IMPORTANT UPDATE: It’s official, Cyprus has closed its popular citizenship by investment program on 1 November 2020. What this means is, investors will no longer be able to acquire a Cypriot passport by investment.
Looking to secure European citizenship? Malta offers a direct investment route to a Maltese passport. Click here for more info.
Is the Cyprus passport considered powerful? Who has the right to own one and how to acquire one? In this guide to the Cyprus passport, we walk you through everything you need to know to successfully acquire a Cyprus passport.
Cyprus passport is a bridge to Europe
As full members of the European Union (EU), citizens of Cyprus are also citizens of the EU. This means that they can travel and reside freely in any of the member states of the EU. People often ask how long full Cypriot citizenship lasts under the Cypriot citizenship program, and you’ll be pleased to learn that you and your family can actually enjoy full citizenship for life. This privilege can be passed down to future generations who can become Cypriots by descent.
How to get the Cyprus passport?
There are a number of ways in which one can obtain the Cyprus passport, along with all the benefits that come with owning a Cypriot passport.
You can get the Cyprus passport in any of the following ways:
Cyprus citizenship by birth
If you were born in Cyprus and have one Cypriot parent, you automatically become a citizen of the country by birth. Also, individuals that are born abroad to at least one Cypriot parent can also become citizens of the country.
Cyprus citizenship by naturalization
A person can also become a Cypriot as a result of fulfilling certain requirements over a period of time. The following requirements are necessary when an individual is applying for citizenship by naturalization:
- The individual must be over 21 years old
- The individual must have lived in the country for a period of seven years (this has been reduced to five for individuals who have children of Cypriot descent).
- Individuals must have a legal and continuous residence in Cyrus for a year prior to the date of application.
- The individual must be of good character with no criminal record.
Cyprus citizenship by marriage
Individuals who are married to citizens of Cyprus may acquire citizenship after years of marriage that is backed up by living together for several years. Individuals who wish to become citizens by marriage have to be a legal resident of Cyprus first.
How to apply for a Cyprus passport?
If you are over 18 years old and have a clean criminal record, you are eligible for a Republic of Cyprus passport. For individuals who wish to apply, they have to go through a process. This process primarily requires individuals to submit passport issuance applications at the office of the consular or at the Cypriot embassy in person.
The process of submitting applications is done in-person now, to ensure the easy collection of the applicant’s biometric information such as fingerprints and photos by a consular officer.
Documentation required when applying for Cypriot citizenship:
- Completed application form (could be in Greek/Turkish/English);
- A valid passport;
- Proof of a clean criminal record;
- Proof that the applicant is not an owner of any frozen property under the jurisdiction of the EU;
- 2 passport photographs;
- C.V. (in English) signed by the applicant;
- Birth certificate which has to be signed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cyprus embassy;
- Marriage certificate stamped and certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Cyprus embassy.
Cyprus passport by investment
Acquiring Cyprus citizenship by investment is an easy alternative for non-European citizens who’d like to acquire an EU passport and diversify their assets abroad.
An individual can become a Cypriot citizen by investing in the country’s economy. Since March 2014, the council of ministers made the decision to allow non-Cypriots to become citizens of the country by meeting certain conditions. These conditions can either be met by the individual or by a company where such an individual is a shareholder and/or an executive director.
How to get Cyprus passport by investment?
The Cyprus investor program is designed to attract foreign individuals who can receive a Cyprus passport after making a specific investment, such as in bonds, real estate, etc.
How powerful is a Cyprus passport?
Passports are seen as a window of opportunity that can get you from point A to B from anywhere around the world. When it comes to passport ranking, the strength of a passport varies depending on the country.
The global passport power rank index is a way to rank countries based on their total visa-free score. What this simply means is that the ranking of a country is based on how powerful a country’s passport is. Certain passports are restricted while others afford holders a wide range of possibilities and options for travel.
The passport ranking lists countries based on their total visa-free score. It assigns points to countries in which passport holders can visit a country without a visa, with a visa on arrival as well as visit by means of electronic travel authorization. Singapore and South Korea jointly lead the pack with 163 points each, which means that citizens of these countries can visit 163 countries.
With 151 points, Cyprus holds the 13th position on the global passport index.
Benefits of owning a Cypriot Passport
There are a lot of benefits that come with having Cyprus citizenship and owning a Cyprus passport.
1. Travel benefits
As a citizen of Cyprus, individuals have the opportunity to travel within the 27 states that make up the European Union without a visa. This benefit has economic as well as bureaucratic benefits that individuals can enjoy. Citizens of countries under the EU also enjoy certain rights that make their travel experiences better. For example, if there is a delay with the airline, the airline has to provide meals, refreshment as well as accommodation to individuals with an EU passport.
If you’re interested in getting a second citizenship, you can also see what are the benefits of having a second passport.
2. Educational Benefits
Citizens of Cyprus that secure admission into public universities will go through their undergraduate years for free. Also, Cypriots have the right to study in another EU member state and enjoy the same conditions that apply to the citizens of such countries.
This common market allows the education system of European countries to have mutually recognized degrees and other kinds of certifications. Citizens of Cyprus and subsequently, the European Union are known to offer quality education with significantly low tuition fees for both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
3. Employment benefits
Due to the common market in the European Union, citizens of the EU enjoy extensive occupational rights in all 27 member states. This freedom affords citizens of Cyprus the opportunity to move freely and work in any member state without restrictions. Also, a citizen of a member country of the EU can work and reside in any member state with their family (even in cases where their partner isn’t a citizen of the EU).
4. Health benefits
The adoption of cross-border healthcare has given EU citizens extensive healthcare rights. The Republic of Cyprus provides healthcare on a socio-economic basis, meaning, there are certain cases where public hospitals in Cyprus offer free services to citizens.
Also, with the European health insurance card individuals can receive treatment under the same conditions and for similar costs in all EU member states.
5. Tax Benefits
Cyprus has one of the lowest rates in the world when it comes to corporate tax. This factor makes it more convenient for businesses to expand their activities.
For more information, check out our guide to Cyprus Tax for non-residents.
6. Retirement & pension benefits
Citizens of Cyprus are all insured under the country’s social security scheme and receive a pension through this scheme.
Is it worth it to get a Cyprus Passport?
Once an individual has gotten all the required information (either through research or by employing a legal service to handle the application) and acted accordingly then the likelihood of having a successful application is likely. After a consultation, the individual submits the citizenship application and all other documents to the Cypriot Ministry of Interior. The process should take a total of 3-4 months.
Given how relatively straightforward the process toward acquiring a Cyprus passport is, it is absolutely worth it to get a Cyprus passport. Along with ranking highly on the passport power index, a Cypriot passport offers enhanced freedom of opportunity, as well as the security of having a plan B in times of hardship.