Cyprus: Scheme For Naturalisation Of Investors In Cyprus

The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus, on 19 March, 2014, revised the criteria for providing Cypriot citizenship to high-net worth individuals. In this respect, a non Cypriot citizen will be eligible to obtain a Cypriot passport if s/he has:

  1. a clean criminal record; and
  2. whose property was not ordered to be frozen within the EU;  and
  3. owns a permanent residence in Cyprus worth in excess of €500,000 (plus VAT) and satisfies any one of the following criteria:

(A.1) Purchase of State Bonds.

The applicant should have purchased at least €5 million of Cypriot state bonds. Bonds may be purchased both from primary and secondary market.


(A.2) Purchase of Financial Assets of Cyprus companies

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. These financial assets may be purchased either at issuance or subsequently from the market.


(A.3) Investment in Real Estate, land development and infrastructure projects

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €5 million for the acquisition or construction of buildings or for the construction of other real estate projects such as residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects.


(A.4) Investment in Business

The applicant should have invested at least €5 million in companies or businesses which:

(a) are based in Cyprus;

(b) have tangible presence in Cyprus i.e. maintain office in Cyprus;

(c) employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens.

The investor could either register a company or buy shares in an existing one (either existing or newly issued).

Any persons whose deposits in the Bank of Cyprus PLC were mandatorily converted into shares following the March 2013 bail-in are eligible to apply under this criterion.


(A.5) Bank Deposits

The applicant must have personal fixed term deposits for three years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he/she is the beneficiary owner) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million. "Cyprus banks" means local banks and subsidiaries of foreign banks but excludes branches of foreign banks.


(A.6) Combination of conditions

The applicant must satisfy the €5 million requirement, by any combination of the conditions set out in paragraphs (1) – (5) above;


(A.7) Loss in Popular Bank Public Company Ltd (ex Laiki Bank)

The applicant must have lost from his deposits in the ex Laiki Bank due to the measures implemented on ex Laiki Bank after March 15, 2013:

(a) An amount of at least €3 million in the ex Laiki Bank.

(b) If the applicant has lost less than €3 million he can still file an application for citizenship if he makes an additional investment through the criteria set out in paragraphs (1) – (5) above for the amount that remains in order to gross up to €5 million.


(A.8) Collective Investment Scheme

The Council of Ministers has at its discretion the right to relax certain criteria. In this respect:

(a) An applicant will be required to invest a reduced amount of €2,5 million in any of the conditions set out in paragraphs (1) – (5) above, provided that he participates in a collective investment scheme investing in same worth at least €12,5 million.

(b) An applicant will be required to invest a reduced amount of €2 million in any of the conditions set out in paragraphs (1) – (5) above, provided that he participates in a collective investment scheme investing in same worth at least €12,5 million. Applications under this criterion 8(b) should be submitted by 1st June, 2014.

*It should be noted that, if an applicant, decides to invest in the purchase of the privately-owned residence solely, of a purchase price either €5 million (criteria A.3), or of €2.5 million (criteria A.8(a)) or of €2.0 million (criteria A.8(b)), s/he is not obliged to buy a further privately-owned residence of purchase value €500.000.

There is a certain flexibility allowed by the Law:

  1. the investor has the right to rent their permanent residence in Cyprus;
  2. the investor has the right to sell their permanent residence, provided that the investor will purchase another permanent residence of equal value or more;
  3. the investors family members i.e.,  wife and children are granted right to citizenship without any extra investment, including  financially dependent adult children, under age of 28 but such should be university students.

We, as a Law Firm, cooperate with many major high-profile property and construction groups, which can offer most prestigious and world-class properties to satisfy our clients.

(A.9) High Ranking Senior Manager

An applicant who satisfies one of the criteria set out in paragraphs (1)-(8) above, either personally or through company/-ies in which he is a shareholder or as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/-ies that satisfy one of the criteria set out in paragraphs (I)-(VIII) above, may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship by exemption.

A high-ranking senior manager may apply, provided that:

(a) his remuneration is such which generates at least €100,000 of tax revenues for the Republic for a three year period;

(b) the above tax has already been paid or prepaid;

(c) he has concluded the necessary investments during the 3 years preceding the application year. In other words, if the applicant applies in 2015, the investment must have been concluded between years 2012-2015;

(d) he retains the said investments for a period of at least 3 years following his naturalization.

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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