Investor News

Cyprus Investment Programme – New changes and procedures

February 27, 2019

Receiving an EU passport is the most sought-after document as the recent studies have shown. Noteworthy, according to global immigration experts the Cypriot Investment Programme (CIP) is among the “top ten best in the world.”
Cyprus provides an attractive destination for investment-based immigration. Given its strategic location, and at least 320 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus has quickly become one of the ideal destinations for such investors.
In September 2016, January 2018, and May 2018 the Cypriot Council of Ministers introduced some changes to the existing citizenship-by-investment program, aimed to simplify the process and stimulate economic growth which will be in effect from 15 of May 2019.

Under the CIP programme the new criteria are:

1.    The investor will need to make a donation to the “Research Promotion Foundation” amounting to €75,000.  
2.    The investor will also need to make a donation to the “Cyprus Land Development Corporation” amounting to €75,000.
3.    The investor must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings, or make a purchase or should have participated in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of at least €2,0 million, or should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus.
4.    In all cases listed above, the investor must possess 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.
5.    The investor must retain the said investments for a period of at least five years as from the date of the naturalization.
6.    Prior to naturalisation, the applicant must possess a residency permit in the Republic of Cyprus for a period of at least six months.
7.    The investor can trade the investment, within the period of 5 years upon prior approval from the Ministry of Finance.
8.    The investor must have a clean criminal record.
9.    An investment made in the Cyprus shipping industry will be considered as an eligible criterion for the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP).
10.    The investor can also make an investment in Registered Alternative Investments Organizations (UCITS), the UCITS will have the right/option to invest up to € 200,000 in the secondary markets of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
11.    In a case where residential property is acquired and had already been used for the purposes of the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP), the investment amount increases from €2m to €2.5m.
12.    In case the investor invests in real estate development & infrastructure projects, the following documents must be provided to the authorities:
13.    Planning permit;
14.    Certificate of Completion, duly executed by the architect of the project;
15.    In a case where the property is under construction, at least 5% of the total value of the property must be blocked via a bank guarantee, the relevant amount will only be released to the Vendor upon completion of the property;
16.    In a case where there is a mortgage on the property to be acquired, a bank waiver letter must be in place.
17.    The investor must have a valid Schengen visa.
18.    In the event that the investor has been rejected by another Member State for citizenship and the application, the investor will not be able to apply for the Cyprus Investment Programme.

Benefits of the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP):
1.    Travel, live and work within all EU-member states.
2.    Travel visa-free to more than 150 countries.
3.    Passed on to family members: spouse and dependent children.
4.    The investor does not become a tax resident unless more than 183 days in a calendar year are spent in Cyprus.
5.    Not necessary to reside in Cyprus before or after the obtainment of citizenship.
6.    Dual citizenship permitted.
7.    The applicant’s parents are also entitled to apply for Cypriot citizenship provided they own a permanent residence in Cyprus of at least €500.000 (excluding VAT). Their application may be submitted after the investor had acquired Cypriot citizenship.
8.    Enables access to some of the highest education and healthcare institutions in the world.
9.    Free movement of capital, services and goods.
10.    Offers additional insurance against political instability.
11.    Cyprus has zero inheritance, wealth, gift and immovable property taxes.

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Real Estate Market

Small rise in Cyprus property sales

Although the number of property sales in Cyprus continued to rise in June according to the number of sales contracts deposited at Land Registry Offices, only a marginal rise was reported compared with June 2017.

The number of property sales contracts deposited at Land Registry offices across the Republic of Cyprus during June 2018 rose just 2 per cent compared to June 2017 according to official figures published by the Department of Lands and Surveys.

This follows increases of 23% in May, 29% in April and 23% in March and is the smallest increase since February 2017 (when sales fell 9 per cent). During June a total of 858 contracts or the sale of residential and commercial properties and land (building plots and fields) were deposited at Land Registry offices across Cyprus, compared with the 843 deposited in June 2017.

Property sales – year to date

During the first half of 2018 the number of contracts for the sale of property deposited at Land Registry offices has risen 24% to 4,470 compared to the 3,610 deposited during the first half of 2017. In terms of the number of properties sold this year Limassol is in pole position with 1,661 sales, followed by Paphos with 1,037, Nicosia with 784, Larnaca 656 and finally Famagusta with 193.

Overseas property sales

The Land Registry figures reveal that a total of 385 property sale contracts were deposited by non-Cypriots during June 2018. Of those 126 were deposited by EU citizens and the remaining 259 by non-EU citizens, but we cannot quantify the number of non-EU citizens who bought property with a view to applying for citizenship. Limassol was the most popular district with the overseas market with the number of property sales contracts deposited reaching 131. Paphos recorded 125, Larnaca 72, Famagusta 34 and Nicosia 23.

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