EU Citizenship by Investment
The Cypriot Government has established a number of incentives to attract foreign direct investment into the country. One of these is a citizenship-by-investment program that grants full Cypriot citizenship to those that invest more than EUR 2 million in real estate and who meet certain other requirements.
Cyprus is one of the easiest countries to attain European Citizenship and is now considered to be one of the most beneficial destinations for someone to relocate to. Cyprus provides its residents with a stable economic environment, EU Member State Status, extremely low taxation, low cost of living with an enriched lifestyle and many other benefits.
One of the key benefits of the EU Citizenship by Investment Program is that it involves a secure investment, rather than a donation as is the case for many other countries.
EU Citizenship by Investment - Scheme Changes
• On 13th September 2016, the Cyprus Government has announced changes to the legislation that enables foreign non-EU investors to become a Cypriot (EU) citizen and obtain a Cypriot passport through naturalisation, making it more accessible and affordable than ever.
The revised scheme requires a lower investment amount of EUR 2,000,000 investment plus EUR 500,000 permanent residence (Previously 2.5 Million investment)
• February 2019 : Important changes to the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
Regulations apply today to become a European citizen and save between 150000 to 650000 euro.
The changes include the following:
• Limitation to 700 Applications Per Annum
• Applicants should be in possession of a Schengen visa;
• Applicants who were rejected by another EU country shall be excluded from the CIP;
• The investment should be maintained for 5 years following the date of naturalization, instead of 3 years;
• During the 5-year period the investor will be able to change his investment, provided that a consent will be granted in this regard by the Ministry of Finance;
• Shipping will be included in the investment sectors, while investing in government bonds shall no longer be available for the purposes of the CIP;
• A planning permit shall be mandatory for properties under construction;
• A donation of €75,000 for research and development shall be mandatory;
• A donation of €75,000 to the land development organisation to fund affordable housing schemes shall be mandatory;
Due diligence and background checks shall be carried on by a specialized foreign firm on each applicant (the firm has not been hired yet).
EU Citizenship by Investment – Investment Options
Option 1: EUR 2,000,000 investment in residential real estate situated in Cyprus.
After 5 years the investment can be reduced to a minimum of EUR 500,000. The investment can be a single property or combined property portfolio.
Examples of possible investments under this option are as follows:
Purchase one villa for EUR 1,500,000 and one apartment for EUR 500,000. Sell the villa in 5 years’ time.
Purchase one villa for 2 million and sell in 5 years’ time but at the same time purchase a residential property for a minimum amount of EUR 500,000.
Option 2 – EUR 2,500,000 (combination of real estate and other investments)
1. Investment in real estate, developments and infrastructure projects
The applicant should make an investment of at least EUR 2 million for the purchase or construction of real estate.
2. Purchase, establishment, or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies
The applicant must make an investment of at least EUR 2 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should have a demonstrable and tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot citizens.
3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot enterprises or Cypriot organizations licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec)
The applicant should purchase units amounting to at least EUR 2 million from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF).
This criterion also covers the purchase of financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations for at least EUR 2 million, in the form of securities and debt securities.
4. Combination of the above investments
The applicant may invest in a combination of the above, provided that the total investment amounts to at least EUR 2 million.
5. EUR 500,000 in residential property, which must be retained indefinitely.
For the full revised scheme, click here
To maintain the citizenship, the investor/applicant must always retain his possession of real estate residence property of minimum value EUR 500,000 which will be declared as his permanent residence, whereas the remaining investments may be sold after 5 years.
Any property purchased by the investor/applicant during the past three years will count towards the above mentioned investment figures. In such cases the purchaser must acquire additional real estate or make other investments to reach the total required investment. The three year period counts at the time of submitting the application for citizenship.
Applicants must hold a clear criminal record from their country of origin and Cyprus.
Exceptional Fast Track Scheme - Passports will be issued within a period of three months
Passports will be issued to the investor, their married spouse and dependent children up to the age of 28, provided they are in full-time education.
The Investor’s parents are entitled to apply for Cyprus Citizenship by exception, provided they have purchased a permanent residence of at least €500,000 plus VAT. This amount can be pooled into the main investment, if preferred.
Benefits of Cyprus Citizenship
There is no requirement for physical residency.
All Nationalities are eligible
Valid for Life - Citizenship is passed on by descent, therefore offering a legacy to future generations
Cyprus allows dual citizenship
Unrestricted right to live, work, travel and study anywhere in the European Union
Visa-free travel to 158 Countries
Free trade within EU
Exit Strategy after just 5 years.