The Council of Ministers approved on 13/9/2016 the new criteria of obtaining Cypriot Citizenship by investment, based on article 111A, subsection 2 of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 -2015, which lowers the threshold for investing in Cyprus and thus make the island a more attractive destination for foreign investors who wish to acquire citizenship of Cyprus and all the benefits that accompany it.
The new criteria is:
1. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects: The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 2,0 million, instead of the previous 5, 0 million required, for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects).
2. Purchase or incorporation of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations: The applicant must have purchased, incorporated or participated in organisations or companies that have activities in Cyprus of at least €2,0 million as opposed to the previous 5,0 million. It is noted that the investment funds must be channeled towards the financing of investment plans in Cyprus only.
Furthermore, the organisations or companies must have a physical presence in Cyprus, with substantial activity and operations and must employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens or EU citizens. The number of employees increases if there are more applicants for the same investment. Also, the employees must have been legally and continuously residents of Cyprus for the immediate previous 5 years.
3. Investment in Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or organisations which are licensed by CySEC: The applicants must have invested at least 2,0 million, instead of the previous 5,0 million, in investment funds licensed by CySEC which are controlled by it and which operate only in Cyprus in investments which are compatible with the new criteria or are approved by the Finance Minister.
The applicant must have purchased financial assets (bonds/securities/debentures which have been issued in Cyprus with the approval of CySEC) of at least €2,0 million, instead of 5,0 million of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations which have a real physical presence in Cyprus with real activity and which concern the financing of investments in Cyprus only based on an investment plan.
4. Combination of the aforementioned criteria: The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €2,0 million, instead of the previous 5,0 million. Under this criterion, he applicant can purchase government bonds of €500,000 which are issued by the government of Cyprus as long as he/she keeps the binds for a period of 3 years.
The previous criteria of depositing 5,0 million is a Cypriot bank or of applicants who had incurred an impairment in deposits in Laiki Bank amounting to a total of at least €3,0 million have been removed.
Apart from a clean criminal record and the purchase of a residential property of €500,000 plus VAT, the applicant must have acquired a residency permit in Cyprus based on article 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Laws or apply simultaneously with the application for citizenship.