Changes to citizenship-by-investment scheme

CYPRUS - Changes to citizenship-by-investment scheme

June 2019

One of the ways in which you are able to become a resident in Cyprus is through the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme. Some changes have been made to the criteria of this programme this year to make it “more targeted and trustworthy”.

Under the new criteria, which came into effect as of the 15 May 2019, the changes are as follows:

  • Only 700 applicants per year may apply
  • Required investment amount raised from EUR 2 million to EUR 2.5 million including the purchase of a residency
  • Mandatory donation of EUR 75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation
  • Contribution of EUR 75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation to be used for affordable housing
  • Applicants must have held a Cyprus residence permit of at least six months before becoming a Cypriot citizen
  • Must maintain required investments for a period of five years from the date of naturalisation.
  • Planning permission, completion certificate and bank waiver will be required if the investment is in relation to real estate or property.

The application process will also come under stricter and more effective due diligence procedures such as:
Applications are checked by international agencies

  • Investors must obtain a Schengen visa
  • Applicants will be excluded from the programme if they were previously rejected by other EU member states with similar schemes.

The changes are in response to a European Commission report in which they expressed concerns about the “investment migration” policies of Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria. The main concerns were that these sorts of schemes could pose risk of money laundering without stricter due diligence.

Angelos Petrou