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Granting of Cypriot (European) Citizenship by Investing in Cyprus

Nicosia, October 2014

The Cyprus government has formulated a new “fast track” citizenship scheme. The new criteria have been significantly relaxed by the government in order to encourage non-EU and EU individuals to invest in a promising economy.

The Cypriot citizenship is not only a prospective investment, but also can be the passport of every non-EU citizen to expand his/her business in Europe.  The new scheme has generally become very flexible and the Ministry of Interior has provided different incentives in order to make the gaining of the citizenship more feasible.

The Government Scheme is named Scheme for Naturalisation of Investors in Cyprus by Exception and is legally based on subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2013.

A. Who may apply for the Cypriot Citizenship?

Any non-Cypriot citizen who meets one of the below economic criteria.  The non-Cypriot citizen may apply either personally or through a company/companies in which he/she participates as a shareholder, or may even apply in his capacity as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/companies that meets one of the economic criteria (A).

A high-ranking senior manager may apply, provided that he/she receives a remuneration that generates for the Republic a tax revenue of at least €100,000 for a three year period and provided that this tax has already been paid or prepaid.

B. What are the main criteria for gaining the Cyprus citizenship?

Individuals, including their family members, may by exception apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship if they meet one of the following criteria:

1. Investment in government bonds:
 
The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million.

For purposes of the citizenship application, in order for the bonds to be eligible, they must be purchased directly from the primary market.

Or

2. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations:
 
The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations (bonds/securities/debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €5,0 million.
 
It is noted that these financial assets can be purchased either at issuance, or subsequently by the market.

Or

3. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €5,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects).

Or

4. Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €5,0 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five (5) Cypriot citizens.
 
It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits into shares is included in this criterion. 

Or

5.  Deposits in Cypriot banks:

The applicant must have personal fixed term deposits for three years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he/she is the beneficiary owner) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5,0 million.

Or

6. Combination of the aforementioned criteria

  • Investment in government bonds
  • Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations
  • Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects
  • Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies) and Α.5 (deposits in Cypriot banks):

The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5,0 million.

Or

7.   Persons whose deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd have been impaired due to the measures implemented after the 15th March 2013:

The applicant has incurred an impairment in deposits amounting to a total of at least €3,0 million.   

In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his/her deposits under €3,0 million he/she may apply, having made an additional investment through the aforementioned criteria (B.1, B.2, B.3, B.4, B.5).

Or

8.  Major Collective Investments:

The Council of Ministers shall have the right, on special occasions, to reduce the above criteria (B.1, B.2, B.3, B.4, B.5):

I. To €2,5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €12,5 million.

II. To €2,0 million for investors who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is more than €12.5 million. It is noted that this present provision (I), will be in force until the 1st of June 2014.

In addition, it is noted that for the above mentioned provisions (Ι) and (ΙΙ), the investment for the Criteria B1 until B4 may be realized through a different salesman/provider (physical or legal entity). 

C. What are the main terms and conditions to be able to apply for the Cypriot Citizenship?

1. Clean Criminal Record: the applicant must have a clean criminal record.  Furthermore, his name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union.

2. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Part B, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the market value of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T. 

3. It is noted that members of the same family, which apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of this home property covers the amount of €500.000 per each applicant.

D. Which documents must be submitted?

In order to examine any applications (M127) various documents are required to be submitted:

1. Clean Criminal Record:

Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if it differs).
 
2. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus:

(a) Contract of Sale

(b) Title Deeds/Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department

(c) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

As for the investment Criteria, the following are required, depending on the case:

(a) Certificate of Registration of the company/companies by the Registrar of Companies

(b) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficiary owner of the company/companies

(c) Audited Accounts of the company (or companies) for the last three years preceding the year of the application

(d) If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager the submission of the employment contract and the receipt from the Department of Inland Revenue is additionally required

Any other document that might be requested either by the Ministry of Interior, or by the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, depending on the case, the following are required:

1. Investment in Government bonds

Receipts from the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus for the purchase of the Government bonds. 

2. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations

(a) Title/titles and other documents regarding the financial assets
 
(b) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization

3. Investment in real estate, land development or infrastructure projects

(a) Contract of sale

(b) Title Deeds/Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department

(c) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company


4. Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies

(a) Contract of sale

(b) Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price

(c) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficiary owner of the company/companies

(d) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization

(e) Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot employees in the company

(f) Confirmation from the Inland Revenue Department as to the taxable income of the Cypriot employees in the companies or businesses that the applicant invested in.

5. Deposits in Cypriot banks

(a) Confirmation from Cypriot banks as to the fixed term deposits for three years of  the applicant or the companies in which he is the beneficiary owner or of the trust  in which he is the beneficiary owner

(b) Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution

6. Impairment of deposits in the Cyprus Popular Bank

(a) Confirmation as to the level and the time of the impairment of the deposits

(b) In the case of deposits of companies of which the applicant is the beneficiary owner, the Certificate of Registration of the Company by the Registrar of Companies and/or any other evidence, along with a declaration from the trustee of the funds confirming the beneficial owner is to be attached

None of the above affects the absolute discretion of the Council of Ministers in taking a Decision.

E. What are the criteria and conditions for family members (spouse and children) of the investor to gain Cyprus citizenship?

In essence, once the Cypriot citizenship is granted, the spouse and the financially dependent adult children (18 years and above) of the investor may apply for the Cypriot citizenship without having to satisfy the economic criteria.

1.  Financially dependent persons:

Adult children of an investor are considered as financially dependent if they are students up to the age of 28 and are attending an institution of higher education aiming to obtain a diploma or an undergraduate or a master’s degree. The Decision excludes individuals who are studying for the acquisition of a professional qualification (e.g. chartered accountants or barrister) or individuals who are studying for the acquisition of a second, third etc. diploma or degree (either undergraduate or master’s). Additionally, an investors’ child with severe physical or mental disability that makes him/her unable to work is also considered as financially dependent.

The minor children (under the age of eighteen) of an investor have the right to acquire the citizenship according to the provisions of section 110 (3) of the Civil Registry Law.

2. Application

a) Investor’s Spouse

The application is submitted to the Ministry of Interior. The application can be submitted along with the application of the investor so that both spouses will be able to acquire the Cypriot citizenship simultaneously. The list of the necessary documents is as follows:

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper - two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae

Note 1: The original application (M127) and all the required original documents are to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior. Along with the original application and documents, an additional photocopy of the application and all the documents should also be submitted.

Note 2: All the documents issued by a foreign authority should be translated to either Greek or English and be duly authenticated (they should bear the stamp «APOSTILE» if they are issued by countries that have signed the Hague Convention, otherwise they should be sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).

b) Investor’s adult children (eighteen years old or above)

The application is submitted to the Ministry of Interior, after the investor has acquired the Cypriot citizenship. The list of the necessary documents is as follows:

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper - two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of the undergraduate degree (if the applicant studies for a master’s degree)
  • Certificate of attendance at a Higher Education Institute (Original)

Or

  • Medical Certificate attesting the disability (Original)

Note 1: The original application (M127) and all the required original documents are to be submitted to the Ministry of Interior. Along with the original application and documents, an additional photocopy of the application and all the documents should also be submitted.

Note 2: All the documents issued by a foreign authority should be translated to either Greek or English and be duly authenticated (They should bear the stamp «APOSTILE», if they are issued by countries that have signed the Hague Convention, otherwise they should be sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).

c) Investor’s minor children (under the age of eighteen)

The application is submitted after the investor has acquired the Cypriot citizenship to the Civil Registry and Migration Department where it is also processed. The list of the necessary documents is as follows:

  • Application Form M126 fully completed and signed by the parent before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Parent’s marriage certificate
  • Copies of the child’s and parents’ passports
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Written consent of the non-Cypriot parent
  • Two passport size photographs
  • €80 fees

Note: All the documents issued by a foreign authority should be translated into either Greek or English and be duly authenticated (they should bear the stamp «APOSTILE» if they are issued by countries that have signed the Hague Convention, otherwise they should be sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).


F.  What are the fees payable for each application?

Concerning the investor the amount of €2.000 is paid on submission of the application and, if the application is approved, the amount of €5.000 is paid as a fee for the issuance of the Naturalization Certificate.

Concerning the investor’s spouse the amount of €2.000 is also paid on submission of the application and, if the application is approved, the amount of €5.000 is paid as a fee for the issuance of the Naturalization Certificate.

Concerning the investor’s adult child the amount of €2.000 is also paid on submission of the application and, if the application is approved, the amount of €5.000 is paid as a fee for the issuance of the Naturalization Certificate.

Concerning the investor’s minor child the amount of €80 is paid on submission of the application.

In summary the fees are as follows:

Applicant Application Submission Fee  Certificate Issuance Fee Total
Investor  €2.000  €5.000  €7.000
Investor's Spouse  €2.000  €5.000  €7.000
Investor's Adult Child  €2.000  €5.000  €7.000
Investor's Minor Child  €80   -  €80 

G. What is the time frame for the examination of an application?

Approximately three months.

Kindly note: none of the above affects the absolute discretion of the Council of Ministers in taking a decision

Our services

Focus Business Services can provide legal assistance with the preparation of the applications and supporting documents, as well as providing professional advice throughout the application process. Also, our group can provide all Accounting and Audit. Our group can furthermore provide wealth and estate planning.
Contact one of our officers to initiate the incorporation of a Cyprus registered company and start reaping the full benefits of an onshore, low-tax, EU jurisdiction. Simply fill in the contact box below or contact us by email on enquiries@fbscyprus.com

 

 

 


Contact one of our officers to initiate the incorporation of a Cyprus registered company and start reaping the full benefits of an onshore, low-tax, EU jurisdiction. Simply fill in the contact box below or contact us by email on enquiries@fbscyprus.com
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