The Cypriot Citizenship-by-Investment programme has put this sunny, Mediterranean island as one of the best options worldwide for those who would like to secure a second citizenship. Cyprus has the quickest citizenship processing rate out of all the European countries that offer similar programmes. Indeed, among the numerous incentives which hopeful applicants can enjoy, they will also gain the right to live, work and study in all twenty-eight European Union Member States, should they be successful in their bid for Cypriot citizenship.
Eligibility and General Requirements
1. The applicant must have a valid passport and must be aged 18 or over;
2. Applicant must have a clean criminal record;
3. Applicant’s name must not be included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the European Union.
4. Applicant must be a resident before being granted citizenship (hence the simultaneous application for both residency and citizenship for non-residents). Residency will be granted before citizenship upon the applicant’s first visit.
- Extremely fast processing with approval of citizenship applications being granted within 3 months;
- Residency and citizenship applications are submitted at the same time;
- There is no physical residence requirement during or after the application procedure (the only requirement is a one-day visit by the applicant to give biometric data);
- No language requirements for residence or citizenship;
- Dependant parents qualify for citizenship provided they own a house of €500,000 + VAT or own a share of €500,000 in a residential property of the main applicant (this is one of the newly introduced provisions following the 2016 amendment);
- People who are in civil unions are eligible to apply;
- Unlike some other countries, there is no obligation for applicants to give up their current nationality.
- Low tax rates and free trade within the European Union.
- The right to live, work and study in Europe.
- The right to purchase properties in other European Union Member States
- A very good base which is not only geographically desirable but also boasts a wonderful climate and natural beauty.
Step 1 – Compiling documents
Applicant must compile all the necessary documents required to submit the application.
Step 2 – Comply with investment options
The applicant must sign a purchase agreement for a property in Cyprus and transfer the necessary funds to a secure account.
Step 3 – Filing of Application
Applicant must pay the government fee of €2,000 per adult applicant upon presentation of the main applicant’s application for citizenship and residency at the Ministry of Interior. An additional €500 must be paid upon the presentation of the Permanent Residency application.
Step 4 – Citizenship Approval
The application for citizenship is approved within 3 months and a payment of €5,000 per applicant must be paid 6 months after the submission of the application for the Issuance of the Certificate of Naturalization.
Step 5 – Visit Cyprus or a Cypriot Embassy
Applicant and spouse must visit Cyprus or a Cypriot Embassy within 3 months of receiving approval to take the oath of allegiance to the Republic of Cyprus in the and to collect the passport.
Step 6 – Submit children’s applications
Once the passport for the main applicant and spouse are issued, the applications of children to be naturalised are submitted. Applications of minor children are processed within 3 weeks whilst adult children’s and parents applications are processed within 6 months and are subject to a submission fee of €80 for minor dependents and €2,500 for adult dependants and an approval fee of €5,000 for the issuance of the Certificate of Naturalisation for each adult dependent.
Recent amendments to the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme have made the programme even more affordable. In the past, those attempting to acquire Cypriot citizenship were asked to invest a minimum of €5 million or €2.5million jointly with other applicants.
Today, one must have a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus with a purchase price of €500,000 plus applicable VAT and an investment of at least €1.5-2 million which must be maintained for the required duration of 3 years.
Based on the revised programme, potential applicants can now invest, in the following areas:
1. The buying and development of real estate, development of projects which include housing units in the tourist sector or other infrastructure projects. The land must be fit to be developed, must be located within a designated area and development plans must be presented to the respective authorities;
2. Companies which are based and operate in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot nationals;
3. Financial Assets of regulated funds which are based and invest exclusively in Cyprus;
4. Government bonds (valued at up to €500,000);
5. A combination of the above.
With its favourable geographical location and a temperate climate that most countries can only dream of, Cyprus is considered to be an extremely desirable location for those looking to move country for work, leisure or both. In addition to this, Cyprus has a growing, modern, free-market economy which offers attractive tax rates and has become a very attractive country for foreigners to invest in it. Cyprus was ranked number 58th out of 144 countries by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2012 – 2013, with a number of new measures having been put in place to bolster the country’s banking sector and stimulate economic growth.
As a Member State of the European Union, Cypriot citizens can live, work and study across all other Member States. In addition, Cypriot citizens also benefit from visa-free travel to over 150 countries around the world.
Since its 1960 independence from the United Kingdom, Cyprus has carved itself a service-based, export-oriented economy out of its agricultural and mining roots and shows no signs of slowing down. While the early years of independence focused on exporting agricultural produce, economic focus quickly shifted to construction, clothing and footwear aided by the 1973 Customs Union agreement with the European Economic Community which was also the first step towards joining the European Union thirty years later.
All in all, the Cypriot economy has performed surprisingly well for the majority of the period since its independence. It has weathered huge external storms and exploited various diverse markets. A key element has been its consistent openness and the responsiveness to global markets as well as an effective organization between the private and public parties.
Moody’s credit rating for Cyprus stands at B1 with a positive outlook, an upgrade driven by improvements in economic resilience and consistent fiscal outperformance. Standard & Poor's credit rating for Cyprus stands at BB with positive outlook. Fitch's credit rating for Cyprus was last reported at BB- with positive outlook.
Property in Cyprus
Cyprus’ property market went from strength to strength between the years of 2004 and 2008 and this in turn led to developers increasing their supply to meet demand. However, due to the aforementioned global financial crisis, this remarkable growth has slowed down; property prices are now significantly more affordable, encouraging buyers to invest. Given Cyprus’ holiday destination quality, the property options in Cyprus that offer buyers the highest value for money include seafront properties and integrated master plan communities.
Education in Cyprus
There are two different types of schools in Cyprus which one can attend, which are, state or private schools. The primary and secondary education offered by private schools is then divided further into three categories according to syllabus and timetable. Despite its diminutive size, Cyprus boasts thirty-six private secondary education schools which are solely aimed at preparing students for Tertiary Education.