Amendments to the Cyprus Investment Programme for obtaining Cypriot citizenship
The Cyprus Council of Ministers (on 13/02/2019) approved a proposal submitted by the Ministries of Finance and Interior in relation to the amendment of the investment criteria of the Cyprus Investment Programme for obtaining Cypriot citizenship via exception. The amendments came into effect on 26/02/2019, with the exception of certain provisions which will be put into effect from 15/05/2019 and onwards.
The main changes on the criteria are the following:
– A mandatory donation of at least €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation (put into effect for applications which are submitted from 15/05/2019 and onwards). This obligation can be waived under certain conditions, such as where the investment is made 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. It can also be waived if the applicant has made an investment under the criterion A.3 (purchase/establishment/participation in Cypriot companies/businesses) of a total amount equal to the 20% of the required investment amount (i.e. €400.000) in a company whose operations fall within the primary sector of the economy, or the secondary sector of the economy (excluding construction), or in the sector of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
– A mandatory donation of at least €75.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation, for the financing of housing schemes for affordable housing (put into effect for applications which are submitted from 15/05/2019 and onwards).
– The inclusion of the option of investment in the shipping sector in the eligible investments on the basis of specific measurable criteria, which will be determined jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Deputy Ministry of Shipping.
– The inclusion of the option of investment in Registered Alternative Investment Funds established in the Republic of Cyprus in the eligible investments, as well as the possibility for these organizations to invest up to €200.000 in Cyprus Stock Exchange’s secondary market.
– In cases of investment in residential property alone, for residential property that has already been used for citizenship purposes, the total amount of investment increases from at least €2.000.000 to at least €2.5000.000 (put into effect for applications which are submitted from 15/05/2019 and onwards).
– Obligation to maintain the required investments for a period of at least 5 years from the date of naturalization, instead of 3 years (put into effect for applications which are submitted from 15/05/2019 and onwards). Investors are permitted to change their investments during the 5-year period, provided that prior consent from the Ministry of Finance is obtained for the change.
– Complete abolition of investment in government bonds as an acceptable investment.
– Where the investment relates to the purchase of property, as well as in the case of purchase of permanent residency, a town-planning permit(if required), a bank waiver, a completion certificate and a performance bank guarantee by the seller (if the property is under construction) will be required (put into effect for applications which are submitted from 15/05/2019 and onwards).
– The applicant must have a Schengen visa in force in order to be able to apply for naturalization (put into effect for applications which are submitted from 15/05/2019 and onwards). Third-country nationals that do not require an entry visa for travelling in European Union MemberStates, as well as citizens of European Union Member States are excluded from this obligation.
– An applicant who has applied for the acquisition of citizenship in any other Member State of the European Union and has been rejected will not be eligible to acquire Cypriot citizenship within the framework of the Cyprus investment programme.
– The applicant should be in possession of a residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus for at least 6 months prior to naturalization as a Cypriot citizen.
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