Practices


PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT

 

Why apply for it?

  • Category F of the Regulation 5(F) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations gives the right to a Non-EU national and his family to permanently reside in Cyprus.
  • Exempts the Non-EU nationals from immigration entry procedures (i.e. Visitor’s visa card)

Requirements

  • The applicant must have a minimum annual income of €9568 and at least €4613,22 for every dependent person (the Civil Registry and Migration Department may demand additional amounts as necessary).
  • He/she must have enough money to cover all expenses of all members of his/her family.
  • The money must come from abroad and from legal sources.
  • His/her income must be secured, reliable, and consistent on a long run and maintained in time.

Procedure:

  • The applicant must complete the application form (M67) and submit the form along with the following documents in original form to the Civil Registry and Migration Department:
  • Copy of valid passport
  • V (including academic qualifications)
  • Bank Accounts Statements in Cyprus and abroad (original)
  • Income declaration from sources other than employment (original documents and affidavit)
  • Title of ownership or rental agreement (original or true copy). If the title of ownership has not been obtained yet, the applicant must submit the deed of sale and proof of payment.
  • Criminal Record Certificate (if the applicant resides abroad, official translation duly validated from his country)

 

The whole procedure takes between 5-12 months.

FAST TRACK PROCEDURE (takes up to two months)

Investment/ Financial Criteria:

  • Confirmation from a bank in Cyprus that the applicant has deposited a minimum capital of €30.000 into an account that will be pledged for three years. The amount needs to be transferred from abroad.
  • Secure annual Income (derive from abroad) of at least €30.000 plus €5,000 for each dependent family member and €8,000 for every dependent parent or parent-in-law.
  • Proof of the purchase of a property in Cyprus with market value of at least €300,000 (Not VAT included):
  • The amount of purchase must have been transferred from abroad.
  • The property can be purchased through a company (established in the EU) provided that the applicant or/and his/her spouse are the sole shareholders or the ultimate beneficial owners of the company.
  • The applicant may purchase two properties the combined market value of which equals to at least €300,000 (Not VAT included).
  • The property/ies must be sold for the first time by a developer company.
  • Contract of sale must be deposited at the Land Registry.

Additional requirements and documentation:

  • Application form (MIP1)
  • Confirmation of clean criminal record from their country of residence.
  • Submission of confirmation that the applicant and his dependents do not intent to undertake any employment in Cyprus.
  • Affidavit or Official Statement as to the annual income of the applicant, with any other supporting evidence.
  • Copy of passport
  • CV
  • Health Insurance Policy
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)

All the documents mentioned must be in the Greek or English language and must be certified. The application form along with the required documentation must be submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department.

Family Members:

  • The permit issued to an applicant covers his spouse and children under the age of 18.
  • Two separate permits may be granted to each spouse without being required for the other spouse to satisfy the investment/ financial criteria. (he/she shall only pay the relevant fee).
  • Children aged between 18 and 25 who prove that they are students and are financially dependent on the applicant must submit a separate application form. (parents must present an additional annual income of €5000 for every such dependent child.)


Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

Investors and their immediate family are granted all legal rights of EU citizens!

  • Obtain a passport in 90 days
  • No language proficiency test required
  • Visit 157 countries visa free
  • Utilise a tax efficient structuring for investor’s business
  • Eligibility to labour and capital movement in EU
  • Access to education, medical and welfare facilities
  • Have asylum in case of political unrest
  • 3 years later the investment can be sold

 

The legislation

In 2013, the Council of Ministers adopted the most attractive Cyprus citizenship by investment scheme for naturalization for foreign entrepreneurs which was revised on 13/09/2016. The scheme does not only provide for  a foreign investor to acquire the Cypriot citizenship via an investment of €2 million; it also allows the spouse, the children (below the age of 18) as well as the financially dependent adult children of the foreign investor to acquire the Cypriot citizenship without obligation to meet any financial criteria.

 

 

Acquiring Cypriot citizenship: Naturalisation

Naturalization is the process by which a foreign citizen acquires the Cypriot citizenship.

 

Who can apply?

A non-Cypriot citizen who meets the economic criteria listed in sections I and II below and has made investments in Cyprus as per section I, either:

  • Personally,
  • Through a company in which he/she participates as a shareholder,
  • Or the applicant is a high ranking senior manager of a Cypriot Company and receives remuneration which generates Republic tax revenue of at least €100,000 (approx. €125,000 p.a) for a 3 year period and has executed all tax payments to the state.

 

SECTION I (ECONOMIC CRITERIA): 

  • Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have invested of at least €2 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

  • Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

The applicant must have invested at least €2 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies that are based and are operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or European Union citizens.

OR

  • Investment in Alternative Investment Funds registered in Cyprus
  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of at least €2 million in an organisation of alternative investment funds (AIFs) which is registered and active in Cyprus.
  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations (bonds/ securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €2 million.
  • Combination of the aforementioned criteria amounting to at least €2 million. In this case an option for purchasing state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of up to the amount of €500,000 is available.

 

  SECTION II ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS 

The applicant must additionally have:

  • Clean criminal record
  • House in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Section I, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.

Note:  members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of the declared home-property amounts to €500.000 per applicant.

  • The applicant must have a permanent residence permit.

Note: The applicant can apply for the permanent residence permit simultaneously with the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship application.

What is the procedure?

  1. Submission of an application:

The application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country):

  • Letter by the applicant or by the representative of the applicant, stating the investment criterion, under which the application is submitted.
  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of origin, as well as the country of residence (if it differs)
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Documents concerning the permanent privately-owned residence of the applicant in Cyprus:
  • Contract of Sale
  • Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department
  • Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price
  • Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager the following documents should, also, be submitted:

  • Copy of the employment contract and
  • Copy of the receipt by the Inland Revenue Department

If the applicant meets the criteria and the conditions, the Minister of Interior presents the case to the Council of Ministers for final decision. Once the application is approved, the Civil Registry and Migration Department issues the Certificate of Naturalization, following payment of the Naturalization Certificate issuing fee.

  1. Naturalisation of Family members: 

Investor’s Spouse

The application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country):

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae

Once the application is approved, the Naturalization Certificate fees must be paid.

Investor’s adult children (18 years old or above) 

Adult children of an investor are considered as financially dependent, if they are students up to the age of 28 and are attending an institution of higher education aiming to obtain a diploma, an undergraduate or a master’s degree.

The application is submitted to the Ministry of Interior, after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).

The list of the necessary documents:

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of the undergraduate degree (if the applicant studies for a master’s degree)
  • Certificate of attendance at a Higher Education Institute (Original)

or

  • Medical Certificate attesting the disability (Original)

Investor’s minor children (under the age of 18) 

The application is submitted after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, where it is also processed. The list of the necessary documents is as follows:

  • Application Form M126 fully completed and signed by the parent before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Child’s Birth Certificate
  • Parent’s marriage certificate
  • Copies of the child’s and parents’ passports
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Written Consent of the non-Cypriot parent
  • Two passport size photographs

The immigration team of our firm along with our associates have extensive expertise and knowledge to assist and guide you through any step of the process of acquiring the Cypriot Citizenship, hence we remain at your disposal for any enquiries you may have.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

GENERAL MATTERS 

  1. What is the time frame for the examination of an application?

Approximately three months.

  1. Should investments be necessarily made by the investor personally or can they be made through company/companies of the investor or an investment fund or an investment foundation?

An investment through a company or fund or foundation is eligible, provided that there is a proven correlation between the investor and the company or fund or foundation.

  1. What conditions must be met, so that a high – ranking senior manager of a company/ companies may apply for Naturalisation on the basis of this Scheme?

The company/ companies  employing the manager must have completed such an investment in Cyprus that meets one of the economic criteria stipulated in the Decision of the Council of Ministers. If and when the investment is completed the executive may apply for Naturalisation provided that he/she has paid or prepaid an income tax amounting to €100.000 for a three-year period and has acquired a permanent residence of purchase value at least €500.000.

 

INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE, LAND DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS 

 

  1. Is the purchase of land included in the criterion? 

This criterion includes investments for the purchase or construction of buildings, or other land developments (residential or commercial developments, in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects). Therefore, purchase of land cannot be interpreted broadly and the restriction concerning the purchase of land has not been lifted.

  1. Is the VAT included in the amount of the €2 million investment or in the amount of the €500.000 purchase value of the privately-owned residence? 

The VAT is neither included in the amount of €2 million for the “Direct Investments”, nor in the amount of €500.000 required as a minimum purchase value of the privately-owned residence.

  1. In the case of purchase of real estate are transfer duties included in the amount of the €2 million investment? 

The transfer duties are not included in the amount of the investment, as no other charges or taxes are.

  1. If there is a difference between the market value and the purchase value of a real estate, which amount is taken into consideration? 

The purchase value.

  1. Would a real estate sold for a second time be considered as an investment for the purposes of applying for citizenship? 

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time.

 

PURCHASE OR CREATION OR PARTICIPATION IN CYPRIOT BUSINESSES OR COMPANIES 

 

  1. What do tangible presence of companies or businesses in Cyprus mean? 

The companies or businesses in which the applicant shall invest must maintain offices in Cyprus.

  1. How is the creation or participation in the companies/ businesses proven? 

The creation or participation is proven by the purchase of the company’s or business’ shares, either existing shares, or through capital increase.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS EXPLAINED

 

Residence in Cyprus

  1. Is the purchase value of the privately – owned residence included in the investment or is it additional? 

The purchase value of the privately-owned residence of the investor in Cyprus is not included in the minimum investment but is rather it is additional.

However, if an applicant decides to invest in the purchase of a privately – owned residence solely at the amount €2 million he/ she is not obliged to buy another privately – owned residence of purchase value €500.000.

  1. Can the investor rent to someone else his/ her privately-owned residence? 

Yes

  1. Can the investor sell his/ her privately-owned residence and purchase a different one of the same or higher purchase value?

Yes, provided that he/she will buy a different residence of equal or higher purchase value.

  1. To what degree of relation can applicant –relatives, members of the same family, purchase the same privately-owned residence? 

To the second degree


Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

Investors and their immediate family are granted all legal rights of EU citizens!

  • Obtain a passport in 90 days
  • No language proficiency test required
  • Visit 157 countries visa free
  • Utilise a tax efficient structuring for investor’s business
  • Eligibility to labour and capital movement in EU
  • Access to education, medical and welfare facilities
  • Have asylum in case of political unrest
  • 3 years later the investment can be sold

 

The legislation

In 2013, the Council of Ministers adopted the most attractive Cyprus citizenship by investment scheme for naturalization for foreign entrepreneurs which was revised on 13/09/2016. The scheme does not only provide for  a foreign investor to acquire the Cypriot citizenship via an investment of €2 million; it also allows the spouse, the children (below the age of 18) as well as the financially dependent adult children of the foreign investor to acquire the Cypriot citizenship without obligation to meet any financial criteria.

 

 

Acquiring Cypriot citizenship: Naturalisation

Naturalization is the process by which a foreign citizen acquires the Cypriot citizenship.

 

Who can apply?

A non-Cypriot citizen who meets the economic criteria listed in sections I and II below and has made investments in Cyprus as per section I, either:

  • Personally,
  • Through a company in which he/she participates as a shareholder,
  • Or the applicant is a high ranking senior manager of a Cypriot Company and receives remuneration which generates Republic tax revenue of at least €100,000 (approx. €125,000 p.a) for a 3 year period and has executed all tax payments to the state.

 

SECTION I (ECONOMIC CRITERIA): 

  • Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have invested of at least €2 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

  • Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

The applicant must have invested at least €2 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies that are based and are operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or European Union citizens.

OR

  • Investment in Alternative Investment Funds registered in Cyprus
  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of at least €2 million in an organisation of alternative investment funds (AIFs) which is registered and active in Cyprus.
  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations (bonds/ securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €2 million.
  • Combination of the aforementioned criteria amounting to at least €2 million. In this case an option for purchasing state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of up to the amount of €500,000 is available.

 

  SECTION II ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS 

The applicant must additionally have:

  • Clean criminal record
  • House in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Section I, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.

Note:  members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of the declared home-property amounts to €500.000 per applicant.

  • The applicant must have a permanent residence permit.

Note: The applicant can apply for the permanent residence permit simultaneously with the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship application.

What is the procedure?

  1. Submission of an application:

The application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country):

  • Letter by the applicant or by the representative of the applicant, stating the investment criterion, under which the application is submitted.
  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of origin, as well as the country of residence (if it differs)
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Documents concerning the permanent privately-owned residence of the applicant in Cyprus:
  • Contract of Sale
  • Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department
  • Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price
  • Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager the following documents should, also, be submitted:

  • Copy of the employment contract and
  • Copy of the receipt by the Inland Revenue Department

If the applicant meets the criteria and the conditions, the Minister of Interior presents the case to the Council of Ministers for final decision. Once the application is approved, the Civil Registry and Migration Department issues the Certificate of Naturalization, following payment of the Naturalization Certificate issuing fee.

  1. Naturalisation of Family members: 

Investor’s Spouse

The application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country):

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae

Once the application is approved, the Naturalization Certificate fees must be paid.

Investor’s adult children (18 years old or above) 

Adult children of an investor are considered as financially dependent, if they are students up to the age of 28 and are attending an institution of higher education aiming to obtain a diploma, an undergraduate or a master’s degree.

The application is submitted to the Ministry of Interior, after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).

The list of the necessary documents:

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of the undergraduate degree (if the applicant studies for a master’s degree)
  • Certificate of attendance at a Higher Education Institute (Original)

or

  • Medical Certificate attesting the disability (Original)

Investor’s minor children (under the age of 18) 

The application is submitted after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, where it is also processed. The list of the necessary documents is as follows:

  • Application Form M126 fully completed and signed by the parent before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Child’s Birth Certificate
  • Parent’s marriage certificate
  • Copies of the child’s and parents’ passports
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Written Consent of the non-Cypriot parent
  • Two passport size photographs

The immigration team of our firm along with our associates have extensive expertise and knowledge to assist and guide you through any step of the process of acquiring the Cypriot Citizenship, hence we remain at your disposal for any enquiries you may have.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

GENERAL MATTERS 

  1. What is the time frame for the examination of an application?

Approximately three months.

  1. Should investments be necessarily made by the investor personally or can they be made through company/companies of the investor or an investment fund or an investment foundation?

An investment through a company or fund or foundation is eligible, provided that there is a proven correlation between the investor and the company or fund or foundation.

  1. What conditions must be met, so that a high – ranking senior manager of a company/ companies may apply for Naturalisation on the basis of this Scheme?

The company/ companies  employing the manager must have completed such an investment in Cyprus that meets one of the economic criteria stipulated in the Decision of the Council of Ministers. If and when the investment is completed the executive may apply for Naturalisation provided that he/she has paid or prepaid an income tax amounting to €100.000 for a three-year period and has acquired a permanent residence of purchase value at least €500.000.

 

INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE, LAND DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS 

 

  1. Is the purchase of land included in the criterion? 

This criterion includes investments for the purchase or construction of buildings, or other land developments (residential or commercial developments, in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects). Therefore, purchase of land cannot be interpreted broadly and the restriction concerning the purchase of land has not been lifted.

  1. Is the VAT included in the amount of the €2 million investment or in the amount of the €500.000 purchase value of the privately-owned residence? 

The VAT is neither included in the amount of €2 million for the “Direct Investments”, nor in the amount of €500.000 required as a minimum purchase value of the privately-owned residence.

  1. In the case of purchase of real estate are transfer duties included in the amount of the €2 million investment? 

The transfer duties are not included in the amount of the investment, as no other charges or taxes are.

  1. If there is a difference between the market value and the purchase value of a real estate, which amount is taken into consideration? 

The purchase value.

  1. Would a real estate sold for a second time be considered as an investment for the purposes of applying for citizenship? 

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time.

 

PURCHASE OR CREATION OR PARTICIPATION IN CYPRIOT BUSINESSES OR COMPANIES 

 

  1. What do tangible presence of companies or businesses in Cyprus mean? 

The companies or businesses in which the applicant shall invest must maintain offices in Cyprus.

  1. How is the creation or participation in the companies/ businesses proven? 

The creation or participation is proven by the purchase of the company’s or business’ shares, either existing shares, or through capital increase.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS EXPLAINED

 

Residence in Cyprus

  1. Is the purchase value of the privately – owned residence included in the investment or is it additional? 

The purchase value of the privately-owned residence of the investor in Cyprus is not included in the minimum investment but is rather it is additional.

However, if an applicant decides to invest in the purchase of a privately – owned residence solely at the amount €2 million he/ she is not obliged to buy another privately – owned residence of purchase value €500.000.

  1. Can the investor rent to someone else his/ her privately-owned residence? 

Yes

  1. Can the investor sell his/ her privately-owned residence and purchase a different one of the same or higher purchase value?

Yes, provided that he/she will buy a different residence of equal or higher purchase value.

  1. To what degree of relation can applicant –relatives, members of the same family, purchase the same privately-owned residence? 

To the second degree


Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

Investors and their immediate family are granted all legal rights of EU citizens!

  • Obtain a passport in 90 days
  • No language proficiency test required
  • Visit 157 countries visa free
  • Utilise a tax efficient structuring for investor’s business
  • Eligibility to labour and capital movement in EU
  • Access to education, medical and welfare facilities
  • Have asylum in case of political unrest
  • 3 years later the investment can be sold

 

The legislation

In 2013, the Council of Ministers adopted the most attractive Cyprus citizenship by investment scheme for naturalization for foreign entrepreneurs which was revised on 13/09/2016. The scheme does not only provide for  a foreign investor to acquire the Cypriot citizenship via an investment of €2 million; it also allows the spouse, the children (below the age of 18) as well as the financially dependent adult children of the foreign investor to acquire the Cypriot citizenship without obligation to meet any financial criteria.

 

 

Acquiring Cypriot citizenship: Naturalisation

Naturalization is the process by which a foreign citizen acquires the Cypriot citizenship.

 

Who can apply?

A non-Cypriot citizen who meets the economic criteria listed in sections I and II below and has made investments in Cyprus as per section I, either:

  • Personally,
  • Through a company in which he/she participates as a shareholder,
  • Or the applicant is a high ranking senior manager of a Cypriot Company and receives remuneration which generates Republic tax revenue of at least €100,000 (approx. €125,000 p.a) for a 3 year period and has executed all tax payments to the state.

 

SECTION I (ECONOMIC CRITERIA): 

  • Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects:

The applicant must have invested of at least €2 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

  • Purchase or creation or participation in Cypriot businesses or companies:

The applicant must have invested at least €2 million in the purchase, creation or participation in businesses or companies that are based and are operating in the Republic. These businesses or companies should evidently have a tangible presence in Cyprus and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or European Union citizens.

OR

  • Investment in Alternative Investment Funds registered in Cyprus
  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of at least €2 million in an organisation of alternative investment funds (AIFs) which is registered and active in Cyprus.
  • The applicant must have purchased financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organisations (bonds/ securities/ debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus) of at least €2 million.
  • Combination of the aforementioned criteria amounting to at least €2 million. In this case an option for purchasing state bonds of the Republic of Cyprus of up to the amount of €500,000 is available.

 

  SECTION II ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS 

The applicant must additionally have:

  • Clean criminal record
  • House in the Republic of Cyprus: In all cases listed in Section I, the applicant must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.

Note:  members of the same family, who apply separately as investors, can collectively acquire a residence, provided that the total value of the declared home-property amounts to €500.000 per applicant.

  • The applicant must have a permanent residence permit.

Note: The applicant can apply for the permanent residence permit simultaneously with the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship application.

What is the procedure?

  1. Submission of an application:

The application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country):

  • Letter by the applicant or by the representative of the applicant, stating the investment criterion, under which the application is submitted.
  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of origin, as well as the country of residence (if it differs)
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Documents concerning the permanent privately-owned residence of the applicant in Cyprus:
  • Contract of Sale
  • Title Deeds/ Receipt for lodging the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department
  • Receipts for paying the agreed purchase price
  • Copy of the wire transfer in the Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company

If the applicant is a high-ranking senior manager the following documents should, also, be submitted:

  • Copy of the employment contract and
  • Copy of the receipt by the Inland Revenue Department

If the applicant meets the criteria and the conditions, the Minister of Interior presents the case to the Council of Ministers for final decision. Once the application is approved, the Civil Registry and Migration Department issues the Certificate of Naturalization, following payment of the Naturalization Certificate issuing fee.

  1. Naturalisation of Family members: 

Investor’s Spouse

The application is submitted at the Ministry of Interior along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country):

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport (if the application is not submitted simultaneously with the investor)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae

Once the application is approved, the Naturalization Certificate fees must be paid.

Investor’s adult children (18 years old or above) 

Adult children of an investor are considered as financially dependent, if they are students up to the age of 28 and are attending an institution of higher education aiming to obtain a diploma, an undergraduate or a master’s degree.

The application is submitted to the Ministry of Interior, after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship along with the following documents in original form (translated into the Greek or English language and sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country).

The list of the necessary documents:

  • Application Form M127 fully completed and signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copy of the applicant’s passport
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable)
  • Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts
  • Two passport size photographs
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copy of the undergraduate degree (if the applicant studies for a master’s degree)
  • Certificate of attendance at a Higher Education Institute (Original)

or

  • Medical Certificate attesting the disability (Original)

Investor’s minor children (under the age of 18) 

The application is submitted after the investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, where it is also processed. The list of the necessary documents is as follows:

  • Application Form M126 fully completed and signed by the parent before a Registrar of a Cypriot court or a consular officer
  • Copy of the investor’s Certificate of Naturalization
  • Child’s Birth Certificate
  • Parent’s marriage certificate
  • Copies of the child’s and parents’ passports
  • Certificate of criminal record from the country of residence of the applicant
  • Written Consent of the non-Cypriot parent
  • Two passport size photographs

The immigration team of our firm along with our associates have extensive expertise and knowledge to assist and guide you through any step of the process of acquiring the Cypriot Citizenship, hence we remain at your disposal for any enquiries you may have.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

GENERAL MATTERS 

  1. What is the time frame for the examination of an application?

Approximately three months.

  1. Should investments be necessarily made by the investor personally or can they be made through company/companies of the investor or an investment fund or an investment foundation?

An investment through a company or fund or foundation is eligible, provided that there is a proven correlation between the investor and the company or fund or foundation.

  1. What conditions must be met, so that a high – ranking senior manager of a company/ companies may apply for Naturalisation on the basis of this Scheme?

The company/ companies  employing the manager must have completed such an investment in Cyprus that meets one of the economic criteria stipulated in the Decision of the Council of Ministers. If and when the investment is completed the executive may apply for Naturalisation provided that he/she has paid or prepaid an income tax amounting to €100.000 for a three-year period and has acquired a permanent residence of purchase value at least €500.000.

 

INVESTMENT IN REAL ESTATE, LAND DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS 

 

  1. Is the purchase of land included in the criterion? 

This criterion includes investments for the purchase or construction of buildings, or other land developments (residential or commercial developments, in the tourism sector or other infrastructure projects). Therefore, purchase of land cannot be interpreted broadly and the restriction concerning the purchase of land has not been lifted.

  1. Is the VAT included in the amount of the €2 million investment or in the amount of the €500.000 purchase value of the privately-owned residence? 

The VAT is neither included in the amount of €2 million for the “Direct Investments”, nor in the amount of €500.000 required as a minimum purchase value of the privately-owned residence.

  1. In the case of purchase of real estate are transfer duties included in the amount of the €2 million investment? 

The transfer duties are not included in the amount of the investment, as no other charges or taxes are.

  1. If there is a difference between the market value and the purchase value of a real estate, which amount is taken into consideration? 

The purchase value.

  1. Would a real estate sold for a second time be considered as an investment for the purposes of applying for citizenship? 

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time.

 

PURCHASE OR CREATION OR PARTICIPATION IN CYPRIOT BUSINESSES OR COMPANIES 

 

  1. What do tangible presence of companies or businesses in Cyprus mean? 

The companies or businesses in which the applicant shall invest must maintain offices in Cyprus.

  1. How is the creation or participation in the companies/ businesses proven? 

The creation or participation is proven by the purchase of the company’s or business’ shares, either existing shares, or through capital increase.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS EXPLAINED

 

Residence in Cyprus

  1. Is the purchase value of the privately – owned residence included in the investment or is it additional? 

The purchase value of the privately-owned residence of the investor in Cyprus is not included in the minimum investment but is rather it is additional.

However, if an applicant decides to invest in the purchase of a privately – owned residence solely at the amount €2 million he/ she is not obliged to buy another privately – owned residence of purchase value €500.000.

  1. Can the investor rent to someone else his/ her privately-owned residence? 

Yes

  1. Can the investor sell his/ her privately-owned residence and purchase a different one of the same or higher purchase value?

Yes, provided that he/she will buy a different residence of equal or higher purchase value.

  1. To what degree of relation can applicant –relatives, members of the same family, purchase the same privately-owned residence? 

To the second degree

 

COMPANY FORMATION & INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

 

We are able to support you with the legalities of this process in order to smoothen your experience.

Cyprus has a long standing history of an international business centre due to its strategic position in the crossroad between Europe, Africa and Asia, favourable taxation system, solid legal infra-structure, efficient administration and the competitive incorporation benefits.

Cyprus is suitable for intermediary company due to the Island’s double taxation treaties and low-tax regime.

We can help you with a legal advice and assistance to register any Cyprus International Business Entity in order to benefit from the tax incentives as well as the network of Double Tax Treaties.

In order to establish a Cyprus company acting as an International Business Activities Company the following are required:

  • Successful Completion of the Due Dilligence procedure
  • Approval by the Registrar of Companies of the proposed name of the company
  • A brief description of the main purposes of the company.
  • The amount of the nominal capital of the company, and how it is going to be divided. (This is usually €1000,00 divided into 1,000 shares of €1.00 each). It is also possible to denominate the capital in a currency other than Euro.
  • The names, passport details, dates of birth, addresses, occupations and nationalities of the proposed beneficial shareholders as well as the proportion in which they will hold the shares of the company.
  • The names, passport details, date of birth, addresses, occupations and nationalities of the proposed directors and secretary of the company.
  • The proposed address of the registered office of the company in Cyprus.

A Cypriot Tax Resident company is charged only 12.5% corporate tax. However, for a company to be considered as Tax Resident in Cyprus needs to show to the Tax Authorities that the management and control of the company is effected in Cyprus. In order to achieve that a company must fulfil certain criteria:

  • The majority of the directors must be of Cypriot citizenship and/ or
  • The general, annual and board meetings as well as the decisions and the supporting minutes must take place in Cyprus.
  • Non-resident Cyprus Companies are taxed at 0% annually, but do not have the benefit of Double Tax Treaties.

Foreigners who do not wish to appear as registered shareholders may appoint nominees to act for them as registered shareholders, whilst the actual ownership shall always rest with the non-resident beneficial owners of the shares. It is the practice to appoint the firm which undertakes the formation of the Company to settle the nominee shareholding through its members or through companies fully controlled by it. We can help you with provision of nominee shareholders, directors, secretary and registered office, if requested.

The main characteristics of a Cypriot private company limited by shares, whether it has a local or an international activity or both may be summarized as follows:

  • The tax levied on the International Business Company’s net profit is of 12.5%, Company accounts must be kept (in Euro or US Dollar) and audited annually.
  • There are 3 main non-resident bank accounts in Cyprus or abroad, in Euro or $US Dollar and our law office can assist you in opening one:
  • The External account, operated in local currency, convertible anytime with no interest paid
  • The Foreign currency account, operated in chosen currency with commission
  • The Special account, operated in local currency, to ease local transactions for non-residents

Our annual retainer fee covers all the services we provide to the company during the year, except for items of a truly extraordinary nature, which we would only charge separately if the clients specifically agree to this. Actual disbursements are charged extra.

 

Banking

In addition to the incorporation of international business entities and investment services we are able to introduce you to national and international banks and facilitate your account opening as well as other banking needs.

 

CYPRUS TAX

Cyprus Taxation System

Following Cyprus’s long – standing history of a reputable international business centre, the Island has a modern and favourable taxation system helping businesses to benefit from tax efficiency planning:

  • Corporate Tax of 12,5% (one of the lowest in EU )
  • Provision of loan/other financial facility (including drawings) to shareholders/directors or their partners or second degree relatives (excl. business transactions) with monthly benefit equal to 9% p.a
  • Tax free dividend allowance
  • Significant Notional Interest Deduction on equity

In order to maximize your tax planning across jurisdictions, we are able to establish an efficient international business planning by offering:

  • Tax advice for cross-border and multinational tax structures
  • Close examination of your business objectives and matching them with tax efficiency
  • Build a tax structure to the best benefits of your business.

 

Cyprus Legal Audit

Regardless if you represent a domestic or an international corporation, we are able to help you sustain your company by applying legal audit best practices.

Our legal audit approach will help you minimize:

  • Debt collection
  • Future legal litigations
  • Health and safety claims
  • Employment relations claims.

Ultimately, you will be able to experience:

  • More efficient legal risk management and peace of mind
  • A more pleasant work environment
  • Stronger bond with your clients and associates
  • Stronger knowledge and tools in order to be legally compliant
  • A more effective management approach of your business affairs

How we can achieve the above together in four steps?

  • Our team of experts will visit your offices to perform specially designed interviews with the managerial staff, officers and administration staff in order to perform a gap analysis and identify issues which may potentially harm your business affairs.
  • We will discuss with the directors the existing strategy of the day-to-day business activities and communication with stakeholders.
  • Our team will review your files, documents, contracts and legal papers with utmost confidentiality.

Finally, we will analyse the data and prepare a report and a free of litigation hazard strategy tailor-made for your business success.

 

Acquisition of immovable property

As international investors you can benefit from a range of advantages when acquiring real estate in Cyprus. Some of the major advantages include the eligibility for residency and citizenship.

Cyprus’ geographical situation in the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, its reliable and transparent legal system combined with the relatively low cost of living, the high quality of lifestyle, its excellent climate and the friendliness and hospitality of its people are just a few factors that have made the small island of Cyprus as one of the top destinations for retirement.

We are able to help you with swift legal advice to matters related to Property Law and Land Acquisition such as:

  • Negotiations

  • Drafting and execution

  • Governmental and local authority licensing and permits

  • Planning Office and the Land Registry procedures

Below you will find some useful legal information about the procedure:

Legal Safeguards

The Legal System in Cyprus is generally based on the common law and our legislation is largely based on the British equivalent. However, Cyprus Legislation differs from the UK one in the area of Immovable Property. The ultimate law of Cyprus, which is its Constitution safeguards the protection of ownership and establishes the equality of all persons and the respect for human rights. Subject to the Cyprus Law, Cypriots as well as foreigners have the right to enjoy all rights relating to ownership of their property without any interference either from the State or from individuals.

The Property Conveyancing Process

The conveyancing process in Cyprus is fairly complicated. The buyer and the seller needs to go through various checks to identify the background of the respective property. The system however, is designed to enable the buyer to be notified of any restrictions prior to the purchase of the respective property or land.

The negotiation starts with the buyer’s lawyer reviewing and possibly amending the contract of sale to safeguard the interests of the buyer. The buyer’s lawyer will also carry out a number of searches to ascertain the background of the property.

Once the Contract of Sale is agreed between both the Seller and the Buyer, both parties will sign the contract and four copies are made and stamped at the Land Registry Office. One of these copies is stamped ‘original’ and will usually be kept by the buyer’s lawyer. The remaining copies are stamped, with a Revenue Stamp and certified as being true copies of the original. One of the copies is registered with the Land Registry for reasons of ‘Specific Performance’ as it was explained above.

Deposit contract of Sale

The buyer’s lawyer will then deposit one of the copies of the contract of sale with the Land Registry for reasons of ‘Specific Performance’. This is a vital stage for the purchaser’s protection.

Specific Performance’ is a simple and effective legal instrument provided by the Land Registry in Cyprus through which the purchaser’s ownership rights are protected until the title deeds are issued and transferred to their name. Through this simple procedure, the contract which is in the hands of the Land Registry, cannot be withdrawn by anyone and therefore the respective property cannot be leased, sod, transferred or mortgaged. Therefore, this status can only be altered by the purchaser.

Stamp Duty

Your lawyer will ask you to pay an amount of Stamp Duty. This is payable by you when you sign the contract. The rates are as follows:

1.50 per thousand for purchase prices up to € 170,860 and

2.00 per thousand for the part of the purchase price exceeding € 170,860

 So for a property costing € 256,290 the Stamp Duty payable by you is € 427.15.

Transfer Fees*

Transfer fees are payable by the purchaser for registering the acquired property on his/her name. Property transfer fees are calculated on the basis of the property’s market value on the date of purchased. This requires that the sale of contract be deposited at the Land office. For registering the property under his/her name the purchaser is liable to pay the following transfer fees, calculated according to the property market’s value:

Market value (EURO)                                                                    Fees Rate

1. Up to EUR 85.430                                                                            3%

2.FromEUR85.431toEUR170.860                                                       5%

3. Over EUR 170.861                                                                           8%

*The Cyprus Government currently offers 50% discount on the transfer fees for an unlimited period of time.

 

Property Investment Recovery

We are at your disposal to provide guidance when your overseas property transaction anticipates problems and irregularities. We are able to help in the settlement of a variety of property investment of matters such as:

  • Late or non/delivery
  • Problematic Contracts of Sale
  • Planning Disputes
  • Developer Fraudulently Trading
  • Insolvent Developers
  • Mortgage problems (e.g. Swiss Francs, Yen)

Cyprus mortgage problems

Many of our clients have purchased properties in Cyprus with the assistance of a foreign currency mortgage (mostly Swiss Francs and Yen). As a result of the interest and exchange fluctuations they have now found themselves in extreme financial difficulties which resulted in mortgage arrears and threat of not only losing their property in Cyprus but also placing their assets in the UK at risk.

Getting out of your mortgage

Despite the adverse currency damage, many purchasers wish to retain their properties in Cyprus and as a result they are willing to enter into a renegotiation with their bank resulting to a restructuring of the terms of their existing loan or a whole new loan. Renegotiating with the bank can result to:

  • Conversion of the Loan currency to euro or sterling
  • Reduction of the outstanding amount
  • Reduction of monthly instalments
  • Reduction of the interest rate
  • Extension of the repayment period

If you choose to reach a settlement with your bank it is vital that you take independent legal advice and assistance before doing so. It is important that the terms of any restructuring deal are reviewed by a lawyer prior to the settlement.

However, the vast majority of the purchasers are seeking to release themselves from their obligations towards the bank under the loan agreements and they wish to take up their legal rights before the Court. If this is the case, we will review personal documentation, as each case has to be judged on its own merits in order to ascertain the irregularities that have been made throughout the process of the purchase of the property, and identify if there are any grounds upon which the individual can challenge the validity and legality of the mortgage and therefore potentially release himself from the mortgage.

It is noted that from our experience, in the vast majority of the cases, irregularities have been made as to the way that the mortgage was presented to potential borrowers and also irregularities in the paperwork, such as for example the Power of Attorney through which a mortgage was signed and as a result can be deemed to be void.

 

Intellectual property law

We are able to help you to protect properly your intellectual property (IP) in the challenging national and international business environment.

We will support you in the following IP matters:

  • Patent, trademark and copyright litigation
  • Copyright-based agreements
  • IP risk assessment
  • Advice on best practice use and protection of IP 
  • Patent licensing and cross-licensing
  • Advertising

Furthermore, we can help you benefit from the recent amendments to the Income Tax Law which relate to the tax regime of intellectual property assets are of particular importance to IP owners:

  • Exemption of profits from the exploitation of the intangible assets: 80% of such profits (including any compensation for infringement) is treated as an expense and thus disregarded for tax purposes*
  • Exemption of profits from the disposal (i.e. royalties) or from sale of the intangible assets, after the deduction of the expenses to acquire or develop the asset: 80% of such profits is treated as an expense and thus disregarded for tax purposes. Thus, only 20% of the royalties or proceeds from the sale of an intellectual property asset are taxable.*

*These provisions apply in cases where the intellectual property asset is recognised as an asset in the balance sheet of the Cyprus Company.