Introduction of the Cyprus Citizenship By Investment (CBI)
The Naturalization of Investors by Exception Scheme offers a fast track route to attaining a Cyprus citizenship by investment. A Cypriot passport enables its holder access to almost 80% of the world, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. Additionally, a Cypriot national can live, work, and study in any country within EU.
They can also own property within the region. As a specialist in Citizenship by Investment programs, Procitizenship aims to guide those investors who are looking to expand their horizons. With a team having more than 20 years of combined experience in the industry, we are well-equipped and have complete information required to help our clients attain a secondary passport from Cyprus without any hassles. To know more about our services, reach out to us by dialling +35677795029.
What makes cyprus unique?
A vibrant island nation located in the north-eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus offers one of the most sought-after Citizenship by Investment programs in the world today. With a history that dates back to more than 10,000 years, the Republic of Cyprus is a beautiful and safe place to live-in and a dynamic business hub for investors eyeing creation and expansion. The country operates on an open, free-market, high-income based economy with plenty of opportunities in the tourism, shipping, real estate, and financial sectors offering its citizens high quality lifestyle. A unitary presidential constitutional republic governs the Cyprus with the President as head of the state. Greek and Turkish are the official languages in the country, but English is also widely spoken by the natives here. Cyprus is among the 28 countries that make the European Union. It is also a member of the UN, Council of Europe, and WTO, among other international organizations.
Malta has come out top for the third year in row with its Individual Investor Program (MIIP), scoring 81 out of 100. In second place is Cyprus with a score of 72.
THE BENEFITS OF CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP FOR SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONALS
The benefits of acquiring a Cyprus Citizenship for South Africans are many:
- Having the right to live & work in countries within the European Union (EU).
- Getting protection by the authorities of all the EU country.
- Having the right to vote as well as stand in European Parliament elections.
- Being able to freely move goods, services and capital in the region.
- Visa-free travel to over 158 countries including the EU & Canada.
- Transferable citizenship to descendants which means, being able to pass down the citizenship to your future generations.
- Being able to keep your previous nationality intact as Cyprus allows dual citizenship.
- Cyprus Citizenship by Investment can be obtained in a short span of 3-6 months.
- Once the joint application for residency & citizenship-by-investment is submitted, it requires 5 days for the Cyprus Residence Permit to be issued.
- No minimum residency requirements before obtaining the Cyprus Citizenship.
- Cyprus has renowned universities that offer tuition-free education to the citizens. These benefits can be extended to other EU universities with same options.
- Degrees diplomas or certificates that are awarded in Cyprus are recognized in all EU countries and vice versa.
- The public healthcare system, managed by the Ministry of Health & financed by taxes, is free for citizens.
- Permanent Residents in Cyprus possess a state medical card when they register for social insurance. This state medical card grants privileges of getting care and treatment for free or subsidized costs.
- Obtaining a Cyprus citizenship opens the door to many career opportunities for the Cyprus’ citizens as they can freely move & work within the EU nations and get employment without any limitations.
- The right to live, work and study in all the 28 EU countries.
The applicant should make an investment of at least EUR 2 million for the purchase or construction of real estate.
Does Cyprus Citizenship allow me to keep my original citizenship?
It is allowed as there are no restrictions on dual citizenship in the country.
Will the Cyprus citizenship grant me European citizenship also?
Yes. It is because Cyprus is a member of the European Union its citizens are automatically European citizens, which means you are allowed to live, work or study anywhere in Europe.
Will my citizenship expire?
No. When a person acquires citizenship under the Cyprus citizenship program, not only them but their complete family can enjoy full citizenship for life. It can also be passed on to future generations by descent.
THE CRITERIA/REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP
If you are over the age of 18 and you possess a clean criminal record then you are eligible for a Republic of Cyprus passport and for individuals who wish to apply, there is a process. This process primarily requires individuals to submit passport issuance applications at the office of the consular at the Cypriot embassy in person.
The process of submitting applications became personal on the 11th of April 2011; this was done to ensure the easy collection of the applicant’s biometric information such as fingerprints and photos by a consular officer.
There are certain documents that are needed when you are applying for Cypriot citizenship and they include;
Completed application form (could be Greek/Turkish/English);
A valid passport;
Proof of a clean criminal record;
Proof that the applicant is not an owner of any frozen property under EU jurisdiction;
2 passport photographs;
C.V. (in English) signed by the applicant;
The birth certificate, signed by the ministry of foreign affairs and the Cyprus embassy;
Marriage certificate stamped, certified by the ministry of foreign affairs & the Cyprus embassy as well.
THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION PROCESS
To qualify under the regulations, the applicant for citizenship must be at least 18 years of age and have a clean criminal record.
There are no requirements to disclose the applicant’s source of wealth/funds, there is no medical testing, & language requirements.
The main applicant might add dependents to a citizenship application including his/her spouse, children, & main applicant’s parents to benefit under Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program.
Citizenship Investment Options
The Citizenship by Investment program of Cyprus provides a method to obtain the citizenship for foreign nationals, with approvals issued in as short as 90-180 days.
To qualify for this citizenship, the primary applicant may select one of two investment options:
Option #1: Residential Real Estate Investment
This option requires a minimum total investment amount of around EUR 2,0 million in residential real estate.
The complete investment amount must include a permanent personal residence valued at no less than EUR 500,000. The remaining investment amount of EUR 1.5 million should be made in residential real estate, to be held for five years time period. If the personal residence is valued at a price of EUR 2.0 million or more than it then no additional investment is required.
Option #2: Other Investments
The second option requires a minimum total investment of EUR 2,5 million.
Part of the investment must be a personal residence purchased for no less than EUR 500,000.
The remaining investment amount of EUR 2,0 million can be done using a mix of the following, held for at least five years:
a) Eligible Real Estate, such as residential, commercial, infrastructure or some developed land, or
b) Investments in the shipping sectors, or
c) Alternative Investment Fund, abbreviated as (AIF) or financial assets of Cyprus entity licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission, or
d) Company formation or acquisition or participation where the applicant is a majority shareholder, with activities in Cyprus, & employing 5 Cypriot or EU nationals who have been residing in Cyprus for over five years, or
e) Combination of any of the above.
Regardless of what option is selected, the applicant needs to make a contribution (donation) of funds to the Cyprus Government in total amount of EUR 150,000 (75,000 EUR to the Research & Innovation Foundation of the Cyprus plus 75,000 EUR to the Cyprus Land Development Corp.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS STEP BY STEP
The Cyprus government approves applications as quickly as 90 to 180 days that is (3-6 months). The entire application processing takes up to six months maximum.
Step 1 – Review and Select Qualifying Investment. Please use our contact form to receive a complete checklist of application documents & cost estimate for you and the family. If you are applying for more than one family then ask us about a group discount. There is no fee for this initial consultation. The Procitizenship team can advise you on unique/specific searches or present investment options taking into account your investment preferences.
Step 2 – Prepare Citizenship Application. Collection of documents such as birth certificates, marriage & divorce certificates, as well as police clearance that must be submitted along with the application.
Step 3 – Receive Pre-Approval from Government Ministries. Obtain pre-approvals to ensure full compliance and documentation before filing the formal application and before making an investment.
Step 4 – Submit Citizenship Application to Government. Finalizing the investment & submitting completed all application forms, including the fully executed contract of sales, escrow agreements as well as supporting documents.
Step 5 – Receive Cypriot Citizenship Certificate or Passport. After application approval this step entails travelling to Cyprus, taking an oath and providing signatures to finalize the process. The Cypriot Citizenship Certificate is provided & EU passport can be issued in 2 hours.
CYPRUS VERSUS SOUTH AFRICA
HEALTH IS WEALTH
BE 99.5% LESS LIKELY TO BE LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS
In South Africa, 18.8% of people are living with AIDS or HIV. In Cyprus, that number is 0.1% of people.
LIVE 15.0 YEARS LONGER IN CYPRUS
In South Africa, average life expectancy is around 64 years. In Cyprus, number is 79 years (76 years for men, 82 years for women).
BE 23.0% LESS LIKELY TO BE PRONE TO OBESITY
In South Africa, 28.3% of adults are obese but in Cyprus, number is 21.8% of people.
MAKE 2.7 TIMES MORE MONEY
South Africa has a GDP per capita of $13,500, while in Cyprus, the GDP per capita is $37,000.
BE 57.2% LESS LIKELY TO BE UNEMPLOYED
In South Africa, 27.6% of adults are JUST unemployed. In Cyprus, that number is as low as 11.8%.
SPEND 22.2% LESS ON TAXES
South Africa has a maximum tax rate of 45.0%. While in Cyprus, the top tax rate is 35.0%.
BE 94.9% LESS LIKELY TO DIE DURING CHILDBIRTH
In South Africa, around 138.0 women per 100,000 births die while giving birth. In Cyprus, 7.0 women do.
BE 74.5% LESS LIKELY TO DIE DURING INFANCY
In South Africa, approximately 31.0 children die before they turn one. In Cyprus, on the other hand, only 7.9 children face this.
HAVE 44.1% LESS CHILDREN
In South Africa, there are 20.2 babies birth per 1,000 people. In Cyprus, there are around 11.3 babies per 1,000 people.
BE 17.6% LIKELY TO HAVE ACCESS TO ELECTRICITY
In South Africa, 85% of the population has electricity access while in Cyprus, 100% of the population do.
BE 40.6% MORE LIKELY TO HAVE INTERNET ACCESS
In South Africa, only 54.0% of the population has internet access. In Cyprus, about 75.9% do.
SPEND 15.9% LESS ON HEALTHCARE
South Africa spends about 8.8% of its total GDP on healthcare. In Cyprus, that number is 7.4% of GDP.
Does the citizenship-by-investment program of Cyprus have an expiry date?
There is no expiry term designated for the Program, and no quota has been designated for the same.
Is it mandatory to live in Cyprus as a citizen?
Cyprus does not require you to be present or reside in Cyprus before or after approval of the citizenship application.
Is it necessary to own a real estate in Cyprus as a citizen?
Every main applicant must be the owner of a permanent residence in the country, with a market value of at least EUR 500,000 plus VAT. Members of the same family, filing separate applications can pool their resources but the total amount of the residence/house covers the amount of EUR 500,000 for each applicant.
Who is eligible to apply for Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus?
All nationalities can apply except Iranians.
Should the main applicant be present in Cyprus in order to submit the full citizenship application? In which language should documents be submitted?
The main applicant is not required to be in Cyprus in order to submit the full citizenship application. The language could be could be Greek/Turkish/English.
Will I be able to travel to the United States as a Cyprus passport holder?
You will not be able to travel to the United States as a Cyprus passport holder.
Do I need to invest in a Cyprus business or create employment opportunities to be
eligible for the programme?
You need to invest in a Cyprus business/create employment opportunities to be
eligible for the programme.
What is the recent amendment in Cyprus regarding the relation to locked timing of purchased properties?
The applicants should keep their purchased property for three (3) years before being able to sell them. With the recent amendment the timing changed to five (5) years instead of previous three.
Can I include my family in my application under the citizenship program?
Yes, you can include your family in the application.
Is the permanent residence permit (PRP) of Cyprus help towards obtaining citizenship?
A PRP holder has the rights to reside in Cyprus legally. He or she is eligible to file an application for Cyprus citizenship after 5 years of residence in the country, the last 12 months must be a consecutive physical residence. At present, the Cypriot authorities require about six years to review citizenship applications (except CBI case). Hence, PRP or permanent residence permit does help towards eventually obtaining Cyprus citizenship.
When does the successful applicant receive his or her Cyprus passport?
Once Citizenship is granted, the applicant can receive the Cyprus passport on the same day the certificate of naturalization is signed. The certificate of naturalization must be signed within three months of issuance, however no need to actually apply for issuance of a Cyprus passport.
If the main applicant is unmarried, are the minor children allowed to apply for Cyprus citizenship without the consent from their mother?
The minor children need to submit a written consent from their mother, confirming that her minor children can obtain the Cypriot citizenship. Along with this mother’s passport copy is also required. However, at times the Ministry may request some additional documents depending on your case. Additionally, if the main applicant was married and divorced, the written consent has to be submitted from the mother, including the Certificate of Marriage & Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage along with mother’s passport copy.
Can the certificate of naturalization (CoN) be signed by the applicant’s representative through a power of attorney?
The Certificate of Naturalization can only be collected from the Migration Department along with a Power of Attorney. This can’t be signed by the applicant’s representative. If by any chance, the applicant is not able to visit Cyprus to sign that Certificate within 3 months then arrangements have to be made to send the documents to him/her. So that he or she may sign it within a period of 3 months of its issue date before an official of the Embassy of Cyprus abroad.
Can related applicants purchase one residence together under Cyprus’s Citizenship program?
The applicants related to each other have the right to purchase a single residence for the combined price of EUR 500,000.00 (excluding VAT) on each.
Can a person deny taking the oath of allegiance?
No, one has to take the oath of allegiance but there are exceptions too. A religious person whose religion prohibits him to swear an oath may affirm or testify to the Oath of Allegiance.
Do the minor children of the main applicant require visiting Cyprus & file a PRP application?
The applicant’s minor children do not need to file a PRP application therefore; they do not need to visit Cyprus.
How the application for an unborn child filled under CBI in Cyprus?
In case, the child is born after the Certificate of Naturalization has been granted to the parent of the child then this child is automatically becomes the citizen of Cyprus. In case, the child is born after the parent (either father or mother) has filed the application for obtaining Cyprus Citizenship but before being granted Certificate of Naturalization, then a separate application is required for the child for obtaining Cyprus Citizenship. The unborn child is not required to be mentioned in the application form of the parents.
Can a person add multiple spouses under the Citizenship-by-Investment Program of Cyprus?
No, adding multiple spouses is not possible as dependants to one CBI application. The Republic of Cyprus does not recognize polygamy therefore; the first spouse be added to the CBI application.
How can the Cyprus corporate bonds purchased for the purposes of a CBI application?
All the Cyprus companies, with local operations are eligible to issue a corporate bond which can be subscribed to by a CBI applicant. The issuing company must have around 5 employees (Cyprus or EU nationals who legally resided in Cyprus from past five years). If higher than one CBI applicant “simultaneously or almost simultaneously” invests in the same issuing company, then the number of employees increases (no set criteria for the specific increase). ii. Physical place of business; iii. Investment plan has to be approved by the Ministry of Finance.
Are the new citizens of Cyprus taxed differently under CBI?
A new citizen of Cyprus does not have any tax special implications unless one moves to the country. Individuals are considered a tax resident of the country if they spend 183 days or more per year. Tax residents are taxed on all chargeable income that is accrued or derived from any source in the country & abroad. The non-tax residents are taxed on certain income accrued or derived from a source in Cyprus. Any foreign taxes can be credited against personal income tax liability. Personal tax on income generated in Cyprus is taxed at progressive rate of 35%. The corporate tax rate is 12.5% VAT.
Which is the fastest EU passport program?
The fastest EU passport program is for Cyprus as it offers passports after 6 months. However, the time of 6 months can also be reduced to 3 against additional fees.