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About Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus is a Presidential Democratic State, founded in 1960. Cyprus became a full member of the European Union on May 1, 2004.

In 2008, Cyprus joined the European Monetary Union leveraging a solid economic performance, thus adopting the Euro as its national currency.

Cyprus encourages Foreign Direct Investment in priority economic growth sectors, as highlighted in the country’s Strategic Development Plan 2014-2020, with the introduction of a number of measures, reform initiatives and investment opportunities.

Being Europe’s Eastern outpost at the intersection of important transport and communications routes and at the crossroad of three continents, Cyprus provides a secure gateway for European enterprises into the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, while offering non-European businesses and entrepreneurs possibilities for investment into Europe.

Cyprus has become a regional quality business and financial centre, and is also fast developing into an energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Location

Cyprus location is exceptional as it lies at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Africa and Asia acting as the hub of the shipping and air routes linking these three continents.

Population

The population of Cyprus is about 850,000. The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia (Lefkosia), situated at the heart of the island with a population of approximately 350,000. The second largest city is Limassol (Lemesos) on the south coast with a population of approximately 250,000 and the island’s major port. Larnaca and Paphos are the third and fourth largest cities, each with a new airport, situated on the south east and south west coasts respectively.

Climate

Cyprus has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, enjoying year-round sunshine, with mild winters and sunny, dry summers.

Why Cyprus

Cyprus has become a popular investment hub.

Non EU residents have the opportunity to acquire a Cyprus (EU) Citizenship & Permanent Residence through investment. Cyprus actively promotes residency and citizenship programs. The government actively seeks professional people with families to take up residency in Cyprus and enjoy all the benefits the country has to offer or for people to make significant investments and acquire a Cyprus EU Passport which will enable the holder free access to live and work anywhere within the European Union.

Cyprus has one of the lowest corporate income tax rates in the EU, at 12.5% which can be further reduced to as little as 2.5% by applying Notional Interest Deduction (NID). Also, there is no capital gains, inheritance or estate tax, and significantly, there is zero tax on dividends–so it can make a lot of sense financially for Investors obtaining the Cypriot Passport. (CHECK IT)

Cyprus maintains a highly professional workforce to provide support to international business. The legal system is based on English common law and English is fluently spoken throughout the island. The accounting and legal sectors are highly developed and the country enjoys a high standard of living, excellent telecommunication facilities and infrastructure in a stable and low-crime environment with excellent weather.

Cyprus enjoys first-rate business relations and flight connections to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, a wide network of air-routes offering excellent connections to Asia, as well as modern ports and sea connectivity.

Citizenship & Residentship

Cyprus Investment Programme overview

According to the Council of Ministers Decisions (dated 13.09.2016 and subsequent decision 21.05.2018), non-Cypriot Investors can acquire the Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization and the Cyprus Passport for them and their families (by the exception “on the basis of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 – 2017).

Cyprus citizenship

Cypriot Citizenship provides full European Citizenship by investment for the investor and his family so that they can enjoy the rights of EU Citizens. Thus they can benefit from many important rights under EU law, in particular, the right to move freely around Europe to live, work, study or even retire.

Cyprus passport provides visa-free travel to over 173 countries as of February 2019, including all the European Union member states, Canada and Australia among others.

Access to Cyprus and EU education system

The education system in Cyprus is well known for its high quality and standards. There are many English-speaking private schools and Universities which provide many Education opportunities. Also, a Cyprus Passport holder can have access to European Universities and apply for EU grants as an EU Citizen.

CYPRUS INVESTMENT PROGRAMME

 

on the basis of subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2019

 One of the main objectives of the economic policy of the Republic of Cyprus is to further encourage foreign direct investment and to attract high net worth individuals to settle and conduct their business in Cyprus. Key factors that make Cyprus an attractive destination for investment, is the highly specialized human capital, the reliable legislative and regulatory framework, the stable tax system and the safety and stability conditions prevailing in the country.

Within this framework and taking into account the strong investor interest, the Government of Cyprus has established and revised the “Cyprus Investment Programme” on the basis of subsection (2) of section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002-2019, with specific incentives, terms and conditions and control procedures in order to prevent abuse.

On the basis of the Programme, a non-Cypriot citizen may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through naturalization by exception, if he/she fulfils the financial criterion

  • and one of the financial criteria A.2-A.5, either personally or through a company/ companies in which he/she participates as a shareholder – in proportion to his/her holding percentage, or through investments done by his/her spouse or jointly with the spouse or even as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ companies that fulfils the financial criterion A.1 and one of the financial criteria A.2-A.5,.

Moreover, a high-ranking senior manager may apply, provided that he/she receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic tax revenues of at least €100,000 over a three- year period and provided that this tax has already been paid or prepaid.

The applicant should have made the necessary investments during the three years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least five years as from the date of the naturalization. It is understood that the investor may replace the investment during the said five-year period, provided that he/she has obtained beforehand an approval by the Ministry of Finance.

In addition, the applicant must fulfil the Terms and Conditions set out in Part B.

In case where, following a periodic inspection, it has been established that a Criterion, Term or Condition of the Programme has been breached, the granted naturalization may be revoked.

None of the clauses mentioned in the Programme affects the absolute discretion of the Cabinet of Ministers on making a decision.

 

 Α. FINANCIAL CRITERIA

Α.1     Donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation:

  • The applicant must have donated at least €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation. It is noted that if the applicant wishes to donate an amount higher than the minimum of €75.000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the basis of the criteria A.2-A.5.

Furthermore, the aforementioned obligation is lifted, if the applicant has invested at least €75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise (i.e. an enterprise that had acquired the relevant certificate by the Ministry of Finance) or a certified social enterprise.

In addition, the obligation is lifted, if the applicant has made an investment under the criterion A.3 (Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses) of a total amount equal to the 20% of the required investment amount (i.e. €400.000) of the abovementioned criterion A.3 in a company whose operations fall within the primary sector of the economy, or the secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.

  • The applicant must have donated at least €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation for the financing of housing schemes for affordable housing, but also for the materialization of other housing schemes/measures. It is noted that if the applicant wishes to donate an amount higher than the minimum of €75.000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the basis of the criteria 2-A.5.

Α.2 Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects.

It is noted that investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application. It is understood that investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded.

 

Α.3 Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses:

The applicant must have invested at least €2,0 million for the purchase or participation in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of. The invested funds shall be channeled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan. Moreover, investments in the shipping sector are eligible on the basis of measurable criteria that will be determined jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Deputy Ministry.

The applications shall be evaluated to verify that the companies or organizations have proven physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover and employ at least 5 (five) Cypriot citizens or citizens of European Union member-states. The minimum number of employees shall increase, if more than one applicant invest simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company.

 

Α.4 Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Registered Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission :

The applicant should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) or Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed/registered and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec) and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Programme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. It is permitted for these AIFs or RAIFs to invest in secondary market stock-market values of the Cyprus Stock Exchange an amount that does not exceed the €200.000.

In order to confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Programme will be retained for at least 5 (five) years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministry of Finance with reference to the value of the initial investment.

The purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations of at least €2,0 million, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion.

It is noted that the purchase by an AIF or RAIF of units of other AIFs or RAIFs is not considered eligible.

 

Α.5  Combination of the aforementioned investments:

The applicant may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2,0 million.

 

  1. TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

  1. Clean Criminal Record: the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Furthermore, his/her name must not be included in the list of persons whose assets, within the boundaries of the European Union, have been frozen as the result of

Moreover, an applicant whose application for citizenship in any other member-state of the European Union had been rejected, is not eligible to apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Programme.

  1. Schengen Visa: The applicant must hold a valid Schengen visa. Third-Country nationals that do not require an entry visa for travelling in European Union member-states, as well as citizens of European Union Member States are excluded from this

It is noted that all the aforementioned in paragraphs 1 and 2 also apply for the family members of the investor that are eligible to apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship.

  1. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Part A, the applicant must possess a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus A.T.

It is noted that members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of this home-property covers the amount of €500.000 per each applicant.

In case that the purchase value of the permanent privately owned residence in Cyprus exceeds the amount of €500,000, this additional amount can be used for purposes of supplementing the total amount of the investment made on the basis of the criteria of Part A above.

Additionally, it is noted that if the applicant has invested in housing unit/units on the basis of the aforementioned criterion A.2, the purchase of another permanent residence in Cyprus will not be required, if at least one of these housing units is worth at least €500,000, plus VAT, provided that the applicant retains the possession of the residence for life.

However, if the applicant has invested in housing units that have already being used for the purpose of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship via the Programme, the above provision will be in force provided that the total amount of the investments, including the privately-owned residence, is at least €2,5 million.

  1. Residence Permit in Cyprus: The applicant, prior to his/her naturalization as a Cypriot citizen must hold a residence permit in Cyprus for a period of at least 6 (six) months.

If the applicant does not already hold a residence permit, he/she may apply for an immigration permit on the basis of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Law, simultaneously with the application for naturalization. The applicant, prior to his/her naturalization as a Cypriot citizen must hold a residence permit in Cyprus for a period of at least 6 (six) months.

If the application for acquiring an immigration permit is made solely for purposes of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship, in accordance with the provisions of this Programme, there are no other conditions than those stated in both Part A and Part B of this Programme.

It is noted that all of the above also apply for the adult members of the family of the investor, who will apply for naturalization.

In case the application for naturalization is rejected for any reason, the immigration permit, obtained in accordance with the provisions of this decision, will be canceled immediately.

 

  1. SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS

For the evaluation of the applications the form (M127) as well as the following documents must be submitted:

  1. Clean Criminal Record:
  • Certificate of Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
  • Due Diligence Report issued through an internationally accepted database ensured through a subscription (e.g. Wolrd Check, LexisNexis Diligence, Regulatory DataCorp Inc. etc.). The report must be dated no later than thirty days from the date of its submission.
  • Declaration by the applicant concerning any citizenship applications he/she may have submitted in any other member-state or member-states of the European Union.
  1. Schengen Visa:

Copy of a valid Schengen Visa

  1. Residence in the Republic of Cyprus:
  • Contract of Sale
  • Title Deeds or Proof of Registration of the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department.
  • Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
  • Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company.
  • An evaluation certificate from an independent registered land surveyor, if required by the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Finance.
  • Town-planning permit, provided that it is required by the Town and Country Planning Law.
  • Declaration by the mortgage lender in the benefit of whom the purchased property or properties is mortgaged that will waive the mortgage, provided that the investor or the seller will pay the lender the amount conscribed in the declaration (bank waiver).
  • Project completion certificate signed by the architect of the project. If the purchased property is under construction it is required either to maintain an amount equal to the 5% of the purchase value in a special account or for the seller to issue in the benefit of the purchaser a performance bank guarantee equal to the 5% of the purchase value.

        Criteria regarding the investment (when applicable):

  • Certificate of Registration of the company/ companies by the Registrar of Companies.
  • Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the applicant is the beneficiary owner of the company/companies.
  • Audited accounts of the company (or companies) for the last three years preceding the year of the application.
  • If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager, the submission of the employment contract and the receipt from the Department of Inland Revenue are additionally required.
  • If the investment is made by the spouse of the applicant or jointly, a marriage certificate is required.

Furthermore, depending on the case, the following are required:

 

  1. Donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation and the Cyprus Land Development Corporation
  • Copy of the wire transfer of the donation to the Research and Innovation Foundation to an account in a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the Foundation.
  • Copy of the wire transfer of the donation to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation to an account in a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the Corporation.
  • Innovative enterprise certificate.
  • Investment Agreement in Cypriot company or companies.
  • Proof of payment of the agreed amount
  • Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies.
  • Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization.
  • Specific investment plan
  • Copies of the employment contracts of the Cypriot or European Union citizens employed by the company in which the applicant has invested.
  • Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot or European Union citizens employed in the company.
  • Registration Certificate (MEU1) or Permanent Registration Certificate of Union Citizen (MEU3) for employees that are European Union citizens.

 

  1. Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects

(a) Contract of sale.
(b) Title Deeds or Proof of Registration of the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department. (c) Proofs of payment of the agreed purchase price.
(d) Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company.
(e) An evaluation certificate from an independent registered land surveyor, if required by the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Finance.
(f) Investment Plan for the development of the purchased land, if the investment involves the purchase of land under development.
(g) Town-planning permit, provided that it is required by the Town and Country Planning Law.
(h) Declaration by the mortgage lender in the benefit of whom the purchased property or properties is mortgaged that will waive the mortgage, provided that the investor or the seller will pay the lender the amount conscribed in the declaration (bank waiver).
(i) Project completion certificate signed by the architect of the project. If the purchased property is under construction it is required either to maintain an amount equal to the 5% of the purchase value in a special account or for the seller to issue in the benefit of the purchaser a performance bank guarantee equal to the 5% of the purchase value.

  1. Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses

(a) Investment Agreement in Cypriot company or companies.
(b) Proof of payment of the agreed amount.
(c) Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies.
(d) Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization.
(e) Specific investment plan.

(f) Copies of the employment contracts of the Cypriot or European Union citizens employed by the company in which the applicant has invested.
(g) Confirmation from the Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot or European Union citizens employed in the company.
(h) Registration Certificate (MEU1) or Permanent Registration Certificate of Union Citizen (MEU3) for employees that are European Union citizens.

  1. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Registered Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission:

(a) Title/Titles and other relevant documents of the financial assets / units purchased.
(b) Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization.
(c) Specific investment plan.
(d) Confirmation by the CySec

 

 

Title Deeds – Actual ownership

Potential investors are advised to exercise extreme caution when buying property, especially if the title deed is not readily available, a scenario which is all too common when purchasing new property in Cyprus. For your own protection, property to be purchased must not be the subject of an ownership dispute. Such scenarios can generally be avoided by purchasing property from a reputable developer and doing background checks with the Land registry Dept.

Hidden Fees – Failure to consider all relevant costs

Potential investors are advised to exercise extreme caution when buying property, especially if the title deed is not readily available, a scenario which is all too common when purchasing new property in Cyprus. For your own protection, property to be purchased must not be the subject of an ownership dispute. Such scenarios can generally be avoided by purchasing property from a reputable developer and doing background checks with the Land registry Dept.

Failure to put everything in writing and submit to the Land Registry

Investors are recommended to ensure that all points negotiated are set out in the contract of sale. This includes an inventory of any necessary repairs or damages. Also, the contract of sale must be deposited with the Land Registry within the timeframe specified by law. The purchaser will lose important legal rights if this is not done. Further, a contract of sale must be stamped within the timeframe specified by law, otherwise the purchaser will be liable to pay penalties.

Transparency and Trust

Beware developers and the hard sell – don’t succumb to heavy pressure to sign up with a deposit before you’ve had a chance to think carefully and get independent advice! Also, you can’t take for granted that every real estate agent you encounter in Cyprus is a licensed, trained professional. Make sure you work only with agents who have a genuine business or are employed by a business. A good rule of thumb is that if the agent doesn’t have an office, a website or a car to drive you around in, he’s not a professional and has no liability. This advice might seem obvious. But in some places around the world, when the sun is shining and the zivania is flowing, it can be easy to forget the fundamentals.

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