Through the “Cyprus Investment Program”, non-Cypriot citizens may apply to become Cyprus citizens by investing in the local economy, provided that the relevant criteria is fulfilled. The Program is governed by a robust and well-rounded regulatory framework, to ensure the protection of investors, as well as to prevent any violations.
The applicant needs to invest at least €2.000.000 and acquire a permanent, privately-owned residence with a value of at least €500.000, plus VAT (if applicable). However, if the investment of €2.000.000 is made in residential buildings-immovable properties with one having at least a value of €500.000, then a purchase of an additional residence is not required. The spouse, minor and adult children up to 28 years old, who are full time students at a higher education institution, and are financially dependent on the main applicant, are also eligible to apply for citizenship, as well as disabled dependent adult children, who are unable to work. Furthermore, the parents of the applicant are also eligible, provided that they acquire an additional, permanent, privately-owned residence in Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus VAT (if applicable).
Prior to the application for naturalization, the applicant as well as the eligible adult family members, must obtain a residence permit for a period of at least 6 months. If the applicant or the eligible adult family members do not have a permanent residence permit, they may submit the relevant permanent residency application simultaneously with the application for naturalization, under Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law. In the event the application for naturalization is rejected for any reason, the permit will be cancelled.
Applicants who have had an application for Citizenship rejected by any other European country, or do not have a Clean Criminal Record Certificate, or are included in the list of persons whose assets have been frozen as the result of sanctions within the boundaries of the EU, are not allowed to submit an application for naturalisation under the Cyprus Investment Program. Additionally, following the amendments made in July 2019, applicants who are classified as “High Risk Persons” are no longer allowed to submit an application for naturalization under the Program.
Before and during the examination process, enhanced due diligence measures will be applied.
The investment must be kept for a period of 5 years before disposal, noting ownership of a privately-owned property of at least €500.000 must be retained at all times.
Investors are obliged to donate at least €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation and a further €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation. The donation can be made after the approval of the application is obtained.
Any amount paid, further to the minimum donation of €75.000, can be used for the purposes of supplementing the total investment amount. In the event an investment has been made of at least of €75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise or certified social enterprise, the abovementioned donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation is waived. In addition, this obligation is waived if an investment of at least €400.000 is made in a company, which is operating in the Primary or Secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions) or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
Investment can be made in the purchase or construction of buildings or other land development projects (land situated in a no-building zone area is excluded) or other infrastructure projects for an amount of at least €2.000.000. If the investment of €2.000.000 is in residential property with one of a value of at least €500.000, then this is considered part of the total investment. If the applicant wishes to purchase a resale property that has been used by a previous investor eligible under the Program, then the amount of the investment is increased up to €2.500.000.
Investment of at least €2.000.000 can be made in the purchase or participation in businesses or companies that are based and operating in Cyprus, with a significant tangible presence. Additionally, the businesses or companies should employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens or EU citizens. The minimum number of employees shall increase, in the event that more than one applicant invests simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company. It is understood that the invested amount must be used by the business or company in Cyprus exclusively, towards the investment objectives of these companies.
Investment in the area of shipping can be effected under this sector, subject to specific measurable criteria, which will be determined equally by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Deputy Ministry.
Investments can be made in the acquisition of units of at least €2.000.000 from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) or Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) or investments in the purchasing of financial assets of Cypriot businesses or companies, such as bonds, bills and securities. The said AIFs or RAIFs may be permitted to invest an amount not exceeding €200.000 in the secondary market stock-market values of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
A combination of the above investments is allowed, provided that the total amount of the investment will be at least up to €2.000.000.