It’s now cheaper than ever to obtain Cypriot citizenship through investment
The government of Cyprus has lowered the financial threshold for its citizenship by investment program. As of 1 November 2016, property investors can become Cypriot citizens by investing EUR 2 million, a EUR 0.5 million decrease from the previous lower limit.
As an added bonus, the parents of investors who participate in the program can now obtain citizenship if they purchase a residential property in Cyprus worth at least EUR 500,000. In the past, the parents – like their kids – would have had to invest EUR 2.5 million in order to benefit from the program.
Though the new regulations may have made it cheaper to take advantage of the program, it’s not necessarily easier. In the past, it was possible for investors to pool their money and invest as a group, while still benefiting from the possibility of individual grants of citizenship. Now, investors must go it alone from the start.
Another change: in the past, you could have obtained citizenship by investing in real estate, government bonds or bank deposits. The new regulations stipulate that investors can only obtain citizenship by investing in real estate worth upwards of EUR 2 million, or by investing in property worth at least EUR 1.5 million and government bonds worth at least EUR 500,000. It is no longer possible to benefit from the program by investing in bank deposits.
In the past, investors were not granted special residence permits while awaiting their citizenship decisions in Cyprus. In accordance with the new rules, investors are now able to obtain permanent residence permits while they await the decision. That said, investors are not required to reside in Cyprus while awaiting their grants of citizenship.
Changes to Cyprus Immigration Programme
|Old rules||New rules|
|Minimum investment amount||€5M under the individual investment scheme, €2.5M under the group one||€2M; the group investment scheme has been cancelled|
|Investment vehicles||Real estate, government bonds, bank deposits||You can buy property for at least €2M or bonds for up to €500,000 and property for at least €1.5M;the bank deposit option has been cancelled|
|Citizenship for the investor's parents||To obtain citizenship, the investor's parents must have also invested at least €2.5M||It's enough for the investor's parents to own a residential property worth at least €500,000|
|Residence permit||The investor did not get a residence permit while the application was considered||The investor gets a category F residence permit while awaiting a citizenship decision. However, the procedure is a formality, as the investor is still not required to live in Cyprus to obtain citizenship|
|Application processing time||Three months on average||Six months on average|
The following terms of Cyprus’ citizenship by investment program remain unchanged:
- Citizenship is granted to the investor´s spouse, all the financially dependent children up to 28 years of age, and automatically transfers to the representatives of all subsequent generations of the investor's family
- Cyprus recognizes dual nationalities
- The investor must retain ownership of the property/properties (or property/properties and stocks) for at least three years after obtaining citizenship, after which he or she can sell it/them. However, to maintain citizenship upon selling the initial property/properties, the investor must retain ownership of a Cypriot residential property worth at least EUR 500,000 in value.
Yulia Kozhevnikova, real estate expert at overseas property broker Tranio.com