Citizenship of Cyprus and Cyprus Passports*
by acquiring real estate
An important hub in the heart of the Mediterranean, at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, Cyprus is diverse, culturally rich and perfectly placed for working and traveling within and beyond the European Union. The economy is rapidly recovering from recent recession through significant activities in the shipping, tourism, the legal and financial services sectors, and has also seen a surge in foreign investments and developments, property and investment values.
WHY CHOOSE CYPRUS?
Cyprus boasts a rich and diverse culture, mild Mediterranean climate, a safe and stable setting which is ideal for raising families, and perfect location for business and traveling. Investors also look at Cyprus for business and investment purposes recognizing numerous investment opportunities.
ADVANTAGES OF CITIZENSHIP OF CYPRUS:
- Fast-track procedure allowing for direct path to citizenship within 3-4 months;
- No physical residence requirements during or after the application procedure (the only requirement is for one visit every 7 years);
- No language requirements for residence or citizenship;
- Dependent children under 28 years qualify for citizenship on the basis of their parents’ applications;
- No obligation to relinquish current nationality;
- Low tax rates and free trade within the EU;
- Unrestricted right to live, work and study in Europe;
- Right to own property in an EU member state;
- Strategic geographical location, forming a bridge between the EU, the Middle East, and North Africa with direct access to the Mediterranean Sea;
- Low crime rate, excellent education system with a number of high standard schools and universities and first-rate healthcare;
- An outstanding holiday destination.
Offered in accordance with the Civil Registry Laws 2002-2013, the Naturalization of Investors by Exception Scheme, the program is one of the fastest to lead to residence and citizenship in Europe. To qualify for application, you will need to meet one of the requirements outlined in the “Investment Options” section.
In addition to making a financial investment, applicants must also meet the following requirements:
- Must have a valid passport;
- Provide documents supporting the source and origin of the declared funds for investment;
- Provide proof that the applicant has no criminal record;
- The applicant’s name must not be included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the EU;
- Payment of application fees.
OPTIONS FOR OBTAINING CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP:
By law, investors who want to obtain citizenship in Cyprus through investments must meet the following requirements:
- The applicant must have a permanent, privately owned facility in the Republic of Cyprus. The purchase price of this property must be at least 500,000 euros;
- The applicant must select the investment option:
- in commercial real estate from 2 million euros. + from 500 thousand euros a residential property;
- in residential real estate from 2 million euros (in 3 years the object can be sold *).
- Government bonds. Applicants must make an investment of at least €5 million in Cypriot government bonds. Investors need to maintain the purchased bonds for a period of three years;
- Financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations. Applicants must make an investment of at least €5 million in qualified financial assets (bonds, securities, debentures, etc.) registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus of Cypriot companies or organizations. Investors need to maintain the purchased assets for a period of three years;
- Real estate, land development and infrastructure projects. Applicants must make an investment of at least €5 million in the purchase or construction of buildings, land development projects (residential or commercial) or infrastructure projects;
- Purchase, creation, or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies. Applicants must make an investment of at least €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 evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot citizens. It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits into shares is included in this criterion;
- Deposit in a Cypriot bank. Applicants choosing this option must have a fixed term deposit of at least €5 million for three years in a Cypriot bank;
- Mixed investments. Applicants must make an investment of at least €5 million in a combination of the aforementioned options 1-5.
The Council of Ministers shall have the right on special occasions, to reduce the investment requirement to €2,5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the combined total value of the investment is at least €12,5 million.
COST OF REGISTRATION OF CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP:
- registration of citizenship 60 thousand euros (per family)
ADVANTAGES OF CITIZENSHIP IN CYPRUS:
- Transparent system: the majority of candidates who fulfilled the conditions (invested in real estate), received citizenship in a fixed time (3-4 months);
- Citizenship for real estate. Cyprus is one of the few countries where the program still exists that allows you to get a passport with the purchase of property. It can be residential or commercial. Important: you must buy a house or apartment worth at least 500 thousand euros. The rest can be invested in other objects;
- The ability to add children under 28 years old and their parents. For parents, you will have to buy additional real estate (at 500,000 euros and more), that is all what is required. They will be able to enter immediately;
- Automatic inheritance of citizenship. Your grandchildren will also receive a Cyprus passport if their parents are under 28 years old;
- Active economic development. In Cyprus, real estate properties are being intensively built, resorts are being improved, all conditions for comfortable living and business are being created;
- No visa regime with developed countries. You can travel around Europe and around the world;
- Profitable and simple taxation system for business. Cyprus is considered as one of the offshore zones: people come here to do business with the whole world;
- Proximity to the largest European countries. Your children and grandchildren will receive a good education and will be able to live in a comfortable environment.
- Strong verification of each applicant. It will be difficult to get here with a criminal record and those who showed themselves from the negative side. You will have to show sources of funds and prove their legitimacy;
- The risk of delaying the process. In some cases, the registration takes up to 10 months. As a rule, we are talking about applicants whose sources of income are in doubt;
- High "cost" of citizenship. It is difficult to compare Cyprus with the countries of the Caribbean: you will have to pay for a passport several times more;
- The question of Northern Cyprus. This question raises doubts among investors. However, in reality, there are no open disputes between the Greek and Turkish parts of the island: this is one state with a developed economy and a high standard of living.
OPTIONS TO OBTAIN CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP:
Citizenship in Cyprus in the case of investments in real estate, financial assets or other economic sectors of the country, provided for by the laws of the state, takes place in several stages. To begin with, future applicants need to decide on the investment option. The best option is the acquisition of real estate, as in the future property can be used for permanent residence or a temporary stay during the visit in order to rest or to do business.
Although the deposit for three years is also considered as a profitable business. Cypriot banks have fairly good interest rates, therefore a tidy sum will run up over a similar period, which will significantly increase the investment.
STAGES OF OBTAINING CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP:
Regardless of which option you choose, you need to take care to collect documents confirming an investment in one of the structures of the country. These may be documents:
- on the ownership of government bonds;
- the ownership of financial assets of a certain company in Cyprus;
- agreement of sale and purchase;
- a statement from the bank about the presence of a deposit in your name and its size;
- about opening of own enterprise, the value of which is not less than 5 000 000 euros, etc.
In order to receive them, it is not enough just to pay. For example, if you chose to invest in real estate, then you need to take care of its re-registration in your name and confirm the ownership. It is necessary to do all this within 3 months from the date of signing the agreement of sale and purchase . But sometimes the government makes concessions to applicants and accepts documents on citizenship even if there is a certificate stating that the contract has been submitted for registration to the Department.
With such documents, you can begin to collect the rest of the documentation. Its list is quite large and may differ in each case. That is why it is better to clarify all the details with specialists. But still there is a basic standard to be followed.
The second stage: the collection and submission of documents:
To begin with, the applicant fills in the questionnaire of the M127 form and must be in English. Attached to it are:
- certificate confirming that you were not prosecuted;
- purchase agreement, bank statement or other document confirming the investment;
- title deed or certificate from the Department;
- statement confirming the stay in Cyprus the required number of days;
- receipt of payment of state duty;
- two postage stamps.
You will also need a standard set of documents: a passport and a photocopy of its pages, two photos, permission to enter and stay in Cyprus, a marriage certificate, a birth certificate of children. In the case of a property purchase, a payment order confirming the fact of full payment and a property valuation certificate from an independent appraiser, which will confirm the value of the apartment or house purchased, may be required from you.
A full package of documents is sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Finance. These bodies inspect the residents and all of its documentation, after which they give preliminary approval.
At this stage it is very important to enlist the support of a lawyer. It is the specialist who will help you to correctly assemble the package of documents and fill in the questionnaires in an appropriate manner, since even minor errors, in your opinion, can because of failure. You may also need the services of a translator and a notary, since all documents must be translated into English. Copies are notarized.
The third stage: submission of documents for citizenship.
The applicant may submit the documents personally or through his guarantor, who can be a qualified lawyer from a company specializing in obtaining Cypriot citizenship. In the latter case, you will need to write out a power of attorney from a notary, which confirms that you trust the submission of documents on your behalf. In the future, he can also act on your behalf and resolve all issues and nuances. If this is a reliable specialist, he will always keep you up to date and act only after having discussed all the details with you and having received your consent.
Stage Four: Waiting for Results.
Usually The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Internal Affairs examine the documents of the applicant within three to four months. However, sometimes this process can take up to six months. Such a delay may be due to the lack of the necessary documents, the need to re-register any document, incorrect filling in of the form or the requirement of the authorities to submit additional documents for stronger verification. Nevertheless, any problem is solved easily if a qualified lawyer leads the case. With it, you can avoid red tape with documents.
Fifth stage: obtaining a passport of a citizen of Cyprus.
After receiving a positive response, the applicant must come to Cyprus within 3 months. This period is given for the applicant to register a certificate of naturalization issued by government services and receive an identity document. After that, he can apply for the naturalization of minor children. It will be reviewed within three weeks. But you can bring them to issue an identity document at any time. There is no time limit in this case. With adult children, the situation is different. An application for their naturalization is accepted only after payment of state duty in the amount of about 2 thousand euros. It is considered for two months. After receiving a positive decision, the recently minted citizen of Cyprus will have to pay about 5 thousand euros of state duty. Next, adult children will have to visit the country within three months and receive a certificate of naturalization and a passport.
Most Frequently Asked Questions and Answers on Citizenship:
Question: How is the process of obtaining citizenship going? Is it a very complicated procedure that requires the direct participation of the applicant?
Answer: Obtaining a Cypriot passport involves going through several stages. At the first, you will need to collect the necessary documents. First of all, you need to draw up documentation that confirms the investment in the country's economy (this can be a certificate of the presence of a deposit, an agreement confirming the purchase and sale of real estate, etc.). Then a standard package of documents is prepared, which includes a passport, a photo, a certificate of no criminal record, etc. After the preparation of all the necessary documents, they are sent to the official bodies of the country for verification. In case of a positive result (preliminary approval of the application), the applicant submits documents for granting the status of a citizen. Consideration of documents takes from three to six months. If the applicant is given a positive answer, he will need to register a certificate of naturalization and only then receive a passport.
As a rule, if the applicant applies for help from specialized companies, the procedure for obtaining citizenship is not particularly difficult. Citizenship documents can be submitted through a representative. To register a certificate and obtain a passport, you will need to visit the country (this must be done within three months).
Q: Can Cypriot citizens buy property in the EU?
Answer: Yes, passport holders can purchase real estate in the countries of the European Union.
Q: The Cyprus program offers several investment options. On which of them is it better to leave your choice?
Answer: The most preferable option is the purchase of real estate. The presence of real estate on the island allows you to move to the country for permanent residence at any time, use it as a place for recreation or for living during business trips. The acquisition of real estate in general is assessed as a profitable investment. An attractive option is also considered a deposit for a three-year period: such an investment will provide an increase in investment due to fairly good interest rates offered by banking institutions in Cyprus.
Question: How long will it take to wait for a decision after submitting documents?
Answer: As a rule, the consideration of documents by the authorities takes about 3-4 months. In some cases (most often when detecting incorrect execution of any documents, additional questions to the applicant, etc.), this period is increased to 6 months.
Question: I am interested in obtaining Cypriot citizenship, but practically the only limiting factor is Northern Cyprus. Will there be any problems in the future?
Answer: To date, there are no active disputes between the parts of the island, so investors may not be afraid of any difficulties.
Question: Is there a risk of being deprived of my citizenship status if I do not plan to live in Cyprus in the near future?
Answer: Granting citizenship does not entail the obligation of permanent residence in the country, so there is no need to fear deprivation of status. However, you need to visit the island for at least one day every seven years.
Q: Will Cypriot Citizenship Help Simplify Doing Business?
Answer: Yes, the country can offer optimal conditions for entrepreneurs. Many consider the state as an offshore zone, since it has created a favorable environment for conducting international business. Tax legislation provides a fairly simple and profitable taxation system. In addition, the country is going through a period of active economic development, which opens up additional opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Question: When receiving a Cypriot passport, will I have to renounce my existing citizenship?
Answer: Since Cyprus recognizes dual citizenship, there is no need to renounce existing citizenship.
Question: We heard that Cyprus thoroughly checks all applicants for citizenship. What points do the authorities pay special attention to?
Answer: Indeed, each applicant undergoes a thorough and comprehensive check. The authorities are especially interested in applicants with a criminal record or those who have been noticed in violation of the law (in these cases, there is a high risk of refusal to issue a passport). In addition, the sources of income of the applicant are analyzed and the legitimacy of the origin of the invested funds is checked.
Question: Our family has a residential property in Cyprus. Will it be taken into account when calculating the amount of investment for obtaining citizenship?
Answer: Accounting for the value of existing real estate is possible if it was purchased no earlier than 3 years prior to the moment of filing an application for citizenship.
Question: Do you need to live in the country for a period to obtain citizenship?
Answer: No, the program does not provide for any requirements for residence in the country, either before granting the status of a citizen, or after.
Question: Are there any differences between the legal status of a citizen of a country who received a passport under an investment program and the legal status of other citizens of this state?
Answer: There are no differences in legal status: the granting of citizenship allows you to enjoy all the benefits that are available to citizens of this state, including unhindered movement within the European Union, the opportunity to work and receive education in European countries, etc.
Question: Will you need to study the official language of this country to obtain a Cypriot passport?
Answer: No, the program does not provide for checking the level of proficiency in the state language of the country, so there is no need to study it. In addition, there is no exam on knowledge of the history of Cyprus.
Question: Does the Cyprus program provide for the possibility of granting citizenship to the parents of the investor?
Answer: Yes, the program allows parents to be included in the application. In this case, additional investments will be required in the acquisition of real estate (the amount of additional investments is 500 thousand euros).
Question: It is believed that the Cyprus passport provides ample opportunities for visa-free travel. Is Hong Kong among the countries with which Cyprus has a visa-free regime?
Answer: Citizens of Cyprus do not need a visa to visit more than 150 countries, including Hong Kong.
Question: Are there alternatives to Cypriot citizenship in European countries? Have you heard that you can get a passport for investment in Austria?
Answer: Today the Cyprus program is unique. This is due to both the speed of granting citizenship and the availability of a passport in general. As for Austria, obtaining a passport of the Republic of Austria involves larger investments and renunciation of the existing citizenship, therefore, it is not entirely correct to compare programs.
* The program is currently suspended