1 Introduction

On 21 May 2018, the Cyprus Council of Ministers decided to revise and streamline the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme for foreign investors/entrepreneurs for the purpose of enhancing the credibility, ethics and conduct of the programme, in addition to renaming the same into the "Cyprus Investment Programme" (the "Programme"). These changes are effective as of 1 August 2018.

2 Main Changes:

The main changes to the Programme are as follows:

  • introduction of a cap of 700 approved applications per year;
  • examination of the application for citizenship will take place over a period of six months instead of three months;
  • investor is obliged to maintain the investment property for a period of three years as from the date of the naturalisation and additionally in cases where the investment of property is under construction, the investment period will commence from the issuance of the town planning permit;
  • each application must submitted with enhanced due diligence information;
  • introduction of a Code of Conduct, with specific guidelines for the promotion of the Programme;
  • creation of a register of authorised service providers with respect to the Programme; and
  • compulsory signed statements of both the investor(s) and the registered provider of the services to ensure adherence to the regulatory framework of the Programme.

3 Summary of Investment Criteria

The investment criteria and terms and conditions for the Programme remain largely unchanged and these are summarised below:

3.1 Criteria / investment options

  • Investment of at least €2 million in: (i) real estate, land development or infrastructure projects; (ii) Cypriot operating companies; (iii) units of alternative investment funds established in Cyprus and whose investments are made exclusively in Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of the Programme; or (iv) a combination of the above categories.
  • The investment should also include one residential property with a value of at least €500,000 (excluding VAT), which must be kept and designated as permanent residence of the investor in Cyprus. Note that such residential property can form part of the €2 million investment.

3.2 Terms and Conditions of the Programme

  • A minimum investment of €2 million.
  • Keep investment for a minimum period of 3 years.
  • Clean criminal record.
  • Permanent residence required in Cyprus, although investor need not live in Cyprus.
  • Applicant must possess a permanent privately-owned residence in Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500,000 (excluding VAT).
  • The applicant's spouse, children and parents are also entitled to apply for Cypriot citizenship.
  • For parents, this is allowed provided they own a permanent residence in Cyprus of at least €500.000 (excluding VAT). Their application may be submitted after the investor had acquired Cypriot citizenship.

Originally published October 2018

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