Changes to the “Cyprus Investment Program”

Changes to the Cyprus Investment Program

The Council of Ministers has approved on Wednesday, 13 February 2019 changes to Cyprus’ controversial citizenship by investment program, which has granted 1,864 citizenships and generated €6.6 billion of foreign investment so far. As announced, the changes will be in effect as of 15th May 2019.

The most significant change is that the total investment required will increase from €2,000,000 to €2,150,000 as an additional donation of €75,000 to the county’s Research and Development fund and a €75,000 donation to the Land Development Organisation is now needed.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, explained that the reason behind these changes is to encourage the creation of an eco-system of business innovation as well as to facilitate the creation of finance for affordable housing through the mandatory contribution to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation whilst such changes also aim to prevent any overgrowth of the real estate sector through such investments.

The main changes, are as follows:

  • A mandatory donation of €75,000 to the Foundation for Research and Innovation to promote the creation of an entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem, an obligation that can be waived under certain conditions.
  • A mandatory donation of €75,000 o 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 investment should be maintained for a period of at least 5 years from the date of naturalization, instead of 3 years which was previously the case.
  • During the 5-year period the investor will be able to change his investment, provided that a consent will be granted in this regard by the Ministry of Finance;
  • The applicant must have a Schengen visa in order to be able to apply for naturalization.
  • Where the investment relates to the purchase of real estate property or properties as well as for the purchase of the required permanent privately-owned residence, a planning permission, a completion certificate and a bank waiver will be required.
  • Investment requirement for residential properties is kept at €2,000,000. Investment in other sectors is €2.500.000. Any application which includes resale property already used for a previous Citizenship application by other applicant, increases the amount of investment for the New Application to €2,500,000.
  • A complete abolition of investment in government bonds as an acceptable investment within the Program which will take place as of 15th May 2019.
  • Applicants who have been previously rejected by another EU country will not be entitled to acquire Cypriot citizenship within the framework of the Cyprus Investment Programme.
  • Applicants 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.

Eliza Sergiou, CEO at AME Second Citizenship stated: “We feel that these are positive changes which will enhance the program’s trustworthiness and reputation. Moreover, we are confident that the changes will further benefit the economy and growth of Cyprus. The Cyprus Investment Program still is the fastest citizenship option in the EU as the process takes approximately six months. We do urge investors who are looking to apply before the changes takes place not to delay and get in touch with us for a free consultation.