Cyprus: The Scheme For The Naturalisation Of Investors In Cyprus

This article explains the options available to non-Cyprus citizens through which they can, by exception, apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship. This scheme has been available since the 24th of May, 2013 to non-Cypriot non-EU residents who would like to get EU citizenship which will enable them to move around Europe without the need for any kind of visa. Further, having an EU passport makes the issuance of any visa, around the world, much easier to obtain.

The relevant law, provides for six methods through which an applicant may obtain their Cypriot citizenship and at the same time their EU citizenship. This article will only examine four out of six methods - one of them is not an option we would advise our clients to pursue.

1. Direct Investments:

The applicant must proceed with a Direct Investment in Cyprus of at least €5.000.000. Direct Investments for the purposes of this Scheme are considered to be:

  1. The purchase of properties (houses, offices, shops, hotels etc or a development of a similar nature, excluding under-developed land);
  2. The purchase of businesses or companies that are based and are active in the Republic of Cyprus;
  3. The purchase of companies registered in the Republic of Cyprus;
  4. The purchase of financial assets (e.g. bonds / securities / debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus, including those to be issued by the Solidarity Fund on the basis of the Establishment of a National Solidarity Fund Law of 2013);
  5. Participation in a company/consortium of companies that has undertaken to carry out a public project.

Any Direct Investment as stated above in (a) – (d), must remain to the possession of the applicant for a period of at least three years. In the case of a share or bond portfolio, it must be ensured that the amount of the value of the portfolio for three years period will not fall below the amount of €5.000.000.

It should be noted that the Minister of Interior has the power to reduce the amount required for Direct Investment to €2.000.000 for non-Cypriot citizens, who can demonstrate their participation in a scheme investing in real estate within the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, for a total value of at least €10 billion. 

Or

2. Deposits in banks:

The applicant must have (a) a personal fixed term deposit(s) for a period of three years with Cypriot Banks or (b) deposits belonging to privately owned companies or trusts with Cypriot Banks, in which the applicant is the beneficiary owner. Such deposits must be of at least €5,000.000.

3. Business Activities:

The applicant must be a shareholder or beneficiary owner of a company or companies the management of which must be in the Republic of Cyprus and that over the last 3 years, prior to submitting the application for the citizenship, has paid to State Treasury (i.e. corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc) together with remuneration for the purchase of business services (legal, accounting, auditing etc) for the amount of at least €500.000 per annum.

Alternatively, in the case where the applicant is a shareholder or beneficiary owner of a company or companies that (a) have activities in Cyprus, (b) have established central offices in Cyprus and (c) employ at least five Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid for the above (direct revenue – corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc and remuneration for the purchase of business services – legal, accounting, auditing) is reduced to at least €350.000 per annum for the last three years preceding the submission of the application for citizenship.

In the case where the applicant is a shareholder or beneficiary owner of a company or companies that (a) have activities in Cyprus, (b) have established central offices in Cyprus and (c) employ at least ten (10) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid for the above (direct revenue – corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc and remuneration for the purchase of business services – legal, accounting, auditing) is reduced to at least €200.000 per annum for the last three years preceding the submission of the application for citizenship.

It should be noted that for every such company (or companies) an application under this scheme may be filed for a maximum two shareholders.

Or

4. Persons whose deposits with the Bank of Cyprus (BoC) or Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) have been impaired due to the measures implemented in both Banks by the resolution of 15th March 2013

Any person that suffered a loss of at least €3.000.000 from his deposits in BoC or CPB due to the resolution of 15th March 2013, may apply for a citizenship under this scheme.

Where a depositor of BoC and or CPB suffered a loss less than €3.000.000 he may apply under this scheme if he proceeds with an additional Direct Investment (A.2) or Mixed Investments or a Donation to a State Fund (A.1) for the balance of the required amount of the said criterion.

Having outlined the methods available, each potential applicant should make sure that:

  1. he has a clean criminal record;
  2. he is not listed by the European Union as wanted or has his assets freezed within the EU;
  3. he has a Residence in the Republic of Cyprus the market value of which must be at least €500.000 plus V.A.T. 

The documents and information that should be communicated to us in order to proceed with the preparation of the application for any applicant who wishes to obtain the Cypriot citizenship, apart from the documents evidencing the investments and or donations required under the schemes (for which we can provide you or request) described above each applicant must be in a position to provide us with the following information and or documentation so as to complete the relevant Forms on behalf of the client:

  1. A certified color copy of the applicants' passport;
  2. Proof of residential address (utility bill, bank reference letter);
  3. Occupation (preferably a CV) and details of business address and/or name and address of employer (if a director, names and addresses of companies concerned);
  4. If the applicant had previously been a national of another country, it should be disclosed with relevant documentation;
  5. Particulars of parents:
  • father's full name in country of his birth;
  • present address (if living);
  • nationality (if dead, at time of death);
  • mother's full name before marriage in country of her birth;
  • Present address (if living);
  • Nationality (if dead, at time of death).
  1. Marital status and particulars of husband or wife:
  • state if single/married/widower/widow/divorced;
  • if married, state date and place of marriage;
  • if marriage dissolved, give date and place of issue of relative Court Order or Judgment;
  • husband's full name/wife's maiden name before marriage;
  • give particulars concerning husband/wife: nationality, present address (if living), date of birth and place of birth.
  1. Statement regarding residence or public service:
  • full details of residence during the last eight years (including postal address in each case by date);
  • total time of residence in the Republic of Cyprus;
  • the applicant should also disclose the Countries he visited during his residency in Cyprus;
  • if the applicant worked in a Public Service of the Republic of Cyprus he must disclose the (a) Government Department by which employed, (b) his capacity under which he was employed, (c) the period he was employed.
  1. The applicant must state whether he intends to live in Cyprus or any other Country.
  2. If the applicant is subject to any legal proceedings either of Civil or Criminal nature he must disclose the nature of proceedings, date, place and outcome.
  3. State the date and give details in case of a settlement with any creditors, bankruptcy or discharge from bankruptcy procedure.
  4. If the applicant applied previously application for Naturalization with the Republic of Cyprus or any other Country it must be disclosed.
  5. Particulars of children:
  • full name, date of birth, place of birth and present place of residence of children who have not attained the age of twenty-one years and who are to be registered as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • full names, date and place of birth and present place of residence of other children.
  1. A reference letter from a Cypriot citizen (other than the advocate, agent or a relative of the applicant) is necessary.

It should be noted that all applications are examined by the Council of Ministers who have the sole discretion to approve or reject an application.

Our law firm can assist any person(s) that would like to obtain Cypriot citizenship or examine any other options available such as permanent residence in Cyprus

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.

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