Citizenship-by-Investment in Cyprus
The Cypriot Government has established a number of incentives to attract foreign direct investment into the country. One of these is a citizenship-by-investment program that grants full Cypriot citizenship to those that invest more than EUR 2.5 million in real estate and who meet certain other requirements. Successful applicants gain the right to live, work and study in all 28 EU member countries.
In April 2013, the Government of Cyprus introduced changes to its citizenship-by-investment program. The changes include the introduction of the Major Collective Investment (MCI) route which reduces the minimum investment amount from EUR 5 million to EUR 2.5 million when several applicants jointly apply for citizenship with a total minimum investment of EUR 12.5 million. Note: Not all economic criteria can be used under the MCI route.
Any non-Cypriot citizen may apply for Cypriot citizenship through Naturalization by Exception if he/she meets one of the following economic criteria presented below. The qualification may either be done personally or through a company/companies in which he/she acts as a shareholder or even as a high-ranking senior manager.
|1.||Acquisition of government bonds|
The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least EUR 2.5 million
|2.||Real estate |
This option requires an applicant to acquire at least EUR 2.5 million of real estate (residential, commercial or infrastructure projects)
|3.||Acquisition of financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisation |
The applicant must purchase financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations (bonds, securities or debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least EUR 2.5 million
This option would require the candidate or a company or trust of which he/she is the main beneficiary to hold a fixed deposit of at least EUR 5 million in a local bank for at least three years
|5.||Purchase, creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies |
The applicant must make an investment of at least EUR 2.5 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should have a demonstrable and tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot citizens
If a client would like to apply as a single applicant, then the investment amount should not be less than EUR 5 million.
Another important requirement that applies to every economic criterion chosen is the purchase and a life-time possession of a property in Cyprus that will be declared as the applicant’s residence in Cyprus. The purchase price of the particular property should be at least EUR 500,000 plus VAT. In the case that the applicant proceeds with the Real estate option, this property can be included in the EUR 2.5 million investment.
The process of obtaining Cypriot citizenship consists of a series of important steps that need to be implemented professionally and carefully. Haskew Law manages each step and ensures that they are executed correctly and at the right time, since each part of the process, if not properly handled, can affect the final citizenship approval.
We also help our clients to choose the most liquid and most suitable investment opportunities, evaluates all possible investments in relation to potential exit strategies, prepares and submits the application for citizenship to the government, follows up with the authorities while the case is being processed, and receives approval and passports for the clients. We also help clients to manage their properties and provide a further, enhanced menu of concierge services.
Following the submission of an application, We typically achieve approvals within three months. This quick process makes Cyprus one of the fastest destinations in which to obtain a second citizenship.
Even though the procedure for obtaining Cypriot citizenship is relatively straightforward, it is a very delicate process that requires a detailed level of focus on the detail and structuring of the investment. We have a wealth of international and local expertise and a high success rate of delivering the grant of citizenship within the three-month time frame.
We only work with investors who have passed our internal due diligence checks, which are similar to those used by the Government of Cyprus. Police clearance records from the current country of residence must also be provided at this preliminary stage.
Benefits of the Cypriot Citizenship-By-Investment Program:
- Citizenship of an EU member state
- Acquire the right to live, work, and study in all 28 EU countries
- Acquire the right to security within the European social and legal system
- Full citizenship and passports are granted to the applicant and include family members
- A Cypriot passport allows visa-free travel to 159 countries around the world
- Flexible options with no residence required; approval usually within 90 days
- Qualify by acquiring assets in Cyprus, with no requirement to donate your wealth
Cyprus Real Estate Market and Values
The property market in Cyprus saw an increase in property demand from 2004-2008, which led to developers increasing supply to meet the demand. However, due to the global financial downturn, the demand for real estate dropped, leaving many completed properties available in 2009. Without demand, the prices reduced significantly and therefore created a strong opportunity for buyers.
The main element of a healthy Cyprus real estate market has always been residential property and specifically, within the luxury segment, second homes.
The property options in Cyprus that offer buyers the highest value for money include:
- Seafront properties
- The areas in highest demand provide lifestyle aspects (i.e. beaches) and infrastructure, which are areas such as Limassol, Pafos, and Ayia Napa
- Integrated master planned communities
- These usually have a golf course or community at their core, offering properties that cater to all types of owners and include locals, new residents, second home owners and vacationers
The price per m2 for properties of this nature is regularly between €10,000 - €22,000 depending on the location and building specifications. A good figure to maintain is around €10,000 as you can be comfortable knowing there is room for appreciation.
Most foreign buyers purchase properties in the above mentioned classifications, as opposed to purchasing a property in the capital city.