Licencing and Permits

Living, working, trading or setting up a business in Vanuatu needs a combination of licenses and permits. SFAI Barrett and Partners’ expert team can concisely guide and assist with requirements, applications, submissions, annual renewals and compliance.

Considering the vast assortment of such compliance applications, we have documentation for the more commonly requested licenses and permits on our website.

VFIPA – Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Agency

Any foreign investor or company who wishes to invest in Vanuatu is required to obtain an investment approval certificate including relevant permits and licenses. The Vanuatu Foreign Investment Act provides the framework for investors wishing to establish a new, or purchase an existing business in Vanuatu.

The Act was introduced in order to streamline the investment approval process and allow the Vanuatu Foreign Investment Promotion Authority (VFIPA) to act as a central source by not only authorising investment proposals, but also work and residency permits, business licenses and other issues relating to each project and the business license category that is required.

To apply for investment in Vanuatu a standard application form must be completed by the potential investor which includes details of the intended form of business (i.e. local company, partnership or sole proprietorship) and the nature of the project.

A detailed business plan must be submitted with the application incorporating the following information:

  • cash flow and profitability projections for three years
  • details of work and residency permits required
  • clear training plan for Vanuatu citizens

SFAI Barrett and Partners has developed a close and mutually beneficial working relationship with the government and the VFIPA and we can assist with all aspects of your foreign investment application.

Business Licence

A business licence is necessary for all businesses operated in Vanuatu. Business licences must be renewed annually and are valid for the period of the calendar year. The annual cost of a business licence depends upon the category of licence (type of business) applied for and pro rated where the business commences after January.

local company with sign on door saying open

Work Permits

A work permit, or an exemption from the need to hold a work permit, is required by all non-citizens who work in Vanuatu.

A work permit may be granted for an expatriate to be employed on a contract by an employer in an occupation where there are not enough qualified Ni-Vanuatu available. To be eligible the position must be advertised locally and reasons must be given why an application by a citizen has been refused.

Financial Dealer Licenses

Some businesses providing financial services, may require a securities license. We can help to determine which license is right for you.

businessman reading paper