Our Law Firm provides the necessary and relevant legal advice and assistance to clients who wish to invest in the Cyprus Investment Program.
The main purpose of the Cyprus Investment Program is to encourage foreign direct investment and to attract high net worth individuals (HNWI) to establish their business in the Republic of Cyprus.
Article 111A of the Civil Registry Law 141(I) 2002 as amended allows the Council of Ministers to bypass the conditions set by Table 3 of the Law under which an applicant for Cyprus citizenship should be living and working in Cyprus continuously for at least 7 years and provides for the Cyprus Investment Program that allows acquisition of honorary citizenship by investment within a minimum time period of 6 months to individuals for reasons of public interest. Furthermore, the Council of Ministers has absolute discretion on its decision to approve the application or to revoke any approval in case there is a breach of any condition subject to the CIP.
- Cyprus Investment Program provides the following benefits:
a) The investor and his family can freely reside, work, study, have business in any of the EU-member states as well as in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.
b) The holder of Cyprus passport can travel visa-free in more than 150 countries.
c) The wife and children under 18 years of age of the holder of Cyprus citizenship can file application for Cyprus citizenship once the husband has acquired it. Children being students for a first bachelor or master’s degree between 18 and 20 years of age can also apply. Furthermore, the age limit is irrelevant for children suffering from permanent disability. The passport is issued also for all financially dependent children (up to 28 years old). All next generations of investor retain Cyprus citizenship.
d) The parents of the applicant can be eligible for citizenship with the purchase of an additional residence valued at € 500,000 and members of the same family who are applicants can invest collectively provided the global investment covers the amount of € 500,000 per applicant.
e) Dual citizenship is permitted. Acquisition of Cyprus citizenship is not reported to other countries.
f) The procedure leading to the acquisition of citizenship takes a minimum period of at least 6 months to be completed (holidays excluded).
g) No history and language proficiency tests requirement.
- The conditions applying to the applicant for the Cyprus Investment Program are as follows:
a) The applicant must have a clean criminal record. This implies the following:
-His/her name must not be included in the list of persons whose assets, within the boundaries of the European Union, have been frozen as the result of sanctions.
-An applicant whose application for citizenship in any other member-state of the European Union had been rejected, is not eligible to apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Program.
-This also applies to family members of the investor that are eligible to apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship.
Furthermore, the following documents must be submitted to the authorities:
(i) Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
(ii) Due Diligence Report issued through an internationally accepted database ensured through a subscription (e.g. World Check, LexisNexis Diligence, etc.). The report must be dated no later than thirty days from the date of its submission.
(iii) Declaration by the applicant concerning any citizenship applications he/she may have submitted in any other member-state or member-states of the European Union.
b) The applicant must invest in advance in a permanent privately-owned residence property in Cyprus of a market value of at least € 500.000 +VAT.
This provision does not apply if the applicant has invested in housing unit/units on the basis of the second main investment option ‘Direct investments in real estate, developments & infrastructure’ listed below, as long as at least one of these housing units is worth at least €500,000, plus VAT, and provided that the applicant retains the possession of the residence for life.
However, if the applicant has invested in housing units that have already being used for the purpose of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship via the Program, the above provision will be in force provided that the total amount of the investments, including the privately-owned residence, is at least € 2,5 million.
In case that the purchase value of the permanent privately-owned residence in Cyprus exceeds the amount of € 500,000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount required for the investment.
Members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of this home-property covers the amount of €500.000 per each applicant.
c) The applicant must hold a residence permit for a period of at least 6 months in order to be issued a passport. If the applicant does not already hold a residence permit, he/she may apply for an immigration permit on the basis of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law, simultaneously with the application for naturalization.
It is noted that all of the above also apply for the adult members of the family of the investor, who will apply for naturalization.
In case the application for naturalization is rejected for any reason, the immigration permit, obtained in accordance with the provisions of this decision, will be canceled immediately. There is still no requirement for the investor to live in Cyprus.
d) The applicant must maintain the investment in Cyprus for at least 5years, can enjoy the financial benefits of his investment during this time period, and then can sell all properties except for the € 500.000 + VAT initial property which must remain in the possession of the investor.
e) The applicant must have made the investment during the 3 years preceding the application date. The investor can replace the investment, within the period of 5 years upon prior approval from the Ministry of Finance.
f) The applicant must be a non-Cypriot citizen who invests either personally or through a company or companies in which he is a shareholder, or through investments made by his spouse or jointly, or as a high-ranking senior manager of a company or companies who generates a minimum € 100,000 tax revenue over a three-year period and that can invest in one of the four manners further described further below.
g) The applicant must make a donation of no less than € 75,000 to the “Research and Innovation Foundation”. If the applicant donates more than €75.000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made via one of the four possible options set out below. However, the obligation to donate is lifted:
– if the applicant has invested at least € 75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise (i.e. an enterprise that had acquired the relevant certificate by the Ministry of Finance) or a certified social enterprise, and/or
– if the applicant has made an investment under the third investment option ‘Incorporating, acquiring or investing in Cyprus companies’ set out below, of a total amount equal to the 20% of the required investment amount (i.e. €400.000) of the abovementioned option in a company whose operations fall within the primary sector of the economy, or the secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
h) The applicant must make a donation of no less than € 75,000 to the “Cyprus Land Development Corporation” for the financing of housing schemes for affordable housing, but also for the materialization of other housing schemes/measures. If the applicant donates more than €75.000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made via one of the four possible options set out further below.
i) The applicant must be a holder of a valid Schengen visa. This condition does not apply to third-Country nationals that do not require an entry visa for travelling in EU member-states, and citizens of EU Member States. The above applies to family members of the investor that are eligible to apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship.
j) There is no more possibility to reduce the investment benchmark through a Collective Investment.
Further and additionally to the € 500,000 permanent residence mentioned above there are 4 different options for an applicant to invest in the Cyprus Investment Program:
1.Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Registered Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission
The applicant should have bought units of at least € 2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) or Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed/registered and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec) and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Program or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. It is permitted for these AIFs or RAIFs to invest in secondary market stock-market values of the Cyprus Stock Exchange an amount that does not exceed the €200.000.
The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years, therefore in order to supervise this condition, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministry of Finance with reference to the value of the initial investment.
The applicant can also opt to purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations of at least € 2,0 million, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion. It is noted that the purchase by an AIF or RAIF of units of other AIFs or RAIFs is not considered eligible.
The list of following all relevant documents, i.e. financial asset title, CySec confirmation, etc. that must be provided to the authorities will be provided in due time by our office.
2.Direct investments in real estate, developments & infrastructure
The applicant must invest a total of € 2 million + VAT as direct investment in purchase and development of residential real estate, commercial real estate, development projects including housing units in the tourist sector or other infrastructure projects. Investments must be on land which can be developed and must be accompanied by a development plan which must be approved by the relevant authorities. Land which does not fall in the specific zones will be excluded from the provisions.
This investment option allows the applicant to skip the financial requirement set under c) of article 2 above, thus reducing the overall investment by € 500.000 +VAT, as long as the applicant complies with all conditions set under this article. However, in the event residential property acquired had already been used for the purposes of the Cyprus Investment Program, the requirement for a permanent privately-owned residence property in Cyprus of a market value of at least € 500.000 +VAT set under article 2 applies.
The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years.
In case where the property is under construction, at least 5% of the total value of the property must be blocked via a bank guarantee, the relevant amount will only be released to the Vendor upon completion of the property;
In case where there is a mortgage on the property to be acquired, a bank waiver letter must be in place;
An evaluation certificate from an independent registered land surveyor may be required by the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Finance.
The list of following all relevant documents, i.e. planning permit, sale agreement, etc. that must be provided to the authorities will be provided in due time by our office.
3.Incorporating, acquiring or investing in Cyprus companies
The applicant must invest a total of € 2 million + VAT in companies residing and operating in Cyprus that he has acquired, incorporated or in which he has participated.
Investments in the shipping sector are eligible on the basis of measurable criteria that will be determined jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Deputy Ministry.
The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years.
Such companies must have a physical presence in Cyprus (substance) and employ at least 5 Cypriot nationals or EU citizens who have been legally residing in Cyprus for a continuous period of at least 5 years. Furthermore, they have the obligation to turn deposits into shares.
The list of following all relevant documents, i.e. shareholders’ certificate, wire transfer, etc. that must be provided to the authorities will be provided in due time by our office.
The applicant can choose a combination of the above and invest a total of at least € 2 million + VAT. The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 5 years.