A series of changes were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers regarding the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program. The Ministers have agreed to implement stricter criteria on the Program in order to achieve even more transparency. These changes have been approved and will come into force in May 2019.
The following progressions where agreed in the Cabinet of Ministers:
- The investment of €2 million investment has been raised to €2.5 million including the purchase of a permanent residence. However, it will remain €2 million if the investment is made solely in real estate where €500,000 must be spent on a permanent residence for life. In both cases, the requirement of a permanent residence ensures the investor remains closely engaged with Cyprus even though it is not obligatory for him to live in Cyprus.
- The required investment must be maintained for at least 5 years from the date of naturalization instead of the previously required 3 year period.
- Further, it is necessary for the applicant to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enable him to apply for naturalization.
- The applicant must also obtain a Cyprus Residence Permit for at least 6 months before naturalization in Cyprus.
- A mandatory donation of €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation must be provided and another €75,000 contribution to the Land Development Corporation. However this contribution may be waived should the applicant chose to invest in an innovative Cyprus business instead.
- Any applicant who has previously applied for a citizenship visa in another Member State in the European Union and had been rejected may not be considered to acquire a Cyprus Citizenship.
- A reaffirmation of the ban on the advertising of the Investment Programmes in public places and on the Internet was made, with particular emphasis on the visibility of the Cypriot passport and the symbols of the Republic and the EU.
This new criteria has been imposed in order to obtain a stricter and more thorough due diligence procedure on the applicant by making the obtainment of the Schengen visa a requirement and automatically rejecting previous applicants who had not been granted a citizenship in any other member state in the EU.
The Cabinet approved these changes with regard to the Cyprus Investment Program to make it even more targeted and trustworthy, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades stated.