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Cyprus

Exceptional Naturalization by direct investment is a programme approved by the council of Ministers in Cyprus whereby naturalization (Citizenship) is granted to foreign nationals of Cyprus on the basis of their significant investment in the country.

The programme was first launched in 2013 (Amended on 2014-03-19) with a minimum investment of 2.5Million Euros per Applicant. A condition was existent at the time that a minimum of 5 investors submit their applications together.

The recent changes to the law (amendments released on 2016-09-16 amended the existing law to the following (The existing law and the new will simultaneously be valid until October 30, 2016 after which the new law will exclusively be in force):

  • The minimum required investment amount for giving the right to obtain the citizenship has been reduced to €2.000.000- plus V.A.T., provided the whole investment is made solely in residential unit or units. In this scenario at least one of such residential properties needs to be minimum value of €500.000- plus V.A.T.

 

  • For any other kind of investment (other than real estate) including combination of investments, the required amount is €2m plus a residential property of €500.000 - value.

 

  • The parents of the investor are now eligible to obtain the citizenship provided they purchase their own residency property of minimum value of €500.000- plus V.A.T. in addition to the investment made by the main applicant. A property of the same or higher value (i.e. minimum €500.000) must be retained by the parents at all times.

 

  • The children up to 28 years old are eligible to obtain the citizenship provided are financially depended to the investor and are studying in a university (third degree, master).

 

  • Every applicant (including the investor and dependents), prior to his naturalization in Cyprus will have to be in possession of a Cyprus Permanent Residency (PR) Permit. For those applicants who don’t already have a permit, they can apply simultaneously with the submission of the citizenship application. For the purposes of applying for PR solely in the context of a citizenship application as per above, the applicant will only be required to meet the provisions of the citizenship scheme. This provision has been included for the purposes of assisting the citizens of countries in which the dual citizenship is prohibited.

 

  • The provision that the investment can be disposed 5 years after the citizenship is granted. It is understood that even in the scenario described in the first point above (i.e. total investment of €2,0 million) in case such is sold after 5 years, the investor will still be required to be in possession of a residence of minimum value €500.000- and if application was made with parents, then they also will need their own residence of minimum value of €500.000

A non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the following economic criteria (A), either personally or through a company/ companies in which he/ she participates as a shareholder - proportionally based on the percentage of participation, or even as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ companies that meets one of economic criteria (A), may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through Naturalization by exception.

A high-ranking senior manager may apply, provided that he/she receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic tax revenue of at least €100.000 for a three year period and provided that this tax has already been paid or prepaid.

The applicant should have concluded the necessary investments during the two years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least five years since the date of the Naturalization. In addition, the applicant must fulfill the Terms and Conditions set out in Part B. In the case where, following a periodic inspection, it has been ascertained that any condition is being circumvented, the Naturalization may be revoked.

 

Α. CRITERIA

Α.1 Investment in real estate, 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 development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects).

 Investments in land are included in this criterion, provided that the application will include a business plan for its development. 

Special Note: It is understood that VAT, transfer duties or any other charges or taxes are not included in the amount of the investment. The Scheme does not exclude the purchase of properties that are not purchased for the first time.

 

Α.2 Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies: 

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic. The investment funds must be used for the financing of the investment objectives of the relevant businesses or companies exclusively in Cyprus, on the basis of a business plan. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus, namely maintain offices in Cyprus, have substantial activity and turnover and also employ at least five Cypriot or EU citizens. 

The minimum employees number will be increased in the event where more than one applicants invest simultaneously in the same business or company. In addition, the aforesaid employees must evidently have had legal and continuous residence in Cyprus for the 5 years period preceding the submission of the application.

 

Α.3 Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations which are licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission:

The applicant must have proceeded with the acquisition of units of at least €2,0 million from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) which have been established in Cyprus and licensed and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (“CySEC”), the investments of which are exclusively in Cyprus, in investment which fulfill the criteria of the present Scheme or in sectors which are approved by the Minister of Finance. 

The acquisition of financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations of at least €2,0 million, such as bonds, debentures etc., which have been issued after approval of the CySEC, by companies which evidently have tangible presence and substantial financial activity in Cyprus and which refer to the financing of investment objectives of the said businesses or organizations exclusively in Cyprus on the basis of a business plan, fall within the scope of this Criterion.

 

Α.4 Combination of the aforementioned criteria

The applicant is required to have a combination of the above investments amounting to at least €2,0 million. 

 

Α.5 Mandatory donation 

A donation of €150,000 split evenly between research, development and the land development organization.

 

 

B. TERMS AND CONDITIONS

B.1 Security and Background Checks (Criminal Records)

Applicants must substantiate that they have no previous criminal background. This is achieved by procuring and submitting a criminal record that shows no past incidents. Furthermore, the applicant’s name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union or any of the international name lists that identify terrorists.

 For the purposes of verifying that the investments are maintained for at least 5 years, the manager or auditor of the fund will annually inform the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance, in writing with regards to the value of the initial investment.

 

B.2 Due diligence 

The government of Cyprus will be hiring a third part service provider to perform a Due diligence and background checks on all applicants. The name of the service provider is yet to be determined.

 

B.3 Ownership of residential property in Cyprus:

For all Criteria listed in Part A, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T. The purchase value of the privately-owned residence of the applicant in Cyprus is not included in the minimum investment which is required for the submission of the application, but rather it is additional. In the event where the purchase price of the residence exceeds €500.000, the exceeding amount may be used for the purposes of completing the minimum investment requirement as per the above Criteria.

 However, if an applicant decides to invest in the purchase of one or more residential properties as per Criterion A1 above, then he shall not obliged to buy an additional privately – owned residence of purchase value €500.000, provided at least one of the aforementioned residential properties has a purchase price of at least €500.000 plus V.A.T. and provided that such property will be retained in the investors possession for lifetime.

 Special Note

 Members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire one residence, provided that the total value of this home-property covers the amount of €500.000 per each applicant.

 

B.4 Family members eligible to obtain Citizenship based on the main investor:

The spouse, legal partner, parents, minor children and adult children up to 28 years old are eligible to obtain the Cyprus Citizenship based on the main investor’s investment under the following requirements: 

 Parents

    • Adult Children Adult children of up to 28 years old:
    • who are financially dependent on the main investor, and
    • who are full time students at a higher education institution, and
    • their main activity is to study at a higher education institution for the acquisition of a certificate of studies, i.e. a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

    General 

    The Citizenship application of the spouse of the main investor is deposited simultaneously with the application of the main investor. The parents and the dependent children can submit their application after the completion of the Naturalization procedure of the main investor.

     

    B.5 Residence permit for Cyprus:

    The applicant shall also simultaneously submit an application for the granting of Permanent Residence (“PR”) Permit in Cyprus.

     In the event where the applicant is not already in possession of a residence permit, he will be able to submit an application for a migration permit on the basis of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Migration Regulations, simultaneously with the submission of the citizenship application. With regards to the submission of the PR Permit, solely for the purposes of obtain the Cypriot citizenship according to this present Scheme,

     the applicant will not be required to comply with any other conditions other than those included in Part A and Part B of this Scheme. It is understood that the above provisions are applicable to the adult members of the investor’s family, who will apply for Cypriot citizenship.

     In the event where the naturalization application is rejected for any reason, then the PR Permit which was obtained by virtue of this Scheme will be immediately canceled.

     

    C. SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS

    In order to examine any applications under this Scheme, the Council of Ministers requires the submission of various documents proving the compliance of the Investor with the provisions of the Scheme. Please refer to the relevant Lists of Documents for more detailed information.

     

    C.1 Ratification of accompanying documents

    • All the accompanying documents issued by authorities or agencies or organizations of another state, must be duly certified pursuant to the Convention on the abolishing the requirement of legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Ratification) Law of 1961 (Apostille stamp).
    • If the accompanying documents issued by an authority or organizations of another state who has not ratified the Convention on the abolishing the requirement of legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Ratification) adopted in Hague on 5.10.1961 (Apostille stamp), they should bear diplomatic certification.
    • Where an accompanying document required is a copy, it should be certified in the same way.

    Languages of the Accompanying Documents:

    • All documents submitted with the application, shall be in Greek or English. Otherwise, they should be accompanied by a certified translation into one of these languages.

    Protection of Personal Data

    Please be advised that the above registries which contain your personal data are kept with the sole purpose of examining various applications/ requests submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department according to the Aliens and Immigration Law, Cap.105, and its relevant Regulations of 1972, as amended.

     

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