Cyprus residency is an attractive and sought-after option that offers a fast-track application procedure (typically two months) that applies for the whole family; the applicant themselves, their spouse and any children under the age of 18, whilst any dependant children between 18-25, and the parents of the applicant are also eligible.
The simplified process has been designed to make obtaining residency for non-EU nationals as easy as possible to facilitate foreign investment, and can largely be undertaken without the requirement to be present in the country whilst arrangements are being made.
A fee of €500 needs to accompany the application which is then examined firstly by the Civil Registry and Migration Department, who in turn submit the application to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, at which point a decision is made within two months.
The actual permit itself must be obtained within one year after a successful application by visiting the island; the applicant and all members of the family must be present for the visit to receive the permits. Furthermore, residing in Cyprus after a successful application is not a requirement, providing someone with resident status visits the island at least once every two years.
Whilst it is not a requirement to be present in Cyprus during the application procedure, it is a requirement to visit the island for biometric capturing at some point during the process, and the biometric data can either be submitted at the same time as the application itself, or upon approval of an application.
The biometric capturing incurs an additional fee of €50 and takes place in Nicosia. It is necessary for every member of the family, and not just the applicant.
It is important to note that applicants must have a clean criminal record and must not be stop-listed for frozen assets within the borders of the EU.
Permanent Residency Permits
The requirements for eligibility for Permanent Residency are as follows:
- One or two new real estate properties with a total purchase cost of at least €300.000 + VAT. Applicants can purchase two residential properties, or they can purchase one residence and one office, or a shop. The requirement here is not strict, although one of the properties needs to be a residential property.
- At least €200.000 of the purchase cost should already be paid.
- The applicant (s) should demonstrate a steady and sufficient income coming from abroad and unrelated to employment of any kind in Cyprus.
- The applicant (s) should transfer their private funds from abroad to Cyprus and they should be deposited in a bank account in the Republic in a three-year fixed deposit account.
In September 2016 the Council of Ministers introduced some changes to the existing citizenship-by-investment programme, aimed to simplify the process and stimulate economic growth. The island’s skilled workforce, attractive taxation and reliable services all contribute to make Cyprus a well-known financial centre, thus giving investors the confidence and opportunity to invest even further, and prosper as a result.
Cypriot Citizenship-By-Investment makes non-EU nationals a citizen of an EU member state with a passport that allows them to live, work and study in all (currently) 28 countries of the EU, and to travel to 159 countries in the world without the requirement of a Visa.
Under the new programme, the criteria are even more favourable as the minimum amount of investment has been reduced from €2.500.000 to just €2.000.000. The applicant will need to purchase a residential property of at least €500.000 + VAT, which must be held for life. The applicant’s parents are now also entitled to apply for the Cyprus citizenship-by-investment, provided that they own a lifetime residence of at least €500,000 + VAT. As an alternative to this, the investor and their parents may acquire one residential property of a total value of at least €1.000.000 + VAT, which will be allocated equivalently.
All applications should now be submitted on a standalone basis – the criterion of Collective Investments has been abolished. Such applications are processed urgently, within two or three months, which makes Cyprus’ citizenship-by-investment programme one of the very best in Europe.
There are currently four routes to citizenship in Cyprus.
- Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects: The applicant should make an investment of at least €2.000.000 for the purchase or construction of immovable property or other infrastructure projects. The applicant has freedom of choice whether to invest in residential or commercial property, or property related to the tourism sector.
- Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations: The applicant should make an investment worth €2.000.000 through the purchase, incorporation or participation in a Cypriot company. The company should have a proven physical presence in Cyprus with significant activity and turnover. At least five Cypriot or European citizens should be employed by the company.
- Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations that are licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission: The applicant should make a purchase of units worth at least €2.000.000 from alternative investment funds (AIF) that are licensed and supervised by CySec (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission). The investments must meet the criteria of the scheme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. Applicants may purchase financial assets of Cypriot companies in the form of bonds, bills and securities, although the Cypriot company or organisation needs to have a physical presence and substantial economic activity in Cyprus. These investments need to be maintained for a minimum of three years. It should be noted that the purchase by an AIF of units in another AIF is excluded.
- A combination of the above: The applicant is not restricted to one type of investment, provided that the total investment amount is €2.000.000. If the applicant chooses to invest in a combination of the above, then there is also the option of purchasing special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus worth up to €500,000. Investments in government bonds through the secondary market are excluded.
Whether you opt for Citizenship-by-Investment or Permanent Residence, Kaimalkliotis & Co will assist you throughout and will keep you informed and updated throughout the entire process, which is essentially undertaken in five steps:
- Selecting the investment: Our expert team will undertake the task of carrying out research in the real estate market to give you the best possible advice on the available options for your investment.
- Preparing the application: The client will receive an application package explaining in detail what is required for either application. The most time-consuming documents will be requested ahead of time to give the client time to prepare in advance.
- Obtain pre-approval
- Submit the application: When an application is submitted to the Ministry of Interior, it is forwarded to the Ministry of Finance where the financial criteria are examined. Once the Ministry of Finance approves it, the applicant must proceed to make the investment. The application will then return to the Ministry of Interior and then to the Council of Ministers.
- Issuing the Citizenship Certificate: A certificate will be issued after the Council ratifies the citizenship. The client will need to take an oath and then the Citizenship Certificate will be stamped. Subsequently, we will apply for a biometric passport, which we can obtain in a matter of hours, at which point you are an EU citizen.
Foreign nationals are eligible to apply for Cypriot citizenship if they have legally resided on the island for five years (if they are either parents or children of Cypriot citizens), or seven years (if they not either parents or children of Cypriot citizens).
At the time of applying, the applicant must have also legally and continuously lived on the island for the past 12 months.