EU Passport
Business in Cyprus

The scheme of investors’ naturalization in Cyprus

On March 19th, 2014, The Council of Ministers of the Cyprus Republic revised the criteria for granting Cypriot citizenship to wealthy individuals. Non-citizens of Cyprus are now eligible for a Cyprus passport if he / she:

  • (A) Has a certificate of no criminal record;
  • (B) There is no property that has been «frozen» on the territory of the EU;
  • (C) Is owned by him / her immovable property (residence) in Cyprus, worth more than €500,000 (plus VAT) and the following criteria are met:

(А.1) Government bonds purchaseЕвропейское гражданство

The applicant must acquire Cypriot Government bonds in an amount not less than €5 million. Bonds may be purchased as a primary and a secondary market.

Or

(А.2) Purchase of companies’ financial assets in Cyprus

The applicant must obtain the financial assets of Cypriot companies or organisations (bonds / securities / debentures, registered and issued by the Republic of Cyprus), at least in the amount of €5 million. These financial assets can be purchased either in the release time, or subsequently on the market.

Or

Европейское гражданство

(А.3) Investments in real estate, construction and infrastructure projects

The applicant must invest at least €5 million in the acquisition or buildings construction or the construction of other real estate, such as residential or commercial premises, businesses in the tourism sector and other infrastructure projects.

Or

(А.4) Business investments

The applicant must invest at least €5 million in the company or companies that:

  • (A) Are based in Cyprus;
  • (B) Have a strong presence in Cyprus i.e. have a valid office in Cyprus;
  • (C) The activities of which at least 5 Cypriot citizens are involved in.

Investors can either register a company, or buy shares in an existing (existing or newly issued) company.

Any individual whose contributions to the Bank of Cyprus PLC. were compulsorily converted into bank shares, according to the measures that followed the crisis in March 2013, has the right to apply for Cypriot citizenship under this scheme of investors’ naturalization.

Or

(А.5) Bank depositsЕвропейское гражданство

The applicant must have personal term deposits for three years in banks of Cyprus, or deposits from private companies or foundations (in which he / she is the beneficiary) in the Republic of Cyprus, at least in the amount of €5 million. The definition of «Cypriot banks» includes local banks and Cypriot subsidiaries of foreign banks, but exclude branches of foreign banks.

Or

(А.6) The combination of conditions

The applicant must meet the criterion of €5 million in any combination of the conditions set out in paragraphs (1) – (5).

Or

 Европейское гражданство(А.7) The loss of deposits in the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd. (former Laiki Bank)

The applicant lost his contribution to the former Laiki Bank due to forced measures imposed after the March 15, 2013:

  • (A) An amount is not less than €3 million;
  • (B) If the applicant has lost less than €3 million, he can still apply for citizenship if he* Makes additional investments in accordance with the criteria set out in paragraphs (1) – (5) on the amount that remains to the total investment to more than €5 million.

Or

(А.8) The collective investment

Европейское гражданство

At its discretion, the Council of Ministers has the right to relieve certain criteria. In this case:

  • (A) The applicant will have to invest a smaller amount of €2.5 million as of any scheme set out in paragraphs (1) – (5), provided that he participates in the collective investments, where the total sum of investment is at least €12.5 million
  • (B) The applicant will have to invest a smaller amount of €2 million for any scheme set out in paragraphs (1) – (5), provided that he participates in the collective investments, where the total amount of investment is at least €12.5 million.

Applications in this category (A.8. (B)) should have been submitted prior to June 1, 2014.

* It should be noted that if the applicant decides to invest only in the purchase of a private residence exclusively, with the purchase price of €5 million (criterion A3), or €2.5 million (A8 criterion (a)), or €2 million (criterion A .8 (b)), he/she is not obliged to further buy properties worth €500 thousand.

The law allows some flexibility:

  • (A) The investor has the right to rental housing for permanent residence in Cyprus;
  • (B) The investor has the right to sell his permanent residence, provided that he gains other accommodation of equal or greater value;
  • (C) The investor’s family members i.e. his wife and children, have the right to a nationality without additional investments, including adults and financially dependent children up to 28 years if they are students.

We, as a law firm, cooperate with many large and well-known construction and development companies that can offer the most prestigious, high-quality, real estate to meet customer needs.

(А.9) The senior leader

Европейское гражданствоThe applicant that satisfies one of the criteria set out in paragraphs (1) – (8), either in person or through the company (ies) in which it is a shareholder, or a senior executive of the company (ies) that satisfy one of the criteria set out above in paragraphs (1) – (8), may apply for Cypriot citizenship on preferential terms.

A senior leader has the right to apply for citizenship, provided that:

  • (A) The sum of the reward is that which generates at least €100 thousand of tax revenue to Cyprus for three years;
  • (B) The above-mentioned tax has already been paid or is prepaid;
  • (C) The above-mentioned investments were made during the 3 years preceding the year when the application was submitted for citizenship. In other words, if the applicant has applied for naturalization in 2015, the investment must be invested between the years 2012-2015;
  • (D) It retains embedded these investments for a period of not less than 3 years after his naturalisation.

For more information, please contact Sotiris Pittas or Lisa Bokova, or in SOTERIS PITTAS & CO LLC  ([email protected])as well as by phone +357 25 028460 or fax +357 25 028 461.

The content of this article is intended for general guidance. In your particular case, you should visit a specialist for advice.