Citizenship and permanent residence programs

Citizenship and permanent residence programs

Our law firm is established in Nicosia, Cyprus and offers citizenship and residence services to foreign clients ever since 2006. We are well versed on the acquisition of Cyprus passports and residence permits by foreign investors and entrepreneurs. In addition to that, we are able to provide a full range of legal services to our clients including incorporation and administration of their Cyprus company, real estate and conveyance, property law, commercial and contract law. Wealthy individuals around the world are increasingly interested to acquire dual citizenship and residency in order to deal with safety, environmental, educational and tax concerns. Our firm gives professional advice to interested clients specifically tailored to their needs.

Permanent residency through a new expedited procedure for immigration permit granted to investors

Legal Framework

In pursuance of the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, the Minister of Interior, having notified the Council of Ministers, has decided to issue an Immigration Permit to applicants from third country, in cases where the following conditions are satisfied:

Investment / Financial Criteria

The applicant should submit a confirmation letter from a financial institution in Cyprus that he has deposited a minimum capital of €30.000 into an account, which will be pledged for a period of at least three years. It must be proved that the said amount has been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

The applicant, together with his spouse, should prove that they have at their disposal a secure annual income of at least €30.000. This annual income should increase by €5.000 for every dependent person.  This income should derive from abroad, and may include salaries from employment, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits, rents a.s.o.

The applicant should submit, with the application, title deeds or a contract of sale in his name and/or his spouse, which has been officially deposited with the Department of Lands and Surveys, for a dwelling or other building, of a total market value of at least €300.000 (V.A.T. is not included therein) and official receipts for the payment of at least €200.000 (excluding V.A.T.), irrespective of the date for the delivery of the dwelling. It should be stressed that the full payment of the value for the dwelling shall be settled in an account in a financial institution in Cyprus.

The abovementioned amounts must be proven to have been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

It is noted that the purchase of a dwelling may be accepted even when made in the name of a Company and not in the name of the applicant, provided that the Company is registered in the name of the applicant and/or in the name of the applicant and his spouse and he/they are the sole shareholders. In the event that the shareholder of the company is another legal entity, it must be proven that the sole shareholder of the said legal entity is the applicant and/or the applicant and his spouse.

For the purpose of implementing this policy, the applicant may purchase up to two housing units (apartments or houses) which might be independent, or one housing unit and a shop of a surface of up to 100 sq.m., or a housing unit and an office of a surface of up to 250 sq.m., provided that the total market value satisfies the conditions in paragraph 2.3. In the case of a couple, these restrictions apply for the couple and not for each of the persons involved.

The said purchase must be in relation to a dwelling (and the combinations described above) sold for the first time by a development company. In the case of acquiring two dwellings, both must be sold by the same company. As from 7/05/2013, for the purpose of this policy, applications in relation to the re-sale of dwellings will not be accepted. It should be stressed that contracts of sale in relation to a re-sale of dwellings that have been officially deposited with the Lands and Surveys Department prior to 07/05/2013 (the date of depositing the contracts of sale is to be confirmed by the Department of Lands and Surveys), shall be accepted for the purpose of implementing this policy.

The Immigration Permit issued to an applicant cover his spouse and children under the age of 18.  Unmarried children aged between 18 and 25, who may prove that they are students or undergraduates and are financially dependent on the applicant, may submit a separate application to obtain an Immigration Permit.  In such a case, the father or mother and/or both parents together must present an additional annual income of €5.000 for every such dependent child. It is noted that every such dependent child, shall submit with his application, all the documentation defined in para. 7.

The said permit is still valid even if the holder has exceeded the age of 25 years old.

Qualitative Criteria:

The applicant and his spouse must submit a confirmation of a clean criminal record from their country of residence and generally they should not be considered as a threat in any way to the public order or public security in Cyprus.

The applicant and his spouse shall confirm that they do not intend to be employed in Cyprus in any direct or indirect manner.

It is to be noted that the applicant and/or his spouse may be a shareholder(s) in a Company registered in Cyprus and the income from the dividends of such a company in Cyprus are not deemed an impediment for the purpose of obtaining an immigration permit.

The applicant and his family included in the Immigration Permit, must visit Cyprus at least once every two years.

All the necessary documentation, that is attached to the application for an immigration permit, including the translation of the same into the Greek or English language, must be duly certified.

Time schedule for issuing an Immigration Permit

It should be stressed that, provided the criteria of this policy are satisfied and there are no reasons with regard to either the criminal record of the applicant or to public order and public security issues, the application shall be examined by the Minister of Interior in a positive manner and an immigration permit shall be issued.

It is estimated that the procedure described in this policy statement for the examination of the application shall not exceed 2 months from the date of the submission of the application.

B. Permanent residency through a Category F Immigration Permit

Persons 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. The annual income required should be at least €9568,17 (CY£5,600) for a single applicant and moreover at least €4613,22 (CY£2,700) for every dependent person, but the Immigration Control Board may demand additional amounts as necessary. Most applicants come under this Category, the majority of them being pensioners or retired persons. 

The applicant should submit, with the application, title deeds or a contract of sale in his name and/or his spouse, which has been officially deposited with the Department of Lands and Surveys, for a dwelling or other building, of a total market value of at least €190.000 (V.A.T. is not included therein) and official receipts for the payment of at least €150.000 (excluding V.A.T.), irrespective of the date for the delivery of the dwelling. It should be stressed that the full payment of the value for the dwelling shall be settled in an account in a financial institution in Cyprus.

For the granting of an Immigration Permit, an application is submitted on the form M.67 to the Civil Registry and Migration Department directly or through the District Aliens and Immigration Branches of the Police. The application should be accompanied by the appropriate documents, depending on the Category for which it is submitted. Applications for Category F which are the most usual should be accompanied by the original of documents regarding the income of the applicants. 
Applicants who are abroad may submit an application directly to Cyprus, as stated above, or through the local Consular Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. The applications are examined by the Immigration Control Committee which submits a relevant suggestion to the Minister of the Interior for a decision to be taken. 

An Immigration Permit will be automatically cancelled if the interested person fails to acquire residence in Cyprus within one year from the approval of the application, in case he/she is residing outside Cyprus. It will also be cancelled if he/she acquires permanent residence abroad or be absent from Cyprus for a period of two years.

It is estimated that the procedure described in this policy statement for the examination of the application shall not exceed 9 months from the date of the submission of the application.

CITIZENSHIP

As a part of its policies aiming to attract foreign investors in Cyprus the Council of Ministers, on the 19th of March 2014, revised the “Scheme for Naturalization of non-Cypriot investors by exception” and, thus, established the new financial criteria based on which non–Cypriot entrepreneurs/ investors may acquire the Cypriot citizenship.  Below is only one of the most attractive categories for foreign investors, which we would propose.

 Cyprus passport IN 3-4 MONTHS with €2.5m investment, PRIVATE residence of EURO 500.000 and no requirement for PERMANENT STAY (spouse and adult dependant children benefit also)

Non-Cypriot citizens may enlist to obtain the Cypriot citizenship by exception on the basis of the scheme for Major Collective Investments:

Major Collective Investments:

Instead of the normal  €5 million investment in Government Bonds in financial assets of Cypriot companies, Cypriot organizations in real estate, land development or infrastructure project or purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies the Council of Ministers has the right, to reduce the criteria to €2.5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €12.5 million. In addition to the criteria mentioned above, the applicant must fulfil the following Terms and Conditions:

·         Clean Criminal Record issued at the country of origin or the 

country of residence if it differs (to be obtained by the applicant)

·         Confirmation that the applicant’s name is not included in 

the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union (the responsibility to obtain this is with the Ministry of Interior)

·         Own a private residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the 

purchase cost of which must exceed the amount of €500.000 plus VAT and must be fully paid.

The approval of Citizenship under the relevant Decision is granted by the Cyprus Council of Ministers.  In order to obtain such approval, an application package must be submitted for examination to the Ministry  of Interior.  The Ministry of Finance assesses the economic criteria.   After examination of the case by the two Ministries, the application is presented to the Council of Ministers, which is the official body taking the final decision. It is noted that the application of the spouse is submitted for approval concurrently with that of the main applicant.

By ensuring that all required criteria are met, the time needed to process the application can be minimized.  Following approval of the main applicant’s and his spouse’s application by the Council of Ministers, the applications of dependants may be filed.  For the purposes of this citizenship process, the term dependants includes the adult dependent children.

The adult dependent children need to obtain the approval from the Council of Ministers.  As per the relevant Council of Ministers Decision of the criteria for adult financially dependent children, eligible to apply for citizenship are University students who are over

18 years and under 28 years old, who at the time of application are studying and attending full time classes for a First Bachelor’s degree or a first Master’s degree.  Any deviation from the above can only be approved at the discretion of the Minister of Interior.

Our Services

Our value proposition provides the following:

·         Support throughout the process

·         In-depth knowledge of the process and all the requirements

·         Speed

·         Confidentiality

·         Close collaboration

Timetable

(a)   Commence work as soon as we have instructions.

(b)   It can usually take 2.5-6 months for the application of the main applicant and his spouse to be examined and decision to be reached.  

Through our continuous monitoring of the application status and follow up through our personal interventions with the Authorities, we will ensure that the application is considered with time efficiency.  In cases of any unforeseen delay on behalf of the Authorities, we shall inform you immediately.

We shall also make a preliminary sounding before the official submission of the application through meetings with high level Government officials in the responsible Ministries to ascertain success of the application.

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