An Expat’s Life
In this section I will talk about my personal´s friend case. I´ll call my friend James, although that is not his real name, and for obvious reasons, some details of my story will be slightly changed in order to protect my friend’s privacy.
James is from Canada and from an early age he was working really hard at his father´s company. His father was a successful sportsman, who, upon retirement funded his own sport outfit brand. He was successful and managed to open a second store (a branch) in one of Canada’s major cities.
When James took up the business, he made some serious changes towards the growth of the brand and the products it offered. As a consequence, the business grew immensely which meant it was time to consider something very important: a global tax strategy.
I was living in Panama at the time and James was on vacation with his family. I remember we were sitting in a beach front restaurant in the tropical paradise Bocas del Toro and we discussed James’s options. That´s when I decided to introduce him to one of our citizenship experts at Privatus Maximus Offshore.
After consulting with an expert, James decided that the best choice for him would be to get a second passport and establish tax residency in a low tax or even a zero-tax destination.
Panama is a great business hub and acquiring residency is super easy, especially for a Canadian under the friendly nations visa. However, in order to obtain Panamanian citizenship, it is necessary to live in the country for a whole period of five years, from which you have to proof to be present in the country most of the time. Moreover, James didn’t want to wait that long for a second passport.
Let´s see, it had to be a relatively fast citizenship in a low tax jurisdiction. Luckily there is a place that offers this and it´s our favorite island Vanuatu.
It was decided, after all, who doesn’t want to live in a tropical paradise, that offers healthy food and a high life quality? Vanuatu is one of the safest most peaceful places on earth, their native Vanuatuan know how to live in harmony with nature. Vanuatu was two times elected the happies place in the world, and it is very clear why.
James gathered the necessary documents and got the citizenship for him and his family in only a month after submitting the requirements, thanks to Vanuatu´s fast track program (please consult our citizenship section for more information).
When it was the time for taking the oath to their new nation, the whole family took a trip to Vanuatu. It is possible to take this oath in your country of residence or in the nearest consulate, but they really wanted to make a family trip and get to know their new country.
They arrived in Vanuatu on a flight from Brisbane, Australia, to Luganville, which is Vanuatu’s second largest city after the capital, Port Vila.
They took the oath on the second they after their arrival and then they stayed in the country for a whole month, getting to know the mysteries of their new and exotic nation.
They explored hidden beaches, the kind of beaches that are almost completely unknown for westerners. They also walked along the Feiyawa beachfront in Port Vila, the capital. They were particularly impressed by the rich cuisine and variety of dishes. There you can find the most exquisite local and international cuisine. In fact, Port Vila is considered to be the gourmet capital of the region.
The family also really enjoyed getting to know the people and the culture. They learned a lot about the importance of Custom and how it is more than just a system of believes, it is also a philosophy, a way of government and a whole way of life. They’ve also learned about the famous Kava beverage which is drank by most of the people but has ritualistic features in some of the islands.
James´s older daughter, I´ve heard, was really impressed with the way they prepare Kava, chewing the leaf and then spitting it into a ball in order to prepare the beverage. Actually, the beverage is the juice that comes out after spitting and squeezing the leaf from the vessel.
They have also learned a lot about history. They were surprised to hear that Vanuatu played a very important role in World War II. The Vanuatu islands were occupied by the Americans before the Japanese got a chance to conquer. The Americans were seen as saviors as the Japanese were nastily famous for their cruelty and savagery during occupations.
Americans are responsible for the earliest infrastructure as they built hospitals and a road that circled the island. This infrastructure work was key to Vanuatu´s development.
All in all, James and his family spent a wonderful month in their new country, learning the fascinating culture of the people
Two years later, James and his family live half a year in Vanuatu and the other half in Canada, which allows the possibility of tax residency for him. They can enjoy both the benefits of the developed western society and also the back-to-nature laidback lifestyle of a tropical paradise, immerse in an enormously rich culture and philosophy.
They have access to 129 countries visa-free and, from their new home they are a three-hour-fly away from New Zealand and Australia, one hour from the Fiji Islands and only 14 hours to Hong Kong, one of the main financial centers in the world.
Spending half a year in Vanuatu each year has really helped the children since they are learning from other cultures, getting international friends and most importantly learning important values such as protecting the environment and respecting other cultures and other people´s habits.
Having a second passport definitely has many advantages, not only when it comes to business but also when it comes to lifestyle, personal growth and development.
If you want to be the proud holder of a Vanuatu passport, please visit our citizenship section for more info.
Residency in Vanuatu is surprisingly easy to acquire. Any foreign individual who wishes to obtain residency only has to provide proof that he has access to means of income, from personal savings or pensions and place an approximate amount of aud $50,000 in a Vanuatu account. Although designed primarily for the retired and semi-retired, this program suits anyone and is not age restricted.
The expat who chooses Vanuatu as a first or second home will definitely not be disappointed. In addition, Efate, Vanuatu’s capital, boasts numerous international high-quality restaurants and over five international banks (and some smaller offshore banks).
Vanuatu also offers access to two international schools, and a small but intensely socially active population of international expats. Those with an appetite for outdoor activities and adventure won’t be disappointed in Vanuatu, having access to some of the best fishing, diving and sailing in the Asian Pacific.
- Banking Services
Given that Vanuatu has not fully implemented ITEAS or double taxation treaties with anyone (except Australia), it is a perfect jurisdiction to hold funds, provided that you have sufficient due diligence and source as Vanuatu is very careful to protect its banking industry from bad money. However, for that same reason, it is not a good jurisdiction to use for trading, since most Vanuatu banks are moving away from the “offshore banking” towards wealth management.
Banks in this territory seek and indeed require a personal relationship and a personal reason to invest such as, perhaps, real estate investment or family funds. The time taken to establish a personal relationship with your banker pays dividends, as Vanuatu banks have never frozen assets, had never experienced collapses or been subject to liquidity problems.
In fact, I have not heard of any cases, where deposit holders have experienced problems, except for, perhaps, slow customer service.