Investors look at Cyprus for business and investment purposes, recognising many investment opportunities. There are four legal ways for obtaining citizenship of Cyprus for non-EU citizens (including Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Chinese citizens):
1. Cyprus citizenship through investment – according to the "Citizenship by Investment" Program.
2. Cyprus citizenship by naturalisation (for people who have legally resided on the territory of Cyprus for at least 7 years).
3. Cyprus citizenship through marriage with a Cyprus citizen; and
4. Cyprus citizenship due to Cypriot origins.
The simplest and fastest way to obtain Cypriot citizenship is through the "Citizenship by Investment Program", as according to the Program the requirements of potential members are minimal. The Government of Cyprus has established and revised the "Scheme for Naturalisation of non-Cypriot investors by exception" amended in 2016.
The Program is one of the simplest among similar programs in Europe and enables the interested party to obtain Cyprus citizenship through investment in an unprecedentedly fast way.
What are the advantages of obtaining Cyprus citizenship for non-EU citizens?
There are many advantages which make Cyprus a very comfortable place for living and doing business.
The country has about 300 sunny days in the year, 7-8 months swimming season, a great number of the cleanest blue flag beaches. Cyprus has a good ecological situation without large industrial enterprises polluting the environment.
2. Quality of Life:
Cyprus is a developed country with high standards of living, high-quality education with many reputable state and private educational institutions, social and medical security systems.
Cyprus is a reliable jurisdiction that offers the stability of its financial and political system, reliable legislative and regulatory framework, providing a wide range of possibilities for efficient tax planning and optimisation. Tax legislation in Cyprus is simple and predictable. As the country needs to attract investments, tax rates are quite low.
4. Living Expenses:
Living expenses in Cyprus are still low in comparison with other developed European countries.
The other significant factor of Cypriot cultural diversity is the English language, which is spoken widely throughout the island.
A Cypriot passport grants its holder all the rights of an EU citizen: education, employment, business in any country of the EU and in Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Automatically granted citizenship:
Cypriot citizenship is granted to the member of the Program and the other spouse and all the children up to 28 years of age who are financially dependent on the applicant. Citizenship is granted automatically to all coming generations of the investor.
According to the terms of the Program, a Cypriot passport may be obtained within a relatively short period of time (6 months), which include three months prior to the approval of the investor's application and three following months prior to obtaining the passport.
The information concerning the participation in the Program and granting citizenship to the applicant and members of his (her) family is treated as strictly confidential and cannot be transferred to competent authorities of any other countries (including the investor's country of the first citizenship or country of permanent residence).
No residence is required:
The investor is not required to live permanently on the territory of Cyprus.
The visa-free regime for 157 countries (including the UK).
Dual citizenship is legally allowed.
No language is required:
No language or history exams are required to be passed by applicants.
Parents may avail of Cypriot citizenship:
The investor's parents may obtain Cypriot citizenship on condition of the acquisition of residential property in Cyprus, the purchase price of each is at least €500.000 (excluding VAT). This option is relatively new since it was introduced in September 2016 as an additional benefit of the Program.
Beneficial for the entire family:
The minimum level of investment is applicable to the whole family.
Moreover, these funds are not treated as non-repayable (unlike in some other countries). The passport will not be nulled even where the investments are withdrawn (recalled) after a period of three years.
What are the possible ways of investment under the terms of the Program?
An investment can be made in the following ways:
1. Purchase or construction of buildings or the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects but excluding land plots. Real estate prices are quite affordable and democratic even in the largest cities of Cyprus.
2. Purchase or formation, or participation in enterprises or companies which have a physical presence and carry on business on the territory of Cyprus and employ at least 5 Cypriot or EU citizens. The other requirement for such companies is significant activity and turnover of such a company or enterprise.
3. Investment in alternative investments funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies (bonds, bills and securities) licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. Such investments shall be kept for at least three years. The value of investment shall be confirmed annually to the Ministry of Finance and to the Ministry of Interior.
4. A combination of investments with the minimum total amount of investments at the level of €2,000,000. Under this option, the investor may purchase up to €500,000 in Cyprus Government bonds, issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance. Acquiring government bonds on the secondary market is not permitted.
What are the basic requirements of investors under the terms of the Program?
• The investor shall invest at least €2,000,000 (excluding VAT). The above- mentioned amount was reduced in 2016 (prior to 2016 it was €2,500,000). The investor shall maintain investments in Cyprus within five years; thereafter these investments may be withdrawn (recalled). However, the investor is required to preserve ownership in a personal real estate to the value of at least €500,000. In any case, residential property may be granted for lease.
• Under any option listed above the investor shall acquire permanent commercial residency within the territory of Cyprus at the cost of at least €500,000 (excluding VAT) and such property shall be retained by the investor for life (unlike the other investments).
• The investor and the member of his (her) family shall have a clean criminal history background, which should be confirmed by reliable documents.
• The investor and the member of his (her) family shall not be included in the list of the persons sanctioned by the EU.
• The investor and the member of his (her) family shall have a residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus to apply for Cyprus citizenship by investment requirements. This requirement is, to a certain extent, a formality implemented by the EU as the investor is granted the above-mentioned permission simultaneously with the submission of the application for naturalisation.
To sum it up, prospective investors are offered a fast, cost-effective and beneficial program to obtain EU citizenship which grants its holder the absolute right to live, work, study and travel within the EU. The simple and clear procedure, minimum list of requirements, possibility to relocate the whole family (including parents) makes this citizenship-by-investment Program unique and unprecedented. Savory & Partners will assist its clients in preparing the list and submitting the requested documents.
Through this partnership, the highly-qualified team at Savory & Partners can help make sure that you are expertly guided through the whole process of acquiring what is widely considered one of the most valuable assets in the world today – the second passport.