Residency & Work Permits

Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA)

 Approval is required from VIPA to establish or purchase an existing business in Vanuatu - a foreign investor should not commence business without VIPA approval. The Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) Board reviews and assesses foreign investment applications.

Other Licences and Permits

Whilst   the Board may entitle business licence categories/ies, the number of   residency permits, work permits,  investors must make application to   each appropriate authority, for registration and / or issue of   applicable permits / licences and comply with the requirements of other   acts, as applicable, including renewal / filing of returns etc as required eg:

  • Business Licence(s)
  • Other specific licence(s) eg, doctors, lawyers, banks, trust companies, insurance companies, mining
  • VAT (Value Added Tax)
  • VNPF (Vanuatu National Provident Fund) if employing staff
Residency Permits

    (a)        Persons not engaging in business or employment – self funded

Persons   who wish to reside in Vanuatu without engaging in business or   employment eg, retirees may qualify, if you have evidence of income to   sustain living in Vanuatu.

(b)        Property investor / land owner

Owners   of property and / or a house or dwelling, of at least Vt10,000,000   value, in Vanuatu, with evidence of a land lease, title transfer   document and valuation.

(c)        Business investors

Foreign investors who have obtained Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) approval to conduct  business and if successful. 

(c)        Employees

Non-citizen   employees may qualify for an interim (up to 4 months) or one year   (renewable) residence permit. A work permit must also be obtained and is   only available for certain occupations where there are no /   insufficient qualified Ni-Vanuatu available.

Documentation   required to apply for a Residence Permit include :  original   immigration application form with statutory declaration,  original   police clearance certificate, prescribed medical certificate,  two   passport photographs, certified copies of birth certificate, passport,   marriage/divorce certificate(s) and other documentation as applicable   eg, employment contract (if applicable), utility bills, rent receipts or   bank statements,

A   repatriation bond is also required to be held a local bank equivalent   to a one way airfare to the country of the applicants’ citizenship or   its nearest territory.

(d)        Extended visitor

A   visitor visa of more than 30 days but less than 12 months may be   applied, for example, where initial research is being conducted into   investment opportunities and the applicant can prove the ability to   sustain living in Vanuatu.  (A total of no more than 18 months in 3   consecutive years may be granted).  The holder of any visitor visa may   not work or commence business.

Work Permits

A one year work permit, temporary or an exemption from the need to hold a work permit is required by all non-citizen employees.

Note:   Various occupations are reserved for citizens for which work permits   will not be approved.  These include: bricklayer, joiner, clerical   supervisor, nurse, painter, typist and waiter/waitress/bar tender,   unskilled labour.

Any   one year position is to be advertised locally for at least two weeks   and reasons given why any application by a citizen has been refused or   there are no available / qualified citizens. Generally a permit will   only be granted where it is necessary to hold qualifications and / or   have specific relevant experience, which is not readily available in   Vanuatu.

An   application for a work permit must state what type of counterpart   training that will be undertaken and in addition to the completion of a   work permit Application Form, the Department of Labour require the   following: two passport sized photographs, copies of trade or   professional qualifications, CV and reference(s, copy of the job advertisement, description and contract of service, copies of passport, police clearance and flight itinerary (plus copy of employer’s VIPA certificate and  training plan).


For details of residency and work permit fees click here.

To obtain additional information, please contact us by e-mail at


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