Cypriot Citizenship by exception
Our Law Firm provides legal advice to non-Europeans for the acquisition of EU Cyprus citizenship.
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 Citizenship by Exception that allows direct short-term acquisition of honorary citizenship by investment to individuals for reasons of public interest.
Firstly, citizenship by exception provides the following benefits:
a) The Cyprus passport is a full EU passport. 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 157 countries.
c) The passport is issued also for the investor’s spouse and all financially dependent children (up to 28 years old).
All next generations of investor retain EU citizenship.
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.
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 takes around 3 months to be completed (holidays excluded).
g) No donation requirement to the Cyprus government
h) No history and language proficiency tests requirement.
Secondly, the conditions for the application for citizenship by exception are as follows:
a) Must have a clean criminal record
b) Must be at least 30 years old
c) Must invest in advance in a permanent residence property in Cyprus of a market value of at least
€ 500.000 +VAT
d) Must not appear in any list of individuals whose property within the EU is placed under restrictions
e) Must travel to Cyprus to justify his relation to the country at least once every 2 years.
f) Must hold a residence permit for Cyprus in order to be issued a passport: for this purpose, he/she should submit an application for a residence permit, which will be issued simultaneously with the filing of the Citizenship application. The obtaining of residence permit is a formality due to EU regulation. There is still no requirement for the investor to live in Cyprus.
g) Must maintain the investment in Cyprus for at least 3 years and call then sell all properties except for the € 500.000 + VAT initial property which must remain in the possession of the investor.
h) Must have made the investment during the 3 years preceding the application date.
i) 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.
Please note that 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 ways for an applicant to acquire Cyprus citizenship by exception:
1.Investment in Investment Funds, financial assets of Cyprus Companies or Cyprus Organizations
The applicant must invest a total of € 2 million + VAT an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) registered and whose activities are operated in the Republic of Cyprus and licensed and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec), or in financial assets of Cyprus entities or organizations. The administrator of the Fund is obliged to report to the relevant Ministries on an annual basis, that the initial investment amount is in place.
Any other investments which are approved by the Ministry of Finance may qualify for the present investment scheme. Financial assets mainly include bonds, securities, debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus and can be purchased at the issuance or subsequently to the purchase. The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 3 years.
2.Direct investments in real estate, developments & infrastructure
Further to the € 500,000 +VAT permanent residence, the applicant can reduce the investment from € 2 million + VAT to € 1, 5 million +VAT as long as it is a 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. The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 3 years.
Note: under this option, the purchase of another permanent residence in Cyprus is not required as long as 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, therefore the overall investment can be reduced to € 2 million.
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. The investment must be maintained for a minimum period of 3 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 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 3 years.
- a) Investments in State Bonds of up to € 500,000
b) Investment in Investment Funds, financial assets of Cyprus Companies or Cyprus Organizations
- c) Direct investments in real estate, developments & infrastructure
d) Incorporating, acquiring or investing in Cyprus companies