In order to boost foreign investment and attract high net worth entrepreneurs, the government of Cyprus has introduced an incentive that allows individuals to obtain Cypriot citizenship in exchange for significant financial investments in the country. The program, which is officially called “Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception”, grants Cypriot citizenship to non-Cypriot citizens and their family members. Foreigners may apply for the program: (i) directly; (ii) through companies in which they own substantive portion of the shares; or (iii) through companies in which they work as high-ranking senior managers.
Benefits of the program
By obtaining a Cypriot citizenship through the program, an individual can enjoy the following benefits:
- Gain the right to live, work, study, and freely travel not only in Cyprus, but also throughout the other 27 EU countries;
- Use the EU social security and legal systems;
- The Cypriot passport is granted not only to the applicant, but also to his/her family members;
- By being a Cypriot citizen, a person is permitted to travel without a visa to more than 150 countries worldwide;
- The applicant is allowed to have dual citizenship;
- The tax residence in Cyprus can be granted to the applicant if the applicant spends 183 days per year in the country; and
- The program does not require donating the invested wealth. Therefore, the investment remains fully functional.
Participation in the program
To participate in the citizenship-by-investment program, the applicant must (1) use one of the five options set by the government of Cyprus and (2) comply with other requirements of the program. The five options are described below.
Option 1: Purchasing financial assets of companies or organizations in Cyprus, such as bonds, securities, and debentures, for at least EUR 2 million.
Option 2: Investing at least EUR 2 million in real estate, land development, or infrastructure projects. Such projects may include purchase and construction of residential and commercial buildings as well as investments in touristic infrastructure.
Option 3: Investing at least EUR 2 million by purchasing, creating, or joining businesses operating in Cyprus. Such businesses should have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ minimum 5 Cyprus citizens.
Option 4: Investing at least EUR 2 million by combining investment options 1-3.
Option 5: Investing at least EUR 2 million by combining investment options 1-3 and investments in government bonds of up to EUR 500,000.
The applicant has to retain the invested amount for a period of at least three years commencing on the date of the application approval.
In addition, in order to be eligible for participation in the program, the applicant has to meet all the following requirements:
- Have a clean criminal record;
- Be not included in the list of people whose property was frozen within the EU;
- Officially reside in Cyprus; and
- The applicant alone, or the applicant together with his/her family, owns a residential property in Cyprus that is worth at least EUR 500.000.
The application for the program is processed by the Cyprus Ministry of Interior. The application has to include a number of documents proving person’s eligibility for the program, e.g., a proof of payment of the application fee (EUR 2.000), a completed application form, identification documents, documents proving a permanent privately-owned residence in Cyprus, documents evidencing investments, and passport photos.
The examination process usually lasts about three months. If the application is approved by the Ministry of Interior, the applicant is required to pay the final Naturalization Certificate issuing fee (EUR 5.000). The Naturalization Certificate certifies that the applicant has been granted a Cyprus citizenship.
For more detailed information and requirements regarding obtaining a citizenship by investment in Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact us.