The Government of Cyprus has put together a citizenship-by-investment programme granting Cypriot citizenship to those that invest a minimum of EUR 2 million in real estate, in order to attract foreign direct investment into the country. Successful applicants gain the right to live, work and study in all 28 EU member countries.
In September 2016, the Government of Cyprus announced some changes to its programme. The changes include the reduction of the minimum investment amount to EUR 2 million (from EUR 2,5 million) and the possibility to include the parents of the main applicant provided that an additional EUR 500,000 + VAT will be invested in the purchase of a private residence in Cyprus.
Any non-Cypriot citizen may apply for Cypriot citizenship through Naturalization by Exception if they meet one of the investment criteria presented below:
1. INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE, DEVELOPMENTS & INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
The Cypriot government require the applicant to invest at least EUR 2 million for the purchase or construction of real estate.
2. PURCHASE, ESTABLISHMENT, OR PARTICIPATION IN CYPRIOT BUSINESSES AND COMPANIES
An applicant is required to make an investment of at least EUR 2 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies based and operating in the Cyprus. These businesses or companies should be able to demonstrate their presence within Cyprus and employ a minimum of five Cypriot citizens.
3. INVESTMENT IN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS OR FINANCIAL ASSETS OF CYPRIOT ENTERPRISES OR CYPRIOT ORGANISATIONS LICENSED BY THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
The applicant is required to purchase units that total at least EUR 2 million from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF). The applicant may also purchase financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations for at least EUR 2 million, in the form of bonds, securities and debt securities.
4. COMBINATION OF THE ABOVE INVESTMENTS
The applicant can invest in a combination of the above investment options in order to qualify, however, the total investment must amount to at least EUR 2 million. The applicant’s investment combination may also include the purchase of special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of up to EUR 500,000.
One of the other important requirements that applicants must be aware of, is that regardless of which investment option the applicant chooses, the applicant must also purchase and life-time possession of a property in Cyprus. This property must be declared as the applicant’s residence in Cyprus. The cost of this property should be at least EUR 500,000. If the applicant decides to choose the real estate option, then this property can be included in the EUR 2 million investment.