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OBTAINING PERMANENT RESIDENCY OR CITIZENSHIP IN CYPRUS BY INVESTMENT
Cyprus is a popular and very appealing destination for third country nationals who would like to obtain a Permanent Residence (PR) Permit or Citizenship in an EU country. The investment required for the PR is a minimum of €300.000, while the investment for the Citizenship is set at a minimum of €2.000.000 for collective investment schemes until the 01/06/2014 and €2.500.000 thereafter.
For the PR there are two ways under which it can be obtained. The fast-track method based on Regulation 6(2) relates to new properties and not re-sale properties and the whole process takes only around 2-3 months. The other route is based on the Regulation 5(F) and this route takes around 5-10 months until the PR is granted but applies to re-sale properties as well.
For the Citizenship there are several different criteria which involve investments on real estate, government bonds, Cypriot Companies, etc. The satisfaction of any of these criteria can qualify someone to apply for the Citizenship.
2. FAST–TRACK PROCEDURE FOR GRANTING PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT REGULATION 6(2) OF THE ALIENS AND IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS
Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations provides for the fast-track process to obtain the PR. The conditions which have to be met for a non EU national to obtain the Permanent Residency this way are:
- The applicant must prove that he has a secured minimum annual income of €30.000 and that this income is derived from abroad and not from working in Cyprus. Moreover, the required minimum annual income is increased by €5.000 for each dependent person.
- The applicant must submit the application form together with the Title of ownership or contract of sale of a property in Cyprus worth a minimum of €300.000. He should also provide proof of payment for at least €200,000. The contract of sale must be deposited to the Land Registry before the applicant submits his application for PR.
- The applicant should provide a confirmation letter from a Cypriot Bank stating that he has deposited a minimum of €30.000 in a 3-year Fixed Deposit Account.
- The applicant must have no Criminal Record and provide sufficient proof from the relevant authorities of his country.
- The applicant is not allowed to engage in any profession in Cyprus and should submit a statement to this effect.
- The applicant has to visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
- It usually takes around 2-3 months for the examination, processing and approval of the application.
3. CYPRIOT CITIZENSHIP THROUGH INVESTMENT
The Council of Ministers approved on 19.03.2014 new conditions for non-EU nationals who wish to obtain Cypriot Citizenship through Naturalisation by Exception.
These are the conditions under which an applicant can obtain Cypriot Citizenship:
a. Investment in Government Bonds
The applicant must have purchased bonds issued by the Republic of Cyprus for an amount of a minimum of €5.000.000.
b. Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or other Cypriot Legal Entities
The applicant must have invested in financial assets of Cypriot companies or other Cypriot Legal Entities (i.e. bonds or securities registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of a minimum €5.000.000.
c. Investment in real estate, developments and infrastructure
The applicant must have invested a minimum of €5.000.000 in real estate or other residential, commercial or infrastructure projects.
d. Acquiring, incorporating or investing in Cypriot companies
The applicant must have acquired, incorporated or participated in companies residing and operating within the Republic of Cyprus and must have invested into these companies at least €5.000.000. These companies must have physical presence in Cyprus and employ a minimum of five Cypriot nationals.
e. Deposits in Cypriot Banks
The applicant should have personal fixed term deposits for three years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he is the beneficial owner) in the Republic of Cyprus of a minimum of €5.000.000.
f. Combination of the above five criteria
The applicant must have made total investments amounting to at least €5.000.000 by combination of any of the above criteria/conditions.
g. Persons whose deposits in Laiki Bank were impaired due to measures implemented after 15th of March 2013
A person who has suffered an impaired deposit amounting to a minimum of €3.000.000 can also qualify to apply for the Citizenship. An applicant who has suffered an impaired deposit of a lesser sum can also apply after investing through the above criteria for the remaining requested amount of the specific criteria.
h. Collective Investment Schemes
The Council of Ministers has the right, in exceptional cases, to decrease the above criteria 1, 2, 3 and 4:
a. to €2.500.000 for investors who can provide sufficient proof they participate in a collective investment scheme the total investment of which is at least €12.500.000.
b. to €2.000.000 for investors who undoubtedly participate in a collective investment scheme the total value of which is in excess of €12.500.000. This provision will be valid until 1/6/2014.
Moreover, for the cases (a) and (b) above, the investment for categories 1 to 4 can be carried out through different sellers or providers.
A) The applicant must be at least 30 years old.
B) The applicant must have a clean criminal record and provide proof from his country of origin.
C) The applicant is required to have a permanent residence in the Republic of Cyprus worth a minimum of €500.000.
D) The applicant cannot sell his permanent residence but he can sell the rest of the property (if he has invested on real estate) after 3 years from the date he has obtained the Citizenship.
Prepared by Cyprus lawyers Danos & Associates
36 Vyronos Avenue, Nicosia Tower, Floor 7, 1096 Nicosia, Cyprus.
Tel: +357 22 872 276 | Fax: +357 22 872 279