Important changes in Cyprus Citizenship Scheme
Contributed by Fiducenter
20 September, 2016
The Council of Ministers approved on September 13 the revamped Passport Scheme for granting Cypriot citizenship to foreign entrepreneurs/ investors. The existing scheme, which first came in to effect in 2013 and was modified in 2014, has been very successful and, based on the latest announcement by the Ministry of Interior, has managed to attract investments totaling close to EUR3bn over the period it has been in to existence.
In statements to the press on September 14, Minister of Finance Harris Georgiades noted that the revision of the scheme aims to encourage real investments that would benefit the economy, Cyprus News Agency reports.
The government, is targeting, through the revised scheme, investors who will choose Cyprus as their basis of residence and economic activity and would make investments which will have a direct benefit on the economy.
The most important change, relates to the reduction of the required amount of investment from EUR5 million to EUR2 million. The requirement for purchase of private residence worth at least EUR500,000 plus VAT, if applicable, has remained unchanged.
At the same time, and following the reduction of the investment limit, the government decided for the abolishment of the provision allowing a group investment of up to five investors for a minimum of EUR2.5 million per investor.
An additional change relates to the removal of bank deposits as an investment option. Based on the revised scheme an interested person can now invest in the following areas:
- purchase and development of real estate;
- development projects including housing units in the tourist sector or other infrastructure projects;
- companies which are based and operate in Cyprus and employ at least five Cypriot nationals;
- Alternative Investment Organisations, which are based and invest exclusively in Cyprus;
- combination of the above, provided that the total amount invested is at least EUR2 million, while the investor is able to purchase government bonds valued up to EUR500,000.
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.
In order to be issued a passport, investors must now be in possession of a residence permit.
Furthermore, a provision has been included whereby an investors parents can be eligible for citizenship with the purchase of an additional residence valued at EUR500,000 plus VAT where applicable.
Finally, it is noted that all pending applications will be examined based on the provisions in effect so far, unless the applicants wish to withdraw their application and submit a new one based on the revised scheme. It is also noted that for the period up and including 31 October 2016 both schemes will be in effect, thus applicants can choose under which scheme they will be applying.
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