During its session of 21 April 2023, the Council of Ministers approved a proposal by the Ministry of the Interior for a revision to the criteria related to the fast-track process of granting Immigration Permits to nationals of third countries who invest in Cyprus, pursuant to the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, as amended. The proposal aims to establish stricter controls and verification mechanisms. These entered into force as of 2 May 2023, and were further clarified on 17 May 2023 by announcement of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.

The differentiated investment and qualitative criteria approved by the Council of Ministers provide that, among other things, the applicant will be required to provide evidence on an annual basis proving continuation of maintenance of the initial investment. Additionally, clean criminal record certificates for the investor and adult family members (i.e. spouse/civil partner and financially dependent adult children who are students), from both the country of origin and country of residence, if different, will need to be submitted every three years, as well annual confirmation that the investor and dependents have valid health insurance in Cyprus. In cases where the investor fails to provide the documents required, the immigration permits of both themselves and their family will be revoked.

The level of the investment does not change (i.e. EUR 300.000), but a control mechanism is instituted to maintain the investment. Furthermore, the income criteria have been revised. Specifically, for each person applying for a permit, income should be EUR 50.000, instead of EUR 30.000, while for each minor child it should be EUR 10.000, instead of EUR 5.000, and EUR 15.000 for spouses/civil partners. As proof of annual secured income, the submitted tax declarations of the investor and/or the spouse/civil partner of the investor from their country of tax residence can be submitted, or an official confirmation or declaration by an independent chartered accountant.

It is noted that, while the level of investment in real estate in Cyprus remains EUR 300.000 (excluding value added tax), when the criterion of such investment is used as the basis for application, under the amended requirements, official payment receipts for the full amount of EUR 300.000 (excluding value added tax) should be submitted together with the submission of the permanent residency application. This is regardless of the delivery date of the immovable property acquired; previously, only official payment receipts of at least EUR 200.000 (excluding value added tax) were required at the time of submission of the application.

Further, the funds that shall be used for the investment must emanate from abroad. Such funds can now emanate not only from the personal bank account of the applicant/spouse, but also from a corporate account of a company in which the applicant/spouse are sole shareholders.

Finally, under the amended criteria, no permit will be granted to parents, in-laws and adult children of the investor.

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.