The Cyprus government has approved new changes to the cypriot citizenship by investment scheme effective from May 2019. Currently Cyprus offers citizenship to foreign investors for €2 million euros, which requires buying a home for half a million euros.
Cyprus issued citizenships to 1,864 investors since 2013 raising some EUR 6.6 billion euros with 24% of total transactions invested in construction and real estate sector and only contributed to 1.2% of GDP growth.
The new amendments changes proposed for 2019 are as follows
1. Increase in Investment
- The minimum investment for investments other than residential real estate, increased to €2.5 million euros, which includes buying of €500,000 residential home
- Applicants must donate €75,000 to Cyprus research and innovation fund, also further €75,000 to Cyprus Land development agency. In total €150,000 must be donated to development of Cyprus.
Resale of property
The minimum for resale of existing properties increased to €2.5 million euros. New properties still remain €2 million
2. Government bonds
The Government bond option will be scrapped
3. Schengen visa requirement
Applicants must have had a schengen visa as a mandatory requirement to apply for Cyprus citizenship by investment scheme. This also means applicants are previously vetted by EU member states. Those who are refused of schengen visa cannot apply.
4. Enhanced Due Diligence
The Due diligence will be tightened and cyprus will do a four tier enhanced due diligence checks on all applications by appointing specialized due diligence firms
5. Investment period increased
The investment holding period is increased to 5 years (from 3 years). Properties or investments cannot be resold before 5 years else citizenship will be revoked.
6. Citizenship refused by EU member states
n applicant who has applied for citizenship in any other Member State of the European Union and who has been refused will not be entitled to obtain Cypriot citizenship.
7. Additional investments
Investments in shipping sector will be eligible and will be included as new option.
Cyprus citizenship scheme will be more transparent and annual report will be published.
9. Residence requirements
Applicants must have a residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus for at least six months prior to naturalization as a Cypriot citizen. Applicants are required to closely engaged in Cyprus although they are not required to live permanently in Cyprus.
10. Scheme Limit
The Cyprus citizenship by investment scheme is limited to 700 passports per year