On 13.2.2019, the Council of Ministers introduced new criteria and terms for the “Cyprus Investment Programme” (“the Programme”) on the basis of subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2019. According to the relevant decision of the Council of Ministers, the revised Programme shall be effective from the date of its publication in the Government Gazette (i.e. 26.02.2019) with the exception of certain clauses which the decision specifies that shall be effective from 15th of May 2019. The following are all the provisions of the Programme that will be in force from 15th of May 2019 onwards.
WHO CAN APPLY:
- A non – Cypriot citizen personally; or
- A non – Cypriot citizen through a company/ companies in which he/she participates as a shareholder in proportion to his/her holding percentage; or
- A non – Cypriot citizen through investments done by his/her spouse or jointly with the spouse; or
- A non – Cypriot citizen as a high ranking senior manager of a company/companies that meets one of the economic criteria referred to below, provided that he/she receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic of Cyprus tax revenues of at least €100,000 over a three year period and provided that this tax has already been paid or prepaid.
The Programme also provides for the grant of the Cypriot citizenship to the spouse or partner of the investor, to the parents of the investor and to the financially dependent adult children of the investor as well. The minor children of the investor have the right to acquire the citizenship according to the provisions of section 110 (3) of the Civil Registry Law. The parents, the financially dependent adult children and the minor children may apply for citizenship after the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship by the investor. However, concerning the investor’s spouse or partner, the submission of his/her (spouse’s or partner’s) application along with the application of the investor, in order for both spouses/ partners to be able to acquire the Cypriot citizenship simultaneously.
- Donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation:
(a) The applicant must have donated at least €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation.
The aforementioned obligation is lifted, if the applicant has invested at least €75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise (i.e. an enterprise that had acquired the relevant certificate by the Ministry of Finance) or a certified social enterprise.
In addition, the obligation is lifted if the applicant has made an investment under criterion 3 below of a total amount equal to the 20% of the required investment amount (i.e. €400.000) of criterion 3 in a company whose operations fall within the primary sector of the economy, or the secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
(b) The applicant must have also donated at least €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation for the financing of housing schemes for affordable housing, but also for the materialization of other housing schemes/measures.
- 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 or developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects.
- Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Investment 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.
Moreover, investments in the shipping sector are eligible on the basis of measurable criteria that will be determined jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Deputy Ministry.
- Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Registered Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission:
The applicant should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) or Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed/registered and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (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.
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.
- 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.
- The applicant must fulfil the financial criterion 1 and one of the financial criteria 2-5.
- The investment under the new criteria must be made during the three years preceding the date of the application and must be retained for a period of at least five years as from the date of the naturalization.
- It is understood that the investor may replace the investment during the said five-year period, provided that he/she has obtained beforehand an approval by the Ministry of Finance.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE FULFILLED IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE
- Clean Criminal Record of the applicant in his/her country of origin and country of residence (if different) and not to be sanctioned person in the EU. Moreover, 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.
- Schengen Visa: 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.
- Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: The applicant must possess a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus VAT.
a. In case that the purchase value of the permanent privately owned residence in Cyprus exceeds the amount of €500,000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the basis of the criteria above.
b. If the applicant has invested in housing unit/units on the basis of the aforementioned criterion 2, the purchase of another permanent residence in Cyprus will not be required, if at least one of these housing units is worth at least €500,000, plus VAT, provided that the applicant retains the possession of the residence for life.
c. However, if the applicant has invested in housing units that have already being used for the purpose of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship via the Programme, the above provision will be in force provided that the total amount of the investments, including the privately-owned residence, is at least €2,5 million.
- Residence Permit in Cyprus: The applicant, prior to his/her naturalization as a Cypriot citizen must hold a residence permit in Cyprus for a period of at least 6 (six) months. If the applicant does not already hold a residence permit, he/she may apply for an immigration permit on the basis of Regulation 6 (2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law, simultaneously with the application for naturalization with no further requirements.
HOW WE CAN ASSIST
We can assist an applicant with the whole process as follows:
- Assisting with any choice for investment in Cyprus;
- Assisting with finding the ideal property to match the criteria;
- Drafting and submitting the required applications and documentation;
- Communicating with the responsible authorities and monitoring the status of the application.