New Cyprus citizenship by investment changes in 2016

Prabhu Balakrishnan Avatar
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Under Cyprus legislation and specifically article 111 of the Civil Registry law 2002 (N.141(I)/2002 as amended) “…the Minister of Interior has the right to grant a certificate of naturalization, upon application by any alien adult with full capacity, who satisfies the Minister that he/she fulfils the criteria for naturalization according to the third table of the law.”

In September 2016 , the Government of Cyprus introduced changes to its citizenship-by-investment program. The changes include the reduction of the minimum investment amount to EUR 2,000,000 (from EUR 2.5 million) and the possibility to include the parents of the main applicant provided that an additional EUR 500,000 + VAT will be invested in the purchase of a private residence in Cyprus.

One of the most important changes made were:

The Decision of the Council of Ministers dated 13.9.2016 provides that the investor and his/her adult family members, prior to their naturalization as Cypriot citizens, must hold a residence permit in Cyprus.

  • The applicants must acquire a Permanent Residency (P.R.) prior of their naturalisation approval. The Passport can be issued 6 months after the P.R.

The benefits of cypriot citizenship by investment are:

  • Citizenship of an EU member state
  • The right to live, work, and study in all 28 EU member countries
  • The right to security within the European social and legal system
  • Full citizenship and passports are granted to the applicant and included family members
  • Visa-free travel to 159 countries around the world
  • Flexible options with no residence requirement; approval usually within 90 days
  • Qualify by acquiring assets in Cyprus, with no requirement to donate your wealth
  • Right to vote and stand for European Parliament elections.
  • Dual citizenship allowed (no requirement to renounce previous citizenship)
  • Citizenship approval within 90 days

Any foreign citizen may apply for Cypriot citizenship through Naturalization by Exception if they meet one of the investment criteria presented below. The qualification may either be done personally or through a company/companies in which the applicant acts as a shareholder or even as a high-ranking senior manager.

1. Investment in real estate, developments and infrastructure projects

The applicant should make an investment of at least EUR 2,000,000 for the purchase or construction of real estate.

2. Purchase, establishment, or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies

The applicant must make an investment of at least EUR 2,000,000 in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should have a demonstrable and tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot citizens.

3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot enterprises or Cypriot organizations licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission

The applicant should purchase units amounting to at least EUR 2,000,000 from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF).
This criterion also covers the purchase of financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations for at least EUR 2 million, in the form of bonds, securities and debt securities.

4. Combination of the above investments

The applicant may invest in a combination of the above, provided that the total investment amounts to at least EUR 2,000,000. The applicant’s investment combination may include the purchase of special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of up to EUR 500,000.

 5. Residence in Cyprus

Another important requirement that applies, regardless of the investment option chosen, is the purchase and life-time possession of a property in Cyprus that will be declared as the applicant’s residence in Cyprus. The purchase price of the particular property should be at least EUR 500,000 plus VAT. In the case that the applicant proceeds with the real estate option, this property can be included in the EUR 2 million investment.

Typically client receives approval within three months from the application date.