Cyprus not only a paradise for holidays but also an incredible destination for relocation serves as one of the most sought after countries among individuals wishing to settle in a stable and flourishing country. Thanks to the Cypriot Citizenship by Investment (CBI) scheme as one of the most distinguished CBI programs running since 2013, the country’s attractiveness to foreigners has reached its highest point. In fact, investing in Cyprus brings a wealth of opportunities absent in foreign investors’ home country. Lenient tax regulations, booming economy, benefits of EU membership, citizenship in 6 months, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year are just a few key elements beckoning numerous investors.
On February 13, 2019, the Cypriot CBI program was altered by the Council of Ministers in an attempt to bring more transparency to the program as well as further protect the financial interests of the country. The amendments are yet to be signed by the president and published in the official gazette.
Under the recent amendments, the approval of foreign investors’ application is contingent upon the satisfaction of a number of stricter factors. Investors first have to obtain a Schengen visa before initiating the process. They are also obliged to keep their investment for a period of 5 years (instead of 3 years previously mandated by the program) starting from the date of naturalization. Donation of a total of 150,000 Euros to the Research Promotion Foundation and the Land Development Corporation (75,000 Euros donated to each of the foundations) is a must as well. Should foreign investors opt for the re-sale property alternative (property bought from another foreign investor), they will be required to make a minimum investment of 2.5 million Euros (up from 2 million Euros). As for real estate investment, foreign investors should obtain a planning permit and a certificate of completion of the property (in case the property has been constructed). It is noteworthy that individuals whose citizenship application has been rejected by an EU country, are excluded from participating in the program.
While investment in government bonds is no longer an option, a new investment alternative has been added to the Cypriot CBI program: investment in the shipping industry. Although investors are deprived of selling their investment for 5 years, nothing impedes them from changing their investment (subject to the Ministry of Finance’s approval). Additionally, the mandatory donation to the Research Promotion Foundation may be waived under certain circumstances. For instance, foreign investors may bypass the donation requirement to the Research Promotion Foundation provided that the investment is made in an innovative business.
There is no denying that the requirements of the Cypriot CBI program have been tightened and investors need to fulfill stricter conditions after the amendments. However, the program is still more affordable than some European CBI programs, not to mention that benefits of obtaining the Cypriot citizenship (as mentioned above) are incomparable to that of many other programs. For instance, obtaining the citizenship of countries such as Austria can cost investors up to 10 million Euros.
CitizenMatch which is monitoring the situation closely, will keep you abreast of the latest developments should they become available. For information on the Cypriot CBI program, you can contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.