According to mass media, applications for Cypriot citizenship will be suspended by the Cypriot government. The media were quick to jump on the story and declare the end of the process, yet the reality was only minor changes to the procedure had been made. The programme continues as before. Here we will explain how the immigration system in Cyprus works and why foreigners hoping for a Cypriot passport through investment have nothing to fear.
Will the Cypriot Citizenship via Investment Programme be Closed?
No. The migration programme (CIP) has been internationally celebrated as a hugely successful investment scheme, and it will not be closed. Investors from across the globe can still attain a Cypriot passport for themselves and their families by investing in the country.
However, the formal procedure for issuing passports to foreign nations has been changed slightly. At the moment, the Council of Ministers of Cyprus are the decision making body within the CIP programme. Once a citizen request has been approved, they will receive their passport from the Cypriot government.
Several months ago, there was a proposal to change the procedure for citizenship approval. This suggested that after the regulatory acts are agreed, both the Council of Ministers and the Cypriot Parliament would have to make a final decision.
While it is true, the process has perhaps added an extra task. In reality, it is only a formality and it will not impact Cypriot passport applicants. Foreign investors, that meet all the immigration conditions, can still rely on obtaining their passport successfully.
What Will be the New Procedure?
For the applicant, the process will remain the same. It is only the legal side of the agreement which has changed, but the details have not yet been settled. According to some well-informed sources, approving any new regulations could take up to six months, as parliament’s role in the approval is still in discussion.
All foreign investor applications entered before the 31st January 2020 will be processed through the old method of approval. In which, only the Council of Ministers of Cyprus will have responsibility for the approval decision.
Is it Easy to Apply for a Cyprus Passport?
Without question. For law-abiding investors, no matter who the final decision lies with, a successful application will be granted a Cypriot passport by the government.
Could Cypriot Passports be Revoked?
Not likely. Unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a passport being processed with obvious violations. As long as you meet all the requirements stated by the CIP, there should be no problem collecting your passport. There is no risk of it being revoked, and that is protected by the rule of law.
Cypriot legislation states passports may only be revoked when a citizen has a criminal record, an open criminal charge, links to terrorist or is listed by Interpol. A law-abiding citizen investor, who has submitted the correct documents, has no reason to fear having their passport revoked.
The laws of Cyprus state that citizenship can be revoked in some extreme cases. Here are the only four separate reasons someone can have their passport revoked by the government.
- Commit a serious crime within 10 years of receiving their passport.
- Show disloyalty to Cyprus with words or actions.
- Collaborate with an enemy at war time.
- Fail to report their residence outside of Cyprus within the first seven years of nationalisation.
What Are the Criteria for Becoming a Cypriot Citizen?
There are not a lot of requirements to become a Cypriot citizen, and the requests from the government are straight forward and reasonable.
- Be over 18 years old.
- Have no criminal record.
- Not be listed under EU sanctions.
- Have a valid Schengen visa.
- Have not been refused citizenship in another EU member state.
How do You Prove You Are Law-abiding?
The immigration process should be done through a trustworthy lawyer firm. When you are choosing yours, take into consideration their reputation, professionalism and experience. The lawyer agency should take care of everything, getting the criminal records check, suggesting a property and investment strategy, checking all documents and only submitting when they are 100% sure of a successful outcome.
Applying candidates must prove the accuracy and lawfulness of all the information submitted. Once the application is accepted, the applicant makes an oath of allegiance to the Republic of Cyprus, therefor guaranteeing his or her agreement in person.
What Are the Benefits of a Cypriot Passport?
Being a Cypriot citizen has many advantages. Your citizenship allows you to do business, study, work and live in any EU country while receiving all the education and health advantages an EU citizen can enjoy.
A Cypriot passport allows you visa-free travel to 173 countries. Making holidays and migrations a much easier reality. The citizenship you gain can also be obtained by most of your family, this includes your spouse and any financially dependant parents or children under 28 years old.
The Cypriot taxation system is also fairly relaxed. Residents of the country living abroad only pay tax for the income they receive in Cyprus. Corporate tax for citizens can touch as low as 12.5 percent.
Having the passport also opens up further relocations options. For example, if you were to move to the UK, you could apply for a citizenship in six years or a resident permit (ILR) after five years. This won’t change, even after Brexit. Many investors use Cypriot citizenship as a more convenient way to live in London, as the UK immigration requirements are complicated.
As well as all these great benefits and opportunities, Cyrus offers a variety of business prospects, good ecology, better security and a more comfortable climate.
It would seem the news of changes has been met with some over reaction from the media. The truth is the application process has remained the same, and the approval system has had a step added to it but will not be significantly slowed down.