English CIP Leaflet
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THE CYPRUS INVESTMENT PROGRAMME (CIP)

Europe has long established itself as the most sought-after region in terms of high net worth immigration, accounting for over half of the total number of global citizenship applications, with the Caribbean in second place, followed by North America in third. Noteworthy, are recent studies conducted by global immigration experts, ranking the Cypriot Investment Programme among the “top ten in the world”.

Furthermore, the Republic of Cyprus (“Cyprus”) has been ranked the 5th best relocation destination in the world (Knight Frank World Wealth Report 2018). Ranked by key business and leisure indicators, Cyprus was the only European country alongside Switzerland, and the only EU Member State, to make it into the top five– ahead of London, Madrid and Monaco. Coupled with what most international tax advisors agree is the most favourable onshore personal tax regime in the world, Cyprus is considered the most attractive destination for investment immigration. With at least 320 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus was classified the sunniest European location.

The Cypriot immigration policy and legal framework now enable non-EU and EU applicants to obtain Cypriot citizenship in approximately 6 months, following a simple and straightforward application process with no medical testing and no language requirements.



Legal framework:

The Cyprus Investment Programme, based on subsection (2) in Section 111A of the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 to 2019, was approved by the Cyprus Council of Ministers on 13 September 2016, and subsequently amended in May 2018, February, May and August 2019 and August 2020. The latest amendments to the CIP are effective from 18 August 2020 and are reflected in this memo for your ease of reference.

The Cyprus government has formulated an investment programme aimed at high-net-worth individuals, investors and entrepreneurs. This allows the successful applicant and his/her family to hold a Cypriot passport and enjoy all the benefits of being a Cypriot national, subject to making the necessary investment and complying with the specific conditions.

 

Eligibility Criteria - The following persons are eligible to apply under the Cyprus Investment Programme:

  1. Main applicant and spouse i.e. husband and wife.
  2. Children up to and including the age of 17.
  3. “Unmarried financially dependent adult children” between the ages of 18 to 28,
    • subject to their application being reviewed by the Council of Ministers prior to their 29th birthday; and
    • provided they are unmarried students working towards either a first university degree, or a first master’s degree.
  4. Parents of the main applicant and parents of the main applicant’s spouse may be included in the same application, provided an additional investment of €500,000 (plus VAT if applicable) is made in residential property in Cyprus.
  5. High ranking officers of Cyprus companies, who have made an investment in Cyprus, and who have paid taxes to the Cypriot authorities in the aggregate value of €100,000 in the last three years.

All applicants (with the exception of minor children under 18 years of age) will need to be in possession of a valid Schengen visa when submitting a CIP application (unless the applicant is a holder of a passport exempting them from the need to obtain a Schengen Area visa); as well as a clean police (criminal record) certificate from the country of birth and the current country of residence, if different from birth country.

According to the applicable law, rules and regulations that apply in relation to applying and obtaining the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment, an applicant would not be eligible to apply and/or obtain citizenship if:

  1. He/she has submitted an application for citizenship in another EU country which has been rejected;
  2. He/she does not possess a Clean Criminal Record;
  3. He/she cannot or does not prove the size and lawful source of his/her wealth;
  4. The funds for his/her investment are not accepted by Cyprus banks.
  5. He/she or a member of his/her family or any entity which he/she is or was connected or related owner, director, officer or otherwise.
    1. Act in a manner which illustrates acceptance of the illegal governance of the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, holds an office/title connected with the occupied areas or holds or has illegally entered, caused damage or trespassed over property in the occupied areas which belongs to a lawful owner;
    2. Falls in any of the following categories:
      1. Is a person whose assets have been ordered to be restrained or restricted within the area of the European Union;
      2. Is or was a “Politically Exposed Person” (as defined below) who held office in the 12 months prior to the submission of the citizenship application;
      3. Is a person convicted of a criminal offence punishable by five (5) or more years of imprisonment, or for any other serious offence, or other heinous crime or an offence involving moral obscenity; or
      4. Is a person who has been subject to criminal investigation either in the Republic of Cyprus or any other country in relation to any criminal offence punishable by five (5) or more years of imprisonment, or for any other serious offence, or other heinous crime or an offence involving moral obscenity, or
  6. He/she, or a member of his/her family and/or a person connected or related with him/her, or any entity with which he/she is or was connected or related as owner, director, officer or otherwise:
    1. Is  an individual an individual subject to restraining or restrictive orders or measures imposed by the European Union which are in force, such as high-ranking officers included in sanction lists;
    2. Is subject to sanctions imposed by the European Union or the United Nations, or was subject to sanctions which were in force within 12 months prior to the date of filing of the application; or
    3. Is wanted by EUROPOL or INTERPOL or is included in any European or international wanted list.

 

“Politically exposed person” generally means a person who is or who has been entrusted with prominent public functions in Cyprus or in another country, an immediate close relative of such person or a person known to be a close associate of such person

The definition, “prominent public function” is wide and includes among other (a) heads of State, heads of government, ministers and deputy or assistant ministers; (b) members of parliament or of similar legislative bodies; (c) members of the governing bodies of political parties; (d) members of courts or judicial bodies; (e) members of courts of auditors or of the boards of central banks; (f) ambassadors, chargés d' affaires and high-ranking officers in the armed forces; (g) members of the administrative, management or supervisory bodies of State-owned enterprises; (h) directors, deputy directors and members of the board or equivalent function of an international organisation; (i) mayor.

An applicant who falls in any of the categories listed above is not eligible to obtain the Cypriot citizenship and his/ her application is liable to be rejected. If a family member of an applicant falls in any of the categories above, that might amount to a reason for the applicant’s application to be rejected

The applicable criteria and requirements in order for a person to be eligible to obtain Cyprus Citizenship by Investment can be found at: www.moi.gov.cy

 

Main advantages of being a Cypriot Citizen:

  1. Free Movement of People, Goods and Capital:
  • Cypriot citizens are able to freely travel, reside, study, work, transfer funds and move goods and services within the 28 countries of the EU, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. An entire family can obtain Cyprus Citizenship i.e. spouse of applicant, children under 18 years, and adult dependents (ages 18 to 28) and parents of the main applicant. Children of EU nationals have the right to lower tuition fees within the EU.
  1. Attractive Tax System
  • Cyprus is an attractive financial centre due to its highly favourable tax system and strategic location at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Africa and Asia. The Cypriot taxation system is consistently voted by EU tax professionals as being the most attractive in Europe.
  • Newly introduced “non-domicile” regime has resulted in zero taxation of worldwide dividends and interest income, for a period of 17 years.
  1. High standard of living
  • Cyprus offers political stability and a high standard of living with access to reputable state and private schools, medical facilities and among the lowest crime rates within the EU.
  1. Visa Free Travel
  • No visa required for travel within the EU.
  • No visa required for travel to over 159 countries worldwide.
  1. Dual Citizenship
  • Cyprus allows its citizens to hold dual citizenship.

 

CIP - Investment Options:

Below is a summary of the available investment options under the Cyprus Investment Programme:

In addition to satisfying any one of the above financial criteria, the primary applicant for Cyprus citizenship by way of the CIP must fulfil all of the following conditions:

  1. The applicant has a clean criminal record from the country of birth and the current country of residence, if different from birth country;
  2. The applicant is not under criminal investigation for a serious crime;
  3. The applicant is not included in a sanctions list and not related or has been related to an entity which is included in a sanctions list;
  4. The applicant’s name is not included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen by the EU;
  5. The applicant (with the exception of minor children under 18 years of age) will need to be in possession of a valid Schengen visa when submitting a CIP application (unless the applicant is a holder of a passport exempting them from the need to obtain a Schengen Area visa);
  6. The applicant cannot be a Politically Exposed Person entrusted with a prominent public function in the last twelve months.
  7. Applicants who have previously been denied citizenship by any other EU country are not eligible under the CIP.

CIP - process and timeline:

Below is a brief summary of the application process for acquiring Cypriot citizenship by way of investment through the CIP:

  1. The CIP application for the main applicant and his/her spouse is filed (and if elected, also for parents of the main applicant and parents of the main applicant’s spouse and financially dependent adult children).
  2. On the following day after the CIP application is submitted, a Permanent Residency Permit (PRP) application is filed for the main applicant, the applicant’s spouse, and minor children (between ages 6 and 17) and if applicable, for parents and adult children. This requires the main applicant, his/her spouse, minor children (and if applicable, for parents and adult children) to visit Cyprus. (Note: minor children can be excluded from the PRP application, and this will not affect their ability to apply for citizenship- see step 6 below).
  3. Within a month as from the filing, PRP approval is granted.
  4. The CIP application is examined within approximately 6-12 months.
  5. The certificates of naturalisation and passports are issued.
  6. Citizenship applications filed for minor children take 2 to 3 weeks to be approved.  Certificates of naturalisation and passports are issued immediately.
  7. The citizenship application is filed for adult children (up to age 28) and the parents (if not filed earlier).
  8. On the following day, the adult children and parents of main applicant must visit Cyprus to file a PRP application.
  9. After the approval of the application, the certificates of naturalisation and passports are issued.

 

How Savva & Associates can assist:

We are leaders in the area of Immigration Services in Cyprus, and well positioned, through our network of companies, including our affiliate law firm G. Polemidiotis & Co LLC, specialists in immigration and property law, to assist clients with the preparation and filing of a Citizenship Application. We are frequently engaged by some of the world’s largest and most reputable international law firms, investment firms and family offices.

The following is a list of core services we provide during the course of a Citizenship Application, ensuring that we receive approval in the shortest time frame possible:

  • Advise on the financial criteria, conditions to be met, and the application procedure.
  • Conduct a thorough examination of the specific circumstances of the applicant in order to establish the most effective way to meet the required financial criteria.
  • Find the right property matching the criteria of the applicant via our network of reputable developers and licensed real estate agents and ensure the applicant is presented with properties that are good value for money.
  • Communicate with the responsible Ministries for clearance prior to submitting an application.
  • Drafting and assisting with the collection of all required documents.
  • Monitoring the status of the application and follow up, including personal meetings where deemed necessary.
  • Regular update of the applicant on the progress of their application.
  • Upon granting of the Citizenship, our office can assist with the issuance of the Cyprus passports and ID cards.
  • Assistance with the opening of bank accounts with banks located in Cyprus.

Our team of highly experienced professionals can advise you further on the Cyprus Investment Programme application, on the basis of your particular facts and circumstances. Please feel free to contact Charles Savva at c.savva@savvacyprus.com to discuss how we can be of assistance to you.

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