Cyprus is one of the most well-known island countries in the Mediterranean, having an ancient history going back as early as the Bronze and Copper Age. The place is also extensively mentioned in both mythology and modern-day history, with legend having it that Aphrodite, the goddess of love in Greek mythology, was born in this beautiful island nation. The picturesque country is also known to have exchanged hands from various civilizations such as Assyria, Egypt, and Persia until it was conquered by the invading Alexander the Great way back in the 3rd century BC.
Cyprus has a perfect Mediterranean climate with dry summers between the months of May and October along with rain in the winters from December to February. Turkish and Greek are the official languages of the country but since people from many different countries reside in Cyprus, English is widely spoken to facilitate the business ties that the island has with the world. With an estimated population of 1.20 million, Cyprus is also a country where many people from other nations apply for citizenship because of its very popular individual investor programme. The island is also known for its hospitality, which has only increased over the years due to a steady flow of people from other countries who have made it their home, also contributing to its economy and growth.
Today, Cyprus is a country with a combination of many different cultures which have helped to ensure diversity as well as a strong work culture of tolerance. Ever since the country started welcoming people from other nations and offering them citizenships, it has become one of the most popular destinations in the world. The Cyprus Investor Immigration Programme is also one of the reasons why the island has seen a large inflow of people in recent times. The comparatively less stringent norms for acquiring citizenship in the country have not only facilitated more revenue for its government but has also helped numerous families who want to settle in the EU.
Demand for Cyprus Citizenship
Being the third biggest island in the Mediterranean, the strategic significance of Cyprus is immense primarily because of the country’s geographical proximity with nations such as Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Greece. Nestled in between Asia, Europe, and Africa, citizenship for Cyprus is also much sought after, owing to the fact that a person holding a passport of Cyprus can freely travel and take up residence in other European Union countries easily. One of the various ways of acquiring citizenship in the country is through the Cyprus Individual Investor Programme (IIP).
Individual Investor Programmes
In the past few years, several countries which are members of the EU have come up with individual investor programmes (IIP) with the objective of inviting investment from wealthy foreign nationals in exchange for citizenship. However, the IIP of Cyprus is known as one of the most affordable and lucrative options as it has a large number of stipulations which benefit the applicant in the long run. This trend of larger commercialization of citizenships stems from the fact that it is often considered beneficial to both the government and the people who are seeking to acquire a second passport in a country other than they currently reside. For example, IIP Cyprus too focuses on the aspect that ultimately the Cyprus Individual Investor Programme will result in revenue for the government.
Benefits of a Cyprus Passport
A Cyprus passport can actually change your life for good as it comes with a large array of benefits which are rare in other EU countries. The Cyprus Individual Investor Programme is perfect for a long list of people with different sets of priorities as the benefits that a Cyprus citizenship can offer are many.
Following is a list of facilities that a Cyprus passport holder gets through the IIP:
- Work visa – Getting a work visa for EU countries can be a cumbersome and lengthy process and most often people end up losing lucrative job opportunities solely because of the fact that they don’t have a work visa. The Cyprus passport solves this problem as the citizenship of the country also brings the facility of moving, residing, and being employed freely in any of the countries which are part of the European Union. This is one of the most significant benefits of holding a Cyprus passport. IIP Cyprus is known to attract many people who want to shift base and work at various countries of the EU where remuneration is more than other places.
- Medical benefits – Every Cyprus citizen receives a European Health Insurance card, much like all other EU nations. This is a big boost of security, as the card enables Cyprus citizens to avail health benefits in any of the EU countries where they are currently residing. Many applicants for Cypriot citizenship consider this one of the major reasons behind their decision to have a Cypriot passport.
- Education – In EU countries, tuition fees for educational institutions are available at concessional rates or completely waived off for its citizens. When a non-EU citizen applies for any educational course at such institutions, they are charged a much higher amount for it. This is another benefit for a Cyprus citizen because it helps them to avail quality education in any of the EU countries at a subsidized rate. IIP Cyprus is very much popular among people who want to educate their children from institutes in the European Union.
- Transfer of citizenship – In the case of children who are less than 18 years old and are dependent on the applicant, there is no need to submit a separate application to get citizenship. In this way, when they grow up and marry and have their own children, they will be already citizens of Cyprus and won’t need to apply for it. This facility of automatic transfer of citizenship for family members makes the Cyprus Individual Investor Programme more lucrative.
- Dual citizenship – Unlike many other countries which don’t allow a person to be a citizen of other nations simultaneously, Cyprus does not have any such rule. It means that a person does not need to say adieu to his/her original citizenship and can have the passport of both the countries at the same time. This facility is particularly useful for all those people who have business and property interests in more than one country and cannot afford to give up any of their passports. However, it is important to verify whether the home country also accepts dual citizenship in order to retain both passports.
- Permanent residence – Unlike many other countries, Cyprus does not require its citizens to remain a permanent resident of the nation. Therefore, despite the country not being the citizen’s permanent place of residence, they can still avail all the benefits and facilities of a Cyprus and EU citizen. For many applicants who don’t want to change their permanent place of residence, this relaxation is particularly appealing.
Cyprus Individual Investor Programme
There are several reasons as to why the Cyprus Individual Investor Programme is so popular in the world which is also reflected by the fact that every year, the country receives a large number of applications for Cyprus investor immigration.
Some of the reasons behind the ever-increasing demand for the Cyprus citizenship are:
- Gateway to Europe – Residing in Cyprus comes with a large array of benefits for foreign nationals who invest to acquire citizenship in the country. Many people use IIP Cyprus as a gateway for entering Europe. The country is also popular because of its high-quality living standards, easy access to services, peaceful environment, and also for offering opportunities to a person to grow economically. The tax regime in Cyprus is also more favorable and easygoing than in other EU countries, which acts as another incentive because of which the country receives a large number of citizenship requests.
- Allure of EU citizenship – Perhaps the most important reason as to why Cypriot citizenship is in much demand is the fact that a citizen of the country can also live anywhere in the European Union. Along with their family members, after becoming a Cyprus citizen, they get jurisdiction of moving and residing freely in any of the other European Union countries. When a person acquires a Cyprus citizenship through its individual investor programme, he/she simultaneously gets a way to enter other EU countries whether for education, work, or residence. Over the years, this has resulted in Cyprus becoming a top destination for people who want to shift base to Europe and want to circumvent the stringent citizenship laws of some of the European countries.
- Favorable living conditions – Be it the thriving economy of Cyprus or the stellar educational institutions, Cyprus is known for its advanced living conditions which draw people from all over the world to the island nation. It also has a high human development index when it comes to the standard of living. The educational institutions, including a cluster of English medium schools, are popular for the high-quality education that they offer, and coupled with its favorable climate, Cyprus becomes the perfect destination for a person hoping to find a new abode.
Acquiring Cyprus Citizenship Through The Individual Investor Programme (IIP)
There are various incentives offered by the Cyprus investor immigration authorities with an objective to invite foreign direct investment into the island nation. The most popular of them all is the Cyprus individual investor programme (IIP) that grants citizenship of the country for those people who are willing to invest a sum of more than €2 million.
The investment requirements for acquiring Cypriot citizenship are presented below –
- Monetary donation – From 2019, the Cypriot government introduced a new condition that for any individual wanting to acquire the country’s citizenship, it is mandatory that he/she makes two donations of €75,000 each. This is in addition to the €2 million donation which was earlier charged for the process. The approval time for the citizenship application ranges from 6-8 months. The two donations of €75,000 have to be made to either any certified enterprise focused on innovation or the research and innovation fund of the country along with a donation to the Cyprus land development corporation. The investments can be made personally or through companies where the applicant is either a senior functionary or a shareholder.
- Investment in business and real estate – It is also mandatory, as per Cypriot law, that under IIP Cyprus, the person wanting citizenship will have to invest at least €2 million for the purpose of either purchase or construction of the real estate. The sum will have to be appropriated either in infrastructure projects, developments, and real estate or by purchase and participation in businesses and companies based in Cyprus. As part of this, it is also an additional stipulation that these companies or business should be those which employ, at the very least, 5 citizens of Cyprus.
- Investment in financial instruments – Putting money in various investment funds or the assets of organizations based in Cyprus is another way through which one can be a part of the process. All such enterprises will have to be licensed entities under Cypriot law. Bonds and securities are some of the instruments where a person can make the €2 million investment.
- Property – Irrespective of the investment option, a place of residence of at least €500,000 has to be purchased by the applicant in Cyprus which will be marked as his residence in the country. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase a property as part of the €2 million investment required for acquiring citizenship.
Application Approval Time
All the steps which are part of the procedure to get Cypriot citizenship need to be completed with due diligence and care. Generally, it takes around 6-8 months to complete the process.
Popularity of the Cyprus Individual Investor Programme
Over the years, this programme of applying for citizenship in Cyprus has become very much popular primarily because of the fact that this is the fastest avenue to get an EU citizenship. If the papers are right and the application followed correctly, then in just 6 months a person can get citizenship, which is way less than some of the other countries in the EU. Once a person buys a real estate in Cyprus, along with helping him/her to get citizenship it also increases his/her assets and in the long run, it is the investor who is getting benefitted.
Every year, the country is flooded with applications for citizenship which are then carefully sifted through by officials who specialize on Cyprus investor immigration. There are also people who want to divide their time between two countries and find Cyprus as the perfect getaway to spend for a fixed period of months every year. They are one of the largest demographics who have made the Cypriot citizenship so popular.
The Cyprus investor immigration programme is perfect for people who are hoping to get a swift entry into the European Union, without the constraints of heavy paperwork and lengthy application process that is required for many EU nations. The fact that Cyprus is strategically important in the Mediterranean – and also has a much less stringent application process – are more reasons why the citizenship process is so popular. The Cyprus investor immigration process also ensures that the applicant does not need to let go of his/her existing passport and can hold dual citizenships, helping the cause of people who are looking to spend the time between multiple countries.
Similarly, for students and people who want to find employment in the EU, Cypriot citizenship is immensely helpful, owing to the various subsidized and concessional educational facilities that the country offers and which can also be availed by its citizens in any other countries of the European Union. A Cyprus citizenship also absolves one from having to seek a work visa in the EU, which comes as a big relief to all those who have secured employment in these countries. As a result of the popularity of Cyprus individual investor programme (IIP), in recent years the country has also received a large chunk of consistent revenue every year wherein people apply for its citizenship by donating money and purchasing properties in the country. An investment worth €2 million is required to be made under this programme along with two payments of €75,000 each, which ensures that a person gets a Cypriot passport upon fulfilling all the criteria.
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