The Cyprus Council of Ministers of Cyprus within the implementation framework of its objectives, one of which is to further encourage Foreign Direct Investment and to attract high net worth individuals to settle and do business in Cyprus, proceed to a further review of the economic criteria and other terms and conditions of the Cyprus Investment Program (“CIP”) and has approved revisions on it in order to make to even “more targeted and trustworthy”.
On the basis of the Scheme, a non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the following economic criteria (A), either personally or through a company/ companies in which he/she participates as a shareholder – in proportion to his holding percentage, or through investments done by his/her spouse or jointly with the spouse or even as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ companies that meets one of the economic criteria (A), may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through naturalization by exception and can obtain Cypriot citizenship in six (6) months. The economic criteria are the follows:
Α.1 Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:
The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2.000.000 in the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects or other infrastructure projects. If the property was acquired from another investor who had also used it to apply for Cypriot citizenship, the investment amount must be €2.500.000 instead of €2.000.000. In any case, the planning permit, the certification of completion of the property and a bank waiver in case that there is a mortgage on the property are required. For property which is under construction, at least the 5% of the property’s total value must be blocked by a bank guarantee and this amount will be released upon the completion of the property.
Α.2 Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations:
The applicant should have made a purchase or should have participated in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of at least €2.000.000. The invested funds shall be channeled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan. The applications shall be evaluated to verify that the companies or organizations have proven physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or citizens of Member States of the European Union.
Α.3 Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by CySec:
The applicant should have bought units of at least €2.000.000 from alternative investment funds (AIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed and supervised by the CySec and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Scheme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance.
Α.4 Combination of the aforementioned investments:
The applicant may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2.000.000.
- If the applicant wishes to invest in both real estate and in another option of the criteria above, the overall investment should be at least €2.500.000.
- In case that the purchase value of the permanent privately owned residence in Cyprus exceeds the amount of €500.000 plus V.A.T., part of this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the bases of the criteria of part A above.
- If the investor wishes to apply based on the criterion A.1, investment in residential real estate in Cyprus there is no any further obligation and the overall investments should be €2.000.000.
- Passports can be issued to the investor, their spouse and dependent children up to age of 28, provided they are in full-time education.
- Investments must have taken place during the past 3 years from the date of application and be maintained for another 5 years following the date of issue of the Cyprus passport.
- During this 5-year period, the investor is able to change its investment, provided that consent will be granted in this regard by the Ministry of Finance.
- New conditions are set as described in detail below, i.e. Schengen visa, mandatory donations.
- In case that an applicant had previously submitted an application for obtaining citizenship in any other Member State of the European Union and his/her application has been rejected, the investor is not allowed to submit an application for obtaining Cypriot citizenship.
- The investment in government bonds is no longer available for investment purposes whereas investments made in shipping industry and in Registered Alternative Investment Funds are now included in the investment sectors.
- Requirement/pre-qualifier to hold a residence permit in Cyprus: Filing of the citizenship application and residence permit application can take place simultaneously. A simplified procedure of obtaining a residence permit is introduced where an application for residence permit is filed exclusively for the purposes of the citizenship application.
- Holder of clean criminal Record: The applicants must have a clean criminal record in their country of origin and county of residence (if different) and not to be included in the list of persons whose assets, within the boundaries of the European Union, have been frozen as the result of sanctions.
- Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: The applicant is required to have a permanent privately- owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the value of which must exceed the amount of €500.000 at current prices.
- Holder of Schengen visa: The applicants must be in possession of valid Schengen visa to be able to proceed with citizenship application.
- Requirement of donations: Investors must make a mandatory donation of €75.000 to the “Research Promotion Foundation” for search and development. And the “Cyprus Land Development Corporation” for the purposes of implementing affordable housing projects and the implement of other housing plans respectively.
- Due diligence: Due diligence and background checks will be carried on by a specialized foreign firm on each of the applicants, which is not hired yet.