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Establishing a corporation in Vanuatu is a mandatory legal requirement for foreign investors desiring to engage in commerce within this nation. The Republic of Vanuatu, a petite island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean, is part of Melanesia. Given its modest geographical footprint and limited indigenous resources, the local government has implemented effective measures to foster a conducive business climate, which in turn boosts the influx of international capital. Consequently, foreign investors looking to establish operations in Vanuatu face fewer bureaucratic hurdles.

Incorporating a business in Vanuatu offers several fiscal benefits and reduced overhead costs for business operations. The procedure for business incorporation in Vanuatu is straightforward. Nevertheless, similar to other nations, adherence to specific protocols and requirements is essential.

It is also pertinent to acknowledge that Vanuatu is a diverse community with various cultural and linguistic groups. A deep cultural insight is pivotal for business success in this region. Additional benefits of establishing a business in Vanuatu, along with legal nuances of the registration process, will be elaborated upon in this document.

Registration of a company in Vanuatu: advantages for investors

Vanuatu, a compact republic in the Pacific, presents numerous entrepreneurial benefits:

  • Access to regional markets: situated in the Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu acts as a gateway to regional markets including Australia, New Zealand, and other Oceanic nations.
  • Tax incentives: a primary benefit is the absence of several tax categories such as income tax, capital investment tax, and dividend tax, which significantly reduces tax obligations. Additionally, there is minimal governmental fiscal oversight.
  • Confidentiality: Vanuatu ensures a high degree of privacy for businesses and their proprietors.
  • Flexibility in fund management: the nation permits the storage and handling of funds in various global currencies without stringent restrictions on capital flows, appealing to business owners engaged in international financial transactions.
  • Streamlined bureaucratic processes: the process of company registration in Vanuatu is notably streamlined and expedited, with fewer required formalities.
  • Evolving financial sector: the government has invested substantially in enhancing the financial sector, including the development of financial infrastructure, expansion of the stock market, investment opportunities in mutual funds and other financial instruments, and the bolstering of the microfinance sector that supports start-ups and small enterprises.

Moreover, Vanuatu employs French and English in business dealings, which simplifies communication with international clients, investors, and partners. It is also possible to register a company in Vanuatu remotely.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to adhere to both local and international laws and regulations when operating within any jurisdiction. Prospective investors are advised to seek consultation from experts offering legal support for investment projects to fully understand all legal implications and potential risks.

Establishing a business: selecting a legal framework for corporate operations in Vanuatu

English common law, primarily guided by the Companies Law and the International Companies Law, regulates the establishment and operation of business entities within the jurisdiction. The VFSC is the principal regulatory authority overseeing the registration and oversight of companies involved in various financial and corporate activities within the country.

Additionally, depending on the sector of operation, other regulatory bodies may oversee corporate activities within Vanuatu. For instance, entities engaged in financial services may fall under the additional oversight of the FIU, which enforces regulations against financial and fraud-related crimes. Proper legal guidance is essential for the registration of an international company in Vanuatu.

Foreign investors looking to establish a presence in Vanuatu can select from various corporate structures tailored to their specific objectives and requirements.


Key characteristics

Suitable activities


Permitted to establish local banking relations but restricted from retailing goods or services within Vanuatu.

No international operational restrictions.

Requires a registered office and representative in Vanuatu.

Minimal reporting obligations.

Consulting services.

Holding operations/

Asset protection strategies.

E-commerce ventures.

Import-export enterprises.


Flexible management structure.

Limited liability for members (individuals or corporations).

No nationality restrictions for members.

No predetermined min. capital required.

General business activities with flexible management.

Exempt Company

Utilized for offshore companies.

Offers tax advantages and exemptions from certain annual reporting and audits.

Requires a registered office, local agent, and a secretary.

Management must include at least two founders and one director.

Offshore business activities with reduced administrative burden.


General: joint responsibility for all business outcomes.

Limited Liability: one partner with unlimited liability, and others with limited liability.

Partner number must not exceed twenty.

Partnership business ventures.

Branches and Representative Offices

Branches can conduct business activities limited to those of the parent company.

Representative offices are for non-commercial purposes such as market research, marketing initiatives, and establishing partnerships.

Expansion of foreign business activities in Vanuatu.

When selecting a legal structure for business registration in Vanuatu, it is crucial to consider strategic business goals along with tax and legal implications. Consultation with a qualified legal advisor is recommended to identify the optimal structure for your specific needs.

Note: Vanuatu permits the redomiciliation of companies, allowing a business to transfer its legal registration or physical location to this jurisdiction.

Prerequisites for establishing an international company in Vanuatu

Should you intend to form an international company in Vanuatu, please observe the following essential requirements:

  • The corporate name must exclude terms deemed inappropriate or those necessitating special authorization, such as "bank", "fund", "trust", and similar designations, which may only be employed post-acquisition of the requisite license.
  • A minimum of one director is required, who may be an individual or a corporate entity from any jurisdiction.
  • There must be at least one incorporator, whether an individual or a corporate entity, with no stipulations on residency.
  • There is no statutory minimum for authorized capital.
  • A physical address within Vanuatu and a local agent must be established.

Procedure for company registration in Vanuatu

The registration process involves several sequential steps:

  1. Selection and approval of a distinct corporate name.
  2. Establishment of a registered office and engagement with a local agent.
  3. Compilation of foundational documents.
  4. Payment of the requisite registration fees.
  5. Formal registration with the VFSC.

Subsequent to these steps, it is advised to initiate a corporate bank account in Vanuatu and secure any additional licenses or permits pertinent to your business activities. The registration timeline commences from two weeks onward. Professional guidance from entities such as IQ Decision UK is available to facilitate the registration process.

Documentation required for registration

The following documents are necessary, varying slightly depending on whether registration is pursued by an individual or a legal entity:Proposed company names listed in order of preference.

Document type

Required for individual

Required for legal entity

Proposed company names (in order of preference)



Detailed description of the business activities



Notarized copies of the passport for each founder/director



Proof of residential address (e.g., utility bill)



Evidence of the company's physical address in Vanuatu



Apostilled corporate documents with English translations (e.g., Charter, Certificate of Registration)

Not applicable


Identification documents for each founder and ultimate beneficial owner



Official registration name of the Vanuatu-based company



Statement describing the nature of intended business operations and verification of the company’s local operating address



International commerce in Vanuatu: identifying optimal sectors for investment

Venturing into international business in Vanuatu presents a viable opportunity for investors, yet requires a thorough analysis of market dynamics and local conditions prior to engagement. Herein are identified sectors offering promising investment possibilities:

  • Financial services: investors might explore establishing entities focused on financial advisory, asset management, and insurance provision. It is imperative to note that this sector is stringently regulated, necessitating a comprehensive examination of relevant legislation and compliance demands.
  • Tourism: as a pivotal industry within Vanuatu, the sector thrives on the region's natural splendour and cultural allure. Investments in hospitality, gastronomy, guided tours, and recreational activities are likely to yield profitable returns.
  • Real estate: the market in Vanuatu includes opportunities for investment in both residential and commercial property, appealing to investors seeking to diversify their portfolios.
  • Environmental initiatives and energy: with a strategic emphasis on ecological tourism and sustainable production, the government prioritizes advancements in renewable energy and related infrastructural developments. Investment in these areas is increasingly sought after.

Prior to commencing operations in Vanuatu, engaging with legal professionals specializing in company registration within the locale is crucial to ensure adherence to all local and international regulatory standards.

Fiscal and immigration considerations

  • CIT rate is set at 0%.
  • VAT applied at 12.5%.
  • Vanuatu exempts the following taxes: personal income, capital gains, inheritance, gifts, and taxes on dividends, interest, and royalties.

Accounting practices in Vanuatu conform to local standards and legislation, requiring entities, including International Business Companies (IBCs), to maintain records accessible for external auditing and governmental oversight.

The Temporary Residence Visa Program offers foreign investors the opportunity to secure a temporary residency permit in Vanuatu through significant economic contributions, such as real estate acquisitions or new business ventures. This program, also known as the Investment Visa, aims to attract foreign capital:

  • Investment requirements: substantial investments in the local economy are necessary.
  • Residency status: successful investors and their families may obtain temporary residency, generally valid for one year.
  • Renewal requirements: continued investment and adherence to program stipulations are required to maintain residency status.
  • Path to permanent residency or citizenship: temporary residents may be eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship.

Vanuatu, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is distinguished by its government's dedicated efforts to foster an optimal environment for business development. The swift registration process and opportunities for tax optimization are principal benefits of establishing a company in Vanuatu.

Nonetheless, like any investment landscape, Vanuatu presents inherent risks and challenges. It is advisable to engage with knowledgeable professionals prior to committing to investment ventures. IQ Decision UK provides comprehensive support for company registration in Vanuatu, alongside a suite of services essential for successful business operations.

What legal structures are available to foreign entities registering a company in Vanuatu?

Foreign investors have the option to register their businesses under several legal forms in Vanuatu, including:

  • International Company
  • LLC
  • Exempt Company
  • Partnership
  • Branch
  • Representative Office

What is the corporate tax rate in Vanuatu?

The absence of corporate tax is a primary incentive for foreign entrepreneurs to establish businesses in Vanuatu.

Is a legal address necessary for offshore companies?

Yes, maintaining a registered office within the jurisdiction is obligatory for all entities operating in Vanuatu.