EU Passport Information  

Cyprus Citizenship to
Investors and Family Members
Cyprus as an investment destination:
An island between EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST and AFRICA


Since  ancient  times  the  historical  importance  of  Cyprus  far  exceeded  its  small  size.  Its  geographic  location,  together  with  its  agricultural,  mineral  and  forest  wealth,  made  Cyprus,  a  transit  station  and  Centre  of  trade  and  culture.

Nowadays,  Cyprus  strategic  location  is  considered  a  blessing  as  it  attracts  powerful  forces  with  economic  and  strategic  motives  from  all  over  the  world.  It  has  become  a  land  of  opportunities  for  many  foreign  investors,  especially  after its  accession  to  the  European  Union  in  2004  and  its  adaption  of  the  E.U  currency  in  2008  where  it  facilitated  easily  international  commercial  transactions  and  also  made  the  island  a member  of  a  huge,  fast  growing  market.  Additionally,  it  has  evolved  into  an  international  business  hub  due  to  the  island’s  friendly,  modern  legal  and  tax  regime  with  automatically  motivates  people  to  invest  not  only  their  wealth  but  also  to  expand  and  advance  their business.

Cyprus  is  also  a  popular  tourist  destination  that  offers  a  multidimensional  experience  to  everyone  that  visits  the  island.  Here  you  will  be  exposed  and  discover  more  than  1 000  years  of  history  and  cultural  heritage,  where  you  will  be  welcomed  by  the  Cypriot  hospitality  and  enjoy  the  sunny  weather  which  is  more  than  300  days  of  blue  skies  a  year  due  to  the  islands  mild  climate.  Cyprus  is  an  island  full  of  contrasts  surrounded  by  sandy  beaches  and  world  class  resorts  with  marinas  that  offer  high  standards  which  meet  the  needs  both  f  leisure  and  work  by  offering  professional  services  of  conferences.

The  recent  discovery  of  oil  and  gas  reservoirs  found in  the  Exclusive  Economic  Zone  (EEZ)  are  of  major  importance  not  only  for  Cyprus  to  solve  its  own  energy  dependency  but  at  the  same  time  it  would  develop  the  region  around  Cyprus  and  make  the  island  a  new  energy  hub  for  the  whole  Europe.

Despite  the  recent  global  financial  and  economic  crisis,  Cyprus  has  managed  to  overcome  the  challenges  through  its  innovative  tactics/  methods  and  modern  business  environment  and  has  managed  to  adapt  to  the  constantly  environment  in  order  to  guarantee  in  every  way  the  interests  of  the  island.

The  introduction  of  the  highly  successful  “Citizenship  by  Investment”  programmer  and  the  “Fat  Track  Residency  by  Investment  Programmer”  has  boosted  further  the  economy  and  has  rendered  Cyprus  a  prime  choice  for  many  high  net  worth  individuals  who  wish  to  enjoy  the  benefits  of  EU  Citizenship.

Main Advantages of Cyprus

A non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the following financial 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 his or her spouse or jointly with his or her spouse, or as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ companies that meets one of financial criteria (A), may apply for the acquisition of 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 three years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least three years from the date of Naturalization.

In addition, the applicant must fulfill the Terms and Conditions set out in Part B.

In the case where, following periodic inspections, it is ascertained that any condition is circumvented, the Naturalization may be revoked.

Α. FINANCIAL CRITERIA  
Α.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 projects).  
The said criterion includes the investment in plots of land capable of development, provided that with the application an investment plan is included concerning the development of that land. From this criterion, the purchase of land which is in a zero development zone is excluded.    

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

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic. The investment capital must be used for investment purposes of the business or company exclusively within the Republic of Cyprus on the basis of an investment plan.  

The applications will be evaluated so that it is ascertained that the businesses or companies, in which the investor has invested, have a proven physical presence in Cyprus, with substantial activities and a significant turnover and that they employ at least 5 Cypriot or European Union nationals. The minimum number of required employees shall increase accordingly if more than one applicant for citizenship invests simultaneously or nearly simultaneously in the same business or company. In addition the aforementioned employees must have had for the previous 5 years before the submission of the application for citizenship legal and continuous residence in Cyprus.    

A.3 Investments in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) or financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations which are licensed by CYSEC (CYPRUS SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION)  

The applicant must have purchased units of at least €2 million from AIFs established in Cyprus and licensed and supervised by CYSEC. The investments must be made exclusively in Cyprus and should meet the criteria of this Scheme or be in sectors approved by the Minister of Finance.   

For the purposes of ensuring that the investments, which meet the criteria of this Scheme, are maintained for at least 3 years, the administrator or auditor of the Fund shall on an annual basis, inform in writing the Ministries of Interior and Finance, with reference to the value of the initial investment.   

The purchase of financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations, of at least €2 million, such as debentures, stocks and securities, following the approval of CYSEC, of companies, which have a proven physical presence and substantial financial activity in Cyprus, and which relate to the financing of the investment objectives of the said businesses and organizations exclusively within Cyprus, on the basis of an investment plan, fall within this criterion.    

The purchase of units of other AIFs is not considered to meet the criterion A.3.   

A.4 Combination of the above investments  

The applicant may invest in a combination of the above investments (A1.-A.3) provided that the total investment is at least €2 million.   
Under this criterion the applicant may purchase special government bonds of Cyprus up to the amount of €500,000, issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, on condition that the applicant shall retain the bonds for a period of at least 3 years. The characteristics and terms of the bonds are set in the General and Special Terms Issue of Special Government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus.        

B. TERMS AND CONDITIONS  

1. Clean Criminal Record: the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Furthermore, his name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union.   

2. Permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases 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 €500,000.00 plus V.A.T.    
It is noted that members of the same family, which apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire one residence, provided that the total value of this residence covers the amount of €500,000 per applicant.  
In the event that the purchase price of the privately-owned permanent residence in Cyprus exceeds €500,000, the difference can be used for completing the amount of the investment, under the criteria in Part A above.    
In addition, in the event that the applicant invests in residential units under Criterion A.1 the applicant will not be required to purchase another permanent privately-owned residence in Cyprus if at least one of the residential units was purchased for at least €500,000.00 plus VAT and provided that he retains in his possession the said permanent privately-owned residence for life.    

3. Residence in Cyprus: The applicant, prior to his naturalization as a Cypriot citizen, must be a holder of a residence permit of Cyprus.  
In the event that the applicant is not a holder of a Cyprus residence permit he/she may apply for an immigration permit under Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law, at the same time when he applies for citizenship. In relation to the application for an immigration permit exclusively and solely for the purposes of acquiring Cypriot citizenship in accordance to the provisions of this Scheme, no further conditions other than those set out in Part A and Part B of this Scheme are required to be fulfilled.   
The above applies to the adult family members of the investor, who shall apply for citizenship.   
In the event that the application for citizenship, for any reason, is rejected, the immigration permit obtained under the provisions of the present Decision, shall be revoked at the same time.   

C. SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS  
In order to examine the application the submission of form (M127) and of the following are required:  

1. Clean Criminal Record:   
Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if it differs).

2. Permanent Privately-Owned Residence in the Republic of Cyprus:  
a. Contract of Sale.  
b. Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department.  
c. Receipts for payment of the agreed purchase price.  
d. Swifts/ wire transfer from abroad to a Cypriot commercial banking institution account in the name of the seller or the seller’s company.  
e. Evaluation Certificate of an Independent Approved Surveyor upon demand of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Finance.    

AS for the investment criteria the following are required (as applicable):
a. Certificate of Registration of the company/ companies by the Registrar of  Companies  
b. Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficial owner of the company/ companies.  
c. Audited Accounts of the company (or companies) for the last three years preceding the year of the application.  
d. If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager the submission of the employment contract and the Income Confirmation from the Tax Department.  
e. If the investment is made by the spouse of the applicant or jointly, the marriage certificate.    

Furthermore, depending on the case, the following are required:   
1. Investment in real estate, land development or infrastructure projects
a. Contract of sale.  
b. Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department.  
c. Receipts for payment of the agreed purchase price.  
d. Swifts/ wire transfer from abroad to a Cypriot commercial banking institution account in the name of the seller or the seller’s company  
e. Evaluation Certificate of an Independent Approved Surveyor upon demand of the Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Finance.   
f. Investment plan (business plan) regarding land development in the case of investments in land which can be developed.      

2. Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies   
a. Contract of sale.  
b. Receipts for payment of the agreed purchase price.  
c. Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficial owner of the company/ companies  
d. Swifts/ wire transfer from abroad to a Cypriot commercial banking institution account in the name of the seller or company.  
e. Detailed investment plan.   
f. Copies of the employment contracts of the Cypriot and EU national employees of the company in which the applicant invested in.   
g. Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot and EU national employees of the company in which the applicant invested in.    
h. Copy of the Insurance Account of the Social Insurance Services for each Cypriot and EU national employee.  
i. Registration Certificate of the EU national (MEU1) or Certificate of Permanent Residence of an EU national (MEU3) for employees of nationals of EU member-states.     

3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations licensed by CYSEC  
a. Title/titles and other documents regarding the financial assets.   (b) Swift/ wire transfer from abroad to a Cypriot commercial banking institution account in the name of the company or the organization.   
b. Detailed investment plan.   
c. Certificate of CYSEC.  

4. Combination of Investments – Investment in Government Bonds   
a. Receipt of the Public Debt Management Office for the purchase of the special government bonds.
b. Swift /wire transfer from abroad to the account of the General Accountant of the Republic of Cyprus.

D. FAMILY MEMBERS   

The spouse/civil partner/parents and the financially dependent children (over the age of 18) of the investor who has been granted citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus are entitled to receive citizenship.   
i. The term ‘civil partner’ is interpreted in accordance to the definition in law 184(I)/2015.  
ii. The spouse or civil partner of the investor has the right to submit his or her application for citizenship simultaneously with the filing of the application of the investor. Approval is also simultaneous.   
iii. The parents of the investor and the financially dependent adult children (over 18 years old) of the investor may submit their application only after the completion of the naturalization procedure of the investor.   
Clarifications for family members:  

1. The parents of the investor must be in possession of a permanent residence in Cyprus purchased for at least €500,000.00 plus VAT.  The parents of the investor and the investor can purchase jointly one residence (dwelling) provided that the purchase price is at least €1,000,000.00 plus VAT.    

2. Financially dependent adult children are the following categories, 
a. Students up to the age of 28 years, who are students at a tertiary institution and who have as their main activity the attendance of a full time course with the objective of obtaining a tertiary title, namely certificate, diploma, higher diploma, degree (Bachelor) and postgraduate (Master), which may include a preparatory course or lesson for the said studies, the duration of which must not exceed two academic semesters (2 half years). Study courses which lead to obtaining a professional title (such as Certified/Chartered Accountant, Barrister etc.) are not included the definition.   
b. Persons with serious physical or mental incapacity, who are incapable to work.

E. BOTH SCHEMES IN FORCE CONCURRENTLY (PREVIOUS SCHEME - ONLY UNTIL 31.10.2016)   
Applications which have been submitted on the basis of the old Scheme will be valid on the basis of the provisions of the old Scheme. The applicants are able to withdraw their application and submit a new application based on this Scheme if they so wish. Until the 31st of October 2016 both Schemes shall be in force and the interested investor applicant can submit his or her application on the basis of any of the two Schemes.