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“Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception

“Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception"

30 September 2015 Immigration Law

The Cyprus Government has formulated a “fast-track” citizenship program that aims to attract high net worth individuals, investors and entrepreneurs. 

  • This allows the successful applicants and their families to obtain a Cypriot passport and enjoy all the benefits of a Cypriot National & EU National.

The citizenship by investment program in Cyprus enables foreign citizens to apply for a Cyprus citizenship provided that they fulfill the following conditions:

  • Purchase and maintain a privately owned residence in Cyprus, the value of which to be at least €500,000 plus VAT.
  • Have a clean criminal record from the country of origin and/or residence.

Who is eligible to apply and how:

  • A non-Cypriot citizen, who meets any one of the below 6 economic criteria mentioned in Part A, as well as the conditions mentioned above, may apply either personally or through a Company of which he is the shareholder for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through Naturalization by exception.

He or she can apply:

  •  either personally
  • or through a company/companies as a shareholder (proportionally based on the percentage of participation),
  • or even as a high-ranking senior manager that meets one of the economic criteria.

A high-ranking senior manager may apply provided that:

  • He or she receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic of Cyprus tax revenue of at least €100.000 for a three (3) year period, and provided that this tax has already been paid or prepaid.

Firstly, the company that employs the manager must have concluded in Cyprus such an investment that meets one of the economic criteria.

If and when the investment is completed, the executive may apply for Naturalization provided that he or she has paid or repaid an income tax amounting to €100.000  for a 3 year period and has acquired a permanent residence of purchase value at least €500.000.

Provisions for obtaining Cypriot citizenship to the spouse and children

  • The ‘fast track’ program allows the granting of the Cypriot citizenship to the spouse as well as to the financially dependent adult children (18 years old or above) of the investor. Neither the spouse nor the children are obliged to meet any financial criteria.
  • The scheme regulates that adult children of an investor/applicant are seen as financially dependent, if they are students up to the age of 28 and are attending an institution of higher education aiming to obtain a diploma or an undergraduate or master’s degree.
  • Minor children (under the age of 18) of an investor/applicant have the right to acquire the cyprus citizenship based on the provisions of the Civil Registry Law. 
  • The applicant must retain the investments for a period of at least 3 years since the date of Naturalization.

In general:

  • The applicant should have concluded the necessary investments during the three years preceding the date of the application
  • Must retain the said investments for a period of at least three(3) years since the date of the Naturalization
  • Must fulfill the Terms and Conditions set out below in Part B.

Part A – Economic Criteria

A foreign investor is required to meets any one of the following six criteria below in order to apply for Naturalization:

Individual  Scheme

A.1.  Investment in government bonds:

  • The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million.

OR

A.2.  Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations:

  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations (bonds/securities/debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €5,0 million. 

It is noted that these financial assets can be purchased either at issuance or by the market.

OR

A.3. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

  • The applicant must have made investment of at least €5,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects).

OR

A.4. Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

  • The applicant must have made an investment of at least €5,0 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic.
  • These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible existence in Cyprus,  employing at least five (5) Cypriot citizens.

It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits into shares is included in this criterion. 

OR

A.5. Deposits in Cypriot banks:

The applicant must have

  • personal fixed term deposits for 3 years in Cypriot banks or
  • Deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he/she is the beneficiary owner) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million.

OR

Combination Scheme

A.6. Combination of the aforementioned criteria A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4 and A.5:

  • The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5,0 million.

OR

A.7. Persons whose deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd have been impaired due to the measures implemented after the 15th March 2013:

  • The applicant has incurred an impairment in deposits amounting to a total of at least €3,0 million.

In case the applicant has incurred an impairment in his/her deposits under €3,0 million he/she may apply, having made an additional investment through the criteria A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4 and A.5 for the balance of the required amount of the aforementioned criteria.

Collective Investment Scheme

A.8. Major Collective Investments:

The Council of Ministers shall have the right on special occasions, to reduce the above criteria (A.1, A.2, A.3 and A.4)

  1. To €2,5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, as long as the total value of the investment is at least €12,5 million.

It is noted that, for the above mentioned provision, the investment for the Criteria A.1 to A.4 may be realized through a different salesman/provider (physical or legal entity).

Time limit:

Once the application has been submitted to the Ministry of Interior and the criteria and conditions are met, the successful applicants and their families within 3-4 months obtain a Cypriot Citizenship, without being necessary to reside in the Republic of Cyprus at any point.

Cyprus Citizenship:

Applicants who successfully obtain the Cypriot Citizenship can enjoy all the advantages of a Cypriot Citizen and automatically all the advantages of EU passport holders with the right to live, travel and work anywhere within the 28 member countries of the European Union.