Recently in Cyprus in order to encourage investment, there has been a change in the rules governing how non-EU and EU members can obtain citizenship. The process has been relaxed, flexible, and encourages investment in such a promising economy.
The benefits of obtaining a Cyprus citizenship are that it can allow a non-EU citizen to become an EU citizen therefore taking advantage of the fundamental freedoms that the EU has to offer such as: Free movement of goods, Free movement of establishment and provision to provide services, and Free movement of Capital, and Free movement of Workers.
The new scheme provided by the government is called: Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception and is legally based on subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2013, entitling any investor who fulfills the conditions to apply for Cyprus Citizenship.
When applying for Cypriot citizenship, a non Cypriot citizen may apply either personally or through a company as a shareholder or even as a beneficiary.
Main Economic Criteria:
- Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations: purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies such as securities/bonds/debentures) of at least €2 million; or
- Investment in Real Estate, Land development and infrastructure projects of at least 2 million Euros; in the event where the investment is done on solely residential properties and provided that at least one residential property is valued at €500,000 (excl. VAT) then no further investment in a Cyprus resident owning property is required; or
- Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot companies – investment of at least €2 million in purchase, creation, or shares in a company. Note though that these companies should have a visible presence in Cyprus and employ at least 5 Cypriots or EU nationals; or
- Combination of the aforementioned investments – including investments in special Government Bonds of the Republic of Cyprus up to €500,000.
Mandatory requirements for a successful applicant:
- Clean Criminal Record from country of residence and origin;
- Cyprus resident owning a property worth at least €500,000;
- Must hold a Cyprus residence permit for at least 6 months.
When Cypriot citizenship is granted, family members, dependents, and children can apply without need to fulfill the criteria.
If all criteria are fulfilled the time frame for examining an application is roughly 3 months, provided that the Applicant holds a 6-month residence permit already.
Additional important information to have in mind:
- The spouse of an investor also has the right to apply for the citizenship simultaneously with the investor;
- The children below 18 years of age as well as dependent children over 18 are eligible to apply for citizenship under the Investor's investment;
- The parents of the investor have the right to also apply for citizenship by making their own investment of minimum €500,000 + VAT.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.