Following the decision of the Council of Ministers in Cyprus (March 2014) detailing ways by which a foreign individual can apply for Cyprus Citizenship we hereby provide an outline of the criteria and the procedure that needs to be followed by people interested. One should note that this is different from the application for Cyprus Permanent Residence (which is not so complicated and requires much less investment)
Key Benefits of the Scheme
• Free Movement of People - Freely travel and reside (and work) within the EU
• All family members can obtain Cyprus citizenship i.e spouse of applicant, children aged under 18 years, and adult dependent children (aged over 18 years and up to 27 years)
• Free Movement of Capital - Transfer any amount of money from any EU Member State to another, purchase of property in any EU Member State of choice and invest in any activities of choice
• Free Movement of Services - Establishment and free movement of services - individual citizens and companies can offer services without hindrance in all EU Member States
• Free Movement of Goods - All goods produced in EU Member States can be transferred freely from any Member State to another
Key information on the Scheme
As per the Decision, a non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the following economic criteria, either personally or through a company/ companies in which he/ she participates as a shareholder - proportionally based on the percentage of participation, or even as a high-ranking Senior Manager of a company/ companies that meets one of economic criteria, may apply for the acquisition of the 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 since the date of the Naturalization.
One of the following Economic Criteria (or a combination where applicable) must be met by the main applicant:
A.1 Investment in government bonds:
The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million.
A.2 Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations:
The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations (bonds/ securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €5 million. It is noted that these financial assets can be purchased either at issuance, or subsequently by the market.
A.3 Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:
The applicant must have made an investment of at least €5 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).
A.4 Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:
The applicant must have made an investment of at least €5 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens. It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits into shares is included in this criterion.
A.5 Deposits in Cypriot banks:
The applicant must have personal fixed term deposits for three years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he/she is the beneficiary owner) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million. (In this case the bank can provide a loan to the individual of an amount equal to the one deposited so that the applicant will only be charged with the spread between the lending and deposit rates. (e.g. 1%)
A.6 Combination of the aforementioned criteria ?.1, ?.2 , ?.3, ?.4 and ?.5:
The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5 million.
A.7 Persons whose deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd have been impaired due to the measures implemented after the 15th March 2013:
The applicant has incurred an impairment in deposits amounting to a total of at least €3 million.
In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his/her deposits under €3 million he/she may apply, having made an additional investment through the criteria A.1, A.2, A.3, A.4 and A.5 for the balance of the required amount of the aforementioned criteria.
A.8 Major Collective Investments:
The Council of Ministers shall have the right on special occasions, to reduce the above criteria (A.1 (Investment in Government Bonds), A.2 (Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations), A.3 (Investment in real estate, land development or infrastructure projects) and A.4 (Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies) - To €2.5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €12.5 million.
In addition, it is noted that for the above mentioned provision (A), the investment for the Criteria A1 until A4 may be realized through a different salesman/ provider (physical or legal entity).
In addition to the criteria mentioned above, the Investor must fulfil the following Terms and Conditions:
- Clean Criminal Record issued at the country of origin or the country of residence if it differs (to be obtained by the applicant).
- Confirmation that the applicant’s name is not included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union (the responsibility to obtain this is with the Ministry of Interior).
- Own a private residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase cost of which must exceed the amount of €500.000 plus VAT and must be fully paid.
If through periodic inspections by Authorities, it is ascertained that any condition is violated, the Cyprus naturalisation may be revoked. It is advisable that the investor pays one visit to Cyprus before application.
Key information to have in mind
• Applicant does not become a tax resident in Cyprus, unless he/she spends more than 183 days in any one calendar year
• The approval of Citizenship under the relevant Decision is granted by the Cyprus Council of Ministers
• The application package is submitted to the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Finance assesses the economic criteria
• Main applicant and his/her spouse apply jointly. Upon approval, children’s applications follow
• After examination by the two Ministries, the application is presented to the Council of Ministers
• The application processing usually takes 3-6 months
• The Council of Ministers has complete discretionary power regarding these decisions