Vanuatu’s Citizenship by Investment Program will be the first to embrace stateless people as citizenship applicants. A local agent Vanuatu Lifestyle accredited for the Vanuatu Development Support Program (DSP) got a three-year exclusive deal to accept applications from people without citizenship.

Experts maintain that the Vanuatu authorities will still have a lot to sort out before they can start processing applicants from the stateless. That said, the first candidates may have applied by the end of 2020.

In most cases, the stateless cannot provide the same documentation as regular applicants. Besides, the list of documents that they will not be able to obtain may vary broadly from country to country. For instance, a stateless resident of Estonia can easily provide a bank reference and clean criminal record, but not a passport copy as they don’t have a passport. Many mainland Chinese applicants fail to provide a birth certificate for the lack thereof, so various CBIs have to lift this requirement for Chinese candidates.

However lenient the Vanuatu government may be, there are still rules that will remain unchanged, such as mandatory proof of a clean criminal record.

Stateless candidates seeking Vanuatu citizenship will pay the same price – $130,000 for a single applicant, however there might be an extra processing fee to cover the due diligence costs.

Globally, there are about 15 million people without citizenship. Even one per cent of that population would provide a sizable investor market to tap into. As Vanuatu treads this experimental path slowly, it now puts a limit of 300 applications from stateless candidates to be processed.

Earlier this year, Antigua and Barbuda also claimed it might work out a route for stateless applicants from the Middle East, namely from Brunei, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.