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Changes to the Cyprus Naturalization by Investment Scheme

Naturalization is the official administrative act, by which a country confers the status of the citizen (citizenship) to someone who until then was a citizen of another or no country. Following its naturalization, the person is provided with all the necessary public documents (identification card, passport, etc.) and is being treated, legally, the same way as the rest of the country’s citizens, regarding both its rights and obligations.

On the 15th day of September, 2016 the Council of Ministers revised the procedure for the acquisition of Cyprus citizenship by naturalization based on investment criteria, in order to encourage real investments and help this way the island’s economy grow.

According to the new criteria set out by the Council, the applicant, should meet the following qualifications, in order to be eligible to apply for naturalization:

  • Individual Investment in the Republic of Cyprus up to the amount of EUR 2,000,000;
  • Purchase of a Residence in the Republic of Cyprus with market value up to the amount of at least EUR 500,000, excluding VAT.

The EUR 2,000,000 investment may be one of the following:

  • Purchase or construction of real estate or the creation of other developments (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourist sector or other infrastructure projects). However, the investment must be in an area permitted to build in and an investment plan should exist for its development, while the purchase of real estate in an area considered to be in a zone of zero development, is excluded. In these cases, the purchase of an additional residence of EUR 500,000, is not required.
  • Purchase, registration or participation in businesses or companies which are established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus. It has to be proven that, these businesses or companies have their physical control in the Republic and employ at least 5 Cypriots.
  • Investing in Alternative Investment Institutions which are registered in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed by the Cyprus Securities And Exchange Commission (CYSEC) and are conducting investments only in the Republic. This way of investment also includes the purchase of financial assets up to the amount of EUR 2,000,000, such as bonds and securities licensed by CYSEC, from companies which demonstrably have physical presence in the Republic and are concerned with the financing of their investing scopes.

The above mentioned ways of investment can be combined, provided that the aggregated value of them is up to the amount of at least EUR 2,000,000. Additionally the investor may proceed with the purchase of Cypriot governmental bonds up to the amount of EUR 500,000.

Furthermore the applicant should meet the following requirements:

  • The investments should be maintained for a period of at least 3 years;
  • The applicant should have a clean criminal record.

In the event that following an inspection is revealed that any criterion is being circumvented, the naturalization may be revoked.

The application should be accompanied by the following documentation:

  • Certificate of clean criminal record, issued by the applicant’s country of origin and country of residence (if it differs);
  • Sale and purchase agreement of the applicant’s residence;
  • Tittle deed or proof of submission of the sale and purchase agreement to the land registry;
  • Payment receipts for the agreed amount of the applicant’s residence;
  • Transfer to a Cypriot commercial bank institution in the name of the seller or its company, of the amount agreed for the residence in the sale and purchase agreement.

Depending on the type of investment the applicant chooses (see above), the following documents are required:

  • Investment in Real Estate, Developments and Infrastructure Projects
    • Sale and purchase agreement;
    • Tittle deed or proof of submission of the sale and purchase agreement to the Land Registry;
    • Payment receipts for the agreed amount of the sale and purchase agreement;
    • Transfer to a Cypriot commercial bank institution in the name of the seller or its company, of the amount agreed in the sale and purchase agreement.

 

  • Purchase, Registration or Participation in Cypriot Businesses or Companies
    • Sale and purchase agreement;
    • Payment receipts for the agreed amount of the sale and purchase agreement;
    • Certificate of shareholders, issued by the Registrar of Companies;
    • Transfer to a Cypriot commercial bank institution in the name of the seller or its company, of the amount agreed in the sale and purchase agreement.
    • Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department regarding the insurable earnings of employees in the company;
    • Certificate from the Inland Revenue Department for the taxable earnings of the Cypriot employees in the business or company, in which the applicant made his investment.

 

  • Investment in Governmental Bonds
    • Receipts from the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus for the purchase of the bonds.
  • Investment in Financial Assets of Cypriot Businesses or Cypriot Organizations
    • Tittles and other documentation of the financial assets;
    • Transfer to a Cypriot commercial bank institution in the name of the business or the organization.

 

  • In addition to the above, the below documentation should be also submitted, if applicable:
    • Certificate of incorporation of the company, issued by the Registrar of Companies;
    • Certificate of shareholders of the company, issued by the Registrar of Companies;
    • Audited accounts of the company;
    • Any other document, may be requested either by the Ministry of Interior, either by the Ministry of Finance.

 

None of the above affects the absolute discretion of the Council of Ministers in its decision-making.

All public documents which are being issued abroad must:

  • Bear official translation in Greek or English by the Press and Information Office (P.I.O.) of the Republic of Cyprus, the Embassy/ Consulate of the applicant or by a Governmental Department of the applicant’s country.
  • Be duly certified:
    • either by the APOSTILLE seal in case that the country has signed the Hague Convention of 1961;
    • either in case that the country has not signed the Hague Convention of 1961, by a seal from the Ministry of External Affairs of the applicant’s country as well as a seal from the Embassy/ Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus in that country, either by a seal from the Ministry of External Affairs of the applicant’s country as well as a seal from the Embassy/ Consulate of the applicant’s country in the Republic of Cyprus and then to be additionally certified by a seal from the Ministry of External Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus.
    • In case that the country has not signed the Hague Convention of 1961 and has not an Embassy/ Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus, the documents should be certified by a seal from the Ministry of External Affairs of the applicant’s country and after that from the closest Embassy/ Consulate which is accredited in the Republic of Cyprus.

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