INFORMATION ABOUT THE CYPRUS INVESTMENT PROGRAMME
The Cyprus Investment Programme (the “Programme”) is the most attractive, reliable and fastest scheme introduced by the Republic of Cyprus for Investors (non-Cypriot citizens) and their families in obtaining the Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization.
Amongst the key factors that make Cyprus an attractive place for investors are its geographical position, being situated at the crossroads of three continents namely Europe, Asia and Africa, its highly attractive and stable tax regime and its relatively straight forward legislative system based on the English Common Law. Combining the above, a potential investor shall be able to enjoy all the security, safety and stability for himself as well as his family.
REVISIONS TO THE PROGRAMME CRITERIA
The Government of Cyprus has revised and amended the criteria and terms under the Programme based on which non–Cypriot investors and their families may submit applications and such criteria have being put into effect as from 26.2.2019 and relate to all applications submitted after 15.5.2019.
(i) The investor is obliged to make a donation amounting to €75,000 to the “Research Promotion Foundation” to promote the creation of an entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. This requirement can be waived provided that:
- The applicant has invested as least €75,000 in a certified innovative enterprise or social welfare enterprise; or
- The applicant has made an investment in the financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations of a total amount equal to 20% of the required investment amount (i.e. €400,000) whose operations fall within the primary sector of the economy, or the secondary sector of the economy excluding constructions, or in the sector of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
- The applicant is obliged to make a donation of €75,000 to the “Cyprus Land Development Corporation” with the purpose of contribution towards the implementation of affordable community housing projects and other housing schemes. This obligation cannot be waived.
A2. Investment In Real Estate, Land Development And Infrastructure Projects
The applicant may engage in a minimum investment of €2 million in the purchase and/or construction of buildings including, but not limited to, residential or commercial developments and/or developments in the tourism sector and/or other infrastructure projects.
However, if the investment relates to the purchase of land for the purpose of its development, the applicant would need to submit a business plan for approval to the relevant authorities. In the case where the investment shall involve the development of land, a Town Planning Permit will be required to be submitted with the citizenship application, provided that it is required by the Town and Country Planning Law. It is understood that investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded.
It is worth noting that an applicant who has elected to invest only in residential real estate will benefit from the fact that his permanent residence will count towards the investment threshold.
Where the real estate purchased by the applicant is being used as his/her permanent residence, it can never be disposed of and must be held indefinitely.
A3. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations
The applicant may engage in a minimum investment of €2 million for the purchase or subscription or participation in companies or organizations incorporated in the Republic of Cyprus, such companies having established adequate physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus and having employed at least five Cypriot or EU nationals employees who have also been permanent residents in the Republic of Cyprus for a continuous period of five years preceding the date of the application.
- Investment in alternative investment funds or registered alternative investment funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (“CySec”)
The Applicant can purchase financial assets of at least €2 million from alternative investment funds (“AIFs”) or registered alternative investment funds (“RAIFs”), whose activities are operated in Cyprus and they are licensed and supervised by CySec. The administrator/auditor (if applicable) of the fund is obliged to report to the Ministries on an annual basis with reference to the initial investment amount.
Investments in the AIFs, as well as the possibility to invest up to €200,000 in the Cyprus Stock Exchange’s secondary market, shall also provide an option to the applicant under the Programme.
- Combination of Investments
An applicant may elect to invest in a combination of more than one type of investments, provided that the total investment amount is not less than €2 million.
Disposal of the investments
A successful applicant may dispose of the said investments but only after a period of five years from the date of his/her naturalization, noting that where the investment relates to the development of property(ies) under construction, the required period of five years will commence on the date that the town-planning permit is issued, with the exception of a purchase of a real estate which is being used by the applicant as his/her permanent residence, pursuant to which such estate can never be disposed of and must be held indefinitely.
Naturalization by Exception
Non-Cypriot investors can acquire the Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization. A high-ranking senior manager may apply, provided that he/she receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic of Cyprus tax revenues of at least €100,000 over a three year period and provided that such tax has already been paid or prepaid.
The applicant should have made the necessary investments during the 3 (three) years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least 5 (five) years as from the date of the naturalization.
ADDITIONAL CHANGES INTRODUCED TO THE CRITERIA FOLLOWING RECENT AMENDMENTS OF 26 FEBRUARY 2019
- The investor is required to maintain the investment for the period of at least 5 years from the date of naturalization instead of 3 years upon obtaining approval from the Ministry of Finance.
- In case where real estate is acquired for the purpose of use as a permanent residence and which residence had already been used for the purposes of the Programme, the investment threshold amount increases from €2 million to €2.5 million.
- Investment made in the Cyprus shipping industry will be considered as eligible criterion for the Programme.
- The investment in Government bonds has been abolished.
- The applicant must be a holder of a valid Schengen visa. Third-Country nationals that do not require an entry visa for travelling in European Union member-states, as well as citizens of European Union Member States are excluded from this obligation.
- In cases of residential units that have already been used for the purposes of the Programme and will be reused within the same Programme, and in cases where the applicant has made investments in residential unit(s) under the "Investment in Immovable Property, Land Development and Infrastructure Projects" criterion, then it is not required to purchase another private residence in the Republic of Cyprus, if at least one of these housing units is worth at least €500,000. This applies if the 3 total investments, including private residence, amount to at least €2.5 million.
- Any applicant who has applied for the acquisition of citizenship in any other Member State of the EU and has been rejected, will not be entitled to acquire the Cypriot citizenship within the framework of the Programme.