Cyprus is considered to be one of the most popular jurisdictions to obtain citizenship due to its EU member status, geographical location,  excellent infrastructure and high standards of living.  Citizens of the Republic of Cyprus enjoy unrestricted travel to the EU region. They can also travel visa free to more than 140 countries.


It is now possible, subject to certain conditions, for non-EU citizens to acquire Cypriot citizenship by Exception through direct investment in the Republic of Cyprus. The Council of Ministers has set out a list of criteria for acquiring citizenship by Exception. Those eligible may apply and thereafter the decision is left at the discretion of the Council of Ministers.  


Who may apply?

A non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the economic criteria set out in point 2 below, either personally of through a company/ies in which he participates as a shareholder. Also, a high-ranking senior manager of a company/ies that meets one of the economic criteria may apply, provided he receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic tax revenue of at least €100,000 for a three year period and provided this tax has already paid or prepaid.   


What are the criteria?


1.   Investment in Government bonds:

The applicant must have purchased state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million; or


2.  Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations:

The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations (bonds/ securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €5 million. Such financial assets can be purchased either at issuance, or subsequently from the market; or


3.   Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 5 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects); or


4.  Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

The applicant must have made an investment of at least € 5 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies, that are based and operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens. It is noted that the mandatory conversion of deposits into shares is included in this criterion; or


5.   Deposits in Cypriot banks:

The applicant must have personal fixed term deposits for 3 years in Cypriot banks or deposits of privately owned companies or trusts (in which he is the beneficiary) in the Republic of Cyprus of at least €5 million; or


6.   Combination of the aforementioned criteria Α.1, Α.2, Α.3, Α.4 and Α.5:

The applicant is required to have a combination of the above amounting to at least €5 million; or

7.  Persons whose deposits with the Popular Bank Public Company Ltd have been impaired due to the measures implemented after the 15th March 2013:

The applicant has incurred impairment in deposits amounting to a total of at least €3 million. 

In the case where the applicant has incurred an impairment in his deposits under €3 million he may apply, having made an additional investment through the criteria 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to supplement the amount of €5 million; or


8. Major Collective Investments:

The Council of Ministers shall have the right on special occasions, to reduce the above criteria (1, 2, 3 and 4):


To €2,5 million for investors, who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is at least €12,5 million.

To €2 million for investors who demonstrably participate in a special collective investment scheme, provided that the total value of the investment is more than €12.5 million. It is noted that this present provision (II), will be in force until the 1st of June 2014 (i.e. the application must be submitted by 1st June 2014).


When should the necessary investment be made and for how long should it be retained?

The applicant must have concluded the investment during the 3 years preceding the submission date of the application and must retain the said investment for at least 3 years from the approval of the application by the Council of Ministers.


Do I need to buy a residence in Cyprus?

You must have a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500,000 excluding VAT. The purchase value of the privately-owned residence is not included in the minimum investment which is required. However, if an applicant decides to invest solely in the purchase of a privately-owned residence  of a purchase price of  €5 million (criterion A.3) , he is not obliged to buy a further privately-owned residence of €500,000.


Are there any age, language or other similar restrictions?

You must be at least 30 years old and have a certificate of clean criminal record from your country of origin and your country of residence (if it differs).  Furthermore, your name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the EU. There are no restrictions relating to the ability to speak Greek.


Am I required to stay in Cyprus?

You are not required to stay in Cyprus.


Can my family join me in Cyprus?

Yes. Your spouse, underage children as well as any children over the age of 18 who are considered financially dependent may also be granted Cypriot citizenship. Neither the spouse nor the children are obliged to meet any financial criteria.     


Do I have to renounce my existing citizenship?

No. Provided your application is approved you can acquire Cypriot citizenship and retain your existing nationality.  


What is the procedure and the time frame for completion?

A letter is addressed to the Ministry of Interior in which the investment and criterion under which the application is made are briefly explained.  Together with this letter all supporting documents as well as application form M127 must be submitted. The documents relating to the investments are sent to the Ministry of Finance for evaluation while the Ministry of Interior investigates whether the applicant meets all other conditions. The case is then presented to the Council of Ministers for final decision. Once the application is approved the Certificate of Naturalisation is issued. The time frame for the completion of the process is approximately 3 months.



Clarion can help you:
If you wish to apply for a Cypriot Citizenship or Residence Permit, or you need more information or clarification on any of the above,  please communicate with our staff in Clarion BC





 DISCLAIMER: The information in this note is intended for general awareness and does not represent legal advice. Any liability for any loss resulting from acting on the basis of this information is expressly disclaimed.