CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT: REVISED CRITERIA

CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT: REVISED CRITERIA

The Cyprus government launched the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme in order to give incentives to foreign investors and business people to implement their business and investment plans in Cyprus. Precisely, the particular programme grants EU passports to investors and entrepreneurs in three months given that they launch their business activities in Cyprus.

In September 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers revised the Citizenship by Investment scheme in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment and give considerable incentives to High Net Worth individuals to launch their business plans in Cyprus. More specifically, the Minister of Finance, Mr Harris Georgiades, pointed out that the revision of Citizenship by Investment Scheme ‘’aims to encourage real investments that would benefit the economy”.  According to the new criteria, the necessary amount of investment has been reduced from €2.500.000 to €2.000.000.

PART A: Revised Investment Criteria:

An investor may acquire the Cyprus Citizenship in one of the following ways.

A1: Investment in Real Estate and Infrastructure projects:

The applicant should make an investment of at least € 2.000.000 for the purchase or construction of immovable property for residential or commercial purposes. Note that investment in land for development is included in this criterion, given that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be attached to the application.

Purchase and development or real estate for residential and commercial purposes. The application must be accompanied by an investment plan. If the applicant chooses this option, then the purchase of residence worth €500.000 is not mandatory. Furthermore, it should be clarified that investment in land that is located in a building zone of zero development rate is not included.

A2: Investment in the purchase, incorporation or participation of Cyprus Companies or businesses:

The applicant should have purchased, incorporated or participated in companies established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with an investment of at least €2.000.000. The invested funds should be channelled to finance the investment objectives of the Companies according to a specific business plan. Moreover, the companies must have a physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover. Furthermore, the company must employ at least 5 Cypriot or European citizens.

A3: Investments in Cyprus Alternative Investment Funds (AIF’s) or Financial Assets or Cypriot companies licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC):

The applicant should purchase units of least € 2.000.000 from AIF’s established, licensed and supervised by CySEC. These investments must be made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus and should meet the criteria of this scheme and be approved by the Minister of Finance.

Purchase of financial assets of Cyprus businesses or organisations of at least € 2.000.000, i.e. bonds, securities, debentures issued, issued by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, should be maintained for a period of 3 years. Have in mind that the investor can invest only in financial assets i.e. bonds, securities, debentures that have been issued under the auspices of CySEC.

A4: A combination of the aforementioned criteria:

The applicant may make a combinator of the criteria A1-A3 provided that the total amount of the investments will be at least € 2.000.000. Under this criterion, the applicant may proceed to the purchase of bonds of the Republic of Cyprus, up to € 500.000 which will be issued for this purpose by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, for a period of at least 3 years.

Have in Mind: The investments must be maintained in Cyprus for at least three years.

PART B: Terms and Conditions

  1. Clean Criminal Record.

The application must have a clean criminal record. In addition to this, his/her name must not be included in the list of persons whose assets, within the EU boundaries, have been frozen due to sanctions.

  1. Residency in the Republic of Cyprus.

The applicant prior his/her naturalisation as Cypriot Citizen must hold a residency permit in Cyprus for at least 6 months. In the case the applicant does not hold a residence permit, then he/she may apply for an immigration permit on the basis of Regulation 6 (2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law, at the same time with the application for naturalisation.  For more precise information contact one of our immigration lawyers.

  1. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus. The applicant must possess a residential property of at least €500.000 plus VAT.

PART C: Submission of Documents:

  1. Application Form (M127).
  2. Certificate of clean criminal record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
  3. Permanent residence in Cyprus:
    • Contract of Sale.
    • Title Deeds or proof of registration of the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department.
    • Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
    • Proof of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company.
    • An evaluation certificate from an independent registered land surveyor, following a request by the Ministry of Interior or the Minister of Finance.
  4. Financial Criteria (when applicable):
    • Certificate of Registration of the company/companies by the Registrar of Companies.
    • Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates proving that the investor is the beneficial owner of the company.
    • Audited accounts of the company/companies for the last three years prior to the submission of the application.
    • In case 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.
    • In case the investment is made by the spouse of the applicant or jointly, then the submission of a marriage certificate is required.

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

A1: Investment in Real Estate and Infrastructure projects:

  1. Contract of Sale.
  2. Title Deeds or proof of registration of the contract with the Lands and Survey Department.
  3. Proofs of payment of the agreed purchase amount.
  4. Proof of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or seller’s company.
  5. An evaluation certificate from an independent registered land surveyor, following a request by the Ministry of Interior or the Minister of Finance.
  6. In case of land investment, an investment plan is required.

A2: Investment in the purchase, incorporation or participation of Cyprus Companies or businesses:

  1. Contract of Sale.
  2. Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
  3. Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies.
  4. Proof of the wire transfer to the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of seller or the company.
  5. Specific investment plan.
  6. Copies of the employment contracts of Cypriot or EU citizens employed by the company in which the applicant has invested.
  7. Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department for the insurable income of the Cypriot or EU citizens employed in the company in which the applicant has invested.
  8. Copy of the Social Insurance Contributions for every Cypriot or EU citizen employed in the company in which the applicant has invested.
  9. Registration Certificate of union citizen (MEU1) or Permanent Registration Certificate of union citizen (MEU3) for employees who are EU citizens.

A3: Investments in Cyprus Alternative Investment Funds (AIF’s) or Financial Assets or Cypriot companies licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC):

  1. Title/Titles and other relevant documents of the financial assets purchased.
  2. Proof of wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organisation.
  3. Specific investment plan.
  4. Confirmation by CySEC.

A4: A combination of investment criteria A1-A3 and investment in government bonds:

  1. Proof from the Public Debt Management Office for the purchase of special government bonds.
  2. Proof of the wire transfer into a bank account of the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus.

Apply and get a Cyprus Citizenship in 3 months:

Contact the team of Cyprus lawyers of Michael Chambers& Co. LLC and learn everything you need to know regarding the scheme for naturalisation of foreign investors in Cyprus. Our lawyers will review your case thoroughly and inform you whether you are an eligible applicant. If you are an eligible applicant, then our lawyers will undertake the completion of your application in a timely and effective manner so that to obtain a Cyprus citizenship in 3 months. If you wish to speak to one of our lawyers, then please contact us: info@cypruslawfirm.com