On the 13/9/2016, the Cyprus Government announced that the Council of Ministers revised the criteria and updated the procedure and a series of financial criteria for granting Cypriot citizenship to foreign investors, lowering the threshold and thus making the programme even more attractive. The previous ‘collective investments’ application has been abolished. Under the new procedure, the investors are given various options as to how they can invest in the Republic of Cyprus, providing greater flexibility.
The Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades noted that the revision of the scheme aims to encourage real investments that would benefit the economy.
The government, is targeting, through the revised scheme, investors who will choose Cyprus as their basis of residence and economic activity and would make investments which will have a direct benefit on the economy.
On the basis of the Scheme, a non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the following economic criteria (new financial criteria below ), either personally or through a company/ companies in which he/ she participates as a shareholder – in proportion to his holding percentage, or through investments done by his/her spouse or jointly with the spouse or even as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ companies that meets one of the economic criteria, may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through naturalization by exception.
The most important amendment relates to the reduction of the minimum required investment amount which has been reduced from €5million to €2million (from €5million for individual applications and from €2.5million for collective investment scheme applications). The requirement for purchase of private residence worth at least €500,00 plus VAT , if applicable has remained the same. Following the abovementioned reduction of the investment limit, the government decided to abolish the provision allowing a group investment of up to five investors for a minimum of EUR2.5 million per investor.
Furthermore, a provision has been included whereby an investor’s parents can be eligible for citizenship with the purchase of an additional residence valued at EUR500,000 plus VAT where applicable.New Financial Criteria:
INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The applicant should make an investment of at least € 2.000.000 for the purchase or construction of immovable property whether residential or commercial, and whether related to the tourism sector or otherwise, including investment in land.Under this investment plan, the applicant has to invest at least €2 million for the purchase and/or construction, and/or creation of developments such as commercial projects and/or development in the tourist sector and/or any other infrastructure projects. However, if the land is eligible for construction, a business plan needs to be presented to the relevant Authorities for approval. The total investment must be a minimum of €2 million, provided that one residential property is of at least €500.000 (excluding VAT). An investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded. The residential property must be kept permanently.Purchase or Incorporation of a Cyprus company or participation in Cyprus Businesses or Cyprus companies.The applicant should purchase, incorporate or participate in companies established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of at least €2.000.000. These invested funds will be channelled to finance the investment objectives of the Companies, according to their business plan. Furthermore, the companies must have physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover, and must employ at least five Cypriot or European citizens who have been legally residing in Cyprus for a continuous period of five years . The minimum number of employees increase where more than one applicant invests in the same investment.
INVESTING IN CYPRUS ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS (AIF’S) OR FINANCIAL ASSETS OR CYPRIOT ORGANIZATIONS LICENSED BY THE CYPRUS SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, “CYSEC”
The applicant should invest in units of at least € 2.000.000 of AIF’s established, licensed and supervised in Cyprus by CYSEC. Such investments should be made exclusively in Cyprus and should meet the criteria of this scheme and be approved by the Minister of Finance. The administrator and the auditor of the Fund is obliged to report to the relevant Ministries of an annual basis, that the initial investment amount is in place. Acquisition of financial assets in Cypriot businesses or organizations of at least € 2.000.000, such as bonds, bills and securities issued by companies that have demonstrated physical presence and substantial economic activity in Cyprus, should be maintained for a period of 3 years.It is noted that the purchase by an AIF of units of other AIFs is not considered eligible.COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE The applicant may make a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount to at least € 2.000.000. Within this, the applicant may also purchase government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of a maximum amount of €500.000 which will be issued for this purpose by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, for a period of at least 3 years.
Key Benefits of Cyprus citizenship Citizenship of an EU member state;
right to freedom of movement,
freedom to work and study and security within the social and legal system
Full citizenship with passport granted to the main applicant and whole family
Visa free travel to 158 countries, including Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore
No dual citizenship restrictions
Flexible options for qualification, approval usually within 90 days
Simple application documentation process Investing, not donating wealth
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). Furthermore, his name must not be included in the list of persons whose assets, within the boundaries of the European Union, have been frozen as the result of sanctions.
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.(in order to be issued a passport, investors must now be in possession of a residence permit). However, members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of this home-property covers the amount of €500.000 per each applicant.
Applicants must be holders of a residence permit in Cyprus to qualify for receiving the Cypriot Citizenship. For this purpose, applications for residence permits should be submitted to the Authorities, which will be issued simultaneously with the filing of the Citizenship application.
Finally , investors can now apply for Cyprus Citizenship by making a stand-alone application upon making an investment under the new criteria which must be retained for a period of 3 ( three) years .
It is noted that all pending applications will be examined based on the provisions in effect so far, unless the applicants wish to withdraw their application and submit a new one based on the revised scheme.
It is also noted that for the period up and including 31 October 2016 both schemes will be in effect, thus applicants can choose under which scheme they will be applying.
From the 1/11/2016, only the new criteria will be applicable for the Cyprus Citizenship by investment scheme.
Our value proposition provides the following:·
Support throughout the process·
In-depth knowledge of the process and all the requirements·
Timetable(a) Commence work as soon as we have instructions.(b) It can usually take 3 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.