Cyprus is ranked as one of the best relocation destinations in the world. Key factors that come into play in this ranking include positive indicators for business and leisure, an attractive tax regime and a mild Mediterranean climate.
Over the past years the country has seen a rise in its expat community, where foreign nationals are relocating to seek an alternative way of life. Cypriot citizenship offers citizens access to more than 160 countries visa-free, a life away from geo-political instability, and a family-friendly country to live and retire in.
What are the benefits of the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP)?
The Cyprus Investment Programme processing time is approximately 6 months and within only five days from the submission of an application a residency permit is issued
For those who wish to be globally mobile, the Cyprus Investment Programme offers visa-free travel to over 160 destinations.
A very attractive element of the programme is that no physical residency is required after citizenship is obtained. But for those who wish to reside in Cyprus, a Cyprus passport gives individuals and their families the right to live, study, work and do business in Cyprus. The country offers a Mediterranean lifestyle with a mild climate, where English is widely used for business and trade, and where the government has in place numerous business-friendly incentives. The country is family-friendly and offers free public schooling and inexpensive public health care.
A Cyprus citizenship is valid for life and is transferrable to the applicant’s descendants.
Who is eligible for the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP)?
To qualify for the Cyprus Investment Programme, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age, of good standing and can be of any nationality.
The main applicant may also add dependents to a citizenship application including his/her spouse, minor children and financially dependent children under the age of 28. A child with severe physical or mental disability that makes him or her unable to work is also considered as financially dependent.
Parents of the main applicant may be included in the same application provided an additional €500,000 investment is made in residential property in Cyprus. This residential property must be kept for life.
The programme does not require one to undergo language or medical tests.
What are the costs involved under the CIP – Cyprus Investment Programme?
The Cyprus Investment Programme is aimed at ultra-high net worth individuals.
The investor is required to invest either €1.5 million in residential property or €2 million in commercial real estate. Whichever option is chosen, the applicant must always hold a residential property worth at least €500,000 for life.
Alternatively, one may also invest €2 million in financial instruments such as financial assets of Cypriot companies/organisations, alternative investment funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec).
Taxation of new citizens under the Cyprus Investment Programme
Cypriot citizenship on its own does not have an effect on the tax treatment of an individual or a family unless one takes up residence in Cyprus.
Cyprus’ connecting factors for tax jurisdiction are residence and domicile (not nationality).
Domicile under the CIP
A Cypriot resident who is not domiciled in Cyprus is charged tax on a source and remittance basis only, on income arising in Cyprus and on foreign source income remitted/received in Cyprus. Foreign source capital gains are out of scope of taxation even if remitted to Cyprus. Foreign source income and foreign capital gains kept in bank accounts outside Cyprus are not taxed.
Residency under the CIP
An individual may be deemed to be a resident if he resides in Cyprus for more than 183 days in a calendar year or opts for the 60-day rule.
After three years, the investment may be disposed of, subject that the applicant maintains a residential property worth €500,000 for life.
Steps, procedures and timeline to apply for the CIP – Cyprus Investment Programme
The Cyprus Investment Programme grants European citizenship within 6 months. A residency permit is issued within 5 days of an application being submitted.
Once citizenship is granted, new Cypriot citizens enjoy full rights, as well as access to more than 160 countries visa-free.
STEP 1: Submit formal application
A citizenship application, including all essential supporting documentation, is filed by the main applicant and for his/her spouse.
STEP 2: PRP application filed
On the same day, a Permanent Residency Permit (PRP) application is also filed for which a one-time visit to Cyprus is required. (Minor children may apply for the PRP at a later stage and it will not affect their ability to attain citizenship.)
STEP 3: PRP approval granted
After 5 days from the filing of the PRP application, approval is granted, and a residence card is issued.
STEP 4: Citizenship approved
Within 3-5 months, the Citizenship by Investment application is approved.
STEP 5: Certificate of Naturalisation issued
A certificate of naturalisation and a passport for the main applicant and his/her spouse is issued within 6 months from the date of original filing.
STEP 6: Submission and approval of application for minor children
If the minor children’s citizenship application was not filed along with their parents’, the application may be filed after the parents attain citizenship. Within 2-3 weeks, the application will be approved, and certificates of naturalisation and passports are issued with immediacy.
STEP 7: Submission and approval of application for adult children and parents
PRP applications should be filed for adult children and parents of the main applicant after citizenship is granted to the main applicant and the spouse. Adult children and parents of the main applicant are issued with certificates of naturalisation and passports within 6 months from the date of PRP filing.
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