The Council of Ministers of Cyprus, in an effort to accelerate even more growth and to attract even more foreign investment, revised the citizenship by exemption program and they have successfully set new citizenship criteria.
The new Investment Scheme
This is the most important change by announcing the setting of the amount of €2m as the minimum threshold to be invested by investors. Previously was the €5m requirement.
The new investment scheme can be utilised in 4 alternative ways in order to qualify for naturalization:
1. Investment of €2m in immovable property, developments and infrastructure projects in Cyprus; or
2. Investment of €2m in acquiring, incorporating or participating in Cyprus businesses or companies which are based and activate in Cyprus; or
3. Investment of €2m in alternative investment funds or financial assets of Cypriot businesses or Cypriot organizations which are established in Cyprus and licenced by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission; or
4. Investment of €2m in a combination of the above three financial criteria. In such a combination the investor may also invest in government bonds for a maximum amount of € 500.000 and provided it hold the bonds for at least 3 years.
The Residency of the Applicants
Applicants should hold a residence permit in Cyprus. The filing of the citizenship application and the residence permit application can take place simultaneously. As a result of this, the Council of Ministers has simplified the procedure of obtaining a residence permit where an application for residence permit is filed exclusively for the purposes of the citizenship application.
Superior Key Managers and Directors of companies
In addition to the above, company ‘employees’ working in Cyprus who paid personal taxes of at least €33.000 per annum and in total of €100.000 for the last 3 years from the application, may also apply to be benefited from the scheme provided that the investment criteria illustrated above apply for the employing company.
Additional conditions for citizenship
1. The applicants must have a clean criminal record in their country of origin and country of residence (if different) and not to be a sanctioned person in the EU; and
2. Own residential property in Cyprus of a value of at least €500.000; and
3. Hold a residence permit in Cyprus.
Parents of the Investor
Parents of an investor may also qualify to apply for Cypriot citizenship when they own a residential property in Cyprus of value at least €500.000, without the need to make the investment of the €2m.
1. Investments can be made personally or through special purpose vehicles such as companies or trusts.
2. In order to qualify, the investment must have been made during the period of three years prior to the date of filing the application and must be kept for a period of at least three years after naturalization.
3. The old scheme which was applicable as from 2014 will remain in force as until 31/10/2016.
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