Banks in Vanuatu

#GoVanuatu. Be Global

Table of contents

  1. Main advantages of Vanuatu banks
  2. Vanuatu offshore banking options
  3. Process of opening a Vanuatu offshore bank account
  4. FAQ about Vanuatu banks

MAIN ADVANTAGES OF VANUATU BANKS

Vanuatu is today the furthest away and most remote tax haven in the world. Located in the warm waters of the South Pacific, the Republic of Vanuatu constitutes an archipelago of islands, which border Australia, Fiji and New Guinea by water.

 

Vanuatu’s modern history began in 1980. In that year, an agricultural nation gained its independence after a lengthy period of colonial rule under the auspices of France and Great Britain. The Republic of Vanuatu has come a long way in becoming a compliant offshore jurisdiction. For the past 15 years, Vanuatu has remained on the EU’s “white list” of cooperative tax havens.

 

The economic, political and cultural life of Vanuatu is concentrated on the largest islands of Éfaté and Santo, where two-thirds of the population live. The Banks Islands (the main islands being Mota Lava and Vanua Lava), located in the north, form the remote and indigenous part of the republic, inhabited by the local tribes.

 

Vanuatu is not only a popular tourist attraction but has also recently become a well-known locale for digital nomads. The citizenship programme of Vanuatu gives its holders a visa-free regime for more than 130 countries in the world.

 

Vanuatu’s banking system is regulated by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu, which is responsible for maintaining the stability of the financial system, as well as exercising control over issued bank licenses. Currently, the list of banks in Vanuatu is relatively diversified and includes several international banks such as Pacific Private Bank, Asia Merchant Bank, ROC Bank and others.

 

Vanuatu offshore banking is regulated by the International Banking Act (2006). To be licensed as an international bank in the Republic of Vanuatu, high standards of prudential management and due diligence must be met, along with having a minimum share capital of USD 500,000.00.

 

So, what are the main advantages that attract international businesses to use the services of Vanuatu banks?

  1. Full confidentiality

In the modern world, privacy is the most precious and rarest commodity we can find. Unlike other offshore jurisdictions, bank accounts in Vanuatu guarantee some of the highest standards of confidentiality for their holders. Moreover, the relatively low banking fees and commissions make bank accounts in Vanuatu quite appealing.

  1. Straightforward incorporation of offshore companies

By virtue of the International Companies Act (2012), the process of establishing offshore companies in Vanuatu is relatively simple. Today, the Vanuatu company register has hundreds of registered companies.

Local laws impose minimum requirements for share capital, the number of directors and shareholders, accounting and audit reports. The recent upsurge in Vanuatu offshore company formation has inevitably increased demand from international businesses to open accounts locally with Vanuatu banks.

  1. Financial institutions that speak your language

Among the primary needs when conducting business globally is to find a financial institution that you can trust. Vanuatu’s colonial heritage means that Vanuatu banks can easily do business in English and French.

  1. Vanuatu offshore banking as a safe harbour

In the last 20 years, the Republic of Vanuatu has not experienced any major political crisis. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that local stability is constantly undermined by the natural disasters common to the South Pacific territories.

  1. Republic of Vanuatu’s growing economy

The local government is trying to transition the islands from an agricultural nation to a financial and banking hub for offshore companies and digital nomads. The development of the Vanuatu offshore banking centre is a top priority, including the issuance of bank licenses for world-class banks.

VANUATU OFFSHORE BANKING OPTIONS

PACIFIC PRIVATE BANK

Pacific Private Bank (hereafter referred to as “Pacific Bank”) is one of the most reputable Vanuatu banks, with a history dating back to 1997. Pacific Bank holds a full banking license issued by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu and has its registered office on one of the largest islands – Éfaté. This financial institution provides a wide range of banking services to its clients, including transactional and deposit accounts, as well as wealth and asset management consulting.

Pacific Bank is ready to assist with opening accounts for a Vanuatu offshore company, foreign companies or foreign individuals. However, it should be noted that a local company in Vanuatu and local individuals cannot benefit from Vanuatu offshore banking.

  • Corporate Account
  • Individual Account
Location
PACIFIC PRIVATE BANK
Personal Visit
No
Type of Account
Current account
Online Banking
Yes
Currencies
EUR, GBP (within SEPA), USD (case by case)
Card
No
Minimum Initial Deposit
EUR 1500.00 + monthly fee of EUR 250
Time to Open
2-3 weeks
Minimum Monthly Balance
EUR 250.00
Service Fee
GBP 399
Non-cooperative industries
Cryptocurrencies, CFD contracts, precious stones and antiques
Non-cooperative jurisdictions
Afghanistan, DPRK, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Armenia
Location
Port Vila, Vanuatu
Personal Visit
No
Type of Account
Individual
Online Banking
Yes
Currencies
EUR, GBP (within SEPA), USD (case by case)
Card
No
Minimum Initial Deposit
EUR 1500.00 + monthly fee of EUR 250
Time to Open
2-3 weeks
Minimum Monthly Balance
EUR 250.00
Service Fee
GBP 399
Non-cooperative industries
Cryptocurrencies, CFD contracts, precious stones and antiques
Non-cooperative jurisdictions
Afghanistan, DPRK, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Armenia
Location
Personal Visit
Type of Account
Online Banking
Currencies
Card
Minimum Initial Deposit
Time to Open
Minimum Monthly Balance
Service Fee

PROCESS FOR OPENING A VANUATU OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT

1. Contact Astra Trust

If you need help opening a bank account with a Vanuatu bank or want to set up a company in Vanuatu with a bank account, contact us (link) now. One of our team members will be happy to open a Vanuatu bank account for your business.

If you are first looking to incorporate your company in Vanuatu, Astra Trust has vast expertise in registering international business companies in the Republic of Vanuatu.

2. Provide all requested documents

Every financial institution in the Republic of Vanuatu has to complete a KYC procedure before a bank account can be opened. Usually, the whole process of opening an account takes up to three weeks on condition that all the requested documents are provided.

The set of documents required differs significantly depending on whether it is an individual or corporate bank account. Below is a preliminary list of the documents required to open an account with a Vanuatu bank.

Vanuatu bank account for companies Vanuatu bank account for individuals
KYC questionnaire (standard document)
Corporate documents (articles of association, memorandum, etc.)

Register of directors and shareholders, minutes of annual general meeting approving the opening of a bank account

Identification documents (passport, ID card, etc.)

Document certifying a residential address (utility bill, tax declaration, etc.)

Additional documentation, if required by a financial institution (e.g. latest financial and audited statements, information about source of wealth and so on)

 

3. Assessment process

During this stage, a bank evaluates the submitted documents in light of the prevailing money laundering legislation. Sometimes banks may require additional documents besides those mentioned above. For example, this could be a record of the ownership structure for an international business or a valid medical card for individuals.

Please note that the submission of all requested documents does not guarantee that a bank account will be opened.

FAQ ABOUT VANUATU BANKS

  • Can I open a Vanuatu bank account without a Vanuatu offshore company?

Yes, it is possible to open a bank account for an international business with Vanuatu banks. For the banks, it doesn’t make much difference whether an account is opened for a Vanuatu IBC or an international business registered in another jurisdiction.

If you are only interested in Vanuatu company formation, Astra Trust has extensive expertise in registering Vanuatu IBCs.

  • Is Vanuatu offshore banking the right choice for my business?

Vanuatu is a jurisdiction with a strong reputation, which is actively improving its existing legislation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The acquisition of a bank license in Vanuatu is subject to high standards of prudential management. Consequently, money held by Vanuatu banks is secured and guaranteed by the Reserve Bank of Vanuatu.

Astra Trust only works with reputable financial institutions in Vanuatu.

  • How can Astra Trust help me open a bank account in the Republic of Vanuatu?

We assist our clients with the entire process of opening an account. Our managers take care of (1) filling in all necessary questionnaires and forms on your behalf; (2) communicating directly with a financial institution; and (3) drafting and providing additional documents and clarifications to a bank, if required. Moreover, even after opening your bank account, we remain at your disposal 24/7 to answer any questions you may have.

  • Is it possible to set up a company in Vanuatu without a bank account?

Vanuatu company formation is one of the services that Astra Trust can offer you in the Republic of Vanuatu. The International Companies Act (2012) does not impose an obligation on a Vanuatu IBC to open a bank account locally. It is perfectly fine to open a bank account for your Vanuatu offshore company in other banking jurisdictions such as Belize, Hong Kong or Seychelles.