Cyprus

Citizenship By Investment

2 million euros

Real Estate Investment

Residency By Investment

300,000 euros

Real Estate Investment

Mobility

174

Visa Free Travel

Cyprus Investment Immigration Programs Overview


NOTE: Cyprus suspended its CBI program in November 2020!

The citizenship-by-investment program of Cyprus, revised in 2019 by the Council of Ministers, allows applicants to invest 2 million euros in real estate, businesses or selected financial instruments and get citizenship of the country. The Mediterranean island’s CBI program offers investors a low-hassle, fast-tracked pathway to an EU passport, and grants successful applicants the right to live and work anywhere in the European Union.

Investors can enjoy Cyprus for its location, its low taxes and flexible approach that allows CBI applicants to retain their current nationality, and to acquire and maintain Cypriot citizenship without a physical-presence requirement. The Cyprus passport, which allows visa-free travel to 163 countries around the world is another big selling point, though investors who don’t need a new passport can also acquire permanent residency at a significantly reduced cost or take advantage of a new startup visa intended to attract entrepreneurs and innovators.

The Cyprus government has taken steps to upgrade and further improve the program by implementing a number of regulations and providing clarity over the application procedure. Currently, there is a registry of the service providers eligible to represent clients to apply for this program. The registry is controlled by the Committee of Supervision and Control for the Cyprus Investment Program.

HOW TO APPLY

Under new rules, CBI applicants must now hold Cypriot residency for six months before obtaining citizenship. Investors can file their residency and CBI paperwork simultaneously, without making additional investments beyond the minimum CBI requirements, and usually receive residency cards within a few days of filing. CBI applications are approved within six months, and the applicants can have their Cyprus Passports issued upon expiration of the six months period starting from the day that they acquire their permanent resident card.

Despite the rule changes, the application process is otherwise very straightforward, with applicants simply expected to send documentation of their investment, along with basic personal documentation including a birth certificate, a passport copy, and a criminal record certificate from both the investor’s country of birth and country of current residence. However, the applicant must have a clean criminal record and his name must not appear in any list of individuals whose property within the European Union has been placed under any restrictions. Additionally, the applicant must not have applied and been rejected for citizenship in any other Member State.

The investor’s family, including one lawful spouse, as well as children up to 28 years of age who are financially depended on their parents, are entitled to added to the application. The applicant’s parents are entitled to join the application if an additional residence is purchased with a value of at least €500,000 (plus VAT if applicable).

There is no requirement for the applicants to live or physically reside in Cyprus before or during the application procedure.

MOBILITY

Passport-holders gain automatic access to the European Union, with an absolute right to live, work, and own property throughout the region. The Cypriot passport is one of the strongest in the world, allowing unrestricted travel to 174 countries. And passport-holders enjoy virtually no physical-residency requirements.

Cypriot residency isn’t as attractive from a mobility standpoint, however. Cyprus is one of the few EU countries that aren't part of the Schengen area, so residents will have to rely on their existing passports to gain entry to the rest of Europe and will remain subject to their existing visa requirements.

COUNTRY

The island is popular for its prime strategic location, it is Europe’s most eastern part and closed to the Middle East, warm and sunny weather all year around, historical and cultural island and amazing hospitality. Cyprus is an international business center with a modern tax regime acceptable by the European Union, one of the lowest corporate rates in Europe and a number of tax incentives that make is favorable among investors. Besides offering a beautiful location and year-round sunny weather, Cyprus is now one of the safest and most stable nations of its size. Cyprus’s CBI program was launched to attract foreign investment following the country’s 2012-13 financial crisis. The strategy has proven largely successful, attracting large numbers of Russian investors, and Cyprus’s economy — supported by tourism, shipping, and newfound natural gas resources — is now on a much firmer footing.

Updated by Celia Pourgoura

Citizenship By Investment


NOTE: Cyprus suspended its CBI program in November 2020!

Prospective applicants may proceed with investments under one of the four categories.

  • Real Estate: The most popular option allows investors to participate by spending 2 million euros or more on residential, commercial or other real estate. An investment of land for further development may also qualify.

    Additionally, if the whole or part of the investment has been used by another investor for the purpose of this program, the total value of the investment, including a privately-owned residence, rises to at least €2,5 million.

  • Business Investment: Investors can incorporate a new business or participate in an existing business operating in Cyprus with a minimum investment of 2 million euros. The business plans must be approved before applying for the program. The Cyprus business entity must hire at least five Cypriot citizens or EU citizens who have been living in Cyprus with valid status for five consecutive years before being employed by the new entity.
  • Investment in Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) or in financial assets: Investors can also qualify by purchasing Alternative Investments Funds, bonds, securities, or other financial assets regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, worth at least 2 million euros. The companies receiving the invest must utilize the capital exclusively for business activities in Cyprus.
  • Combination of Investments: Cyprus allows investors to mix and match from the options above, as long as their total investment amounts to at least 2 million euros. It’s also possible to purchase up to 500,000 euros in government bonds as part of a combined 2-million-euro investment.

The investment made under any one of the categories explained above, must be retained for a minimum period of five years.

The program also imposes additional conditions for eligibility on applicants:

The applicant must donate at least 75,000 euros to the Research and Innovation Foundation. If the applicant has invested at least 75,000 euros in a certified innovative enterprise certificated by the Ministry of Finance, then the donation is not required.

The applicant must have donated at least 75,000 euros to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation for the financing of housing schemes for affordable housing.

For investors who choose to participate in the program through business investment, AIFs purchase or a combination of several investment routes, it is also required that they purchase a residence worth at least 500,000 euros and retain it for life. For investors using merely the real estate route for the application, it is not required to purchase additional residential property, as long as at least one of the properties purchased will be used as the applicant’s permanent residence, and its value is at least 500,000 euros.

Updated by Celia Pourgoura

Residency By Investment

For investors who don’t need a passport, Cyprus also offers a residency-by-investment program at a sharply reduced cost. Investors must demonstrate that they have an annual income of at least 30,000 euros and, depending on the number of dependents applying with the applicant, deposit at least 30,000 euros in a Cyprus bank, and purchase a first-sale residence valued at 300,000 euros or more. With this type of permits, residents are not allowed to perform any professional or business activities in Cyprus. They are obliged to visit Cyprus at least once every two years.

Another residency program for talented entrepreneurs is the Cyprus Startup Visa scheme, which allows individual or a team of investors to establish a business with high growth potential in Cyprus. The business must be innovative, meaning at least 10% of its operating costs in at least one out of three years before the application must be used in research and development activities. For a new enterprise without financial history, a business plan submitted will be subject to rigorous evaluation. The government provides a specific format of the business plan and the required information it must contain.

Updated by Celia Pourgoura

Disclaimer

The above information is only a brief description of the provisions of the relevant Cyprus Law up to the date of publication the above content and in no way is exhaustive. Further professional advice should be sought for each particular case.

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