Certain significant amendments have been made to the Cyprus Investment Scheme whereby the Government has taken a step to limit the program, even after imposing the 700 applicant limit this year. The most significant change is that the total investment required will increase from €2,000,000 to €2,150,000 which includes the additional donation of €75,000 to the Research and Development Fund of Cyprus and a €75,000 donation to the Land Development Organisation. The aim of the changes as a general matter points to enhancing trustworthiness and efficiency of the Cyprus Investment Programme as well as widening the investment opportunities with a goal of advancing the economy of Cyprus.
1. The applicant will need to provide a declaration stating that he has not been rejected as an applicant to obtain the citizenship of any other Member State of the EU. In the event that the applicant has obtained a rejection by another Member State for obtaining citizenship, then that shall preclude the investor from applying for the Cyprus Investment Program.
2. The applicant must have a Schengen visa in order to be able to apply for naturalization.
3. A donation of €75,000 to the Foundation for Research and Innovation.
4. A donation of €75,000 o the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.
5. The period of retaining any investment under the eligible categories has been increased to 5 years instead of 3 years.
6. Investment in Government bonds has been removed from the list of eligible investments.
7. Under the Investment in Alternative Investment Funds, the investment in registered Alternative Investment Fund has been added as an eligible investment as well as the as well as the possibility for these Organizations to invest up to € 200,000 in Cyprus Stock Exchange's secondary market.
8. The inclusion of investments in the shipping sector in the eligible investments, on the basis of specific measurable criteria.
9. During the 5 year period the investor will be able to change his investment, provided that a consent will be granted in this regard by the Ministry of Finance.
10. In case where residential property is acquired and had already been used for the purposes of the Cyprus Investment Program (re-sale property), the investment amount increases from €2,000,000 to €2.500.000.
11. Where the investment relates to the purchase of real estate or property as well as in the case of a property used as a permanent residency the following will be required:
(i) a planning permission issued by the Department of Town Planning and Housing in accordance with the Town and Planning Act (Ν. 90/1972)
(ii) a completion certificate signed by the architect of the project. In the case of property under development, it shall be necessary to maintain an amount equal to 5% of the value in a designated account or the equivalent bank guarantee from the seller of the property to the buyer (Performance Bank Guarantee).
(iii) and a bank waiver from the banking institution in case of a mortgaged property, confirming the waiver of any rights upon receipt of payment for the mortgage shall be required.
12. Reaffirmation that the applicant should be in possession of a residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus for at least six (6) months prior to naturalization as a Cypriot citizen. If the applicant does not already hold a residence permit, he will be able to apply for an immigration permit, on the basis of Regulation 6 (2) of the Aliens and Immigration Laws, at the same time as submitting the application for Naturalization, but be a holder of an immigration permit for a period of at least six (6) months prior to naturalization as a Cypriot citizen.
13. The preparation of an Annual Implementation Report that includes the number of naturalizations, nationality of the applicants and the sector in which the investments were made in order to enhance transparency.
14. Reaffirmation of the ban on the advertising of the citizenship program in public places and on the Internet.
15. Publication of tender for purchase of services for enhanced due diligence procedures for the naturalization applicants from the Interior Ministry within two months from the date of the application.
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.