Cyprus Economic Citizenship Program
The Ministry of Interior has recently announced amendments to the economic citizenship program, granting accelerated citizenship to applicants in an effort to promote foreign investment into Cyprus.
Qualifying applicants should receive their Cypriot passport within 60 days of the application.
Other features of Cyprus Law are that the spouse and dependents are also entitled to receive a passport and there is no requirement to surrender the existing nationality as dual nationality s allowed.
There is no requirement for a Cypriot national to be a Cyprus tax resident and no requirement to physically live in Cyprus.
Applicants must have a clean criminal record, own a permanent residence in Cyprus with a value of at least EUR 500,000 (excluding VAT) and satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
A.1 Mixed investments and a donation to a state fund:The applicant must invest an amount of at least €2million in shares and/or bonds of the Cyprus State Investment Company which is currently under formation and also make a donation of at least €0,5 million as a donation to the Research and Technology Fund.
A.2 Direct Investments:
The applicant must make direct investments in Cyprus of at least €5 million. Direct Investments may comprise the following:
(a) property (houses, offices, shops, hotels etc but excluding Underdeveloped land);
(b) businesses or companies that are based and are active in the Republic of Cyprus;
(c) companies registered in the Republic of Cyprus;
(d) financial assets (e.g. bonds/securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus;
(e) participation in a company/consortium of companies that has undertaken to carry out a public project.
The applicant is required in respect of conditions (a) – (d) above, to retain possession of the investments for a period of at least three years.
Where the investment is in a portfolio of shares or bonds, the market value of the portfolio must not fall below the amount specified over this period.
A.3 Deposits in banks:
The applicant or privately owned companies or trusts (in which he/she is the beneficial owner) must have personal fixed term deposits for three years in Cypriot banks in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million.
A.4 A Combination of Mixed Investments and a Donation to a State Fund
(A.1), Direct Investments
(A.2) and Deposits in Cypriot Banks
(A.3) totalling at least €5,0 million.
A.5 Business Activities:
The applicant must be a shareholder or beneficial owner of a company (or companies) the management of which is in the Republic of Cyprus and that over the last 3 years prior to submitting the application has paid to State Funds (corporate tax, V.A.T. or other fees and charges etc) and remuneration for the purchase of business services (legal, accounting, auditing) an amount of at least €500.000 per annum. The amount is reduced to €350.000 per annum where the company employs at least five (5) Cypriot citizens and to €200.000 per annum where it employs at least ten (10) Cypriot citizens.
For every such company (or companies) applications for naturalization may be submitted by a maximum of two (2) shareholders, who preferably hold the majority of the share capital.
In the case where the applicant has paid the Cyprus economy direct revenue or fees (as described hereinabove) an amount less than the abovementioned amounts, a combination may be made with criteria A.1 (Mixed Investments and Donations to State Funds) or A.2 (Direct Investments ) or A.3 (Deposits in Banks). The total of payments to State Funds and remuneration for services in the last three years shall be deducted from the required investment to satisfy criteria A.1 or A.2 or A.3.
A.6 Persons whose deposits with the Bank of Cyprus or Popular Bank have been impaired due to the measures implemented in both Banks after the 15th March 2013
The applicant has incurred an impairment in deposits on one or both of the abovementioned Banks amounting to a total of at least €3,0 million. In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his deposits in one or both of the abovementioned Banks under €3,0 million he may apply having made an Additional Direct Investment (A.2) or Mixed Investments or a Donation to a State Fund (A.1) for the balance of the required amount of the said criterion.
B. COLLECTIVE REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT SCHEMES
On 28th March 2014, the Cyprus Government announced changes to the legislation that enable foreign investors who are part of a collective real estate purchase scheme to obtain a Cypriot passport through naturalisation with a substantially lower investment requirement.
For applications lodged before 1 June 2014, the scheme requires a minimum of 7 investors investing at least €2mln each in real estate, whereas for applications lodged after this date the scheme requires at least 5 investors investing at least €2.5mln each.
Property purchased during the past three years is eligible. Additional property/ies may be purchased in order to meet the total required investment.
C. TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Clean Criminal Record: the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Furthermore, his name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union.
- Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Part A, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the market value of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.
In the case where following a periodic inspection it has been ascertained that any condition is being circumvented, the naturalization and passport may be revoked.