Updates on the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Scheme
As part of the overall effort to enhance the island’s attractiveness and competitiveness as an international business centre the Council of Ministers of Cyprus, on the 13th of September, approved a number of changes to the “Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Scheme”.
The updated criteria are now considered to be more favourable to the individuals/entrepreneurs who wish to obtain the Cyprus/EU passport, provided that the applicant individual/entrepreneur fulfils both the Economic Criteria (Part A) and the Terms and Conditions (Part B) of the Scheme.
In the new Scheme, the criteria for collective investment was abolished while the threshold for the investment was significantly reduced. The updates, however, have not limited the requirement of the applicant to hold the said investment for a period of at least 3 years.
Subject to specific qualifications, the applicant is now eligible to obtain a Cyprus citizenship by investing in Cyprus on the basis of a €2 million investment provided that the investor owns a residence of at least €500.000.
Other significant changes included in Part A and Part B of the Scheme include, inter alia, the following:
- Investment in land under development is now eligible, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application.
- Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or in financial assets of Cyprus companies or Cyprus organisations that are licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission is now an eligible form of investment.
- By choosing a combination of investment (A1-A3), the applicant is now eligible to purchase special government bonds up to a limit of €500,000.
- Members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of this home-property covers the amount of €500.000 (excl. VAT) per each applicant.
- If the value of the residential property is exceeding €500.000 (excl. VAT) then the surplus may be used towards the required investment of €2 million.
- Applicants are now eligible to apply for a residence permit simultaneously with the application for naturalisation without any additional financial requirements, other than those set out in Part A and Part B.
The new Scheme will apply exclusively from 1st of November 2016 while at the moment the Ministry of Interior announced that both the old and new Scheme will run simultaneously until the end of October 2016, giving the option of choosing, until then, the Scheme of the applicant’s choice.
The “Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Scheme” was introduced in 2013 allowing individuals / entrepreneurs with a clean criminal record to obtain Cyprus citizenship by naturalisation by investing substantial sums in Cyprus. The Scheme has proved very popular, as the Cyprus/EU passport provides to the individual/entrepreneur all of the advantages of the European Union, including free movement, travel and residence benefits within the EU.
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