This guide examines the changes to the Cyprus Investment Program after the 15.05.2019.
Despite the recent changes, the Cyprus nationality scheme remains one of the leading passports in the world. There are no residency or language requirements, the application is approved in approximately 6 months and the spouse, parents and children of the applicant up to the age of 28 years old can obtain passport by virtue of the initial investment.
As Cyprus is a European Union member state, citizens of Cyprus have the ability to travel, live and work without restrictions in any European country. In addition, they enjoy the same treatment as every European citizen for education. Therefore, Cypriots get to study in any European Country with the same terms as the citizens of that country (e.g. Germans in Germany, Italians in Italy etc)
Cyprus has its own country-peculiar benefits. It 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 obtain Cypriot Passport by investment
The requirements to obtain Cypriot Citizenship by investment are fairly simple. They depend on making (a) an investment starting from €2.000.000, (b) a donation ranging from €75.000 up to €150.000 and (c) meeting the non-financial criteria (clean criminal record, copy of a valid Schengen Visa)
This guide examines the 3 abovementioned requirements in turn and provides other useful information.
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.
Financial Criteria: (2) Government Donation
From the 15th of May 2019, the new citizenship by investment program of Cyprus requires a donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation of €75.000 plus a donation of €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation (to support housing for the less fortunate).
The €75.000 donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation may be avoided if the investment includes either:
- a €75.000 investment in a certified innovative enterprise; or
- if €400.000 of the €2.000.000 investment was in a company whose operations fall within the primary or secondary sectors of the economy (excluding constructions) or a company in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
B. Non-Financial Criteria
The non-financial criteria are safeguards towards the quality of the applicants. They are the following:
- Clean criminal
- Due Diligence.
- Copy of a valid Shengen Visa
Note that a permanent residency application must be made simultaneously with the citizenship application. This is handled by the applicants’ professional advisors.
C. Other key information
When parents wish to apply for citizenship they need to either (a) buy a house of €500.000 (in addition to the private residence of the applicant) or (b) can have one residence with the applicant worth at least €1.000.000. The investment rises by €500.000
Minor children and dependent children up to 28 years old can 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.
The applicant can sell the investments made after 5 years from obtaining the citizenship, provided he maintains ownership of a property valued at least €500.000.
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.
The procedure to obtain citizenship in Cyprus by investment is the following:
- Investment choice
- Legal due diligence on the investment and preparation of contracts
- Provision of a list of documents for the citizenship application (must be officially translated into Greek or English and be double certified/ apostilled)
- Opening of a bank account and money transfer to Cyprus.
- Submission of applications 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).
- Permanent Residency issued within 5-7 working days.
- Approval of citizenship application in approximately 6 months.
- Issuance of passport and ID card in another 3 months. The Applicant signs the naturalization certificate within 3 months of receiving the approval and gives biometrics again.
- Children and parents of the Applicant. Separate applications for children and parents must be filed. Minor children applications are processed in approximately 3 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. 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.