With new incentives and various investment opportunities, the Cyprus citizenship programme has seen increased interest internationally.
Three EU countries have investor immigration programmes with immediate citizenship, of which Cyprus has by far the fastest application processing time. An applicant and his/her family can receive Cyprus passports in three months in exchange for a €5 million investment for a term of three years. The key benefits of the programme are EU settlement and excellent visa-free travel possibilities, no obligation to renounce existing citizenship and no Greek language proficiency requirements.
Cyprus Citizenship Benefits and Criteria
- An applicant and his/her family can receive Cyprus passports in 3 months in exchange for €5 million with a 3 year term of investment
- Citizens of Cyprus enjoy unrestricted travel within the EU and travel visa free to more than 163 countries
- Spouse, underage children as well as any children over the age of 18 who are considered financially dependent may also be granted Cypriot citizenship. Neither the spouse nor the children are obliged to meet any financial criteria
- No requirement to renounce existing citizenship, double nationality is recognised
- No Greek language proficiency requirements
- No requirement to stay in Cyprus
- Must be at least 30 years old and clean criminal record from country of origin, name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the EU
- Must have a permanent privately-owned residence in Cyprus, the purchase price must be minimum €500,000 excluding VAT. (Purchase value of the privately-owned residence not included in the minimum investment which is required). If invests solely in the purchase of a privately-owned residence worth €5 million, no obligation to buy a further privately-owned residence of €500,000
Non-EU citizens can obtain Cypriot citizenship by Exception through direct investment in the country. The Council of Ministers has set out a list of criteria for acquiring citizenship by Exception
Applicants must be non-Cypriot citizens, who meet one of the economic criteria set out below, either personally or through a company/ies in which he participates as a shareholder. Also, a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ies that meets one of the economic criteria provided he receives such a remuneration that generates tax revenue for the Cyprus government of at least €100,000 for a three year period and provided this tax has already paid or prepaid:
Must meet one of the following criteria:
- Investment in Government bonds: The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million; or
- Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations: The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations (bonds/ securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €5 million. Such financial assets can be purchased either at issuance, or subsequently from the market; or
- Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects: The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 5 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects); or
- Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies: The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 5 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens. It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits in Bank of Cyprus into shares is included in this criterion; or
- Deposits in Cypriot banks: The applicant must have personal fixed term deposits for 3 years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he is the beneficiary) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million; or
Combination of criteria (1-5): The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5 million; or
Persons whose deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd have been impaired due to the measures implemented after the 15th March 2013: The applicant has incurred impairment in deposits amounting to a total of at least €3 million. In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his deposits under €3 million he may apply, having made an additional investment through the criteria 1-5 to supplement the amount of €5 million; or
Major Collective Investments: The Council of Ministers shall have the right on special occasions, to reduce the above criteria (1-4): To €2,5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €12,5 million
The applicant must have concluded the investment during the 3 years preceding the submission date of the application and must retain the said investment for at least 3 years from the approval of the application by the Council of Ministers. Time frame for the completion of the process is approximately 3 months.
Disclaimer: This information does not represent legal advice and is intended solely for general awareness. Any liability for any loss resulting from acting on the basis of this information is expressly disclaimed.