complete suspension of visa-free access for citizens of Vanuatu due to the Pacific island nation’s “golden passport” program, which offers citizenship to investors.

The suspension will take effect from February 2023, the European Council, which represents the 27 EU member states, announced on Tuesday.

The move widened a partial suspension for Europe, in place since March this year after negotiations to resolve the issue failed.

“The country has failed to meaningfully engage and the circumstances that led to the temporary suspension continue,” the statement said.

Brussels has sought to crack down on so-called “golden passport” schemes, both among EU member states and against non-EU countries whose citizens are allowed to enter the bloc for temporary stays without Visa.

He considered these initiatives a risk for the EU’s internal security. Once a traveler enters the Union, there are virtually no passport controls between EU member countries.

Case against Malta

In September, the European Commission decided to take a case against EU member Malta to the EU’s highest court for pursuing its own citizenship-by-investment scheme.

Regarding Vanuatu, the European Council highlighted the “extremely low rejection rate” of applicants to its program, which included nationals of countries that needed EU visas.

He also noted that applicants for Vanuatu’s “golden passports” did not need to reside in that country, and some were issued Vanuatu passports despite being on Interpol’s watch lists.

Online advertisements for the Vanuatu program boasted that applicants could get their passports in one or two months, at a cost of $130,000.

Some of these websites noted the EU visa change and added a “cheaper deal” – a passport from the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis for $110,000 – which still gives free entry. visa in the union.

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