The Cypriot citizenship by investment scheme existed since 2007 investment and has come a long way after 10 years, the investment requirement cut to EUR 2 million, down by 92%.

 

Cyprus has become the most popular citizenship scheme for HNW investors in Europe.

 

Origins

 

The decision no 65.824 dated 11 July 2007 establishing the first investor’s citizenship by investment scheme. The scheme required CYP 15 million cyprus pounds, which is equivalent to €25 million euros of today’s value. Cyprus adopted euro in 2008.

 

The granting of Cypriot citizenship is provided for under the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 to 2017. Since 2002, the Council of Ministers in Cyprus had the discretionary power to grant citizenship in exceptional circumstances of high-level services provided to the Republic

Cyprus

Official EU language(s): Greek
EU member country: since 1 May 2004
Currency: Euro.
Euro area member since 1 January 2008
Schengen: Cyprus is currently in the process of joining the Schengen area.

 

Let us take a look at chronology of events related to investment citizenship scheme in Cyprus with the decision of Ministers.

 

2007

Decision no 65.824 dated 11 July 2007 establishing the first investor’s citizenship scheme. The criteria under the first scheme included direct investments in factories, property, etc. of at least 15 million Cyprus Pounds (approximately EUR 26 million), or business activities like setting up a company with an annual turnover of at least 50 million Cyprus Pounds (approximately EUR 85 million) in the year before the application, or investments in new and innovative technologies and research centres in a large scale, or have deposits in Cyprus banks of at least 10 million Cyprus Pounds (approximately EUR 17 million) for the last five years, or a combination of direct investments and deposits in banks up to 15 million Cyprus Pounds (approximately EUR 26 million). The investor had to be more than 30 years old with a clean criminal record and to have a permanent residence in Cyprus.

 

2011

Decision no 71.546 dated 4 January 2011 concerning the granting of citizenship to adult members of the family of investors who were granted the Cypriot citizenship, husbands, wives and financially dependent adult children. This scheme also included children with disabilities.

Decision 72.676 dated 10 October 2011 provided for the requirements and conditions for the exceptional granting of citizenship to foreign investors/businessmen under paragraph 2(f) of Schedule 3 of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 to 20115. Under this decision, the applicant must have had direct investments (property purchase, setting up companies, investing in shares and other values such as bonds of the Republic of Cyprus) or business of at least EUR 10 million or deposits of at least EUR 15 million. Other requirements included the requirement for the applicant to be over 30 years old, a clean criminal record and a place of residence worth more than EUR 500,000.

Decision 74.912 of 15 and 16 April 2013 provided for the requirements and conditions for the exceptional granting of citizenship to foreign investors/businessmen under paragraph 2(f) of Schedule 3 of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 to 2011 and the exceptional granting of citizenship to the spouse and children over 18 years of age of the foreign businessman investor who received citizenship under the Council of Ministers’ Decision. Under this decision, the applicant must have had deposits of at least EUR 3 million or direct investments of at least EUR 5 million (property purchase, setting up companies, investing in shares and other values such as bonds of the Republic of Cyprus). Alternatively, the applicant could be a shareholder of a company registered and working in Cyprus which has paid annually in State funds the amount of EUR 500,000 in the last 5 years before the application submission. The said company must also employ at least 10 Cypriots.

2013

Cyprus hit by financial bailout crisis in 2013

A person who has been affected by the measures taken for the Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank on 15 March 2013 with a loss of at least EUR 3 million could also apply. Other requirements included a clean criminal record and a place of residence worth more than EUR 500,000.

On 30 April 2013, the House of Representatives voted for the Civil Registry amending Law 36(I)/20131 amending the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 referred to above. Under the amendment, new Article 111A was introduced, providing for the Honorary citizenship of an alien citizen (third-country national) for reasons of public interest

Under the new Legislation, the Council of Ministers issued five Decisions. Decision 75.148 dated 24 May 2013 provided for the requirements and conditions for the exceptional granting of citizenship to foreign investors/businessmen under paragraph 2 of Article 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 to 2013 and the exceptional granting of citizenship to the spouse and children over 18 years of age of the foreign businessman investor who received citizenship under the Council of Ministers’ Decision.  Under this Decision, amongst other requirements applicants had the opportunity to apply for citizenship if they invested or donated to the State an amount of at least EUR 2 million or had direct investments of at least EUR 5 million. Other requirements included a clean criminal record and a place of residence worth more than EUR 500,000. Further to that Decision, the Council of Ministers issued Decision 76.668 dated 19 March 20141. This decision further introduced government bonds as a way to invest and be eligible for the investors’ citizenship application for the amount of at least EUR 5 million.

2016

Council of Ministers’ Decision 81.292 dated 13 September 2016 is in force, introducing the “SCHEME FOR NATURALISATION OF INVESTORS IN CYPRUS BY EXCEPTION on the basis of subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2015. This Scheme aims to further encourage Foreign Direct Investment and to attract high net worth individuals to settle and do business in Cyprus. The required investments were reduced to EUR 2 million in real estate or infrastructure projects, bonds/securities or infrastructure projects.

 

2018

 

The Council of Ministers, as a part of its efforts for the further improvement of the “Cyprus Investment Programme” on the 9.1.2018 and 21.5.2018 decided to limit the scheme to 700 applications per year and the establishment of the Committee for Supervision and Control as well as of the CIP Registry of Service Providers for the Cyprus Investment Programme.