• Introduction

During the last decades, Cyprus has developed as a well-respected international financial and investment centre due to its effective legal system, the low rates on company tax, the efficient administration system and highly skilled workforce.

On the basis of that, Cyprus has laid down rules in its citizenship laws to facilitate the granting of Cypriot citizenship to individuals who invest in Cyprus, which by consequence makes such investors citizens of the European Union and allows them to reside permanently in Cyprus, or even in any other EU member state of their choosing.

  1. Alternative Criteria for Investors and Businessmen

As a general rule, citizenship is granted after the fulfilment of a number of criteria vis-à-vis the length of one’s stay in a country. Nevertheless, Article 111A of the Population Archive Law 141(I)/2002 specifically provides that in relation to foreign investors and businessmen, citizenship may be granted even if the mainstream criteria are not met, but rather on alternative criteria that may be set by the Council of Ministers of the Republic through a Regulatory Act.

The Council of Ministers of the Republic has issued such Regulatory Acts over the years, with the most recent being the Regulatory Act dated 13/09/2016 (hereinafter “the Regulatory Act”) which revises the “citizenship by investment” criteria and also includes members of the businessman’s or investor’s families in the scheme of citizenship granting. This Regulatory Act will come into force on the 31st of October, 2016.

Before applying for citizenship, any applicant must compulsorily fulfil the following criteria:

  • They must have a clear criminal record;
  • They must have a permanent private residence in Cyprus of a value of €500,000 plus VAT;
  • The applicant must hold a permit to stay in the Republic at the time of their application for citizenship.

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