Amendments to the Criteria for Fast-Track Procedure for Permanent Residence by Investment (Regulation 6(2))
On 21 April 2023, the Council of Ministers approved new amendments to the criteria for the fast-track procedure for permanent residence immigration permits by investments, pursuant to the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations.
These new stricter criteria took effect as of the 2 May 2023, noting that, following an announcement by the Civil Registry and Migration Department on 27 April 2023, applicants who have already submitted contracts of sale to the Department of Lands and Surveys between 2 January 2023 and 28 April 2023 will still be able to submit applications pursuant the previous criteria that were in effect from 24 March 2021.
In brief, the main amendments that have been effected as of 2 May 2023 are the following:
1. Changes to the Investment Criteria:
• In case an applicant invests in a house/apartment or in real estate (excluding houses/apartments):
o If the relevant contract of sale has been signed or the title of ownership has been issued in a period that exceeds one year from the date of submission of the application, such applicant is required to submit, together with their application, a recent Search Certificate of Immovable Property from the Department of Lands and Surveys.
o Upon submission of their application, the applicant shall need to submit official payment receipts of the full amount of the investment (at least €300,000 excluding VAT), regardless of the delivery date of the property (previously: applicants were able to submit their application showing partial payments receipts of €200,000, with the remaining amount to follow).
• In case an applicant invests in units of Cyprus Investment Organization of Collective Investments (forms of AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF), the investments in which the applicant chooses to invest need to be carried out in Cyprus.
2. Changes to the Requirement for Secured Annual Income:
• The amount of secured annual income that an applicant needs to prove has been increased to at least €50,000 (previously: used to be €30,000).
• Such amount is further increased by €15,000 for the applicant’s spouse and €10,000 for each minor child of the applicant and/or their spouse (previously: used to be €5,000 for each dependent family member and €8,000 for each dependent parent or parent-in-law).
• In case an applicant invests in a house/apartment, their secured annual income should derive from abroad and may include salaries or wages, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits, rents, etc., which can only be proven via the applicant’s tax return from the country in which they declare tax return. In calculating the total amount of income, the spouse’s income may also be taken into account.
• In case an applicant invests in real estate (excluding houses/apartments), a Cypriot company’s share capital, with business activities and personnel in Cyprus or units of Cyprus Investment Organization of Collective Investments (forms of AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF), the total income or part thereof may also derive from sources originating from activities within Cyprus, provided that it is taxable in Cyprus.
3. Changes to the Qualitative Criteria:
• An applicant and their spouse must submit a Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from their country of origin and from their country of residence (in case these are different) (previously: such certificate was only required from either country).
• The applicant and their dependent family members must now submit a Certificate of Health Insurance for medical care that covers inpatient and outpatient care.
• In case an applicant invests in a house/apartment and the number of bedrooms of the immovable property cannot satisfy the needs of the dependent members of the applicant’s family, they will need to indicate another immovable property or properties which will constitute the residence of these persons (e.g. title of ownership, contract of sale, rental document). Alternatively, in cases where the applicant chooses to invest in real estate (excluding houses/apartments), a Cypriot company’s share capital, with business activities and personnel in Cyprus or units of Cyprus Investment Organization of Collective Investments (forms of AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF), they should provide evidence regarding their and their family members’ accommodation in Cyprus (e.g. title of ownership, contract of sale, rental agreement).
4. Changes with respect to Family Members:
• An applicant may only include, as their dependents, their spouse, minor children and unmarried children between the ages of 18 and 25, who are students of tertiary education and financially dependent on the applicant. The applicant’s parents and parents-in-law are no longer regarded as dependents under this policy.
5. New Requirement with respect to the Continued Compliance with the Policy’s Criteria:
• The Council of Ministers has introduced a new requirement for the need of a monitoring mechanism to ensure the compliance with the criteria of this policy and the preservation of the investments made. This new monitoring mechanism will therefore require applicants to submit to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, on an annual basis from the date of obtaining the immigration permit:
o Evidence that the applicant maintains the investment;
o Evidence that the applicant maintains the required income determined for themselves and their dependents;
o Evidence that the applicant and their family members are holders of a Certificate of Health Insurance, in case they do not continue to be beneficiaries of General Healthcare System (GHS/GESY); and
o Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from their country of origin and from their country of residence.
• In case the holder of the immigration permit fails to provide the above, this will result in the cancellation of their and their family members’ immigration permit.
For more a more thorough outline on the above policy, please do not hesitate to contact us.