Cyprus, known as the jewel of the Mediterranean is a beautiful island full of legends, tales, elegance and excitement that enjoys a burst of year-round sunshine. Enchanted by the island’s endless expanse of golden sands, hidden bays, and rugged coves, Cyprus draws visitors from across the world. Home to a fascinating history and culture, excellent Mediterranean cuisine and beautiful mountains and flourishing countryside, Cyprus is much more than just a ‘sun and sea’ location as is generally perceived.
With its sunny and steady climate and favorable geographical position, Cyprus is viewed as a charming place for both business and habitation. The investment landscape in Cyprus is advantageous due to the island’s well-qualified workforce and an efficient transport and telecommunications system.
Cyprus is a service-based economy with a free-market, which in combination with its stable and transparent regulatory and legal structure, offers international investors and companies a wonderful platform for business expansion, and development. Cyprus ranks at number 53 on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2018. Several new measures have been put into place to reboot the economy in the wake of the vast and challenging restructuring of the country’s investment sector. These measures are aimed, among other things, at helping to spur economic growth.
Cyprus Citizenship Law
The Cyprus citizenship law states that citizenship can be procured on the basis of birth, origin, marriage or nationalization/investment. This allows nationals of other countries to secure a second citizenship in the form of a Cyprus citizenship by making certain investments in the country under the Cyprus citizenship act.
The Cyprus Investment Program is open to investors following the “Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception” based on Section 111A (2) of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2013, based on a Council of Minister’s decision dated 19 March 2014. In consideration of this law, the Cyprus Council of Ministers may give citizenship by naturalization to foreign business people. The Republic of Cyprus offers Investment Programs granting citizenship to the spouse and children of the main applicant as well. Amendments to the law were further carried out in 2016, when they started to allow for the accepting the parent application in the same application, given that additional investment in real estate is done.
Why Do People Apply For A Second Citizenship?
There are many reasons to acquire a second citizenship, from personal safety to increased global versatility. Applications can be accepted in a minimum period of three months, obtaining citizenship for life, along with a valid passport, and visa-free access to numerous countries. Second citizenships also open up a world of opportunities to wealthy investors.
Here are a few of the key reasons why people opt for a second citizenship:
- Security: A second passport from a developed country can be very crucial in the case of development of any political, economic or social crisis in the applicant’s home country.
- Global Mobility: A second citizenship can offer individuals the benefit of increased global mobility. Becoming a dual citizen dismisses the need for long visas application processes and questioning about the purpose of the trip, based on the visa-free travel arrangements with various countries.
- Property Purchase: A second citizenship enables the capability to own investments like property in either country. If a person frequently travels between the two countries, this might be particularly advantageous since estate ownership might offer a more cost-effective way to live in two nations.
- Tax Optimization: A second citizenship also proves beneficial for tax optimization purposes. It allows investors to manage their wealth more efficiently and productively.
- Quality of Life: Second citizenships can offer a way to world-class health care, education and an enhanced lifestyle. Perhaps the best upside is the joy of learning about the history of both countries, new vocabulary and a different way of life.
- Business: New business possibilities open up to participators of citizenship by investment programs as they can now do trade in the host country as well as travel outside more smoothly.
- Family: Most citizenship by investment programs are open to the family members of the principal applicant. It means that investors can secure a stable future for their families as well. The applicant and dependents enjoy all the benefits of the second citizenship.
Why Apply For A Cyprus Citizenship?
A Cyprus citizenship by investment also includes a full European Union Citizenship for the applicant and his/her family, providing double benefits of both the citizenships through one program. The benefits of the Cyprus program are many.
- The Cyprus Investment program is recognized as one of the fastest in Europe, taking around six months for approval.
- There is an option for concurrent submission of residency and citizenship applications.
- There are no language requirements.
- The investors’ parents are qualified for citizenship provided they have a house valued at €500,000 with tax or share a part of €500,000 in private property of the principal applicant.
- There are no obligations to renounce their current nationality.
- The tax rates are low as compared to the rest of Europe, and there is the opportunity for free trade within the EU.
- The applicant gets full right to study, work, and live in Europe.
- The applicant has the right to own property in any EU member state.
- The geographical location of Cyprus is strategic, forming a bridge between the EU, the Middle East and North Africa with immediate access to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Cyprus is known for having low crime rates.
- There is an excellent education system, as well as excellent health care.
- Cyprus is a leading holiday destination.
Procurement Of Cypriot Citizenship
There are various ways an individual can acquire citizenship under Cyprus citizenship law:
Having Cypriot Origins
One of the ways of obtaining citizenship under Cyprus citizenship act is if the applicant is eighteen years or above, and has Cypriot origins, he/she can apply using this method. The condition here is that one of the parents at the time of birth must be a Cypriot citizen.
The following documents are required when applying:
- The birth certificate of the applicant.
- A marriage certificate of the applicant’s parents from an authorized officer.
- Passport copies of the applicant and parents.
- A certificate of registration of the Cypriot parent, if applicable.
- A copy of the receipt paid.
- A stamp, costing €8.54 attached to the application.
According to the Republic of Cyprus Citizenship Act of 1967, anyone born on or after 16 August 1960, and with at least one parent being a Cypriot citizen, automatically gets Cypriot citizenship. Those who were born between the period of 16 August 1960 and 1999 to a Cypriot mother abroad; nonetheless, do not automatically become citizens of Cyprus, but they may register after they turn 21 years old.
Getting married to a Cypriot National
One of the ways to obtain citizenship under Cyprus citizenship law is to marry a Cypriot national. The minimum period of marriage must be at least three years. The applicant must live in Cyprus for a minimum of two years before applying.
If the Cypriot national is living overseas, the minimum period of marriage must be at least three years and the applicant must give an accompanying letter justifying why citizenship is required, or the applicant must be married for at least five years and have at least one child. In that case, the letter is not required.
The following documents are required when applying for citizenship by marriage:
- A marriage certificate from an authorized officer.
- The birth certificate of the applicant.
- A certificate which states a clean criminal record of the applicant.
- If the applicant has children, birth certificates of each of them.
- A certificate of purchase of the Cypriot citizenship of the Cypriot spouse, if applicable.
- A statement of peaceful cohabitation signed before an officer of the District Administration Office.
Naturalisation / Citizenship By Investment
Another process of gaining citizenship under the Cyprus citizenship act is through naturalization. It is the process by which a non-citizen of a nation, in this case, Cyprus, may become a citizen of that country. The Cyprus Investment Program is one of the fastest ways to lead to citizenship by residency in Cyprus and in Europe. Wealthy individuals wishing to relocate may do so by opting for the Cyprus Investment Program by investing financially in Cyprus.
To qualify for citizenship, applicants must satisfy one of the investment options below and hold it for a minimum period of five years in addition to meeting the following guidelines:
- The applicant must not hold any criminal record.
- The applicant must possess a valid passport.
- The applicant must hold a legitimate Schengen Visa
- The applicant was not rejected for a visa from any other member-state of the EU.
- The principal applicant’s assets are not suspended within the boundaries of the EU.
- The applicant must possess a residency permit in the Republic of Cyprus for six months before being granted citizenship.
- The applicant needs to own a permanent private residence in the Republic of Cyprus with a purchase value of at least €500,000 plus the applicable VAT.
- In case an individual wishes to invest in residential properties only and one of the residential properties is valued at least €500,000, then the total investment amount must be of a value of €2 million.
- Contribution to the Research and Innovation Foundation and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation:
- Contribution of €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Fund or another certified innovation enterprise.
- Contribution of €75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.
- Invest in any of the following options:
- Investment in Land Development, Infrastructure Projects, and Real Estate
- Establishment or Purchase or Participation in Cypriot Businesses or Companies
- Investing in Alternative Investment Funds or Financial Assets of Cypriot Companies or Organizations
- Combination Investment
Regardless of the investment option chosen, applicants will also be required to complete the acquisition and lifetime possession of a property in Cyprus that will be listed as the applicant’s residence in Cyprus. The acquisition price of the particular property should be at least €500,000 plus tax. In the case that the applicant proceeds with the real estate option, this attribute can be included in the €2 million investment.
Benefits of the Cyprus Investment Programme
- The right to travel, work and study, and protection within the social and judicial system of the EU
- The entire family reaps the benefits.
- Visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to many destinations including the U.K., Singapore, Canada and Hong Kong
- The process completes in about six to eight months.
- The citizenship is passed down to future generations.
Submitting The Application
After deciding to proceed with the citizenship by investment program, the application fee has to be submitted to the embassy, and a copy of the receipt with the application. After paying the fee, the applicant must certify the document. If the applicant’s origin country was a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1961, it would be approved by Apostille. If not, the applicant would need to be doubly certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the embassy or consulate. The applicant must submit it to the embassy or the Ministry of the Interior in his/her country. If the applicant resides in Cyprus, the application must be submitted to the Ministry of Interior, Nicosia. This can be done by mail or in person. After this, if applying for naturalization, advertisements would be run asking if anyone has reason to object to citizenship. Copies of these advertisements are required to finish the application which is then submitted to the Ministry of the Interior.
The applicant can contact the embassy if the wait is longer than three months. Once the candidate completes all the paperwork, he/she needs to wait for the response from the government. It could take up to three months.
Cyprus allows its citizens to hold different citizenship in addition to their Cypriot citizenship but it requires citizenship planning to do so. Some countries, nonetheless, do not allow multiple nationalities, therefore it’s important to verify the policy of the original nation regarding the acceptance of second citizenship.
Cyprus Visa-Free Travel
At the moment, Cypriots can enjoy visa-free travel to a long list of countries. There are currently a total of 122 countries where visa-free travel can be enjoyed and another 39 countries which facilitate visa-on-arrival. No visa is required for traveling within the European Union.
Cyprus Real Estate Market
The real estate business in Cyprus witnessed a surge in property demand during 2004-2008, which saw a spurt in real estate developers increasing supply to meet the demand. Nonetheless, due to the global economic downturn, the need for real estate fell, resulting in many completed properties available in 2009. Without demand, the prices reduced significantly. However, from the period of 2016–2018, there has been a steady increase in demand and the number of deals taking place across the island. Such an increase has helped prices to be constant and has started showing annual increases. The key element of a good Cyprus real estate has always been private property, especially, within the luxury division for second homes. The property choices in Cyprus that give buyers the highest value for investments include:
Seafront Properties: The areas such as Pafos, Limassol, and Ayia Napa are in high demand and provide lifestyle features and infrastructure.
Master Planned Communities: These areas usually have amenities like a casino, golf course, or society at their heart, offering properties that appeal to all sorts of owners including locals, new homeowners, second-home buyers, and others.
The price-per-meter-square for houses of this nature is usually between €10,000 and €22,000, depending on the area and building specs. Most foreign buyers purchase homes in the areas mentioned above, instead of buying a property in the capital city.
The purchase of a Cypriot Residence Status is regarded as being more straightforward. This is because the obligation to obtain residency is based on the candidate’s possession of sufficient financial resources at their end, provided that it is enough to maintain themselves independent of any trade, business or service. Adequate financial resources can be considered as:
- The individual is the owner of the fixed property in Cyprus worth at least €300,000;
- The candidate holds at least a minimum of €150,000 in bank deposits;
- The candidate’s annual income arising outside Cyprus exceeds the amount of €9,568.
The above is valid as long as a candidate possesses a health insurance policy in Cyprus.
Cyprus is an important location at the crossroads between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa helping the island develop as an ideal investment gateway. New citizens will be able to benefit from the Cyprus’s tax-efficient regime. The newly started ”non-domicile” system allows for zero taxation of ordinary dividends and interest earnings for seventeen years.
If you wish to learn more about how to obtain the citizenship under Cyprus citizenship law, understand the benefits better, or to resolve any queries kindly contact us by booking an appointment today! Our experienced and qualified team would be more than happy to guide you and provide you with the best advice.