Cyprus is one of the best countries in the world to settle in and is one of the most sought-after destinations in Europe.

Cyprus is a wonderful country to live in as an expat – there’s a reason it’s so popular, particularly for those looking to live in the EU and gain access to the Schengen area, one of the most fluid visa blocks in the world. Not only that, but living in Cyprus means you’ll be living in on an island of stunning coastlines, friendly, lively towns and cities, and a mild climate, with an average yearly temperature of 30 degrees celsius. It is also plenty affordable and has a comfortable way of life.

Eligibility Criteria

There are two well established avenues that make it possible to obtain Cypriot citizenship. The first is by descent, if you are of Cypriot origin and either one or both your parents are Cypriot citizens, and the second is as a spouse of a Cypriot citizen. For those looking to acquire full Cypriot citizenship, and has connections to the country, they will be pleased to know that Cyprus uses the “jus sanguinis” principle. This means that Cypriot citizenship is handed down by “right of blood”, or from your direct line of descendants.

Citizenship-by-descent is also known by the Latin principle “jus sanguinis”, which means “right-of-blood”. It means that a person is entitled to citizenship to a nationality if they have blood ties I.e. some form of ancestry to that nationality. It is usually entitled to those in the direct line of descent, so given to you through your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents etc.

There are a few avenues to go down when looking to see if you are eligible for Cypriot citizenship-by-descent.

The first is that a person with at least one parent who is a Cypriot citizen automatically receives citizenship at birth, regardless of birthplace. This means if you are born abroad to a Cypriot citizen, then you would have received Cypriot citizenship. The exception to this is that neither parent must be considered an illegal migrant – in that case, the outcome is decided by Cyprus’ Council of Ministers.

Cyprus citizenship by descent can be obtained in one of six ways. It simply depends on the age, citizenship and parentage of the applicant. The cost, application form and required documents all depend on which of the six ways you are doing down.

On 16 August 1960, Cyprus gained independence from the UK, and this changed the requirements and application process for those gaining citizenship-by-descent.

Here are the six avenues, including the required form and cost of application:

  1. Applicants of male descent, born before 16 August 1960, and citizens of the UK or its former colonies use form M71 and pay €20.
  2. Applicants of male descent, born before 16 August 1960, who are not citizens of the UK or its former colonies use form M72 and pay €20.
  3. Applicants born abroad use form M121 and pay €20. Those whose mother or father was a Cypriot citizen at the time of birth can be issued a ‘consular birth certificate’, which is a registration of a birth abroad. Parents can apply on behalf of a minor.
  4. Applicants born on or after 16 August 1960 use form M123 and pay €50. They can be any of nationality with Cypriot origin.
  5. Applicants of Cypriot origin born before 16 August 1960 use form M124 and pay €80. Applicants must be UK or Commonwealth citizens, have a parent of Cypriot origin, and be living in Cyprus for 12 months before applying.
  6. Minor applicants registering as Cypriot citizens based on parents who have gotten Cypriot citizenship-by-descent or naturalization use form M126 and pay €80.

Cypriot nationality law is primarily outlined in the “Citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus Law” (Cap. 141), which establishes the criteria and procedures for acquiring Cypriot citizenship.

  • Citizenship by Birth: Individuals born in Cyprus to Cypriot citizen parents are generally automatically considered Cypriot citizens.
  • Citizenship by Descent: Individuals born outside Cyprus may be eligible for Cypriot citizenship if they have at least one Cypriot citizen parent at the time of their birth.
  • Citizenship by Naturalization: Foreign nationals who have accumulated more than 7 years living in Cyprus can apply for Cypriot citizenship through naturalization. Eligibility criteria also include proof of good character and language proficiency.
  • Citizenship by Marriage: Foreign spouses of Cypriot citizens may be eligible for citizenship through a simplified naturalization process, if they have legal proof such as a marriage certificate.
  • Dual Citizenship: Cyprus generally allows dual citizenship, but applicants should be aware of any restrictions or regulations in their country of origin regarding dual nationality.

The law may include special provisions for individuals of Cypriot origin, refugees, or other specific circumstances, providing alternative routes to citizenship.

The Ministry of Interior in Cyprus is typically responsible for administrating citizenship matters.

It’s crucial to note that laws can be amended, and new regulations may be introduced. Therefore, individuals considering applying for Cypriot citizenship should consult the latest legal sources, including the official government website or seek professional legal advice to ensure accurate and up-to-date information.

Application Process

Now that you have looked into whether you are eligible to apply for Cypriot citizenship, it is time to collate the documents. You will need to gather personal documents.

You’ll need documents relating to yourself, and depending on the avenue you are going down, you may also need documents relating to your parents or other relations. We advise making double copies of all of these documents, lest you need them.

Required documents for citizenship-by-descent application:

  • Birth certificate of the applicant
  • Marriage certificate of applicant’s parents
  • Passport copy of the applicant and parents
  • Certificate of Cypriot citizenship of the Cypriot parent (where applicable)
  • Declaration of the foreign parent signed before an officer of the District Administration Office or the diplomatic authority consenting to the granting of Cypriot citizenship to a minor child
  • Two photos
  • Seven years of proof of residency in Cyprus (if applying for naturalization)

Where to take the documents?

Now that you have your documents in order, you will need to make an appointment with the Civil Registry and Migration Department, which you can do so at this link.

If you are not living in Cyprus at the time of your application, then you must visit the Cyprus Embassy in your country and follow their information on how to submit your application.

Processing time

Citizenship applications can be lengthly processes, so don’t expect a quick turnaround. Be sure to stay patient and understanding throughout the process, as the system can come into backlogs.

If you are not a current resident, then you will not be able to gain residence in Cyprus until after your application has been approved. Applying for citizenship alone does not give a right to reside in Cyprus.

Translation and notarization of documents

It’s also possible that you’ll need your documents officially notarized, either by a notary or by a professional granted license of notarizing documents.

Rights and Privileges of Cypriot Citizens

Once your citizenship application has been approved, then you are free to apply for a passport and ID card from the Cypriot Ministry. You then have full access to the stunning country of Cyprus as a citizen, and you also have European citizenship.

The Republic has a high expat community and its population of 1.2 million is well proficient in the English language. Cyprus is consistently ranked as one of Europe’s safest countries, and one of the most tax efficient to live in, as it does not impose tax on non-domiciled residents, and has no inheritance tax, or tax on dividends. You’ll have a right to own property in Cyprus without restrictions.

Cypriot passport holders are entitled to European Union citizenship and visa-free travel to 168 countries worldwide. It also grants them freedom of movement throughout the European Union and the right to live, work, and study there as well. Cypriot citizens are entitled to access social services, including healthcare, education, and other public services provided by the government. You have a right to vote in national, local and EU elections.

Citizenship fosters a sense of belonging and connection to the cultural heritage of Cyprus. Citizens can actively participate in and contribute to the cultural life of the country. Cypriot citizens have access to education in Cyprus, including public schools and universities, with the option to benefit from any educational support or financial assistance programs offered by the government.

Family Applications

In many cases, citizenship applications often allow for the inclusion of certain family members in the process.

Dependent Children: Many citizenship programs permit the inclusion of dependent children in the application. If you are applying for Cypriot citizenship by descent, your children may be eligible for inclusion, provided they meet the relevant criteria. The eligibility of family members may be influenced by their age and dependency.

Spouses: Cyprus allows for your spouse to be included in your application, provided they meet the specific criteria. For more information, see the official Cypriot government recommendations here.

Challenges and Considerations

Dealing with bureaucracy in Cyprus, like in many countries, can sometimes be a complex and time-consuming process. There are some steps you can take to be more prepared.

Double check: Before you start any bureaucratic process, double check that all your necessary documents and application forms are in order.

Keep copies and records: Make a record of each interaction with government offices and make photocopies of all the documents you need.

Follow up: Keep track of what stage you are at and make a note of relevant dates so that you can notice when key times pass by.

Be patient: Anticipate delays just so you are not surprised by a long wait, as bureaucratic processes can take longer than you might expect.

Dual Citizenship Considerations

Cyprus does allow for dual citizenship. Therefore, anyone obtaining dual citizenship does not need to renounce their existing citizenship when they are becoming a Cypriot citizen.  The inverse is true for existing French citizens taking on a second citizenship. It’s also possible to take on a third citizenship, if that is available to you. However, it also depends on the rule of citizenship that you currently hold.

Implications of dual citizenship

If you want to take on Cypriot citizenship, you must check whether your current citizenship allows for dual citizenship and if in doing so means that you must renounce your current citizenship, you must be aware of the process and implications that come about from this choice.

However, this depends on the rules of the country whose citizenship you currently hold. It’s possible that you may lose rights and privileges associated with your citizenship, lose travel and residency rights, it could affect your inheritance rights and impact your right to vote, among other implications.

Citizens of the United States are permitted to hold dual citizenship. On the other hand, Austrian citizens are not permitted to hold dual citizenship, in most circumstances.

Further assistance

Full information on the application requirements, processes and contact details can be found at the Cyprus Governments’ Civil Registry and Migration Department. Click here to visit their website. Don’t forget to keep an eye on any foreign affairs news relating to Cyprus, and stay informed of changes to the citizenship program.

How Global Citizen Solutions Can Help

Expats and foreign investors can encounter many difficulties when applying for second citizenship and citizenship-by-descent, which is why it is worthwhile to have an expert on hand to provide personalized Italian citizenship assistance throughout the application process.

Here’s how our specialists can help with the jus sanguinis citizenship application:

  • Minimize the visits you have to make to the designated country
  • Have someone who works on your behalf
  • Reduce the hassle associated with putting your application together
  • Acquire insider knowledge from someone with years of experience in the market

Let’s get you moving forward in your quest to obtain Cypriot citizenship and an Italian passport. Get in touch with us to book a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cyprus citizenship-by-descent

What is citizenship by descent?

Citizenship-by-descent is also known by the Latin principle “jus sanguinis”, which means “right-of-blood”. It means that a person is entitled to citizenship to a nationality if they have blood ties.

What does jure sanguinis mean?

“Jure sanguinis” or “jus sanguinis” are Latin phrases meaning “right of blood.” It is a principle meaning that citizenship can be dermined through your parents, or ancestors, citizenship, i.e., being born to Cypriot citizens. It also means that children under the age of 18 are automatically given French citizenshup if one of the parents is a Cypriot citizen.

Does Cyprus have a citizenship-by-investment program?

Cyprus did start a citizenship-by-investment scheme in 2013 to attract foreign investment in the country’s real estate, capital transfer and business. However the Cyprus Golden Visa Scheme program was suspected in 2020. For more information, see our guide on Cyprus Citizenship by Investment.

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