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Further Changes to the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

The Council of Ministers has approved recently a number of changes in regards to the popular “Cyprus Investment Programme” by which investors obtain the Cyprus citizenship.

The main changes of the plan are:

 

 –A mandatory donation of € 75,000 to the Foundation for Research and Innovation to promote the creation of an entrepreneur. An obligation that can be waived under certain conditions, i.e.  where the investor shall invest in an innovative business (which has acquired a relevant certificate by the ministry of finance) or in a certified social company. The mandatory donation is also waived where the applicant has made an investment under the criterion “Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses” amounting to at least 20% of the investment cost of the prerequisite amount (ie € 400,000 ) to a company operating in the primary sector of the economy or in the secondary sector of the economy, or in one of the fields of research and technology, education, health,

-A mandatory donation of € 75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation, aiming at the contribution to the integrated housing policy, specifically for the purpose of implementing affordable housing projects and the implementation of other housing plans / measures.

-The inclusion of investments in the shipping sector in the eligible investments, on the basis of specific measurable criteria.

-The inclusion of investment in Registered Alternative Investment Funds in the eligible investments, as well as the possibility for these Organizations to invest up to € 200,000 in Cyprus Stock Exchange’s secondary market.

-Obligation to maintain the required investments for a period of at least 5 years from the date of naturalization, instead of 3 years which was previously the case.

-A complete abolition of investment in government bonds as an acceptable investment within the Programme.

-Where the investment relates to the purchase of real estate or property as well as in the case of a permanent homeowner, a planning permission, a completion certificate and a bank waiver will be required.

-In the case of residential units already used for the purposes of the Investment programme and are now reused under the same Programme, the provision stipulating that if the applicant has made investments in a residential unit (s) on the basis of criterion "Investments in Real Estate, Development and Infrastructure Projects" is not required to purchase another permanent private dwelling in the Republic of Cyprus if at least one of these dwellings is worth at least € 500,000 will be valid provided that the 3 total investment, including privately owned, is at least € 2.5 million.

-The applicant must have a Schengen visa in order to be able to apply for naturalization.

-An applicant who has applied for the acquisition of citizenship in any other Member State of the European Union and has been rejected will not be entitled to acquire Cypriot citizenship within the framework of the Cyprus Investment Programme.

-The applicant should be in possession of a residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus for at least six (6) months prior to naturalization as a Cypriot citizen.

-An Annual Implementation Report that includes the number of naturalizations, nationality of the applicants and the sector in which the investments were made will be prepared for the sake of transparency and correct information.

-Reaffirmation of the ban on the advertising of the Investment Programmes in public places and on the Internet, with particular emphasis on the visibility of the Cypriot passport and the symbols of the Republic and the EU.