Cyprus Investment Programme

The recent amendments to the Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception Scheme established the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program in 2018.

The Cyprus government has formulated a citizenship scheme aimed at high net worth individuals and investors. This allows the successful applicants and their family to hold a Cyprus passport and enjoy all the benefits of a Cypriot and EU National within 6 months.

Cyprus Investment Program overview

According to the Council of Ministers Decisions (dated 13.09.2016 and subsequent decision 21.05.2018), non-Cypriot Investors can acquire the Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization and the Cyprus Passport for them and their families (by the exception on the basis of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 - 2017).

Cyprus citizenship benefits

  • A gateway to Europe

    Cypriot Citizenship provides full European Citizenship by investment for the investor and his family so that they can enjoy the rights of EU Citizens.

    A Cypriot Citizen as Cyprus is a full EU member state is automatically also an EU citizen.

    Thus they can benefit from many important rights under EU law, in particular, the right to move freely around Europe to live, work, study or even retire.

  • Visa-free access to over 173 countries as of February 2019

    Including all the European Union member states, Canada and Australia amongst others. The full list of visa-free countries for Cyprus passport holders can be found in our publication.

  • Access to Cyprus and EU education system

    The education system in Cyprus is well known for its high quality and standards. There are many English-speaking private schools and Universities which provide many Education opportunities. Also, a Cyprus Passport holder can have access to European Universities and apply for EU grants as an EU Citizen.

  • A small donation to the local government

    The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program requires a small donation to the government which is between 75.000 - 150.000 (depending on the choice of investment).

Key provisions - eligibility

  • The whole family including the spouse of the applicant, children under 18 years old and adult financially dependent children (university students - up to 28 years old) are eligible to apply for citizenship.
  • The investor’s parents are entitled to apply for citizenship provided they are owners of a Cyprus residential property with at least €500.000 (plus VAT if any).
  • 6 months expected time-frame for the examination of the application.
  • Valid for life and passed on to new generations.
  • Cyprus allows dual nationality – Cyprus dual citizenship is allowed under Cypriot Citizenship law.
  • No Tax consequences – the applicant does not become a tax resident in Cyprus unless he spends more than 183 days in one calendar year.

Cyprus golden visa terms & conditions

  • Adult applicants must hold a Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence if they differ. Their names must not be included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the EU.
  • An applicant whose application for citizenship in any other member-state of the European Union had been rejected is not eligible to apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Programme.
  • The applicant must hold a valid Schengen visa. Third-Country nationals that do not require an entry visa for travelling in European Union member-states, as well as citizens of European Union Member States are excluded from this obligation.
  • Adult applicants must hold a Residence Permit in Cyprus for at least 6 months prior to acquiring the Cyprus Citizenship.
  • Investments need to be retained for at least three years from the date of taking the Citizenship. In case of purchase of immovable property under construction, the 3-year period will start to count from the date of issuance of the Planning Permit.
  • Must keep for life a residential property (House/Apartment) valued €500.000.
  • Rental of all the properties is allowed.
  • The money for the investments should be transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

Cyprus citizenship by investment 2019 program requirements

  1. Purchase the main residence, for at least €500.000 (plus VAT if any).

    The applicant is required to buy a house or apartment in Cyprus of the above value, which he is not allowed to sell. However, the rental of it is allowed.

  1. Additionally, to invest as follows in either of the below:

A1. Investment in real estate, land development, and infrastructure projects:

Residential properties

€1.5 million (plus VAT if any)

(Can even be a single main residence for €2M)

 

 

OR

Commercial properties

€2 million (plus VAT if any)

A2. Purchase or establishment or participation in Cypriot companies or businesses

 

for €2 million

A3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by CySec

A4. Combination of the aforementioned investments. Within this criterion, the applicant may purchase special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus, up to €500.000

In addition to the required investments to proceed as follows:

  • To donate €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation, or to invest at least €75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise or a certified social enterprise.

    The above obligation is lifted If the applicant has made an investment under the criterion for Purchase / Establishment / Participation in Cypriot Companies of a total amount equal to at least €400.000 in a company active within the primary, or secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.

  • To donate €75.000 to the Cyprus Land development Corporation.

Investment options explained

Α.1 Investment in real estate, land development, and infrastructure projects

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects.

It is noted that investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application. It is understood that investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded.

Α.2 Purchase or establishment or participation in Cypriot companies or businesses

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 €2,0 million. The invested funds shall be channelled 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 European Union member-states. The minimum number of employees shall increase if more than one applicant invest simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company. In addition, the employees of the companies need to have legally and continuously resided in Cyprus during the five years preceding the application submission date.

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 €2,0 million 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 Programme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. In order to confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Programme will be kept for at least three years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministries of Finance and Interior with reference to the value of the initial investment.

The purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations of at least €2,0 million, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion.

It is noted that the purchase by an AIF of units of other AIFs is not considered eligible.

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 €2,0 million. Within this criterion (the combination of investments) the applicant may purchase special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus, up to €500.000, which will be issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, on condition that the investor will retain these bonds for a three-year period. The characteristics and the terms of these special bonds will be determined by the General and Special Issue Terms of the Government Bonds of the Republic of Cyprus. Investments in government bonds through the secondary market are not considered eligible.

Cyprus passport by investment application procedure

Registry of Service Providers of the CIP

The application can be submitted on behalf of the applicants only by persons registered with the Registry of Service Providers of the Cyprus Investment Programme regulated by the Committee of Supervision and Control for the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP).

Our Law Firm is duly registered with Registry No.110.

Application procedure and timeline

  1. Cyprus Citizenship by investment application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior. The applicant’s presence is not required.
  2. The Application of the Main Applicant and his spouse are submitted initially, children applications follow the approval of the parents.
  3. The ministries of Interior and Finance examine the application for naturalization and present it to the Council of Ministers for approval.
  4. Once the application is approved and provided that the applicant holds a permanent residence permit for a period of at least 6 (six) months the procedure of the application for Cyprus Citizenship is finished.
  5. Following the above, the Civil Registry and Migration Department issues the Certificate of Naturalization, following payment of the Naturalization Certificate issuing fee.
  6. Subsequently, the applicant will need to confirm faith to the Republic of Cyprus before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer.
  7. Further, the applicant needs to visit the Civil Registry or migration department or Embassy (if possible) in order to give biometrics so that his passport can be issued. He is also entitled to apply for the issuance of the Cyprus identity card at the local District office.
  8. The Cyprus passport is issued in 1 day and the Cyprus Identity card within about 7 days.

Cyprus permanent residence and citizenship

It is required as mentioned above that prior to the naturalization as a Cypriot citizen, the applicant must hold a permanent residence permit in Cyprus for 6 months.

This application can be made simultaneously with the Cyprus Citizenship application without any other documents. For the issuance of the permanent residence permit the applicants must be present to Cyprus for the collection of their biometric data (fingerprints and photograph) and signature. After the collection of the biometric data, the Immigration Permit (card) is issued within five working days.

Required documents

1. Curriculum Vitae (CV) for the investor, spouse & adult children.

2. Birth Certificate for investor, spouse & children (official and certified translation*).

3. Criminal Record Certificate for the investor, spouse & adult children from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different) (official and certified translation*).

4. Marriage Certificate (official and certified translation*).

5. 2 Passport size photos for each family member.

6. Adult Children - Certificate of attendance by an academic institution (original).

7. Due Diligence Report issued through an internationally accepted database.

The documents with (*) require to be translated in English and bear the «APOSTILLE» Stamp OR be certified by the Ministry of foreign affairs of the country that will issue them and also by the Cyprus Embassy of that Country and the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Cyprus.

The translation should be done by the Press and Information Office or by a Consular Authority of the issuing country or by a governmental department/service of the issuing country.

Our services

We provide guidance and representation through all the procedure until the approval and the issuance of the Cyprus passports.

  • Advice and preparation of all required documents
  • Complete due diligence on real estate or other investments
  • Preparation and review of all necessary legal documents (sale agreements, the establishment of companies etc.)
  • Submitting the application and following the application process
  • Keeping you updated about the status of the application
  • Assist with obtaining a Cyprus passport and ID card for you and your family members.

Our immigration lawyers would be happy to meet or discuss with you and give you a detailed description of the process and our services.

Cyprus government fees

Cyprus citizenship cost

The cost of the Cypriot passport program is 2m euros and it does not include the following government fees:

Applicant

Submission fee

Certificate Issuance Fee

Total

Investor

€2000

€5000

€7000

Investor’s spouse

€2000

€5000

€7000

Adult children & parents (each)

€2000

€5000

€7000

Minor child

€80

 

€80

Cyprus passport issuance (each)

€120

Identity card issuance (each)

€30

Cyprus permanent residence fees

Investor / investor’s spouse / children under 18

€500 for all

€70 for each person for registration

Adult children & parents (each)

€500

€70 for registration

Cyprus Investment Programme FAQ

Which other family members are entitled to obtain citizenship of Cyprus along with an investor under the program: spouse, children, parents?

An investor and other dependent family members – spouse, minor children (under age 18) and financially dependent adult children (students under age 28) obtain citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus. Parents can also get Cyprus Citizenship by purchasing a home for a minimum €500,000 if their Children already acquired Cyprus Citizenship. In other words, parents are NOT required to make a full investment of €2 million euros, only the purchase of a house or an apartment for a minimum amount of €500,000 is enough.

Please, advise if there are any requirements to an investor related to living in the country prior to obtaining citizenship.

There are no requirements.

Please, advise if it is required to pass a Greek language proficiency test or exam in the history of Cyprus as a condition to obtaining citizenship of Cyprus?

No, it is not required.

Is a passport of a citizen (national) of Cyprus a full value passport of a country member of the European Union?

Yes, that is exactly so.

Is an investor required to reside in Cyprus after he/she has obtained citizenship in order to retain it?

No, you are not required to reside in Cyprus in order to retain your citizenship.

What tax burdens are imposed on an investor after obtaining Cypriot citizenship? Will the investor be required to pay taxes on income obtained from sources located abroad?

Upon obtaining citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus no new or additional tax liabilities arise for the investor unless the investor opts to become a Cyprus tax resident, i.e. to spend 183 days in Cyprus (or more days than in any other jurisdiction). Cyprus tax residents who are NOT DOMICILED in Cyprus, that means they have not been Cyprus tax residents for 17 years out of last 20, by the July 16, 2015 tax legislation will now NOT BE SUBJECT to taxes on dividends, rental income and bank deposit interest on a worldwide income and income generated in Cyprus. This is indeed revolutionary!

Will Cyprus citizenship automatically grant me European citizenship?

Yes. Because Cyprus is a member of the European Union its citizens are automatically European citizens, which means you are allowed to live, work or study anywhere in Europe.

Can I include my family in my application?

Yes. All investment options to citizenship allow for dependents. ‘Dependent’ refers to: (1) children under the age of 18, (2) children between the age of 18 and 25 who are full-time students and financially dependent on the main applicant, and (3) parents or grandparents over the age of 65 years old, if they are living with or fully supported by the main applicant. Neither the spouse nor the children are required to make any additional financial investments.

Am I required to live in Cyprus?

No. Cyprus does not require you to be present or reside in Cyprus before or after the approval of your citizenship application.

Is the purchase of a private property a compulsory condition to meet the requirements of law when obtaining citizenship for investors?

Yes, that is just so. Regardless of the criterion based on which an investor will prefer to submit an application for obtaining citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus, the law provides for the purchase of property for private use the value of which is at least €500,000+VAT.

Suppose I bought a residential villa as an investment. Should I buy an additional private property worth at least €500,000?

If you purchased one residential property worth €2 mln, it is not required to buy additional private property. If you purchased several residential properties of the same amount, then you don't have to buy additional property. The investment may be sold after 3 years; however, the investor must always maintain a property with a value of at least €500,000.

Please, advise whether I lose fully or partly invested money?

You lose nothing. After three years (minimum duration of investment) you can sell investment properties and get back your invested money back.

Suppose I have purchased a villa the value of which is €2 million. But I am not going to live in it. Can I sell it as soon as I obtain a Cyprus passport by investment?

As far as the sale of your villa is concerned the law provides for such an option only three years after purchase. Within the first 3 years, you can sell your €2 million villas but you are obliged to maintain your €2 million investment. That means when you sell you must simultaneously buy one home for the amount of €2 million or multiple residential units for the total amount of €2 million. In case you buy multiple residential units, at least one of them must be a minimum €500,000. For example, you can buy a Villa for €500,000 and 15 apartments for €100,000 each, a total €2,000,000. After 3 years of obtaining your Cyprus citizenship, you can sell your properties provided that you keep always on your name one house or apartment which you purchased for a minimum €500,000.

Investments must necessarily be made by the investor personally or can they be made through company/companies of the investor or an investment fund or an investment foundation?

Investment through a company or fund or foundation is eligible, provided that there is a proven correlation between the investor and the company or fund or foundation.

In the case of purchase of real estate are transfer fees included in the amount of the €2,0 million investment?

The transfer fees are not included in the amount of the investment, as no other charges or taxes are.

Is real estate investment for Cyprus citizenship restricted to new properties or can I invest in resale properties (real estate sold for the second time) and be considered as a suitable investment?

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time. So, you can invest in any property resale or new. The difference of new properties is that you pay between 5% to 19% Value Added Tax (VAT) which is not refundable and is not considered part of your investment.

Will my Cyprus citizenship expire?

No. When you acquire citizenship under the Cyprus citizenship program, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.

Does Cyprus allow dual citizenship?

Yes, it does.

Can the residential property be sold or rented out once Citizenship is granted?

Since the Investor is not required to reside in Cyprus, it is possible to rent out their privately owned residence. It is also possible to replace the residential property with another property of the same value.

What does it mean: “The applicant should have concluded the necessary investments during the three years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least three years since the date of the Naturalization?”

It means that for the purpose of filing a Naturalization application in accordance with the provisions of this Scheme, the investor must have concluded the investment during the three years preceding the submission date of the said application. That is to say, if the applicant will submit an application in 2019, the investment must have been concluded during the period 2016 – 2019. Furthermore, the investor is obliged to retain the investment for at least three years following the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship. The three-year period begins on the date of the approval of the application by the Council of Ministers.

Is the VAT included in the amount of the investment or in the amount of the €500.000 purchase value of the privately-owned residence?

The VAT is neither included in the amount of Investments", nor in the amount of €500.000 required as a minimum purchase value of the privately-owned residence.

If there is a difference between the market value and the purchase value of a real estate, which amount is taken into consideration?

The purchase value.

Can real estate sold for a second time be considered as an investment for the purposes of applying for citizenship?

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time.

Can the investor rent to someone else his/ her privately-owned residence?

Yes, an investor may do it.

Can the investor sell his/her privately-owned residence and purchase a different one of the same or higher purchase value?

Yes, an investor may do it, provided that he/she will buy a different residence of equal or higher purchase value.

Are there any changes in Cyprus citizenship by investment program in 2019 comparing to 2018?

The Cyprus Council of Ministers has revised the Cyprus Investment Programme on the 13/02/2019. The new provisions will be effective from 15th of May 2019. The investment criteria mainly remain the same, just we have the introduction of a mandatory donation of €75.000 to the Cyprus Land development Corporation and another donation of €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation which can be waived under certain criteria. Also, the applicants must hold a valid Schengen visa. For full guidance on the new provisions of the program please read our article.

How We Can Help?

George K. Konstantinou
Law Firm

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