Cyprus is an increasingly popular and sought-after destination for relocation – whether short-term or long-term – and attracts people from around the world who want to work or settle in a modern, safe sunshine destination that offers multiple lifestyle and business benefits.
In particular, the island’s location, which is commonly referred to as being ‘at the crossroads of three continents’, makes it a Mediterranean haven that offers a gateway to Europe, Africa and Asia, as well as the Middle East. Add to this Cyprus’ full membership to the European Union (EU), and favourable tax conditions, and it is no surprise that a Cyprus passport ranks as the 13th strongest in the world (Passport Index, December 2016).
The allure is equal for both business people and families. The island enjoys the best year-round climate in Europe and its beaches are consistently awarded for their cleanliness and water quality. English is broadly spoken and used across the spectrum; from road and shop signs, to menus and in business. Furthermore, the crime rate is one of the lowest in the world, and infrastructure, facilities, healthcare and education are all excellent. Please find below all the possible ways for an individual to be eligible to acquire the Cypriot Citizenship.
Obtaining Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalisation
To be entitled to apply for Cyprus citizenship through naturalization, an EU citizen or third country national must have resided for a minimum 7 years (2555 days) legally in Cyprus, of which the year preceding the date of application should be full and uninterrupted.
Registrations as a result of marriage to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus
A person of full age and capacity who has contracted a marriage to a citizen of Cyprus may submit an application after completing 3 years of marriage and harmonious cohabitation with the Cypriot spouse.
Obtaining Cyprus Citizenship due to Cypriot origins
A person can obtain Cyprus citizenship due to Cypriot origins as long as he/she satisfies certain criteria. There are different application forms depending on the age, origin and date of birth of the interested applicant. Individuals who pursue a second passport through the Citizenship by Investment Program in the Republic of Cyprus enjoy visa-free travel to more than 150 countries. This facilitates business immigration for those who require exemplary ease of travel.
Obtaining Cyprus Citizenship by Exemption through investment
The government of Cyprus has implemented a new procedure for exceptional naturalization of investors (Non-EU) which aims at facilitating investment in Cyprus by migrant entrepreneurs and investors who, in return for obtaining Cyprus citizenship, are prepared to invest in Cyprus. The new scheme has been established pursuant to amendments to the Cyprus Civil Registry and Migration Law. The investment allows the applicant (and eventually his wife & children) to hold a Cyprus passport and have all the benefits of a Cyprus citizen.
Through Cyprus’ Citizenship by Investment Program, the government actively encourages direct foreign investment in economic sectors such as technology, R&D and innovation, and in entrepreneurial initiatives, making a Cyprus passport important for global entrepreneurs and digital nomads.
Cyprus Investment Programme – Investment Options:
Below is a summary of the available investment options under the Cyprus Investment Programme:
A non-Cypriot citizen will now be eligible to apply for the obtainment of the Cypriot Citizenship, provided that one of the following investment criteria is met:
1. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects
The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2 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 related projects.
On the basis of this criterion, the investment in land under development is also included, provided that the investment will be supported with an investment plan for the development of the purchased land.
2. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies
The applicant must have made an investment in the purchase, creation or participation in companies that are based and operating in the Republic of Cyprus, amounting to at least €2 million. The respective amount must be invested to financially support the local operations
of the companies. The investment to be made should be supported by a comprehensive investment plan. It should be noted that these companies must have proven physical presence and significant activity in Cyprus with substantial turnover and employ at least five Cypriot or European Union citizens, who have been legally and continuously living in Cyprus for a minimum of 5 years preceding the submission of the respective application.
3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds (AIF’s) or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot companies licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec)
The applicant must have purchased units from AIF’s which are established, licensed and supervised in Cyprus by CySec, amounting to at least €2 million. Such investments must be exclusively made in the Republic of Cyprus and fulfil the criteria of the Scheme and be approved by the Minister of Finance. In order to confirm that the investments made, under this criterion, will be retained for at least a three-year period, the manager or the auditor of the Fund should provide annual reports to the Ministry of Interior and Finance with reference to the value of the initial investment. An investor may acquire financial assets of Cyprus companies such as bonds, bills and securities amounting to at least €2 million, issued with the approval of CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic and aim to finance the investment plans of these companies exclusively in Cyprus.
4. Combination of the aforementioned criteria 1 to 3
The applicant may proceed in investing at least €2 million, in a combination of the abovementioned investment criteria. It is noted that under this criterion, the applicant may also purchase government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of up to €0,5 million, issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, provided that the investor will retain these bonds for a three-year period. Investments in government bonds through the secondary market are not considered eligible
Additional conditions & requirements
In all investment criteria listed above an additional purchase of a permanent residential property amounting to €0,5 million (plus VAT) is required.
• The parents of the investor may apply for the obtainment of the Cypriot Citizenship, as soon as the main applicant will acquire the Citizenship, provided that they will purchase another permanent residential property amounting to €0,5 million (plus VAT). The applicant needs to obtain a residence permit in Cyprus prior to his / her application for the obtainment of the Cypriot Citizenship.
• In the event that the applicant does not hold a residence permit, then he / she may apply for a Permanent Residence Permit – Regulation 6(2) simultaneously with the application for the Citizenship Additional documentation that needs to be submitted to acquire Cypriot Citizenship by Exception.
Evidence of a steady income from abroad of at least €30,000, from sources other than employment in Cyprus i.e. certificates of dividends, certificates of fixed deposits, pension statements, rents or salary advice.
Confirmation letter from a Cypriot Bank, showing deposits in a local account of a minimum capital of €30,000, from sources other than employment in Cyprus. The capital should be transferred from an International Bank to a local Cypriot Bank and it should be pledged for at least a period of three years.
The necessary minimum income, is increased by €5,000 for the spouse and for each child and by €8,000 for each parent of the main applicant and/or the spouse of the main applicant.
Title deed or purchase agreement of a residential property, issued on the name of the applicant. The minimum market value of the property should be €300,000 plus VAT and proof of payment for at least €200,000 excluding VAT. A reduced VAT rate of 5%, is applied for first residences provided that certain conditions are met. The reduced rate of 5% VAT applies to the first 200 square meters of the residence’s buildable area as determined by the building coefficient of the property and anything above 200 square meters of the residence’s ildable area as determined by the building coefficient of the property is subject to the standard rate of VAT, currently 19%. The respective investment should be transferred from an International Bank to a local Cypriot Bank.
Applicants should visit Cyprus at least once every two years.