This guide examines the requirements to obtain Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Program.
Despite the recent changes, the Cyprus Investment Program remains one of the leading nationality schemes in the world. There are no residency or language requirements, the application is approved in approximately 6 months and the entire family can obtain a Cyprus passport.
Cypriot citizens enjoy the ability to travel, live and work anywhere in the European Union without restrictions . In addition, they enjoy the same treatment as every European citizen for education. Cyprus itself, is one of the safest countries worldwide with excellent education and healthcare. It is an international business hub with great history and cultural heritage, offering safe and quality living for its residents.
Requirements to qualify for Cypriot Citizenship under the Cyprus Investment Program
The Cyprus Investment Program is fairly simple. To obtain citizenship in Cyprus under the said scheme, the applicant needs:
(a) to make an investment starting from €2.000.000,
(b) to make a donation ranging from €100.000 to €200.000 and
(c) to meet the anti-money laundering criteria (clean criminal record, copy of a valid Schengen Visa and pass the enhanced due diligence checks.)
A. Financial Criteria: (1) Investment
The applicant can invest in real estate, a business in Cyprus or an alternative investment fund. The permissible investments are as follows:
- Investment in residential property: €2.000.000 investment in residential property including a property of minimum €500.000. (Can be one property of €2.000.000 + or multiple properties containing at least one property for €500.000)
- Investment in commercial property: €2.500.000 total investment. €2.000.000 investment in commercial property, tourism or other infrastructure & a residential property of minimum €500.000
- Investment in Cyprus businesses/ companies: total investment €2.500.000. €2.000.000 in the business and €500.000 in one residential property.
The businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence and substantial activity in Cyprus and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or EU citizens who have been legally residing in Cyprus for a continuous period of at least 5 years.
- Investment in Cypriot Alternative Investment Funds: €2.500.000 total investment. €2.000.000 in AIFs & €500.000 in a residential property.
The applicant has to retain the investments for 5 years from obtaining citizenship but has to maintain ownership of the residence valued at least €500.000, or replace it with one of equal or higher value.
The applicant can apply for Cyprus Citizenship provided he/ she has concluded the investment/s in Cyprus during the three (3) years preceding the date of his/her application for citizenship (the purchase of a privately-owned home is exempted from this requirement).
One should also note that dual citizenship permitted and that tax residency in Cyprus is not automatic on obtaining citizenship. For information on tax residency see our taxation guide.
Financial Criteria: (2) Government Donation
The new regulations require a donation as follows:
(a) €100.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation (to support housing for the less fortunate); and
(b) €100.000 to the Industry and Technology Authority or the Renewable Energy Fund or the Research and Innovation Foundation. This amount can be avoided if the applicant made an investment of €400.000 or more in a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME) with 5 Cypriot or European employees and retains the entire the €400.000 in the said business for 5 years and thereafter can sell up to €300.000 of his investment but retain €100.000 in that company forever.
B. Non-Financial Criteria
The non-financial criteria are essentially anti-money laundering requirements such as the following:
- Clean criminal record;
- Enhanced Due Diligence;
- Copy of a valid Schengen Visa (unless, due to the origin of the applicant, a valid shengen visa would not be required to enter into the Schengen Area).
Note that a permanent residency application must be made simultaneously with the citizenship application. This is handled by the applicants’ professional advisors.
C. Can the family apply for passport too?
Parents or parents-in-law of the applicant can apply for citizenship as well provided that they invest an extra €500.000 in the following:
(a) a house of €500.000 in addition to the private residence of the applicant; or
(b) a house to share with the applicant which is worth at least €1.000.000.
Minor children and dependent children up to 28 years old can also obtain passport. Dependent children are those studying for an undergraduate or master’s degree or having a severe physical or mental disability health condition disabling them from working.
D. Other key information for the Cyprus Investment Program
The Cyprus Authorities will obtain an Enhanced Due Diligence report by an independent international company as well prior to approving the Cyprus citizenship application. In addition, under the new rules, the government will monitor successful applicants for 10 years after the citizenship approval and may cancel the citizenship of people who get convicted for a serious criminal offence carrying an imprisonment sentence of 10 years or are wanted by Interpol for such an offence.
In addition, the Government will seek annual confirmation that the applicant maintains his investments for 5 years (or those that he replaced them with, having the prior approval of the authorities).
For more information you can visit the official government website
The procedure to obtain citizenship in Cyprus under the Cyprus Investment Program is the following:
- Choice of qualifying investment;
- Legal due diligence on the investment and preparation of contracts;
- Provision of a list of documents for the citizenship application (which documents must be officially translated into English or Greek and be double certified/ apostilled)
- Open a bank account and transfer money to Cyprus;
- Applications are submitted for applicant and spouse (both a Permanent Residency and the Citizenship applications are filed). An appointment must be booked with the Ministry of Interior and biometric data must be given (photograph, fingerprints).
- The applicant’s and the spouse’s Permanent Residency is issued within 5-7 working days.
- Approval of citizenship application in approximately 6 months from filing.
- The passport is issued in another 3 months (9 months in total). The Applicant signs the naturalization certificate within 3 months of receiving the approval and gives biometrics again.
- Children and parents of the Applicant must submit separate applications. Minor children applications are processed in approximately 3-4 weeks whereas for adult children and parents they take approximately 2-3 months.
E. What to expect from us
As a leading and independent law firm we have extensive knowledge of the legislation and experience in successful citizenship applications under the Cyprus Investment Program. For us the priority is to ensure a smooth process for the applicant, making sure he has peace of mind when applying. We take care of all immigration and legal issues of the investment to make sure that the process is made fast and stress-free.
In doing so, we provide a fixed fee service without any surprises allowing the applicant to have a clear view of the entire cost budget before the start of the process.
Feel free to contact us for more information or any questions.