Cyprus Citizenship and Residency Through Investment

PUBLICATIONS / Newsletters / 2015 / Newsletter October

Cyprus Citizenship and Residency Through Investment

Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists and investors alike. The country has a lot to offer; it’s a member state of the EU, it has a friendly tax environment, excellent health care and education systems, a high standard of living, and great weather. Cyprus offers non-EU nationals the opportunity to enjoy these advantages of the country through two different schemes: residency by investment and Cyprus citizenship by investment.
Compared to similar schemes of other countries, the Cypriot investment scheme offers many advantages. The procedure is short, about 3 months. There is no donation to the government required. The fees for the application are low. Cypriot nationality offers free travel throughout the EU and visa free travel to 158 countries. The procedure is hassle free, the applicant is only required to visit Cyprus once and that is to collect their passport. And lastly the age limit of dependants that can also get the Cypriot nationality is up to 28 as compared to the schemes of other countries where the maximum age is between 18 and 25.

 

The Permanent Residency Scheme

A non-EU national can apply for a Permanent Residence Permit. A Permanent Residence Permit offers the applicant the advantages of being able to reside in Cyprus without having to renew their residence permit every few years, it offers easier travel to other EU countries and it also applies to the spouse and children of the applicant. The only requirements for acquiring a Permanent Residency Permit are:
  • Acquisition of new property of a minimum of €300.000 for the fast track procedure
  • Acquisition of a new property of €150.000  for the normal procedure
  • A steady yearly income of at least €30.000
  • A deposit of at least €30.000 in a 3 year fixed deposit account in a Cypriot bank
  • A clean criminal record
 

The Cyprus Citizenship through Investment Scheme

Since 2013 the Republic of Cyprus offers non-EU nationals to gain Cypriot nationality through an attractive investment scheme. The investment scheme offers the opportunity for non-EU nationals and their spouse and children to apply for the Cypriot nationality.The investment scheme is based on the Decision of the Council of Ministers of 2014. The current investment scheme offers a variety of investments that would qualify for the applicant to successfully apply for the Cypriot nationality. All investment opportunities share some common criteria. Firstly investments that have been done over the period of three year prior to applying for Cypriot citizenship are taken into account. These investments must be retained at least three years after gaining the Cypriot nationality. Furthermore the applicant must have a clean criminal record.
 

Direct Investments

The first types of investment that qualify are the direct investments of at least €5.000.000. The following investment opportunities are eligible for acquiring the Cypriot nationality:
  • Cypriot government bonds
  • Financial assets of Cypriot companies and Cypriot organizations
  • Real estate, land development and infrastructure projects
  • Purchase, creation or participation in Cypriot business or companies
  • Deposits in Cypriot banks
Investors have the choice to invest solely in one category or to invest in a combination of categories, the only requirement is that the investment amounts to €5.000.0000 in total. This makes the scheme very flexible offering applicants the freedom to choose how they wish to make up their portfolio and which investment opportunities they feel suits them best.
The Cypriot government has offered some clarity on the conditions of investing in the categories above. The investments need to meet these conditions in order to apply for Cypriot citizenship.
Cypriot government bonds purchased on the secondary market until the 31st of July 2014 fall within the scope of the scheme, after this date only bonds purchased directly from the Cypriot government qualify.
The financial assets of Cypriot companies can be purchased either at issuance or through the secondary market.
The purchase of land is eligible as an investment under the real estate, land development and infrastructure investment category . For the purchase of real estate VAT and duties are not included in the qualifying investment amount. Lastly the amount taken into consideration for this scheme is the purchase price and not the market price.
The companies purchased, created or participated in have to have a tangible presence in Cyprus in order to be taken into consideration. This means that the companies must maintain offices in Cyprus. A final requirement is that the company must have at least 5 Cypriot citizens employed.
The deposits in Cypriot banks must be placed in local banks or subsidiaries of foreign banks in Cypriot. The central bank of Cyprus has a list of qualifying banks available. As an investor you have to choice to spread your investment into deposits at multiple qualifying banks. The deposits can be made in other currencies than in euro.
 

Cyprus Citizenhip – A more attractive option

Alternatively, a very interesting and cost efficient option would be to join other investors in applying for citizenship by investment. The criteria are:
  • A minimum investment of €2,5 million for individuals.
  • This application has to be submitted jointly with other investors.
  • Each of which should invest €2.5 million as a minimum.
  • Collective the investment should amount to at least €12,5 million.
In addition to meeting the above investment criteria the applicant will need to invest at least €500.000 in new real estate located in Cyprus. However if the above investment is into real estate then this requirement is already met by virtue of that investment. The investment threshold therefore is the lowest if the applicant make an investment in real estate through the collective scheme. The investments need to be maintained for a period of 3 years after which they may be sold, however the requirement to hold a property of at least €500.000 continues to apply after that.
 

Cyprus Citizenship – The best option?

The most attractive and cost efficient option for investors to acquire the Cypriot nationality is to make use of the option to invest €2.500.000 as an individual and to submit their application jointly with other investors that have invested the minimum of €2.500.000 for a total minimum investment of €12.500.000.
 
Freemont Group has had an office in Cyprus since 2001, we can process the permanent residency or citizenship application for you in the fastest possible manner. We will also help you select the investments and if you visit show you the property development projects which qualify. We also have a network to arrange a pool of other investors should you wish to invest through the collective scheme and thus benefit from the lower threshold.
 
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