As of September 2016, Cyprus has proceeded with amending the criteria for its Citizenship by Investment Scheme. Under the amended legislation, the criteria set forth make the obtaining of the Cyprus Citizenship even easier. Compared to the previous scheme, thresholds are considerably lower (reduced to €2.5million from €5million), in addition to a more inclusive set of criteria. Investors do not need to reside in Cyprus and they do not become tax residents (unless they spend over 183 days in Cyprus). The new scheme shall be force from November 1st, 2016 and onwards.
The key changes include:
- The investment amount has been reduced from €2.5 million to €2 million plus VAT, provided the investment is a residential immovable property or a number of residential immovable properties (one of which is at least €500,000 plus VAT). For all other investments the amount is €2 million plus a residential property of at least €500,000 plus VAT (where VAT is applicable).
- The “collective investment application” has now been abolished, and it is now possible to proceed individually on the basis of the thresholds mentioned above. The previous requirement for collective investment applications of at least €12.5 million led to delays until a group of 5 or more applicants (which had invested at least €2.5 million each) were grouped together in order for a collective investment application to be submitted.
- The applicant’s parents are now entitled to apply for citizenship through the same application, provided the parents have also purchased a permanent residence in Cyprus of at least €500,000 plus VAT.
- The investments attached to the application must remain for a minimum of three years, noting however that in order for the Cyprus citizenship to remain valid the permanent residence of at least €500,000 plus VAT must be held indefinitely.
- The maximum investment in Cyprus government bonds is now €500,000.
- Effective as of the 31 October 2016, the provision of fixed bank deposits for three years is abolished from the citizenship by investment scheme. In the event an applicant wishes to proceed with an application for citizenship by investment using a fixed bank deposit, he/she may do so until 31 October 2016.
Lastly, it should be noted that the application is reviewed and approval is granted to successful applications within 90 days from submission of a complete application, together with all supporting documents.