Cyprus eases naturalisation rules to attract talent

The Cypriot Parliament has voted for the creation of an essentially new “fast-track” naturalisation scheme with the aim to attract foreign talent to Cyprus.

The scheme is targeted at highly skilled third country nationals who have a real connection to and intent to permanently reside in the Republic of Cyprus.

Qualified applicants can become Cypriot citizens via naturalisation after only 3 or 4 years of legal and continuous residency in Cyprus rather than the previously required 7 years.  Whether the required period of legal and continuous residency is 3 or 4 years is dependent on the applicant’s Greek language proficiency level, as explained below.

Applicants must cumulatively meet the following requirements:

  1. reside in Cyprus legally and continuously for the last 12 months immediately preceding the date of the naturalisation application. It is clarified that periods abroad not exceeding 90 days will not constitute an interruption of the said period;
  2. be employed in specialised and high skilled sectors and companies (which will be determined by a decision of the Council of Ministers from time to time);
  3. have sufficient knowledge of the Greek language, evidenced through exams which will be conducted on a regular basis. Individuals who obtain the qualification of knowledge of the Greek language at the A2 level will qualify for naturalisation after 4 years, while those with the B1 level will qualify for Cypriot citizenship in 3 years;
  4. be of good character, which includes, without limitation, having a clean criminal record and no arrest warrants issued against them, not being sanctioned, not posing a threat to the public order and safety of the Republic of Cyprus, and not having entered or departed through the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus;
  5. provide proof of suitable accommodation and stable income which is sufficient to maintain them and their dependants;
  6. demonstrate satisfactory knowledge of basic aspects of the current political and social affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, as so determined by a three-member committee which shall conduct the relevant examination; and
  7. have the intention, in case they are granted with the naturalisation certificate, to reside in the Republic of Cyprus.

Applications from such applicants will be expedited and are expected to be processed in just 8 months. The applicants’ family members will also be entitled to apply for naturalisation provided that certain conditions are met.