• Amendments to the Cyprus Citizenship by Exemption Scheme
  • November 7, 2016 | Author: Yiota Costa
  • Law Firm: Soteris Flourentzos & Associates LLC - Limassol Office
  • The change as to the investment

    The most important change effected to the program is the setting of the amount of € 2 million as the minimum threshold to be invested by investors and cancelled the € 5 million requirement.

    The 4 alternative ways of investment that now may be used in order to qualify for naturalization as per the new amendment are the following:
    Investing an amount of at least € 2 million in immovable property, developments and infrastructure projects in Cyprus; or
    • Investing an amount of at least € 2 million in acquiring, incorporating or participating in Cyprus businesses or companies which are based and activate in Cyprus; or
    • Investing an amount of at least € 2 million in alternative investment funds or financial assets of Cypriot businesses or Cypriot organizations which are established in Cyprus and licenced by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission; or
    • Investing an amount of at least € 2 million in a combination of the above three financial criteria. In such a combination the investor may also invest in government bonds for a maximum amount of € 500.000 and provided it hold the bonds for at least 3 years.
    Change as to the Residency of the Applicants

    Another interesting change to the scheme is the introduction of the requirement/pre-qualifier to hold a residence permit in Cyprus. Filing of the citizenship application and the residence permit application can take place simultaneously. A simplified procedure of obtaining a residence permit is introduced where an application for residence permit is filed exclusively for the purposes of the citizenship application.

    High ranking Managers and Directors of companies

    Under the scheme, directors / managers of companies working in Cyprus who paid personal taxes of at least €100.000 the last 3 years from the application, may also apply to be benefited from the scheme provided such director/manager meets the additional conditions mentioned below.

    The investment criteria as indicated above apply for the employing company.

    Additional conditions that must be fulfilled in order to be eligible for citizenship
    • The applicants must have a clean criminal record in their country of origin and country of residence (if different) and not to be a sanctioned person in the EU; and
    • Own residential property in Cyprus of a value of at least €500.000; and
    • Hold a residence permit in Cyprus.
    Parents of the Investor

    Parents of an investor may also qualify to apply for Cypriot citizenship when they own a residential property in Cyprus of value at least €500.000. In such a case they will not need to make the investment of the €2 million.

    Notes
    • Investments can be made directly or indirectly through vehicles such as companies or trusts.
    • In order to qualify, the investment must have been made during the period of three years prior to the date of filing the application and must be kept for a period of at least three years after naturalization.