Income from Vanuatu’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs has tripled in just one year, improving intake faster than any other CBI country.

It was estimated that the Treasury’s December figures from the annual trend would show Vanuatu’s CBI revenue having tripled between 2016 and 2018. However, the recently published actual figures demonstrate that Vanuatu’s revenue from CBI tripled in one year as opposed to the estimated two.

The monthly report from the Vanuatu Treasury in December shows that CBI income made up some VT 10 billion (US $87.6 million) in 2018, which exceeds the government’s budget target by an enormous 371.5%.

There is no distinction in the report, however, between revenues from the Vanuatu Development Support Program (VDSP) and the China-exclusive Vanuatu Contribution Program (VCP).

This whopping increase in 2018 means that Vanuatu’s government now gets at least 33% of its revenue from citizenship by investment. This has also significantly helped to balance the country’s budget; in 2018 the government recorded a positive net operating balance of VT 11.3 billion which accounts for 10.4% of GDP, around 88% of which is made up of CBI funds.

Images of the newly issued citizenship certificates and passports of CBI investors in 2019 revealed that the designation of ‘honorary citizenship’ no longer appeared on the documents. It remains unknown if the changes are cosmetic or if the government has amended the law, making Vanuatu CBI participants ordinary citizens, as no official decrees or gazettes regarding this have been released.