- Applying for citizenship of Cyprus: the program requirements
- Citizenship of Cyprus by investment: investment options and required amounts
- Legal residence in Cyprus as an alternative to citizenship of the country
- Documents required when applying for legal residence in Cyprus
- FAQ related to acquiring citizenship of Cyprus by investment
- Expert support in acquiring a legal residence permit in Cyprus
Can you acquire citizenship of Cyprus by investment? As things stand for now, the answer is ‘no, you cannot’. Cyprus used to have a citizenship-by-investment program that allowed foreign nationals to acquire passports of an EU member state, which was an attractive opportunity indeed. However, the program has been suspended for the reasons explained below. Not a single Cypriot passport has been issued to a foreign investor since November 1, 2020. Moreover, the previously issued passports are re-inspected and some sources say that several passports have been annulled.
Even though citizenship of Cyprus by investment is not an available option at the moment, we are discussing the issue for two reasons. First, the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program may be restarted at a later point in time. We must admit that we cannot say if this is going to happen soon or not. Second, the legal residence-by-investment option is still available and acquiring a legal residence permit in Cyprus is second only to acquiring the passport of the country.
If you would like to discuss the opportunity of acquiring legal residence in Cyprus with our experts, please request a free consultation on the matter. Our email address is email@example.com and you can also use a messenger or our live chat to contact us.
If you would like to learn more about foreign citizenship opportunities that we offer, please follow this link. If you trust us to provide legal support to you in the process of foreign citizen acquisition, we will offer you a tailored service package that will suit your goals and preferences.
Citizenship of Cyprus: main advantages
Regrettably, acquiring citizenship of Cyprus by investment is not possible now but the program has not been completely dismantled: it has been suspended. This is why we would like to highlight the main advantages of becoming a citizen of Cyprus with the hope that the opportunity will return one day.
Main advantages that citizenship of Cyprus brings:
- No restrictions as to finding employment or doing business in Cyprus as well as any other country of the European Union.
- Citizenship of Cyprus by investment will give you access to high-quality medical services available in Cyprus and other EU countries.
- Your children will have access to top-quality education opportunities: many European universities rank very high on the corresponding lists.
- A wide choice of real property to purchase and simple procedures of property rights registration in Cyprus.
- Extended opportunities for tax planning (this concerns both natural persons and corporate entities).
- Wonderful recreation opportunities: Cyprus is a highly popular tourist destination in the Mediterranean Sea.
- A high level of personal security. Foreigners moving to Cyprus find the country extremely peaceful and quiet.
- Legal second citizenship. You are entitled to keep your home country passport when acquiring citizenship of Cyprus by investment. (Issues may arise if your home country does not allow dual citizenship though.)
- There are no personal presence requirements for economic citizens of Cyprus. Holding the passport of the country, you can reside anywhere in Europe if you wish.
- Visa-free entrance to 174 countries. The passport of Cyprus is one of the most powerful travel documents in the world.
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When applying for citizenship of Cyprus by investment, you will also find the following additional advantages:
- Your spouse and dependent children can be added to the application for citizenship of Cyprus.
- Your parents can also be added to the application for citizenship on the condition that you purchase residential accommodations for them on the island that are worth not less than 500,000 euros.
- The application processing time has been reduced to six months.
- If you apply for citizenship of Cyprus smartly, you will be able to pass it on to your heirs.
- You will not automatically become a tax resident in the country when you acquire citizenship of Cyprus by investment. You become a tax resident of Cyprus only if you physically reside in the country for more than 183 days per year.
Please note that we discuss the basic requirements of the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program below. Some changes to the program have been recently introduced and we discuss those in a separate section of the article.
Applying for citizenship of Cyprus: the program requirements
Please bear in mind that the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program is undergoing some serious revision at the moment. Some additional requirements have been already put into place (see below) and we cannot guarantee, of course, that no new changes will occur in the future. At the same time, the requirements listed below are rather basic and they might remain the same.
Basic requirements that the applicant for citizenship of Cyprus by investment has to meet:
- You have to be able to supply a clean criminal record from the police authorities of your home country when applying for citizenship of Cyprus by investment.
- No applicant for citizenship of Cyprus (including dependent family members) can be on a European or international sanction list.
- You will be unable to acquire citizenship of Cyprus by investment if your application for citizenship of another EU country has been rejected before.
- You have to have a valid Schengen visa when applying for citizenship of Cyprus by investment.
- Before obtaining full citizenship of Cyprus, you will have to apply for a temporary residence permit in the country.
- You will have to keep the property that you purchase in Cyprus (see below) in your possession for five years. If you sell it back before the period expires, your Cypriot passport will be annulled.
- If you purchase a piece of real property to qualify for citizenship of Cyprus by investment, it will have to be in your lifetime possession. However, letting the property on a lease is allowed, so you can return your investment after several years.
- The capital invested in the Cypriot economy has to come from abroad.
Citizenship of Cyprus by investment: investment options and required amounts
As far as the required investment amounts are concerned, you have to realize that a rather large sum of money is going to be required to obtain citizenship of Cyprus. (Acquiring citizenship of a Caribbean country, for example, is much less expensive.) At the same time, there are national states whose citizenship costs even more and besides, the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program offers such a great set of advantages that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. Investing in Cyprus would be worth every penny.
You have to invest the minimum required amount of 500,000 euros (VAT may have to be added to this sum) in a piece of real property in Cyprus. You will not be able to ever sell it back but you can rent it out. In addition to that, one of the following alternative conditions has to be satisfied:
- Option №1 – residential or commercial property worth 1.5 / 2 million euros. If you purchase commercial property at 1.5 million, you have to invest another 500,000 euros in some other property. If you buy a house, for example, for 2 million, you will not have to make any other investments. (VAT may have to be added to this sum.)
- Option №2 – an investment into a business venture of 2 million euros. You can purchase a business company or buy shares of a larger corporation. If you are a business-minded person, you will be able to return this sort of investment in all likelihood.
- Option №3 – an investment in a Cypriot fund or corporation that holds a CySec license. The required amount is 2 million euros or more.
- Option №4 – the three options above combined on the condition that the total investment amount is at least 2 million euros.
In addition to that, you will have to make a non-returnable donation or a returnable investment of 100,000 euros in one of the following organizations in Cyprus:
- Research and Innovation Foundation.
- A certified innovative/ socially oriented enterprise.
- Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Conservation Fund.
- National Solidarity Fund.
- Service of Industry and Technology.
Please note that the additional donation/ investment is not required if you have put at least 400,000 euros in a socially significant enterprise, an R&D company, an educational institution, a medical institution, or a company involved with renewable energy sources.
- Cyprus Land development Corporation.
Please apply for a personal consultation to find out the details related to the possible investment options available to foreign investors in citizenship of Cyprus.
Please find the information about additional costs involved in acquiring citizenship of Cyprus by investment in the section below.
You will also have to cover some additional costs when applying for citizenship of Cyprus by investment. However, they are almost negligible in comparison to the 2 million euros that you have to bring.
Administrative fees (due diligence, application processing, passport issuance, etc.):
- Main applicant: 2,000 / 5,000 / 7,000 EUR.
- Spouse: the same.
- Adult children and parents: the same.
- Underage children: 80 / – / 80 EUR.
- Passport issuance: 120 EUR.
- ID issuance: 30 EUR.
Legal residence in Cyprus as an alternative to citizenship of the country
The results of the investigation conducted by the journalists of Al-Jazeera TV channel in 2020 shocked the European authorities in Brussels. The investigation revealed that the Cypriot immigration authorities had not been implementing the due diligence procedures in a proper way. As a result, some foreign criminals had been able to acquire European passports. No wonder Brussels told Nicosia to stop issuing passports for money immediately.
This is unfortunate for law-abiding foreign investors indeed: now they cannot obtain citizenship of Cyprus by investment through no fault of their own! If some agency is claiming that ‘buying’ citizenship of Cyprus is still possible, please be aware that you are talking to a bunch of frauds.
We do not know if the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program will ever be relaunched but the passport of the country is unattainable at the moment. But this does not have to mean that you cannot go to Cyprus and stay there for an extended period of time! What is still possible is obtaining a legal residence permit in the country.
So if you reformulate the question and instead of asking ‘Can I acquire citizenship if Cyprus’ you would ask ‘Can I legalize a prolonged stay in Cyprus’, the answer is going to be affirmative! Acquiring a permanent residence permit in this European state in exchange for an investment is a viable option for those who would like to reside at the seashore and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle of the Mediterranean island.
The requirements to foreign investors applying for legal residence in Cyprus have also been changed. Below, we list these requirements and put the ones that were in place before in parentheses. Some of the requirements have been toughened while some other changes are quite positive.
- The required non-returnable donation amount has been raised to 200,000 euros (150,000 before).
- The number of jobs that the foreign investor has to create in Cyprus or any other EU country has been raised to nine (five before).
- Both the main applicant’s parents and his/ her spouse’s parents can be added to a family application for legal residence in Cyprus (only the main applicant’s parents before). The requirement to buy a 500,000-euro worth of real property for the parents remains in force.
- Adult family members can be added to the application for residence straight away (before, they could be added only after the main applicant was granted a residence permit).
- Adult children between 18 and 28 cannot be added to the application if they are married (they could before).
- Politically exposed persons can apply for legal residence in Cyprus if one year has passed since they lost this status (five years before).
- Investments have to be made only through Cypriot banks (unnecessary condition before).
- Intensive Due Diligence checks for the main applicant and the dependent family members with the emphasis on the investment capital origin identification (standard Due Diligence procedures before).
- Forming a development company in Cyprus as an investment is prohibited now.
- The police records have to be less than six months old (three months before).
On the whole, the legal residence opportunity is almost as attractive as the opportunity to acquire full citizenship of Cyprus. As the latter option is unavailable, you might as well consider making an investment in the Cyprus economy and applying for a permanent residence permit there. Otherwise, you can wait and see if the citizenship-by-investment program starts functioning again. After all, it has not been closed but rather suspended.
Documents required when applying for legal residence in Cyprus
Below please find a tentative list of documents that you have to submit to the immigration authorities when applying for a permanent residence permit in Cyprus. All adult family members have to submit the documents listed below.
- Birth certificates (for children).
- Police clearance (please mind that if your country of residence is different from your country of birth, you will have to bring police clearances from both countries).
- Marriage certificate (if applicable).
- Two passport-size photographs.
- A document certifying enrollment in a university (for adult children).
- Due diligence report.
Please note that translated documents may need notarization and apostil. Please inquire with InternationalWealth experts for more details.
Administrative costs involved in acquiring a permanent residence permit in Cyprus:
- Main applicant/ spouse/ children below 18: 500 EUR + 70 EUR for each person.
- Adult children: same amounts.
FAQ related to acquiring citizenship of Cyprus by investment
We certainly cherish the hope that the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program will be reopened one day when the country’s authorities sort out the due diligence procedures to the satisfaction of the Brussels officials. You are welcome to contact us and ask us any questions related to citizenship of Cyprus but let us answer the most popular questions in this text.
Will my close relatives qualify for citizenship of Cyprus if my application is approved?
Yes, they will. You can acquire citizenship of Cyprus for your spouse, your underage children, and your adult children if they are financially dependent on you. You can also acquire citizenship of Cyprus for your parents but an additional investment of 500,000 euros is required in this case.
Are there any restrictions on the applicant’s nationality?
Officially, citizens of any country can apply for citizenship of Cyprus by investment.
Do I have to take a language test or a history test when applying for citizenship of Cyprus by investment?
No, you do not.
A Cypriot passport is effectively an EU passport, is it not?
Yes, it is.
Are their residence requirements for economic citizens of Cyprus?
No, there are none.
What about the taxes?
You will have to pay taxes in Cyprus if you become a tax resident in the country. This question is very complicated and an individual answer will be given in each particular situation. Please contact our experts directly if you would like to learn more about this issue.
Do I have to purchase residential accommodations in Cyprus when applying for citizenship of the country by investment?
Yes, you have to buy a piece of residential property in Cyprus whichever investment option you choose.
Can I buy a house for 2 million euros in Cyprus and bother no more with buying other pieces of property?
Yes, you can but please remember that your residential accommodations have to remain in your lifetime possession. For this reason, buying two pieces of property in Cyprus may turn out more sensible.
Can I invest in the citizenship of Cyprus via a company or a fund?
Yes, you can if you can prove your involvement in the commercial organization.
Can I buy a house or an apartment that has been lived in when I apply for citizenship of Cyprus?
Yes, you can. However, when purchasing property that has been used (that is not new), you become subject to the VAT. The tax is not considered part of the investment so it is going to be an additional expenditure.
Does citizenship of Cyprus have an ‘expiry date’?
No, it does not. Moreover, you can pass it on to your children under certain conditions.
Does Cyprus allow dual citizenship?
Yes, it does. Problems related to dual citizenship may arise only of your home country disallows it.
How can I confirm having purchased a piece of property in Cyprus?
You have to submit the purchase agreement to the immigration authorities of the country.
Can I never sell my ‘anchor’ piece of property?
You can sell it after you buy an equal or a larger (that is, more expensive) piece of property in Cyprus.
Can I expect the Cypriot citizenship-by-investment program to restart?
It is too early to say now. Experts believe that the program will be relaunched one day but nobody knows when it is going to happen or if it is going to happen at all.
Expert support in acquiring a legal residence permit in Cyprus
Acquiring a permanent residence permit in Cyprus is a way to legalize your prolonged stay in the European Union and this opportunity is certainly worth considering. Besides, the island is a wonderful place to live: there you will find friendly people, a lot of sunshine, direct access to the sea, and amazing Mediterranean cuisine. We will be happy to provide full legal support to you in obtaining a legal residence permit in Cyprus. This is what we can do for you:
- Provide professional consultations on any issues related to acquiring legal residence in Cyprus as well as many other jurisdictions.
- Inspect all the documents involved in the process and give a legal assessment of the investment objects that you are considering.
- Help you collect the package of required documents.
- Carry out any legal actions on your behalf.
- Monitor the application processing, submit additional application documents (if requested by the Cypriot immigration authorities), and adjust the application to new administrative requirements should they emerge.
- Provide practical assistance to you in visiting the country (travel, accommodation, translation services, and so on).
Even though you cannot obtain full citizenship of Cyprus as the program has been suspended, you still can apply for permanent residence in the country by investment. If you are interested in this opportunity, please do not hesitate to contact us by email, our life chat or a messenger (click the Contact us icon at the top of the page) and place a request for a free personal consultation. We will get back to you shortly!