EU terminates visa-free regime with Vanuatu
3 minutes read
The small island state of Vanuatu receives 30% of its annual budget income from its citizenship program through investment. In turn, the state's passport allows investors to visit Schengen countries without obtaining additional permits. At the same time, it is expected that the visa-free regime will soon be terminated.
The Council of the European Union suspended visa-free regime with the island in May 2022. The main reason was the high security risks for the EU countries, due to the simple conditions for obtaining a Vanuatu passport. In May, partial restriction affected residents of Vanuatu who obtained citizenship after 2015. To address a possible security threat, the EU provided recommendations to eliminate the risks. However, the Vanuatu government did not take them into account, resulting in the Council's decision to stop cooperation altogether.
This decision will enter into force on February 4, 2023, after being published in the Journal of the Council of the European Union. The reason for its adoption is the low rate of refusal of visa applicants. Thus, according to the Council statement, the permits were issued after a brief review of applications. In addition, the passport of Vanuatu was granted to citizens who are listed in the database of Interpol and applicants whose native citizenship provides for a visa to visit the Schengen area.
It is important that the agreement on visa-free travel to the European Union for Vanuatu citizens entered into force in 2015. Two years later, the European Commission initiated legal proceedings to prevent possible security threats that could arise from the simple procedure of acquiring Vanuatu citizenship. Also, the state did not fulfill its commitments on visa reforms and even increased the number of ways to obtain citizenship in 2021. The innovations allowed you to become a Vanuatu passport holder for an investment. The result of such actions was a complete halt to the visa agreement.
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