Expat guide to Vanuatu, the healthcare, education systems & more



Vanuatu is a Y-shaped chain of islands, extending 1176km in a north-south direction between the equator and the tropic of Capricorn. There are over 80 islands which form the archipelago, with a population of approximately over 200,000 people that speak over 100 different languages. Of course, this all makes for a fascinating diversity of culture, customs and people.

If you are (or plan to be) an expat living in Vanuatu, please find below a list of expat clubs, schools, general links for women living in Vanuatu, country information and more...


Expat Clubs

Expats Vanuatu

“Expats Vanuatu” is all about the experiences of expats living in Vanuatu. We welcome your advice, recommendations and any information on community events!

Website: www.facebook.com/exaptsvanuatu

Go Vanuatu

Small Guide Travel is a licensed Australian travel agency that has brought to you the Go Vanuatu guide, with lots of information about clubs and activities expatriates can get involved with.

Website: www.govanuatu.com

Youth Against Corruption Vanuatu

YACV is a social network of young people from Vanuatu who are based in country, and represent and stand for the rights of all young people in Vanuatu.

International Schools 

Port Vila International School (PVIS)

PVIS are proud to be providing a quality education for families in the Port Vila community. PVIS is a small multi-cultural community school with students from 27 nationalities. They cater for students from pre-school to year 10.

Curriculum: NSW (Australia)

Address: Port Vila International School, P.O Box 302, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu

Tel: +678 238 37

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.pvisvanuatu.org

Local News in English

Vanuatu Daily: ww38.vanuatudaily.com

Country Information 

Full Name: Republic of Vanuatu

Location: Asia

Population: cc. 250,000+

Capital City: Port Vila

Other Important Cities: Luganville, Norsup, Port Olry 

Currency: 1 Vatu = 100 Centimes

Language(s): Bislama, English, French

Religion(s): Christianity

Calling Code: +678

Internet TLD: .vu

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz 

Emergency Numbers: Police – 22 222, Fire – 22 333, Ambulance – 22 100

While Bislama, English and French are the three main languages spoken in Vanuatu, there are over 120 tongues in common use – making the country the world’s highest concentration of different languages per head of population.

The climate in Vanuatu is very warm, and there is lush tropical bush. Rain in the summer helps to make the bush very green and dense, and both black sand and white sand beaches circle most of the islands. There are beautiful coral reefs, which make for pleasant swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Vanuatu culture is still very important, and remains very much alive among the Melanesian people. It is not a matter of rituals and traditions – it is their way of life, and governs their behavior. Such customs have been thriving for centuries and are well respected within communities.

It’s important to understand that Vanuatu is still very much a country where women have less control of anything; land, property, marriage and are less mobile. Few women drive cars, and there are only a handful that are elected to parliament or councils and representing the country.

Embassy Information

We found this website really handy, get a full list of all the local embassies in Vanuatu...


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

Residence Permits

Residency permits may be granted to investors, self-funded retirees and/or employees.

Standard Residence Permits are issued initially for a duration of 1 year, subject to annual renewal. The non-refundable application fee of Vt 20,000 is payable to the Immigration Office upon submission of the completed application form.

Permits will only be renewed provided that the conditions under which they were first issued remain the same.


Residence permits for the purpose of undertaking businesses in the country must first gain approval for such business from the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority Board (VIPA).

Land Investors

Persons who purchase land in Vanuatu can be eligible to apply for residency based on a minimum investment of Vt 10,000,000. Registraion of the land title into the person’s name or related company’s name must be completed before application for residency for proof of investment.

Retired Persons

Persons over the age of 55 may apply for a residency permit provided they can show evidence of their status as a retiree in their country of origin. They must also show proof of a monthly revenue transfer to Vanuatu of at least Vt 250,000 per person.


Persons required to reside in Vanuatu for employment purposes may qualify for a residency permit of one year’s duration, renewable annually. A work permit in respect of such persons must also be obtained and is only available for certain occupations where there are no suitably qualified *Ni-Vanuatu.

Expatriates are entitled to apply for Ni-Vanuatu citizenship after ten years residency.  

*Ni-Vanuatu is a term for the indigenous people and it literally translates to ‘of Vanuatu’. Abbreviating the term to ‘Ni-Van’ is not derogatory.


Vanuatu is still very much a rural country, and most Ni-Vanuatu live on their home islands.

In urban areas of Vanuatu, really only the emerging middle class can afford government-built housing. These towns layout and architecture reflects French and British sensibilities.

Other migrants and expats to the towns buy plots of land and build cheap shacks of corrugated iron and waste materials. A large number of villagers still build their own homes from local materials. The vast majority are traditional Melanesian houses, with earth or coral floors and no glass windows, and with palm, bamboo or cane walls or roofing.

Driving License

In Vanuatu, driving is on the right side of the road like Dubai, the United States and most European countries. Seatbelts are not compulsory here, and most locals won’t wear them. There are no roadworthiness tests for registration of vehicles, although spot checks may sometimes be held to see that a car’s horn or brake lights work.

It’s customary to stop and let pedestrians cross the road. In short – drive with a bit of caution!


Vanuatu is considered as a third world country – however, there is some misconception surrounding this particular country. Urban water in the major centers is safe to drink, and because of the humidity, it’s always advised to drink plentiful. Expats with existing conditions are advised to take enough medication to last to begin with.

Insurance Companies

• Medibroker: www.medibroker.com


• Vila Central Hospital

• Vila Bay Health Centre

• ProMedical: www.promedical.com.vu