Citizenship criteria amended for foreign investors

The Cyprus Cabinet has moved to amend five provisions for granting citizenship to foreign investors in light of a recent European Commission report.

Finance Minister, Harris Georgiades, stated that the new amendments to the provisions would encourage investment for the benefit of the Cyprus economy.

Some of the most important amendments are:

  • Provisions for large joint investments of €12.5 million with a minimum of €2.5 million per investor have been scrapped. Passports will now not be issued to groups of investors but will rely on individual investors of €2 million and the purchase of a residence valued at least €500,000.
  • The provision for bank deposits of €5 million has been scrapped while the purchase of government bonds has been added as a supplementary criterion. The aim of this particular amendment is to fuel the economy with circulating currency rather than state lending.
  • In order to be issued a passport, investors must now be in possession of a residence permit, while a provision has been included whereby an investor’s parents can be eligible for citizenship with the purchase of an additional residence valued at €500,000.
  • Investments in Cyprus must be for a minimum of three years, and real estate ownership must be indefinite.

The economic criteria for the investment of €2 million include the purchase and development of real estate, development projects including housing units in the tourist sector or other infrastructure projects.

Investments must be on land which can be developed and must be accompanied by a development plan. Land which does not fall in the specific zones will be excluded from the provisions.

Investments can be made in companies which are based and operate in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot nationals.

Provisions also allow for the investment Alternative Investment Organisations based and invest exclusively in Cyprus, or a combination of the above, provided that the total amount invested is at least €2 million, while the investor is able to purchase government bonds valued up to €500,000.

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