This page contains most of the Frequently Asked Questions we believe you will find useful

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Business startup process and requirements

What are the steps and requirements to set up a business in Vanuatu
Business startup process and requirements for foreign investments involve seven (7) simple and quick steps. Our startup guide provides detailed information you will need. Go to the setting up page to get it.

Foreign Investment Approval Certificate (FIAC)

Fifteen (15) working days is our target time frame provided that the necessary sections of the form is completed and all requirements and supporting documents are submitted with the application. Failing to do so will result in either (i) non-acceptance or (ii) withholding of the application. When the client is satisfied that the application is complete, he/she may re-submit the application.
YES! Definitely. This is an important requirement our registration team must undertake prior to assessing the proposal. This process is done through the Financial Services Unit (FIU) due diligence global network services. This process occurs during the first 2 days following acceptance of the investment proposal.
Our staff ensure approved applications are issued as quickly as practically possible through the following channels:
  1. Calling the clients and inform them that their certificates are ready
  2. Emailing soft copies of the approved certificates. That is why clients or key contact persons are strongly encouraged to provided their email accounts in the application
  3. Send through post and advise client accordingly
We are very mindful of this approach based on past experiences. Therefore we discourage clients sending other people to collect their approved certificates unless that person is confirmed as the key contact person in the application form. Investors who are not in country and would like to send other people to collect their certificate must do so through a written request.
YES. There is no guarantee that your application will be accepted. The grounds for rejections include:
  • Investors profile failed to meet FIU checks
  • Proposed investments fall in the reserved or prohibited list
  • Proposed investments did not meet the specified criteria

An F4 Business Activity is any professional business or service providing services such as Management Consulting, Property Managers, Real Estate agents, Legal Practitioners, Accounting and Auditing services and similar. A foreign investor is allowed to apply for an F4 activity however approvals are only provided on a case by case basis. This is because Vanuatu has seen an influx of F4 activities and the agency will now be selective of what types of F4 activities can be approved as investments in the country. For further explanation please consult a staff of the agency.

Other startup requirements

Yes. Yes, but once you get an investment certificate going through the rest of the administrative process for approval is easy. Our business startup guide provides all the information you need.
All the seven startup process remain the same except for the Business License which is issued by the provincial Government rather the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue.
Once all the seven startup requirements have been successfully met, sector specific requirements are the final steps. For example, you will need a tourism permit if your approved certificate is in the tourism industry. Similarly, you will need a license from the department of agriculture if you are to engage in farming.

Investment Activities

Yes. Schedule 1 Part 2 of the VIPA Act No. 15 of 1998 provides for a list of the Reserve Investments which a foreigner cannot venture into whether by means of a joint venture, partnership or association with any citizen of Vanuatu or a local company whose shareholders are Ni-Vanuatu citizens.
Port Vila on Efate and Luganville on Santo are the most common locations for businesses. How ever, the Government is encouraging businesses to expand their operations into the outer islands and provinces. Tlak with the Agency to advise on the best options.
There are three types:
  1. Prohibited - business activities that are prohibited and WILL NOT be in anyway allowed. For example manufacture of chemical weapons
  2. Restricted - business activities open to foreign investment subject to meeting set minimum thresholds
  3. Reserved - business activities reserved solely for Ni Vanuatu

Investment Priorities

The Vanuatu Government prioritizes foreign direct investment in its key economic sectors which are currently the Primary Sector that is inclusive of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock and in the Tourism Industry.
YesThe Director of the Department of Customs and Inland Revenue grants exemptions for activities undertaken in the Tourism Industry (construction or renovation of hotels/resorts) and Manufacturing Industry for imports of machinery.
To ensure that you can be granted an investor status in Vanuatu, your investment should be able to generate employment and encourage FDI capital inflow into the country. These are two of the key priorities being assessed when you submit an application with the Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency.


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