Cyprus

Naturalization of lnvestors by Exception Scheme

Cyprus Immigration

Cyprus Naturalization of lnvestors by Exception Scheme

As a part of its policies aiming to attract foreign investors in Cyprus the Council of Ministers, on the 19th of March 2014, revised the “Scheme for Naturalization of non-Cypriot investors by exception” and, thus, established the new financial criteria based on which non–Cypriot entrepreneurs/ investors may acquire the Cypriot citizenship.

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Cyprus boasts a rich and diverse culture, mild Mediterranean climate, a safe and stable setting which is ideal for raising families, and perfect location for business and travelling. Investors also look at Cyprus for business and investment purposes recognizing numerous investment opportunities.

Benefits of the program:

  • Fast-track procedure allowing for direct path to citizenship within three months;
  • No physical residence requirements during or after the application procedure (the only requirement is for one visit every 7 years);
  • No language requirements for residence or citizenship;
  • No obligation to relinquish current nationality;
  • Low tax rates and free trade within the EU;
  • Unrestricted right to live, work and study in Europe;
  • Right to own land in an EU member state;
  • Strategic geographical location, forming a bridge between the EU, the Middle East, and North Africa with direct access to the Mediterranean Sea;
  • Low crime rate, excellent education system with a number of high standard schools and universities and first-rate healthcare;
  • An outstanding holiday destination.

Investment criteria

Offered in accordance with the Civil Registry Laws 2002-2013, the Naturalization of Investors by Exception Scheme, the program is one of the fastest to lead to residence and citizenship in Europe. To qualify for application, you will need to meet one of the requirements outlined in the “Investment Options” section.

Application criteria

In addition to making a financial investment, applicants must also meet the following requirements:

  • Must have a valid passport;
  • Provide documents supporting the source and origin of the declared funds for investment;
  • Provide proof that the applicant has no criminal record;
  • The applicant’s name must not be included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the EU;
  • Payment of application fees.

According to Regulations issued by virtue of the Civil Registry Laws, foreign investors who wish to obtain Cypriot citizenship by investment need to meet the following requirements:

  • Must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500,000 plus applicable VAT;
  • Must choose one of the prescribed investment options and maintain it for the required duration.

INVESTMENT OPTIONS

1. Mixed investments and a donation to a state fund

Applicants choosing this option must deposit €2 million for the purchase of shares and/or bonds of the State Investment Company (under formation) and should make a donation of at least €500,000 to the Research and Technology Fund.

Investors need to maintain the shares and/or bonds for a period of three years.

2. Direct investment

Applicants choosing this option must make a direct investment of at least €5 million in the purchase of one of the below:

  • Property (see list of properties below)
  • Businesses or companies
  • Financial assets
  • Investors need to maintain ownership of the assets for a period of three years.

3. Bank deposit

Applicants choosing this option must have a fixed term deposit of at least €5 million for three years in a Cypriot bank.

4. Combination of options 1, 2 and 3

Combination of options 1, 2 and 3 amounting to at least €5 million

5. Business activities

Applicants choosing this option must be shareholders or beneficiary owners of a company, the management of which is in the Republic of Cyprus and the company has contributed at least €500,000 per annum, in the past three years to state funds (corporate tax, VAT, etc.).

6. Persons whose deposits with the Bank of Cyprus or Popular bank have been impaired

Applicants that have incurred an impairment in deposits on one or both of the aforementioned Banks amounting to a total of at least €3 million can apply for Cypriot citizenship. In case that the impairment incurred is less than €3 million, one can cover the difference by making an additional investment in the above-mentioned options.

  • ARTON INDEX SCORE 66%

Updated yearly, the Arton Index is an overall assessment and comparative benchmark of the country and its investment program.


In 2011 Cyprus first introduced a Citizenship-by-Investment program, which has undergone several updates since. Note that the Cypriot Government is currently reviewing the program, and it is expected that the investment requirements will be further lowered from current levels and that a residence requirement of at least one year will apply, following the agreement reached between Malta and the European Commission, which introduced such a requirement. This page will be updated as soon as the Cypriot government’s revised criteria for its program are made public.The currently applicable Council of Minister’s decision of May 24, 2013, which is still in force, enables foreign nationals to gain citizenship if they meet certain criteria set out by the Ministry of Interior.

Grant of the Cypriot citizenship to non–Cypriot entrepreneurs/ investors through the “Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception”

A non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the following economic 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 even as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ companies that meets one of economic criteria (A), 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.

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

In the case where, following a periodic inspection, it has been ascertained that any condition is being circumvented, the Naturalization may be revoked.

Α. CRITERIA

Α.1 Investment in government bonds:

The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million.

or

Α.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 €5,0 million.

It is noted that these financial assets can be purchased either at issuance, or subsequently by the market.

or

Α.3 Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 5,0 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).

or

Α.4 Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 5,0 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 five (5) Cypriot citizens.

It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits into shares is included in this criterion.

or

Α.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 €5,0 million

or

Α.6 Combination of the aforementioned criteria Α.1 (Investment in government bonds), Α.2 (Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations), Α.3 (Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects), Α.4 (Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies) και Α.5 (Deposits in Cypriot banks):

The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5,0 million.

or

Α.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 €3,0 million.

In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his/her deposits under €3,0 million he/she may apply, having made an additional investment through the criteria A.1 (Investment in Government bonds), A.2 (Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations), A3 (Investment in real estate, land development or infrastructure projects), A.4 (Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies) and A.5 (Deposits in Cypriot Banks) for the balance of the required amount of the aforementioned criteria.

or

Α.8 Major Collective Investments:

The Council of Ministers shall have the right on special occasions, to reduce the above criteria (Α.1 (Investment in Government Bonds), Α.2 (Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations), Α.3 (Investment in real estate, land development or infrastructure projects) and Α.4 (Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies):

I. To €2,5 millions for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €12,5 millions.

II. To €2,0 millions for investors who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is more than €12.5 millions. It is noted that this present provision (I), will be in force until the 1st of June 2014.

In addition, it is noted that for the above mentioned provisions (Ι) and (ΙΙ), the investment for the Criteria Α1 until Α4 may be realized through a different salesman/ provider (physical or legal entity).

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. 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, plus V.A.T.

It is noted that members of the same family, which apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of this home-property covers the amount of € 500.000 per each applicant.

C. SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS

In order to examine any applications the submission of the form (M127) and of the following is required:

1. Clean Criminal Record:

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

2. 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 paying the agreed purchase price

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

As for the investment Criteria the following are required, depending on the case:

(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 beneficiary 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 receipt from the Department of Inland Revenue is additionally required.

Any other document that might be requested either by the Ministry of Interior, or by the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, depending on the case, the following are required:

1. Investment in Government bonds

(a) Receipts from the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus for the purchase of the Government bonds.

2. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations

(a) Title/titles and other documents regarding the financial assets.

(b) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization

3. 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 paying the agreed purchase price

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

4. Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies

(a) Contract of sale.

(b) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(c) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficiary owner of the company/ companies

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization

(e) Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot employees in the company

(f) Confirmation from the Inland Revenues Department as to the taxable income of the Cypriot employees in the companies or businesses that the applicant invested in.

5. Deposits in Cypriot banks

(a) Confirmation from Cypriot banks as to the fixed term deposits for three years of the applicant or the companies in which he is the beneficiary owner or of the trust in which he is the beneficiary owner

(b) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution

6. Impairment of deposits in the Popular Bank

(a) Confirmation as to the level and the time of the impairment of the deposits

(b) In the case of deposits of companies of which the applicant is the beneficiary owner, the Certificate of Registration of the Company by the Registrar of Companies and/or any other evidence, along with a declaration from the trustee of the funds confirming the beneficial owner is to be attached

None of the above affect the absolute discretion of the Council of Ministers in taking a Decision.


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