Republic of Cyprus

Republic of Cyprus 2017-08-10T07:58:17+00:00

Quick facts

  • Location: Eastern Mediterranean Island
  • Total area: 9,251 km2
  • Capital: Nicosia
  • Currency: EURO
  • Government: Presidential Republic
  • Population: 1,172,458 (est. 2014)
  • Language: Greek and Turkish (official), English widely spoken
  • Religions: Christians Greek Orthodox 78%, Muslim 18%, other 4%
  • Visa-free or visa on arrival countries and territories: 158 

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Advantages of Citizenship

  • Cyprus is a member state of EU.
  • Most attractive tax system in Europe. Dividend income, most international transactions, profits from overseas permanent establishments and profits from the sale of securities are exempt from tax. Also, there is no withholding tax on dividend, interest and royalties paid from Cyprus.
  • Cyprus is in the “white list” of OECD.
  • Rich and diverse culture
  • Mild Mediterranean climate
  • High standard of education
  • Cyprus has a comprehensive, business-friendly, modern and forward-looking legal and regulatory framework based on English Common Law principles.
  • Clean and healthy environment with a high standard of living. Cyprus combines an international competitive business environment with a pleasurable and balanced way of life. The UNDP Human Development Index Report 2013 ranked Cyprus 31st out of 187 countries for the quality of life.
  • Advanced infrastructure
  • Strategic location, easy travelling to most important destinations of the World.
  • Citizenship for whole family including dependent kids up to 21 years old.
  • No interview requirement

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Timeframe of procedure

Naturalization of Investors by Exception Scheme is one of the fastest to lead to citizenship in Europe and usually takes 3-6 months.

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Requirements to the applicant

  • Clean criminal records.
  • No court frozen orders on property within EU
  • Source and origin of invested funds clarifications.
  • Permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.

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Investment options

The Council of Ministers of the Republic has issued such Regulatory Acts over the years, with the most recent being the Regulatory Act dated 13/09/2016 (hereinafter “the Regulatory Act”) which revises the “citizenship by investment” criteria and also includes members of the businessman’s or investor’s families in the scheme of citizenship granting. This Regulatory Act came into force on the 31st of October, 2016.
Before applying for citizenship, any applicant must compulsorily fulfil the following criteria:

  1. They must have a clear criminal record;
  2. They must have a permanent private residence in Cyprus of a value of €500,000 plus VAT;
  3. The applicant must hold a permit to stay in the Republic at the time of their application for citizenship.

The Criteria for Investors

  • 1. First criterion:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2 million for the purchase or building of immovable property or the development of new projects in the residential, commercial, tourism or infrastructure sector.

 

  • 2. Second criterion:

The applicant must have purchased, set up or invested in companies or businesses with their establishment in the Republic of Cyprus and that investment must be of at least €2 million. Such invested capital must be channelled for the funding of investment purposes of such companies/businesses solely in Cyprus, on the basis of an investment plan. Such businesses or companies must have a physical presence in Cyprus with substantial financial activity and an important circle of activities and must employ at least five Cypriot or EU citizens.

 

  • 3. Third criterion:

They applicant may invest in Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) or financial assets of Cyprus businesses or entities that are licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (hereinafter “CySec”).

In the case of AIFs the applicant must have bought units of a value of €2 million in AIFs regulated in Cyprus by the CySec and of which the investments are conducted exclusively in Cyprus.  Such investments must be kept on for at least three years, the auditor of the AIFs that qualify this specific citizenship-granting plan shall notify the Ministries of Interior and Finance on an annual basis.

Where the applicant buys assets in Cypriot businesses or entities such a purchase must be of over €2 million and it may include bonds that have been issued after the authorisation of the CySec, for companies with a substantial financial activity in Cyprus and which aim at the funding of investment purposes of those entities/businesses only in Cyprus, and on the basis of an investment plan.

 

  • 4. Fourth criterion:

It is possible for the applicant to combine the investments in criteria 1-3 above under the condition that the total value of the investment is at least €2 million. Within this context of a combination of investments, the applicant may also buy Government Bonds up to €500,000 from the Department for the Management of Public Deficit of the Ministry of Finance on the condition that such bonds will be kept on for at least three years.

 

In all four cases the applicant must have effectuated the relevant investments within the three years preceding the application and the investment must be kept for at least three years following the granting of citizenship.

Criteria for Businessmen

According to paragraph (a) (i) and (ii) of the Regulatory Act, a Director of a company or companies may also apply for citizenship, under the condition that the company fulfils one of the criteria otherwise applied to individual investors.
As an additional criterion for the Director, it is necessary that they have a salary for which the income tax exceeds the amount of €100,000 over a period of at least three years and that the relevant taxes have been paid or pre-paid to the Republic.

Criteria for Family members

As per paragraph (b) of the Regulatory Act, it is possible for persons considered to be family members of the applicant investor/businessman who has been granted citizenship to apply for Cypriot citizenship as well.
For the purposes of the Regulatory Act, family members are the following:

  1. Spouse;
  2. Civil Partner;
  3. Parents;
  4. Children;
  5. Children dependent on the applicant who are over 18 years of age (students and mentally disabled adults).

In the case of spouses and civil partners, the Regulatory Act provides that it is possible for them to apply simultaneously to the investor/businessman, while parents and dependent children over the age of 18 must apply once the investor/businessman has been granted citizenship.
The applicant’s parent must also fulfil a further requirement; he/she must be the owner of a permanent private residence in Cyprus of a market value of at least €500,000 plus VAT, and where both parents apply they must own a private permanent residence of a value of at least €1 million plus VAT.

 

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Additional residence options for High Networth individuals

Permanent Residence Permit – Category F
Certain categories of third country nationals referred to in Regulation 5 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations of 1972 may make an application to obtain an Immigration Permit, the most popular of which is Category F Permanent Residence Permit.
The Permanent Residence Permit is available for third country nationals who have at their disposal a secured income, high enough to allow a decent living in Cyprus, without having to work in Cyprus. This Permit is granted to the applicant and his spouse till the rest of their lives unless the holder of this Permit was granted permanent Residence permit in another country (other than the country of his nationality) or he did not visit Cyprus for a period longer than 2 years continuously.
Holders of Permanent Residence Permits may at any time, inter alia, enter and remain for any period in the Republic of Cyprus without the requirement of a visitor’s visa.
In terms of procedure, there are two routes to obtain this permit, either by the standard Category F application (Regulation 5(f)) which takes approximately 5- 12 months or via the fast track procedure which takes about two months.
1. Standard Application for Permanent Residence Permit Category F
As explained above, this type of permit is granted to those third country nationals, who possess and have fully and freely at their disposal a secured annual income, high enough to give them a decent living in Cyprus, without having to engage in any business, trade or profession in Cyprus. This income must come from legal sources from abroad (e.g. pensions, permanent deposits, business activities, ownership of companies, shares etc.).The minimum annual income required is €9,568.17 for a single applicant and €4,613.22 for every dependent person, but the Civil Registry and Migration Department may demand additional amounts as necessary. These additional amounts might come from annual maintenance expenses of the property, educational, medical and other needs of the family in each particular case. It is always necessary to take into consideration all the needs of the family of the applicant and to offer solid evidence that the applicant is able to cover all those needs in the future. Given the fact that a Category F permit is granted only once, the Immigration Authorities will take all steps necessary to examine and will need to be satisfied as to the stability and reliability of annual income over a long period of time. Depositing a minimum amount of EURO 30.000 in one of the banks of Cyprus usually facilitates the process of the application.The most important criteria to be met can be reiterated as follows:

  • Applicants should have at their disposal a secured minimum annual income of approximately EURO 30.000 from sources other than employment in Cyprus.
  • The applicant must have enough money to cover all the expenses of all members of his family The necessary minimum income, if applicable, is increased by approximately EURO 5.000 for each dependant.
  • This income comes from abroad (documentation is required that supports that all funds have been transferred from abroad to Cyprus) and from legal sources.
  • This income is secured, reliable and consistent on a long run and this income will be maintained in time.
  • Where the applicant resides abroad, a criminal record certificate issued by the authorities in the country of origin must accompany the application and this record should show that in general, the applicant shall not constitute a threat against public order or security in Cyprus.
  • Applicants should not intend to work or be engaged in any form of business in Cyprus and a written statement to this effect should accompany the application.
  • If there are reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant or any of his dependents might become an unreasonable burden on the social assistance resources of the Republic of Cyprus, then his application will be rejected.

Fast-track Procedure for granting Permanent Residence permit
As from the decision of the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus on 7/05/2009, when a third country national buys a property/residence for himself and his family of at least €300.000,00 and more, his application for Permanent Residence Permit, Category F (as described above) will be examined favourably. The criteria to be met and the supporting documentation required for an individual to be eligible to obtain a permanent residence permit in Cyprus, through the fast-track procedure, are the following:
• A property/ residence must be purchased in Cyprus.
• Purchasers could be just the applicant or just his spouse or the applicant and his spouse together or a Cyprus Company of which the applicant is an Ultimate Beneficial Owner.
• The purchase price of the property/residence must be at least EURO 300.000,00 (not including VAT).
• At least EURO 200.000,00 (not including VAT) of the purchase price must have been paid to the Vendor as at the date of the application.
• Proofs of transfer of EURO 200.000,00 (not including VAT) from abroad must accompany the application.
• The Contract of Sale must be deposited at the Land Registry.
• The applicant must deposit EURO 30.000,00 in a Cypriot Bank account and this amount must remain blocked for at least 3 years. Documentation which supports that such amount has been transferred from abroad to Cyprus must accompany the application.
• Applicants must have at their disposal a secured minimum annual income of at least EURO 30.000,00 from sources other than employment or engagement in business in Cyprus.
• The applicant must have enough money to cover all the expenses of all members of his family. The necessary minimum income, if applicable, is increased by EURO 5.000,00 for each dependant.
• Applicants should not intend to work or be engaged in any form of business in Cyprus and a written declaration to this effect should accompany the application.
• Noteworthy to mention that a permanent resident who has resided in Cyprus for at least 7 years may apply to acquire a Cyprus citizenship provided that he/she fulfils certain other preconditions.

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