The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus has approved on 13.09.2016 a revised scheme for granting Cypriot citizenship to foreign entrepreneurs/investors.
The main target of the economic policy of the Republic of Cyprus through the revised scheme is to encourage the further Foreign Direct Investment in Cyprus and to attract investors who will choose Cyprus as their basis of residence and economic activity.
According to the revised scheme an investor/applicant has to satisfy ONE of the below economic criteria for a successful acquisition of a Cypriot Citizenship.
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 such as residential or commercial developments, in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects.
This criterion includes an investment in a buildable land as well, provided that the application will accompanied with a development plan. Furthermore, it must be taken into consideration that the purchase of land in zero growth zones is excluded from this criterion.
Purchase or incorporation or participation in Cypriot business or companies; the applicant must have made an investment of at least €2.0 million for the purchase, incorporation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic of Cyprus. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five (5) Cypriot citizens or citizens of the European Union.
In addition, the employees of the companies need to have legally and continuously resided in the Republic of Cyprus during the five years preceding the application submission date.
Investment in Alternative Investment Organizations or financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission: the applicant should invest at least € 2.0 million in Alternative Investment Organization founded in the Republic of Cyprus, which are licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
For the purposes of confirming that the investments which satisfy the criteria of this scheme will be kept for at least three (3) years, the administrator or auditor of the Fund will inform in writing on a yearly basis the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior with reference to the value of the initial investment.
Combination of the aforementioned criteria; the applicant may proceed with the combination of the above criteria, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €2.0 million. In addition, the investor is able to purchase government bonds valued up to €500,000, which are issued by the Public Debt Management Office of Ministry of Finance, provided that the applicant will be the owner for at least three (3) years.
Apart from the above economic criteria an investor/applicant must fulfill all the below three Conditions
Clean Criminal record; the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different) has to be provided.
Residence in the Republic of Cyprus:the applicant must have a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the market value of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.
Additionally, in case the applicant invests in residential property or properties, as described on the economic criterion (1) in real estate, then the applicant will not have to make another purchase of residential property in Republic of Cyprus, if the value of one of the residential property is at least € 500,000, plus VAT, and provided that the residence ownership will be maintained for a lifetime.
Residence permit; following the recent changes in the scheme, in order for an applicant to obtain citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus, he must have a residence permit in Cyprus.
In case where the applicant does not already hold a residence permit, will be able to apply for immigration permit on the basis of Regulation 6 (2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law, simultaneously with the submission of the Citizenship/naturalization application.
Applicants personal documents necessary for submission upon application:
- Application form M127 fully completed and signed before a District Court in Cyprus or consular office.
- Birth certificate
- True copy of passport
- Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence
- Marriage Certificate
- Two passport size photos
- Copies of advertisements in daily newspaper two consecutive posts
- Curriculum vitae
- Copy of residence Permit in the Republic of Cyprus.
Applicants documents necessary for the immigration permit application:
- Form MIP1
- Clean Criminal Record Certificate
- Copy of passport
- Marriage certificate
- Confirmation of submission of application for naturalisation by Exception by the Ministry of Interior.
The Council of Ministers decided to allow the submission of the spouse’s or partner’s application along with the application of the investor, so that both spouse will be able to obtain the Cypriot citizenship simultaneously.
The application for the grant of the Cypriot citizenship to the children of the investor that are under the age of eighteen needs to be submitted at the Civil Registry and Migration Department and is submitted AFTER the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship and provided that the other parent consents to the grant of the citizenship.
The right to apply for Citizenship is also granted to the financially dependent adult children of the Investor. The Decision of the Council of Ministers has determined that it shall consider as financially dependent adult children individuals belonging to one of the below categories:
(a) students up to the age of 28 that are attending an institution of higher education aiming to obtain a diploma or an undergraduate or a master’s degree. The Decision excludes individuals who are studying for the acquisition of a professional qualification (e.g. chartered accountants or barrister).
(b) children with severe physical or mental disability that renders them unable to work.
The application can be submitted AFTER the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship
Furthermore, in accordance with the new scheme the investor’s parents will also be entitled to apply for Cyprus Citizenship (after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship) provided that they have purchased an additional permanent residence valued at least €500,000 plus VAT where applicable.
The applicant/ investor 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.
All investments made by the applicant/investor in the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of obtaining the Cypriot Citizenship must be made from funds (personal accounts/ Company) transferred from abroad to the Republic of Cyprus and are examined by the Ministry of Finance in Cyprus.
Αll the documents issued by a foreign authority (Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Criminal Record etc should be translated either Greek or English and be duly authenticated (They should bear the stamp «APOSTILE», if they are issued by countries that have signed the Hague Convention, otherwise, they should be sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country.
Once an application for Citizenship is submitted, the time frame for the decision to be announced is approximately three - four months. It should be noted that the application submission date is the date on which the submission fees were paid that is noted on the receipt issued by the Ministry of Interior.
The procedure for the acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship will be completed, provided that the applicant and his spouse holds a residence permit for a period of at least 6 (six) months. If the applicant and his spouse does not hold a residence permit for the aforementioned time period, they will need to wait until the six-month period is completed, in order to apply and obtain a CY passport and CY identity card.
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Note: The above article does not constitute a legal advice and may not be relied upon for such purposes. Readers are recommended to take appropriate legal advice on the above subject matter.