Also known as the Cyprus Investment Programme, this opportunity allows foreign individuals and their immediate family members to become citizens of Cyprus and receive the Cypriot passport in an expedited manner. This arrangement is also known under its more generic name as “economic immigration” or “golden passport” programme .
The Cyprus Investment Programme (based on Section 111A of the Cyprus Civil Registry Law) is available to both EU and non-EU nationals.
The advantages of being a Cypriot citizen and holding a Cyprus passport are quite attractive:
- Full EU membership of Cyprus. Cyprus citizens enjoy all the personal and economic freedoms afforded to EU nationals – essentially unrestricted ability to travel, reside, work, study, receive and provide personal services and do business within the entire European Union and the associated non-member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
- Visa-free travel to over 170 countries across the world.
- Very attractive personal taxation benefits – in particular, a 17-year exemption from personal income tax on capital gains, dividend and interest income. Low or moderate taxation on other income types. No inheritance tax.
- No language and no medical testing requirements.
- Permanent residence requirement of only 6 months – which approximately amounts to the time taken by the citizenship application itself to be processed. No requirement to permanently reside in Cyprus after the citizenship is granted.
- Dual citizenship is allowed.
Financial requirements of the Cyprus economic immigration programme
Effectively, under the Cyprus Investment Programme, Cypriot citizenship will be granted to a foreign individual who has committed a significant amount of money to the Cyprus economy. The financial requirements for Cyprus citizenship, as described below, refer to not just one person, but also covers the applicant’s spouse and children (including adult children and also parents, subject to certain additional conditions).
In order to qualify for Cyprus citizenship under the Cyprus Investment Programme, an applicant must fulfill a number of financial requirements. These can be aggregated into two distinct “packages”:
Cyprus Investment Programme – Option A: “Residential property package”:
- Donate €75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.
- Donate €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation or invest the same amount in a designated innovative enterprise (listed as such by Ministry of Finance).
- Purchase a “first sale” residential property in Cyprus for at least €2 million, net of VAT, or a secondary sale residential property in Cyprus for at least €2.5 million, net of VAT, if such property has already featured in a prior citizenship application under CIP.
- Keep the purchased property for at least five years. After the expiry of the 5-year period, the real estate holding can be reduced to €500,000. In view of this provision, it is permitted to initially acquire several properties instead of just one.
Cyprus Investment Programme – Option B: “Business investment package”:
- Donate €75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.
- Donate €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation or invest the same amount in a designated innovative enterprise (listed as such by Ministry of Finance), or invest €400,000 in a company established in Cyprus whose operations fall within designated primary or secondary sectors of the economy, or in the sectors of education, renewable energy, research & development or health.
- Purchase any residential property in Cyprus for at least €500’000.
- Invest the total of €2 million into Cyprus economy through any combination of the following:
- direct capital contribution to a Cyprus-based business (including shipping or construction business), which employs at least five Cypriot or EU nationals;
- direct contribution of funds to an alternative investment fund or other similar investment vehicle that is licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission;
- direct acquisition of “eligible real estate”, which can include commercial or residential real estate or a land with an existing development plan.
As such, the “Business” option is more expensive by about €500’000 – but it also provides more flexibility in terms of investment options available. As such, it can also potentially generate a higher return on the invested capital.
While, under any option, the Cyprus Investment Programme requires to commit significant funds initially, only a small portion of those can really be deemed as “sunk assets” – such as the donation to the government fund and the professional and application fees involved. However, the largest portion of the total “price-tag” is not lost at all – indeed, if the purchase and investment decisions are made wisely, the €2-2.5 million personal investment has a good chance of generating decent capital gains. Which, incidentally, can actually be tax-exempt in most cases.
Personal requirements to qualify under the Cyprus Investment Programme
In addition to the financial requirements, the applicant for Cyprus citizenship must satisfy all of these personal requirements:
- Have a clean criminal record from all prior countries of citizenship or residence;
- Have a valid Shengen visa (unless exempt from this requirement by present nationality);
- NOT be present on the EU Sanctions list (The EU “Consolidated list of Persons, Groups and Entities subject to Financial Sanctions”);
- Provide a sworn personal affidavit to the effect that prior application for citizenship has never been rejected in any other EU country;
- Must have a Cyprus-based bank account, which implies having passed the stringent customer acceptance checks that are customary in all Cyprus banks.
We can assist you all along the way
Our firm is in position to advise You on the intricacies of the Cyprus citizenship requirements and suggest the most appropriate option, depending on your personal circumstances. We can liaise in all involved regulatory authorities and assist with the preparation and filing of the paperwork. We can research and evaluate the various investment options and assist with the formation and development of your business in Cyprus.
Please CONTACT US and we will be glad to help.