• Emily A. Georgiades, Esq.

Is the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Scheme Ending?

Throughout the years, Cyprus has become a popular destination through which individuals have not only established businesses but also obtained a passport through such investments to allow them to work and move freely throughout the entire European Union.

Criteria for Eligibility to Obtain a Cyprus Passport

The applicant must:

1. Invest directly in the Republic of Cyprus at least €2.5 million (excl. VAT) for either any one of these options or a combination of these options:

a. the acquisition or development of real estate projects; or

b. in the purchase or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in Cyprus; or

c. purchased financial assets of at least €2,0 million (excl. VAT), i.e. units in Alternative Investments Funds, bonds, debentures, other securities, etc., registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus, in companies or organisations with substantial economic activity in Cyprus which are regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.

2. Have a clean criminal record;

3. Own a permanent residence in Cyprus of a market value of at least €500.000 (excl. VAT). *If the investment is only in residential property there is no additional requirement to acquire a permanent residence in Cyprus of at least €500.000 (excl. VAT).

4. Submit a residence permit application simultaneously with the Cyprus citizenship application.

In addition to the above criteria, on February 14, 2019, Cyprus enacted new legislation which included an additional investment of the following:

1.) a mandatory donation of €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation; or

2.) at least €75,000 to a certified innovative business; or

3.) at least €80,000 for purchase, incorporation, or participation in a company that operates the primary or secondary sector of the economy or in the fields of research, technology, health, education and renewable energy.

Such donations have the potential to jumpstart many small businesses and start-up companies in Cyprus and in fact have done so.

Already there is a large start-up community in Cyprus that has been steadily growing and this is just the beginning. This scheme is sending the message that business innovation is at the core of our values in Cyprus. Small businesses are being given the opportunity to grow within their home base and to use this platform to launch into the international scene.

Whilst the criteria are becoming more stringent, it does not appear that this scheme is set to end any time soon. However, due to its popularity, there is a wait list of individuals waiting to obtain the passport as the Government is taking a set number of applicants per year. Therefore, if you are interested in applying, it is better to begin the process sooner rather than later to avoid a longer waiting period.

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