The Scheme for Naturalization of non-Cypriot investors by exception is based on subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2019 (the “Scheme”) which was amended by the recent decision of the Council of Ministers published in the Cyprus Government Gazette on 26th of February 2019. The investment options available are as follows:
- Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects
The most popular of the criteria available under the Scheme is the investment in real estate. Under this criterion the applicant is required to make an investment of at least €2 million in real estate located in Cyprus with the purchase price of the family residential home being at least €500.000 plus VAT.
It is noted that investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application.
It is also noted that, as from 15th of May 2019 and onwards if the applicant has invested in housing units that have already being used for the purpose of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship via the Scheme, the total amount of the investments, including the family residential home is at least €2.5 million plus VAT.
- Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses
The applicant is required to purchase shareholding in companies or organisations existing in Cyprus with an investment cost of at least €2 million. The funds must be used towards financing the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a business plan. These companies must employ at least 5 Cypriots or citizens of other European Union member states. As from 26th of February 2019 and onwards, the revised Scheme provides that investments in the shipping sector are also eligible.
- Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Registered Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or organisations that are licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission
The applicant is required to buy units of at least €2 million from an alternative investment fund or registered alternative investment fund established in Cyprus and licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and whose investments are made exclusively in Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria or are in areas approved by the Cyprus Ministry of Finance. The revised Scheme provides that, as from 26th of February 2019 and onwards it is permitted for these (registered) alternative investment funds to invest in secondary market stock-market values of the Cyprus Stock Exchange an amount not exceeding €200.000
- Combination of Investments
The applicant is entitled to proceed with a combination of the above investment options, provided that the total investment amount will amount up to at least €2 million.
Under each of the above investment options, the applicant must own a residence in Cyprus for life, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000 plus VAT.
The applicant must prior to his/her naturalization as a Cypriot citizen hold a permanent residence permit in Cyprus for a period of at least 6 months. If the applicant does not already hold a Permanent Residence Permit he/she may apply for a Permanent Residency Permit simultaneously with the application for citizenship so as not to delay the process.
The Cyprus government has decided to permit the submission of the spouse of the applicant simultaneously with the applicant’s application for citizenship, meaning that both spouses are able to acquire citizenship together.
The applicant must retain the investment for a period of at least 5 years as from the date of his/her naturalization. In accordance with the revised Scheme, the investor may replace the investment during the said period, provided that he/she has obtained beforehand an approval by the Ministry of Finance.
Other criteria in support of the application:
- It is a mandatory requirement under the revised Scheme that the applicant must have donated at least €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation for the promotion of an entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. This obligation is lifted if certain conditions are satisfied;
- In addition to the above, the applicant must have donated also at least €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation specifically for the purpose of implementing affordable housing projects and the implementation of other housing plans/measures;
- As from 15th of May 2019 and onwards, every applicant must hold a valid Schengen visa;
- A certificate of clean criminal record from country of residence duly translated and certified. This requirement is also applicable to the applicant’s spouse;
- Declaration by the applicant concerning any citizenship applications he/she may have submitted in any other member state of the European Union. The revised Scheme provides that as from 26th of February and onwards, an applicant whose application for citizenship in any other member state of the European Union has been rejected, is not eligible to apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through the Cypriot Investment Programme.
- A marriage certificate, duly certified (official and certified translation);
- The birth certificates of the applicant’s children, duly certified (official and certified translation);
- A true copy of a valid passport for the applicant and his/her spouse;
- Curriculum vitae of the applicant and his/her spouse;
- Copy of the Permanent Residence Permit (if available);
- Two passport size photos of each of the applicant and his/her spouse.
- Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts;
- As from 15th of May 2019, with respect to investment by purchase of immovable property including the purchase of a residential property the following documents are required: (a) town-planning permit, (b) a completion certificate of the property (it should be noted that in the event the property is not completed then an amount equal to 5% of the purchase price should be placed in a special account by the seller in favour of the purchaser or the issue of a bank guarantee for the same value) and (c) a bank waiver from the bank that has a mortgage in favour of the property.
Cypriot citizenship can be obtained by the children (under the age of eighteen) of an applicant once the main applicant parent has acquired Cypriot citizenship and provided that both parents consent to the child obtaining Cypriot citizenship.
Cypriot citizenship can be obtained by the financially dependent adult children of the applicant once the main applicant parent has acquired Cypriot citizenship if such adult children fit into either of the following categories: (a) students up to the age of 28 that are attending a university aiming to obtain a diploma, undergraduate degree or master’s degree; or (b) children with severe physical or mental disability that renders them unable to work.
It is now possible for the parents of the applicant to apply for Cypriot citizenship after the main applicant has first acquired Cypriot citizenship. In order for the applicant’s parents to apply for citizenship they must own a residence in Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000 plus VAT. It is noted that the main applicant and his/her parents may collectively acquire a residence in Cyprus, provided that the total purchase price is at least €1 million plus VAT.
The approximate timing for applicants that are not already the holders of a Permanent Residency Permit is 6 months from the submission of the application and supporting document.