Earlier this week, the Cyprus government has further relaxed the criteria for foreigners who wish to acquire the Cyprus citizenship.
The Cyprus citizenship program by way of investment is now easier to achieve as the needed investment has been reduced from €5 million if applied individually or €2.5 million if going through a collective investment scheme, down to €2 million for all applicants. Allowing a variety of investments for a minimum of three years, without any element of donation, and by acquiring a house of €500,000, the Cyprus citizenship program is now undoubtedly one of the most attractive programs in the EU.
- Investment in immovable property, developments and infrastructure projects
Applicant can make a direct investment of at least €2 million (excl. VAT) in Cyprus, for the acquisition and/or development of residential or commercial real estate projects. Acquisition of land per se, is not considered as a qualifying investment, unless there are development plans in progress.
- Acquisition or incorporation or participation in Cyprus companies
Applicant can make an investment of at least €2 million in order to purchase, incorporate or participate in companies, that have physical presence and activities in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot or EU citizens who have been legally residing in Cyprus for a continuous period of at least 5 years.
- Investment in alternative investment funds (AIFs), financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations.
Applicant can purchase financial assets of at least €2 million in relation to AIFs, bonds and securities that are issued and registered in the Republic of Cyprus and organizations with substantial economic activity in Cyprus which are being regulated by the Cyprus Stock Exchange Commission.
- Combination of the above
Applicant can have a combination of any of the above criteria amounting to at least €2 million. Within this, the applicant may also purchase government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of a maximum amount of €500,000.
As a result of this and in simple words, the most important new developments are:
- Investment is capped on €2 million (excl. VAT) in all options as per above, as opposed to previously where investment was €5 million if applied individually or €2.5 million if applied through a collective investment scheme.
- Applicant must hold a residency permit in Cyprus to qualify for receiving the Cyprus Citizenship. The application for a residency permit shall be submitted and will be issued simultaneously with the filing of the Citizenship application.
- The applicant’s parents are also entitled to apply for the Cyprus citizenship by exception provided that they own a lifetime residence of at least €500,000 (excl. VAT). As an alternative to this, the investor and his parents may acquire one residential property of a total value of at least €1 million (excl. VAT) which will be allocated equivalently.
- Purchase in government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus is now capped to €500,000
Most importantly, the Cyprus CBI program will retain its industry leading 3-month average processing time, being by far the quickest route to EU citizenship (followed by Malta at 12 months).
On a final note, the new Law comes into force on 1 November 2016. Existing CBI applications which are filed with the Ministry of Interior prior to this date are not affected.
Feel free to contact any of our CBI and immigration specialists for bespoke advice.