How and on what terms a property buyer can obtain Cypriot citizenship
Since 2018, the Cypriot authorities approve no more than 700 applications for investment-based citizenship per year. Moreover, in 2017, 1,013 individuals became the country's nationals. The demand for Cypriot citizenship is high. Learn why it is so and how it can be obtained, reading this article.
Cyprus citizenship-for-investment programme
In 2013, the Cypriot authorities launched a citizenship-for investment programme. Since 2018, it is known as the Cyprus Investment Programme. Any foreign national who has invested at €2M in real estate, public bonds or a local business can obtain the passport. The programme has become popular: in 2014, the passports were issued to 400 foreign nationals, and the number is growing year on year.
The citizenship is granted to the investor, the investor's spouse, minor and financially dependent children below 28 years of age: students or disabled children. The citizenship is also available to the investor's parents, but it is necessary to buy another residential property of at least €500,000 in value in this case.
Why investors are interested in obtaining Cypriot citizenship
The number of those who would like to get a Cypriot passport through buying real estate is growing year by year. Among them are Russian nationals: Cyprus is one of the most active locations for Russian investors to buy residential real estate.
Due to the investor's demand, the authorities have even limited the number of the permits issued. The main reasons why programme has become popular:
— the investor obtains the citizenship of an EU member country, which allows to work in any EU country, visit 158 countries visa-free and study at any EU university with a discount;
— beneficial tax regime: double taxation agreements signed with more than 40 countries, no property tax and the lowest company tax rate in Europe;
— dual nationality — it is not necessary to renounce birth nationality to obtain a Cypriot passport;
— quick issuance — six months after submitting the documents.
— investment recovery — the purchased assets can be sold in three years except one home of at least €500,000 in value or two homes if the investor's parents have obtained nationality together with the investor.
All the necessary documents are submitted together with a letter. In the letter, the investment and the criteria under which the application is made, are explained.
The investor's personal documents:
— an M127 application form signed by a Cyprus Court Registrar or a consular authority;
— birth certificate;
— passport copy;
— police clearance certificate issued in the country of residence;
— marriage certificate;
— two passport size photos;
— Schengen visa copy;
— labour contract copy or personal income receipt.
Relatives submit the same documents, but they need to provide a copy of the investor's naturalisation certificate instead of the proof of income.
Documents for the purchased property:
— sales contract;
— certificate confirming the registration of the agreement with the Department of Lands and Surveys;
— payment proof;
— copy of the bank transfer to the property seller;
— independent property assessment certificate if required by the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Finance;
— investment development plan when buying a land plot.
All the foreign documents must be authenticated and translated into Greek or English.
Citizenship obtainment procedure
After the application is submitted, the formal review procedure begins. The documents are forwarded to the Ministry of Finance to verify if the applicant meets the legal criteria. At the same time, the applicant's identity is checked by the Cyprus Ministry of the Interior. If the authorities do not find reasons to refuse, the documents are forwarded to the Council of Ministers for the final decision.
The expected application lead time is six months, given that all the documents are collected and the application is submitted correctly. The day of the fee payment is considered to be the day of the application submission.
After the application is approved, the citizenship obtainment procedure starts. The procedure will be complete if the applicant has a residence permit valid for at least six months. If there is no residence permit, it is necessary to wait for six months.
The Civil Registry and Migration Department issues the naturalisation certificate upon the payment of a €5,000 fee.
Having pledged allegiance to the Republic of Cyprus before a Cyprus Court Registrar or a representative of the Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus, the investor receives a Cypriot passport.
FAQ: Requirements for obtaining citizenship
What type of property is it possible to invest in? Residential, commercial or tourist real estate is available to invest in. It is also permitted to invest in buying land plots with investment development plans.
Who cannot apply for citizenship? The investors with previous convictions or frozen assets in the EU due to sanctions.
How many properties can be bought? There is no limit of number. The most important is to own a residential property of at least €500,000 excluding VAT.
Are any additional permissions required? The investor must hold a valid Schengen visa if unable to visit the EU countries without it.
How long does the citizenship take to be granted? Six months.
What are the extra costs? The investor must contribute €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation — a total of €150,000. These investments are non-refundable.
The investor also pays fees: €2,000 for submitting the application and €5,000 once the application is approved — a total of €7,000 per adult. The fee per child of tender age is €80.