Conditions for obtaining Cyprus citizenship
On 24 May, 2013, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus (“Cyprus”) revised the criteria for providing Cypriot citizenship for high-net worth individuals. In this respect, a non Cypriot citizen will be eligible to obtain a Cypriot passport if she/he has a clean criminal record and owns a permanent residence in Cyprus worth in excess of EUR €500,000 (plus VAT) and satisfies any one of the following criteria:
(1) The applicant should make the following investments and donations to the Government of Cyprus:
(a) An amount of at least €2 million should be invested in shares and/or bonds of the Cyprus Investment Company which will be formed. In that regard, the applicant must deposit the amount said at the Cyprus Treasury Department until the shares and /or bonds of the aforesaid company are issued;
(b) An amount of at least €500,000 shall be donated to the Research and Technology Fund.
(2) The applicant should have direct investments in Cyprus of at least €5 million. These include but are not limited to:
(a) Purchase of real estate (houses, offices, shops etc);
(b) Acquisition of businesses/companies that are based and have activities in Cyprus;
(c) Purchase of shares of companies registered in Cyprus;
(d) Purchase of financial instruments (e.g. bonds and debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus);
(e) Participation in a company/consortium that is in charge of the execution of a Government project.
In relation to conditions (a) to (d) above, the applicant must have in his/her possession the relevant investments for a period of at least three years. In case of a portfolio of shares or bonds, it should be ensured that the value of the portfolio during the three year period will not be less than €5 million.
(3) The applicant should have deposits in Cyprus banks amounting to €5 million, with a three year duration period. The deposits can be either personal or deposits of the applicant’s private company or of a trust where the applicant is the beneficiary.
(4) The applicant must satisfy the €5 million requirement, by a combination of the conditions set out in paragraphs (1) – (3) above;
(5) There are two requirements under this criterion: (a) the applicant must be the shareholder or ultimate beneficiary of a Cypriot company which has its head office and business operations in Cyprus and (b) for a period of three years preceding the application year he should have contributed to the Cypriot economy at least EUR €500,000 on average per annum by way of:
(i) income tax or VAT payments to the Cyprus government; and/or
(ii) business services fees (legal, accounting, auditing, banking fees and otherwise).
Alternatively, if the Cyprus company:
(a) employs at least five (5) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid in Cyprus (as described above) is reduced to €350.000 per annum during the three year period preceding the filing date of the application;
(b) employs at least ten (10) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid in Cyprus (as described above) is reduced to €200.000 per annum during the three year period preceding the filing date of the application;
For every such company (or companies) it is possible for up to 2 shareholders to apply for naturalization.
Where the applicant has paid into the Cyprus economy direct revenue or fees (as described above) which are lower than the amounts required in 5(a) and 5 (b) above, these can be combined with criteria (1), (2) or (3) so that the amounts paid pursuant to 5(a) and 5(b) above are deducted from the amounts required pursuant to criteria (1), (2) and (3).
(6) The applicant must have lost from his deposits in Bank of Cyprus or in Laiki Bank due to the measures implemented in those banks after March 15, 2013:
(a) An amount of at least €3 million in one or both of the aforementioned banks.
(b) If the applicant has lost less than €3 million he/she can still file an application for citizenship if he/she invests in government funds (Criterion (1)) or assets in Cyprus (Criterion (2)) for the amount that remains in order to gross up to €3 million.