Cyprus citizenship by investment scheme

Property
Real Estate
€2M
Purchase of home or residential properties in Cyprus
Bonds
Bonds
€2M
Bonds issued by companies
Shares
Mixed
€2M
Investments in residential and commercial properties
Capital investment
Business
€2M
Investment in share capital in Cypriot businesses and companies

Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, and a member state of the European Union. Cyprus enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate and the currency is Euro. The economy of Cyprus is classified by the World Bank as a high-income economy rated as B+ by S&P. Cyprus is the hub of energy, shipping and an international tourist destination. Cyprus became the EU member state in May 1, 2004 and has close ties member states of the European union. Cyprus is a major hub for international trade and Cyprus is a full EU member country. The country suffered a banking bailout crisis and because of this, the country needs a significant foreign investment to recover. in the near future.

Cyprus island is a popular destination for tourists, attracted beautiful beaches and lively entertainment. Cyprus enjoys tropical Mediterranean climate with about 300 days of sunshine per year. Nicosia is the capital and Limassol is the largest city in Cyprus, besides Larnaca and Pafos. Because of the economic crisis in cyprus, the Government of Cyprus welcomes investors to invest in the country and has made the acquisition of passport with easy procedures and reduced investment amounts.

Cyprus first launched citizenship by investment scheme in 2007, it was only in 2015, the scheme got popular when the investment was reduced to EUR 2 million

Why Cyprus?

  • Robust GDP growth and fastest growing economy in the EU
  • Lowest corporate tax rates in the EU at 12,5%  with Double Tax Treaty network covering more than 60 countries
  • English is second language with 75% of cypriots speak english.
  • Euro zone member and EU membership status
  • Safest countries in Europe with best education system, healthcare and high qualify of life.
  • Best relocation destination and retirement country with warm climate and 300+ days of sunshine.
  • Top property destination for foreign buyers with booming real estate market for investments
  • Major Tourist destination, close to 4 million tourists visit Cyprus every year.
  • Cyprus joining schengen area in the future.

Citizenship benefits

  • Fast track citizenship approved within 3 months.
  • Lifetime EU citizenship with one-time lump investment.
  • Pleasant climate with mild winters and dry summers.
  • No physical residence requirements.
  • Redeemable real estate investment (no wasting money!)
  • No military service.
  • No cypriot language tests.
  • No restrictions on multiple citizenship (dual).
  • Best choice of investment in real estate (can be sold later)
  • No taxes based on citizenship, unless domiciled based on tax resident status.
  • Mix of investments allowed (real estate, bonds, business etc.)
  • Best education, healthcare and low cost of living.
  • Excellent education and health care system in EU
  • No visa required for travel to UK, EU member states, Canada, Singapore etc. over 160 countries
  • Live, work, study in 35 EU member states (Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, UK, Sweden etc..)
  • Future children automatically acquire EU citizenship.
  • Political stability and a high standard of living.
  • Low crime rates.
  • Easy application process with high approval rates.
  • Dependents, spouse and children under 28 can be included in one single citizenship application.
  • No requirement to relinquish current nationality (dual citizenship freely allowed)
  • The acquisition of citizenship in Cyprus is not reported to other countries.
  • No restrictions on any country.
  • Very high approval rates.

2018 Changes

In 2018, Cyprus government announced new changes to citizenship scheme. It was renamed as Cyprus investment scheme and the scheme is capped to 700 applications annually.

The Committee of Supervision and Control for the Cyprus Investment Programme was established which consists of representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior and Invest Cyprus and was established on the basis of a Council of Ministers Decision, aiming at further improving the Cyprus Investment Programme.

As of July 31 2018, any applications for the Cyprus Investment Programme may be submitted on behalf of the applicants only by natural / legal persons registered with the Registry of Service Providers (Registry) of the Cyprus Investment Programme.

Changes from May 15, 2019

Effective from May 15, 2019, as a part of new changes of the citizenship by investment scheme.

  • Applicants must have had a schengen visa or residence permit  before applying
  • Applicants must donate additional €150,000 Research and housing
  • The minimum for purchasing resale of properties is increased to €2.5 million from previous €2 million.
  • Government bond option will be removed from this date
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Investments in shipping sector will be eligible and will be included as new option.
  • Investors will be allowed to switch or change investments during the 5 year period.
  • Cyprus citizenship scheme will be more transparent and annual report will be published.
  • Applicants with criminal record will not be considered.
  • If citizenship is refused by another member state, those applicants cannot be accepted.

Qualifying Investments

  • Real estate –  €2 million
  • Investment funds in Cypriot companies –  €2 million
  • Cypriot businesses or companies –  €2 million

 

1. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects. 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 understood that investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded.

2. Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses

The applicant should have made a purchase or should have participated in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of at least €2,0 million. The invested funds shall be channeled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan. The applications shall be evaluated to verify that the companies or organizations have proven physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or citizens of European Union member-states. The minimum number of employees shall increase, if more than one applicant invest simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company. In addition, the employees of the companies need to have legally and continuously resided in Cyprus during the five years preceding the application submission date.

3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by CySec

The applicant should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed and supervised by the CySec and 3 whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Programme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. In order to confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Programme will be kept for at least three years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministries of Finance and Interior with reference to the value of the initial investment. The 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 of units of other AIFs is not considered eligible.

4. Mix/Combination of the aforementioned investments:

The applicant may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2,0 million. Within this criterion (combination of investments) the applicant may purchase special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus, up to €500.000, which will be issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, on condition that the investor will retain these bonds for a three-year period. The characteristics and the terms of these special bonds will be determined by the General and Special Issue Terms of the Government Bonds of the Republic of Cyprus. Investments in government bonds through the secondary market are not considered eligible.

Time Frame

Applications are processed within 3 months.  Permanent residency is first issued which is then converted to citizenship for investors and their families after 6 months.

Eligibility

1. The Investor’s name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen by the EU.

2. No Criminal Record: the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Furthermore, his name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union.

3. Must make a personal visit to Cyprus atleast once (for fingerprinting and signing of documents with Government)

4. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Part A, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.

5. Family and unmarried children under 27 years in pursuing education can be included in one single application. It is noted that members of the same family, which 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.

6. Must have excellent references and background information.

7. There are no restrictions on any nationalities or countries who can apply.

8. Main applicant must be above 18 years of age.

Residence Permit

Six month residency requirements after investment for citizenship in Cyprus.

The applicant, prior to his/her naturalization as a Cypriot citizen must hold a residence permit in Cyprus. 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. If the application for acquiring an immigration permit is made solely for purposes of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship, in accordance with the provisions of this Programme, there are no other conditions than those stated in both Part A and Part B of this Programme. 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.

Additional fees

1. Legal fees: €40,000 to €50,000
2. Government fee: below

There are additional fees involved (see below)

APPLICANTAPPLICATION SUBMISSION FEECERTIFICATE ISSUANCE FEETOTAL
INVESTOR€2000€5000€7000
INVESTOR’S SPOUSE€2000€5000€7000
INVESTOR’S ADULT

CHILD

€2000€5000€7000
INVESTOR’S MINOR

CHILD

€80€80

Processing time

Very fast, usually decisions are given within 70 to 90 days.

Application Process

The entire application process takes 90 days to receive the certificate of naturalization (proof of cypriot citizenship). This certificate is a proof that you have become Cypriot citizen. Our lawyers will help you with full hand-holding process from start to finish.

Step 1: Pay a retainer fee of €10,000 to authorized agent. This amount will be adjusted later towards the our lawyer and service.

Step 2: We will request initial documents in order and will do a due diligence check on you. If our lawyers are satisfactory complying with Government requirements, we will start the application process with Cyprus. If you fail the checks we will refund part of the initial fee. We do not accept clients who dont have 100% success rate.

Step 3: We will be assisting you complying with the investment conditions (buying real estate, bonds, business investment, accommodation etc). This should take about a month.

Step 4: Launch the citizenship application under the naturalization scheme.

Step 5: After about 3 months from the date of application, you will be issued certificate of naturalization (proof of citizenship) and using this certificate you can apply for Malta passport document.

Note: You have to maintain real estate / bonds for 3 years without any interruptions, if not your citizenship will be revoked.

Cyprus real estate

Cyprus real estate prices currently at the lowest, now is the best time to invest in real estate market taking advantage of prevailing low prices.

The housing prices in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca are primarily driven by local demand. Paphos and Famagusta have seaside resorts and luxury villas are purchased by lots of foreigners. Nicosia, the capital is more expensive than other cities and cheapest is in Paphos. The rental yields vary according to the city usually 4 to 7%. The average cost per square metre for apartments ranges from 1300 to 2000 euros depending on the city . Luxury villas cost 2-3 million euros or upwards. Capital gains from sale of immovable property taxed at 20%

Under the Cyprus citizenship program, there is an option to qualify for economic citizenship by investing 2,500,000 euros in cypriot real estate. The applicant must also hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, + V.A.T.

Documents Required

The following documents are required in order to apply for citizenship.

In order to examine any applications the submission of the form (M127) and of the following is required:

1. Original Documents

Other documents needed such as

  • Copy of passports
  • Clean Criminal Record: Police Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if it differs). FBI clearance (if you have lived in USA).
  • Health clearance certificate from a registered medical practitioner.
  • Marriage certificates, Birth certificates (original translated in english)
  • Good reference letters from banks, lawyers, accountants,
  • Professional resume
  • Business background information and documents.
  • Educational certificates
  •  Proof of source of income

All original documents issued by a foreign authority should be translated to either Greek or English and be duly authenticated (They should bear the stamp APOSTILLE, if they are issued by countries that have signed the Hague Convention, otherwise they should be sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).

2. Residence proof in the Republic of Cyprus:

(a) Contract of Sale.

(b) Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department

(c) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

As for the Proof investment Criteria the following are required, depending on the case:

(a) Certificate of Registration of the company/ companies by the Registrar of Companies

(b) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficiary owner of the company/ companies

(c) Audited Accounts of the company (or companies) for the last three years preceding the year of the application

(d) If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager the submission of the employment contract and the receipt from the Department of Inland Revenue is additionally required.

Any other document that might be requested either by the Ministry of Interior, or by the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, depending on the case, the following are required:

1. Investment in Government bonds

(a) Receipts from the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus for the purchase of the Government bonds.

2. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations

(a) Title/titles and other documents regarding the financial assets.

(b) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization

3. Investment in real estate, land development or infrastructure projects

(a) Contract of sale.

(b) Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department

(c) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

4. Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies

(a) Contract of sale.

(b) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(c) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficiary owner of the company/ companies

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization

(e) Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot employees in the company

(f) Confirmation from the Inland Revenues Department as to the taxable income of the Cypriot employees in the companies or businesses that the applicant invested in.

5. Deposits in Cypriot banks

(a) Confirmation from Cypriot banks as to the fixed term deposits for three years of the applicant or the companies in which he is the beneficiary owner or of the trust in which he is the beneficiary owner

(b) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution

6. Impairment of deposits in the Popular Bank

(a) Confirmation as to the level and the time of the impairment of the deposits

(b) In the case of deposits of companies of which the applicant is the beneficiary owner, the Certificate of Registration of the Company by the Registrar of Companies and/or any other evidence, along with a declaration from the trustee of the funds confirming the beneficial owner is to be attached

Cypriot Passport

Cypriot passport holders can visit 173 countries in the world without visa and ranks 15th best passport in the world according to 2018 Henley passport index.

FAQs

These are the most commonly asked questions about Cyprus citizenship scheme.

Is Cyprus safe?

Cyprus is one of the safest counties in the world. According to recent ValuePenguin research, Cyprus holds fifth place for safety rankings among 105 countries and first among small countries with less than 5 million population.

Cyprus has become a magnet for foreign investors due to its location, climate, education, healthcare and high quality living standards

Does VAT apply on buying properties?

When buying new real estate, a preferential VAT rate of 5% will be levied instead of the current rate of 19%, for less than 200 square meters of property and this is primary place of residence. Under the Cyprus Investment Scheme (CIS) you must buy 500,000 EUR worth of real estate + VAT

If you invest EUR 2m in residential properties, please note that it will incur 5% VAT for the first 500K EUR, then 19% VAT for EUR 1.5m. If you invest in investment funds or bonds, VAT is exempt.

Can i invest in commercial properties or land?

Yes you can invest in commercial or land development projects

Are are any quotas or limits for CIP?

Only 700 citizenships per year

How much is the price increased for Cyprus passport?

Increased by EUR 150,000 (you must donate 75K euros to Research development and another 75K euro Housing development)

As a Cypriot investor citizen, do i have right to Vote?

You have right to vote in Cyprus and EU elections. You can also pursue political ambitions or take up Government jobs as a full EU citizen.

Does Cyprus publish names of citizens or report to other countries?

No, to protect the privacy of its citizens, the names of investor citizens under the CIP is not published in Gazette or any government publication. It is not reported to other countries. Cyprus complies with GDPR data protection rules of the EU.

What is immigration permit?

Immigration permit is a residence card issued by Cyprus for citizenship investors. You must hold this permit for atleast 6 months before applying for citizenship under investment scheme. You have to visit Cyprus in person and provide biometric data to receive permit.

Can the citizenship inherited?

Yes, it can be passed on to future family generations

Can legal entities purchase real estate?

Yes, it is possible for legal entities or firms to buy property. But to qualify for citizenship scheme, you must own 100% shares or shares must be worth atleast €2m.

Why buy a property through a company?

A major advantage of forming a company to buy a property in Cyprus, instead of buying as an individual is tax incentives. A limited liability company owned by non-Cyprus residents is entitled to buy any number of properties without any restrictions whatsoever in buying land plots, residential or commercial purpose without any explicit permission from the Ministry.

When the company re-sells a property it will pay 10% income tax on profit made instead of 20% capital gain tax. Shares can be transferred instead of actually selling the property, but subjected to capital gains tax.A company with shareholders who are not Cyprus residents do not have to pay any tax on dividends issued .

What is the stamp duty?

Maximum Stamp Duty levied is €20,000. For properties over €170,000, the stamp duty is 0.20%

Are there any inheritance tax?

Cyprus abolished inheritance tax since 2000. There is also immovable property tax which was abolished since 2017.

Who is responsible for administering Cyprus investment scheme?

The Committee of Supervision and Control for the Cyprus Investment Program (CIP) established in 2018, consists of representatives from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior and Invest Cyprus responsible for administering and  improving the Cyprus Investment Program (CIP).

Are you an authorized agent in the CIP registry?

We are a platform connecting clients directly to  CIP licensed law firms and property developers without intermediaries. This way it is cheaper and faster for clients. Our platform dont charge any fee to clients.

Can i sell the property?

Of course! If you sell the property before five years you will lose the citizenship. The resale value of property must be EUR 2.5m in order for the buyer to get citizenship under Cyprus Investment Program (CIP)

Does Cyprus participate in Visa Waiver Program (VWP) with the United States?

No, a visa is required.

Can family members apply for citizenship simultaneously with the investor?

The spouse/partner of the non-Cypriot investor has the right to apply for the citizenship simultaneously with the investor. Minor children of the investor may be submitted after the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship by the investor at the Civil Registry and Migration Department.

Do i need to translate the documents?

All documents submitted with the application shall be in Greek or English. Otherwise, they must be accompanied by a certified translation into one of these languages, by the Press and Information Office or by a Consular Authority of the issuing country or by a governmental department/ service of the issuing country.

What is the Land registry fee?

At the time of transfer of a title of land and buildings, land registration fees are payable by the transferee. These fees are payable on the assessed value of the land and buildings on the date of transfer or, if the property was sold at an earlier date and the sale contract has been filed with the Land Registry Office, on the assessed value on the date of the sale contract.

Above 170,000€, the rate is 8%. The land transfer fees are reduced to 50% for any purchase of property including immovable

No transfer fees are payable when the immovable property being transferred is subject to VAT.

Do i become tax resident in Cyprus with citizenship?

Tax residency is not based on citizenship, so citizenship based taxation dont apply.  Taxation is based on Residency status

You can become Cyprus tax resident on the basis of the 60-day rule has following conditions:

  • Remain in Cyprus for at least 60 days during the tax year in question; and
  • Do not reside in any other single state for a period exceeding 183 days; and
  • Is not tax resident in any other state; and
  • Carry out business activities in Cyprus and/or work in Cyprus and/or be a director in a Company that is tax resident in Cyprus at any time of the tax year in question; and
  • Maintain a permanent residence in Cyprus.

Tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income but certain exceptions apply like sale of securities exempted.

Who are dependent family members?

The relevant legislation allows, the parents, the financially dependent adult children (18 years old and above) and the minor children (under 18 years old) may apply for citizenship after the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship by the investor.

Can EU/EEA nationals apply for citizenship under investment scheme?

Yes

What are the most popular locations for foreigners to buy a property?

Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Ayia Napa

A significant number of EU citizens have bought real estate in Cyprus.

Who is not eligible to apply?

  • Those who have criminal record.
  • Your 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.
  • If 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 Cypriot Investment Program (CIP).
  • If you are from a country from US/EU sanctions (North Korea, Iran etc)

Can i invest in Hotels for citizenship?

Yes, you can invest in hotels or in any tourist commercial properties (equity share, hotel room, fully owned properties)

Is financing possible?

No, since Government bonds (Gilts) is removed from the scheme