Fiji is a beautiful island nation in the Pacific Ocean neighbouring Australia. It is a multi-ethnic nation of about 800,000 people. Indigenous Fijians account for 51 percent of the population and Indo-Fijians about 43 per cent. The remaining six percent consist of Europeans, people of mixed Fijian-European ancestry, Chinese, Pacific Islanders, and others.
Short term visitors to Fiji are either visa exempt, or they need a visitor’s visa.
Travellers from visa exempt countries only need to present a valid passport that will not expire within 6 months from the date of departure from Fiji, an airplane ticket showing their date of departure and sufficient funds for the time of their visit.
For visitors who are not exempt, they have to undergo a visa application process through a Fiji Consulate overseas where they must present their travel itinerary, proof of funds for the duration of their Fiji trip and an approved employer leave letter or email or other suitable explanation for why they are coming and why they will return home. This same evidence has to be presented to the border officials on arrival.
Those interested in working in Fiji must secure a job offer from a local employer approved by the authorities before entering the country. The government offers a variety of work permits that vary from skilled contract worker types to an armed forces member permit as well as many others. Applications for a work permit must be submitted jointly by the employer with the potential employee to the Director of Immigration. A security deposit to cover the return flight of the employee must be offered by the employer as well.
Work permits can be short term if the work lasts a year or less and long term if longer than a year. Normally, work permits in Fiji are tied to a specific employer and a foreign worker would need a new authorization to work elsewhere.
Once at the port of entry, foreign workers will need to present:
- a valid foreign passport
- Approval Letter from the Fijian Immigration for the applied work permit
- completed and signed Arrival Card
- confirmed address in Fiji
To secure a study visa, potential students need to provide the consulate with a letter of admission from a local school and a return ticket to the country of permanent residence or citizenship if study duration is less than 12 months. If study duration is more than 12 months, a security bond is required.
Foreign investors who would like to invest and operate a business in Fiji need to submit a business proposal to Fiji Trade and Investment Bureau – a government office. If successful, the entrepreneurs are issued an investor’s permit.
There are two types of investor’s permits:
1. Three-Year Permit
Investors can obtain a three year permit for an approved investment of less than F$500,000.00 or $240,686 USD.
2. Seven-Year Permit
An investment of $500,000 or $240,686 USD or more in an approved business trade or undertaking will entitle the investor to a long-term permit of seven years.
Investors must prove that funds have or are being transferred from overseas and that project proposals have been approved by the Ministry of Trade and Commerce.
Temporary residents can extend their status for so long as there is legitimate reason for doing so.
Usually, foreigners that wish to reside in Fiji indefinitely would have to apply for a long term residence permit and then extend it or become Fiji citizens. However, former Fiji citizens, by the constitution, still have the right to enter and remain in Fiji as long as they desire, and their families are exempt from the necessity of renewing their temporary resident permits.
Applicants on Assured Income
Unlike other countries, Fiji has a retirement option that could be very attractive to those who would like a quiet life in the sun in their golden years. Foreigners can apply for resident permits on assured income (a retirement option). Such a permit is granted if applicants have sufficient revenues for themselves and their dependants.
· The principal applicant should have an assured income and should not seek employment in the Fiji Islands;
· The principal applicant must carry health insurance;
· The principal applicant must deposit a sum of $ 100,000,00 in a resident account of a local bank upon approval of the application;
· If the principal applicant has purchased a property in the Fiji Islands, the sum of F$100,000.00 may be waived, however, documentary proof of the purchase and value of property is required;
· An additional F$30,000 for a family of two, or F$40,000.00 for a family of up to five members must be deposited annually in the resident account of a local bank; and
The permit holder must obtain clearance from the Immigration Department for any repatriation of funds out of the country before the application is considered by the Reserve Bank of Fiji.
Applicants for Fiji Citizenship
Fiji citizenship can be acquired by:
Every Child born in the Fiji Islands on or after the date of commencement of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009 (10 April 2009) becomes a Fiji citizen at the date of birth unless one parent has diplomatic immunity and neither parent is a citizen.
Nationality by registration includes those who have familial or historic relationship affiliations with Fiji and adopted children.
To be eligible to apply for Fiji citizenship, a person must have legally lived in Fiji for five years within the last 10 years. Those married to a Fiji citizen may apply for citizenship once they have been lawfully present in Fiji for at least 3 of the 5 years preceding the application.
Naturalization in Fiji is initiated by submitting an application to the Minister of Immigration. Applicants must prove that they are of good character, are familiar with the language (English, Fijian or Hindi), and intend to reside in the territory. Approved applicants are required to take an Oath of Loyalty. Fiji allows dual citizenship and Fijian citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 88 countries and territories.
While there have been three military coups in Fiji – the last one was in 2000. Since then the country has stabilized. In recent times, however, there has been an outflow of primarily Indo-Fijians seeking better opportunities abroad. Nonetheless, because of its natural beauty, many people seek temporary as well permanent resident visas as well as citizenship in Fiji.