IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of 1 November 2020, Cyprus cancelled its popular citizenship by investment program. This means that investors will no longer be able to acquire Cypriot citizenship and a passport by investment directly. However, the Cyprus Golden Visa provides an alternative path to permanent residency through investment. Those still looking for European citizenship can apply to the Malta citizenship program, which offers a direct investment route to a Maltese passport.
Citizenship by investment programs are investor migration schemes geared towards foreign investors and business professionals across the globe. They provide citizenship rights in their respective country in exchange for a qualifying investment in its economy, usually in real estate or government bonds. The Cyprus citizenship by investment is one such program that allows foreign investors of high-net-worth to acquire citizenship in Europe in as little as six to eight months, making it one of the easiest countries to get citizenship.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about:
- A Brief into the Golden Visa Program
- Benefits of the Golden Visa Scheme
- Eligibility Requirements
- Cyprus Investment Program Requirements
- Routes to Cypriot Citizenship by Investment
- Golden Visa Processing Fees
- Tax Treatment for New Cypriot Citizens
- Application Process of the Cyprus CBI Program
- Step-by-Step Guide to Cypriot Citizenship
- Required Documents for the Golden Visa Scheme
Officially known as the Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception, the Cyprus Golden Visa program was first proposed in 2013 before it was officially implemented in 2016. Since then, over 3,000 successful investors became Cypriot citizens via the program.
The Republic’s Golden Visa scheme sought to bring large-scale investment to boost the nation’s economy, and has been incredibly successful in that respect. With global interest continuously on the rise, the Cypriot government developed a more rigorous vetting process, ensuring that only investors of solid moral standing can obtain citizenship through the Golden Visa scheme.
Cyprus provides foreign investors with a unique combination of benefits and incentives that make its Golden Visa scheme one of the best investment programs to consider. The Republic is strategically located to conduct international business, and offers a high standard of living, low cost of life, leading education institutions, incredible healthcare systems, and a plethora of tax benefits and initiatives, which makes it all the more attractive for business investors across the world.
There are plenty of benefits to be reaped by those who choose to invest in Cyprus via the Cypriot Golden Visa scheme. First of all, Cyprus is a full member of the EU and is also currently in the process of becoming part of the Schengen Area. It has only been unable to join so far due to its territorial division following the events of 1974. However, the Greek area of Cyprus has used the Euro as its official currency since January 2008. Secondly, it has a booming tourism sector which means an investment in property will only yield high returns.
The Cypriot passport entitles its bearers to EU citizenship and visa-free travel to 168 countries worldwide. It also grants them freedom of movement throughout the EU and the right to live, work, and study there as well. This means that Golden Visa holders will have access to all the benefits Europe has to offer, including world-class healthcare and education.
Your application to the citizenship program can be approved in just six to eight months, making it one of the fastest citizenship by investment programs. The investment program allows you to include your entire immediate family in your application. This means that any dependent will be included with you on a single application – from your spouse to children up to the age of 28 (excluding parents and/or on laws).
The Cypriot Golden Visa scheme has no residency requirements, meaning that investors are not obliged to live in Cyprus prior to, during, or after submitting their application. They just have to maintain their residence permit. There are also no tests or language requirements for individuals to be successful in their applications to the investment program.
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.
In order for applicants to be considered for the program, they will have to prove that they are qualifying individuals with high moral standing. Applicants can demonstrate proof of their moral standing by presenting the relevant authorities in Cyprus with documents pertaining to their character, stating that they have:
- A clean criminal record
- Not previously been denied citizenship to another EU country
- Not been subject to any criminal investigation
- Not been facing criminal prosecution
- Not been associated with companies or legal entities restricted in the EU
- Not been on the wanted lists of EUROPOL or INTERPOL
- Not be considered a “politically exposed person”
The Cyprus citizenship program bars applications who are considered “politically exposed persons”, specifically those who have held office in the past 5 years, including their relatives and spouses. This means members of parliament, heads of state, government ministers, members of governing bodies of political parties, members of courts of judicial bodies, ambassadors, high-ranking officers of the armed forces, high-ranking functionaries of state-owned enterprises, and mayors are ineligible for the scheme.
In order for individuals to be successful in their application to the investment program, they will have to meet the following qualifying criteria:
Invest in real estatePurchase real estate property with a minimum value of €2,000,000 – excluding VAT. Either as a single property or a collection of properties which amount to the minimum investment sum in realty.
Place a government donationPlace a donation worth at least €100,000 to the Cypriot Government Research and Development Fund, and €100,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.
Hold a clean criminal recordCyprus is vigilant in performing extensive background checks on those who apply for the citizenship by investment program. Thorough checks are done to ensure that investors have legally amassed their wealth, and are also of high moral standing.
Commitment to the investmentTransfer the investment sum from their bank abroad, and show proof that the funds come from a reputable, legal source.
Submit all relevant documentsComplete and submit the necessary documents for their application – including proof of legal funds, police records, property purchase documents, etc.
Submit Biometric DataThe main applicant and any additional dependents must all submit their biometric data to the relevant Cypriot government authorities in order to complete their application for Cypriot citizenship.
New revisions came into play, effective from 3 May 2023, including:
Parents and/or in-laws of the applicant are no longer eligible.
Required annual income (generated abroad) of €50,000 per applicant and a further 15,000 for the applicants’ spouse, and a further 10,000 for each of the applicants’ dependents (previously this was €30,000 per applicant).
Introduction of mechanism introducing stricter compliance requirements, namely that the applicant must, on an annual basis, submit to the Civil Registry and Migration Department such evidence proving that (i) the investment is maintained, (ii) that he/she maintains the same required income that is defined for him/her and his/her dependents, (iii) that he/she still retains an active insurance policy for him/her and his/her dependents and (iv) the applicant must submit a clean criminal record certificate from himself/herself and dependents from their country of origin and from the Republic of Cyprus.
In order to qualify for citizenship by investment in Cyprus, investors must declare residency for at least 6 months in the country prior to their application. This can be in the form of a residence permit, with no actual need for them to be physically present, as there are no obligations to live in Cyprus prior to submitting the citizenship application. If investors are able to meet the scheme’s criteria, they will become a Cypriot citizen within six to eight months. This makes the Cypriot Golden Visa program one of the fastest citizenship by investment programs out there.
To apply for the Golden Visa in Cyprus, investors must place a minimum of €2,000,000 in real estate property including a private residence. They must also maintain their investment for at least five years, after which they can sell their assets, on the condition they keep a property for personal residence at the value of at least €500,000.
Additionally, applicants must place two obligatory donations to Cypriot government funds, one worth at least €100,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation, and another worth at least €100,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation – or alternatively invest in a government-approved innovative enterprise. This raises the total sum to €2,200,000.
Setting aside the government donations, applicants must invest at least €2 million in the Republic, of which a minimum of €500,000 must be invested in residential real estate in the form of a permanent residence for the main applicant. This residence must be kept for as long as the applicant holds their Cyprus citizenship.
- Residential real estate investments must total €2 million – including a €500,000 purchase of personal residence; OR commercial investments must total €2 million – not including €500,000 purchase of personal residence.
- At least €2 million has to be invested in a business or company based in Cyprus, generating employment for at least 5 people.
- At least €2 million in financial assets of Cypriot business or investment bonds – not including the purchase of €500,000 personal residence.
- A combination of investments must come to the total of €2 million – not including the purchase of €500,000 personal residence.
Processing fees charged by the government are not included in the minimum investment sum for any of the investment routes.
- Program Application Fee: €2,000 per adult applicant – €80 per child under 18
- Certificate Issuance Fee: €5,000 per adult applicant – none for children under 18
- Cypriot Passport Issuance Fee: €120 per person
- ID Card Issuance Fee: €30 per person
- Lawyer’s Fees: Lawyer’s fees apply for the processing of the citizenship application and the purchase of the property. This typically amounts to around €30,000 – €40,000 per family.
Tax in Cyprus is not charged based on citizenship but by residency, and individuals are considered a tax resident in the country only when they spend more than 183 days per year in the Republic. Golden Visa applicants are required to keep a residence in Cyprus, but are not required to be physically present. This means non-domiciled citizens are not liable to taxation on international income earned outside of the Republic, and can benefit from incentives under the Cyprus tax for non-residents.
Moreover, residents and citizens of Cyprus can benefit from:
- One of the lowest income tax rates in the European union
- One of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe
- No tax on interest, dividends, or royalties earned outside of Cyprus
- No tax on personal income earned outside of Cyprus
- No inheritance tax under certain conditions
Cypriot citizenship can be obtained in 6-8 months, and is one of the fastest routes to citizenship in Europe.
- Month 1: Register for residency, make investments, and submit application
- Month 6: Receive confirmation of acceptance of application
- Months 6-8: Cypriot passport is issued
Step-by-Step Guide to Cypriot Citizenship
1. Register for Residency
2. Choose Your Investment Route
3. Prepare Supporting Documents
4. Submit Your Application
5. Await Formal Acceptance
6. Cyprus Passport Issuance
Required Documents for the Golden Visa Scheme
You will require the following documents in order to complete your application for the Golden Visa scheme, including official and certified translations:
- Passport from country of origin
- CV for main applicant, plus any adult dependents
- Birth certificate
- Criminal record certificate
- Marriage certificate
- 3 passport photographs
- Documents proving evidence of required investments
How Can Global Citizen Solutions Help Me?
Investors can encounter many difficulties when applying for citizenship or residency, which is why it is beneficial to have an expert provide you with personalized assistance throughout the process.
This can help you by:
- Minimizing the visits you have to make to the designated country
- Having someone who works solely on your behalf
- Reducing hassle
- Getting insider knowledge from someone with years of experience of the market
We are a boutique consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship-by-investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we help clients from around the world acquire Golden Visas and second homes while diversifying their portfolio with robust investments.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cyprus Citizenship by Investment
How can I get Cyprus citizenship?
It is possible to obtain citizenship in Cyprus by making a minimum investment in the nation’s economy worth at least €2,200,000. Should you succeed in your application, you will be granted citizenship in as little as six to eight months.
Is there a language requirement?
There is no language requirement for the Golden Visa program in Cyprus.
Can I bring my family with me?
Yes, you can include your family members in your application. Meaning your spouse and children up to the age of 28. Under the new revisions, effective from 3 May 2023, parents and/or in-laws of the applicant are no longer eligible.
Is Cyprus a member of the European Union?
Yes, Cyprus is a member of the European Union.
How much does Cyprus citizenship by investment cost?
The program costs a minimum investment of €2,200,000.
Can I pass Cypriot citizenship on to my children and grandchildren?
Yes, children of Cyprus citizens are automatically eligible for citizenship, which means you can pass on European citizenship and the Cypriot passport to your children and grandchildren.
Can my Cyprus passport be revoked?
Yes, your Cypriot citizenship and Cyprus passport can be revoked if you do not fulfill the requirements of the Golden Visa program, such as if you sell your required investments before the holding period of 5 years, or if you sell your permanent residence in Cyprus.
You can also have your Cypriot citizenship revoked if you are revealed to be involved in criminal activity.
Can I buy Cyprus citizenship?
You can qualify for citizenship by route of investment under the Golden Visa program.
Can I use Bitcoin for Cyprus citizenship by investment?
Bitcoin is not an accepted form of payment for the Golden Visa program in Cyprus.
Is Cyprus citizenship by investment the best in Europe?
If you are looking to obtain citizenship in Europe fast, then Cyprus is the best place to invest as you can yield a high return on your investment, and acquire citizenship in just six to eight months.
Does Cyprus allow dual citizenship?
Yes, Cyprus allows dual citizenship, which means that you can keep your citizenship from your country of origin if you want to.
Can I make multiple investments for Cyprus citizenship?
Yes, you can choose multiple investment options and still be eligible for the program, as long as they add up to the required amount.
Do I need to have a permanent residence as long as I have Cyprus citizenship?
Yes, you must maintain a permanent residence with a minimum value of €500,000 in order to keep your Cypriot citizenship.
Can I rent out my Cyprus residence?
Yes, you can rent out the real estate you own in Cyprus.
Is Cyprus part of the Schengen Area?
Cyprus is not a part of the Schengen Area. There are currently plans to join, however, the division between Turkish Cyprus and Greek Cyprus remains an obstacle.
How long does it take to get Cyprus citizenship by investment?
Usually, successful applicants obtain their citizenship status in as little as six to eight months.
How can I get citizenship in Cyprus?
You can apply to the Golden Visa program in Cyprus, make a contribution of investments in the country, and abide by the program’s requirements to qualify for citizenship.