Cyprus is one of the very few countries in the European Union to offer a programme for non-EU citizens to acquire directly citizenship by investment. Cypriot citizenship amounts to an EU citizenship and the right to reside, work and move freely within all the 28 EU countries. The Cypriot citizenship by investment programme is considered by many to be the most attractive one in the EU. An applicant does not have to live in Cyprus in order to obtain the citizenship and processing of the applications takes only 2-3 months. The minimum amount which can be invested in order to be able to apply for the citizenship is €2,5 millions.
● Minimum required investment set at €2,5 millions for collective investment schemes
● Examination of the application takes around 2-3 months
● The spouse of the applicant and his/her children until 18 years old can also obtain Cypriot Citizenship. Adult children until 28 years old can acquire the Citizenship if they are financially dependent on the applicant
● The applicant does not have to live in Cyprus in order to obtain the Citizenship
● Freedom to live, move and work freely within all 28 countries of the European Union
Below are the criteria for a third country national to obtain Cypriot Citizenship through Naturalisation by Exception according to the Council of Ministers decision dated 19.03.2014. Satisfaction of any single criterion is sufficient for the applicant to obtain the Citizenship, provided that he/she complies with the rest of the terms and conditions of the scheme which are set out further in the article:
1. INVESTMENT IN GOVERNMENT BONDS
This criterion requires the applicant to purchase bonds issued by the Republic of Cyprus of a minimum of €5 millions.
2. INVESTMENT IN FINANCIAL ASSETS OF CYPRIOT COMPANIES OR OTHER CYPRIOT ORGANIZATIONS
The applicant must have bought financial assets (bonds, securities, debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of Cypriot companies or other Cypriot Organizations of at least €5 millions.
3. INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE, LAND DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The applicant must have invested a minimum of €5 millions to purchase or for the construction of buildings related to the tourism industry or residential/commercial developments or infrastructure projects.
4. CREATING, PURCHASING OR PARTICIPATING IN CYPRIOT COMPANIES OR OTHER BUSINESSES
The applicant must have invested a minimum of €5 millions to purchase, incorporate or participate in companies or other businesses based and operating within the Republic of Cyprus.These companies or businesses must have physical presence in Cyprus and employ a minimum of five Cypriot citizens.
5. DEPOSITS IN CYPRIOT BANKS
The applicant must have personal three year fixed term deposits in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he/she is the beneficial owner) in the Republic of Cyprus of a minimum of €5 millions.
6. COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE CRITERIA
The applicant must have made total investments amounting to at least €5 millions by combination of any of the above criteria.
7. PERSONS WHOSE DEPOSITS IN LAIKI BANK WERE IMPAIRED DUE TO MEASURES IMPLEMENTED AFTER 15TH OF MARCH 2013
A person who has suffered an impaired deposit amounting to a minimum of €3 millions can also qualify to obtain the Cypriot Citizenship. An applicant who has suffered an impaired deposit less than €3 million can also apply after investing through the above criteria 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 for the remaining requested amount of the individual criteria.
8. COLLECTIVE INVESTMENT SCHEMES
The Council of Ministers has the right, in exceptional cases, to decrease the above criteria 1, 2, 3 and 4:
a. to €2,5 million for investors who participate in a collective investment scheme the total investment of which is at least €12,5 millions.
Moreover, for the case (a) above, the investment for categories 1 to 4 can be carried out through different seller/provider.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
A) The applicant must have a clean criminal record.
B) The applicant’s name should not be in the list of persons whose property is under order by the EU to be frozen.
C) The applicant is required to have a permanent residence in the Republic of Cyprus worth a minimum of €500.000.
D) The applicant cannot sell his/her permanent residence but he/she can sell the rest of the property after 3 years from the date he has obtained the Citizenship. The permanent residence can be sold only if the applicant buys another property to be his/her permanent residence and which will also be worth a minimum of €500.000.
SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS
For the examination of the applications it is required to submit form (M127) together with the following:
1. Certificate of Clean Criminal Record: Certificate should be issued from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
2. Residence in Cyprus:
(a) Contract of Sale;
(b) Title Deeds or Proof of submission of Contract of Sale in Department of Land and Surveys;
(c) Receipt of payment of the agreed purchase price;
(d) Copy of the wire transfer in a Cypriot commercial bank in the name of the seller.
Concerning the financial criteria the following documents are required depending on the specific criterion:
(a) Registration Certificate of the Company/Companies from the Companies Registrar;
(b) Shareholders certificate from the Registrar of Companies or other Certificates proving that the investor is the ultimate beneficial owner of the company;
(c) Audited company/companies’ accounts for the last three years preceding the year of application;
(d) In case that the applicant is a high ranking senior manager it is further required to submit his employment contract and proceeds receipt from the Inland Revenue Department;
Any other document requested by the Minister of Interior or the Ministry of Finance.
THE FOLLOWING ARE ALSO REQUIRED, DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC CRITERION:
1. Investment in Government Bonds
(a) Receipts from the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus proving the purchase of the government bonds.
2. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or other Cypriot organizations
(a) Title/titles and other documentation in regards to the financial assets;
(b) Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial bank in the name of the seller whether company or physical person.
3. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure
(a) Contact of Sale;
(b) Title Deeds or Proof of submission of Contract of Sale with the Department of Lands and Surveys;
(c) Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price;
(d) Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial bank in the name of the seller.
4. Creating, purchasing or participating in Cypriot companies or other businesses
(a) Contract of Sale;
(b) Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price;
(c) Shareholders certificate from the Companies Registrar or certificates proving the applicant is the ultimate beneficial owner;
(d) Copy of the wire transfer to the Cypriot commercial bank in the name of the company/business;
(e) Confirmation from the Department of Social Insurance for the insurable income of the Cypriot employees of the company/business;
(f) Confirmation from the Inland Revenue Department in regards to the taxable earnings of the Cypriots employees in companies or businesses in which the applicant invested.
5. Deposits in Cypriot Banks
(a) Confirmation by the relevant Cypriot Banks for the three years fixed term deposits of the applicant or the companies or trusts in which he/she is the final beneficial owner;
(b) Copy of the wire transfer of the deposit amount to a Cypriot commercial bank.
6. Impaired deposits in Laiki Bank
(b) In cases of deposits of companies where the applicant is the ultimate beneficial owner, the following documents should also be submitted: Certificate of Registration from the Companies Registrar and/or any other supporting evidence, accompanied by a trust declaration reflecting who the beneficial owner is.
Permanent Residence Permit in Cyprus via Investing on Property
Cyprus has a favorable regime which allows a third country national to obtain Permanent Residency in Cyprus if he or she buys property in Cyprus worth a minimum of €300.000 and when certain conditions are met. Low crime rate, nice weather, high quality schools and a good living standard render Cyprus a very desirable location to invest on property and to seek to start a new life.
According to the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, the criteria which have to be met for a third country national to obtain Permanent Residency in Cyprus are:
(1) The applicant for the Permanent Residency must prove that he has a secured minimum annual income of €30.000 and that this income comes from abroad and not from working in Cyprus. Further, the required minimum annual income is increased by €5.000 for each dependent person.
(2) The applicant has to submit the application form together with the Title of ownership or contract of sale of a property in Cyprus, of a minimum value of €300.000 and proof of payment for at least €200,000. The contract of sale must be deposited to the Land Registry before the applicant submits his application for Permanent Residency.
(3) The applicant should submit a letter from a Cypriot Bank confirming that he has deposited a minimum of €30.000 in a 3-year Fixed Deposit Account.
(4) The applicant must have no Criminal Record and provide relevant proof from the authorities of his country.
(5) The applicant is not allowed to work in Cyprus and should submit a statement to this effect.
(6) The applicant must visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
It usually takes around 2 months for the examination and processing on the application.
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