23 April 2014

Revised criteria for granting Cyprus citizenship aim to boost the Island’s economy

As of March 28th, 2014, the Council of Ministers has introduced changes to the criteria for granting the Cyprus citizenship to foreign investors by lowering the amounts required to participate in collective investment schemes.

The Cypriot government, after the suggestion of Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos, has agreed to this gradual reduction and concluded the revised amount necessary for foreign investors to automatically obtain a Cypriot nationality, to be:

· €2.5 million for participating in a collective investment scheme worth at least €12.5 million

· €2 million for participating in a collective investment scheme worth at least €12.5 million (this provision applies until June 1st 2014).

According to the government report, these amendments are focused towards attracting new investments (mostly from the Far East) and boosting the Cypriot real estate sector as well as the wider economy. The report also noted that these changes were at the discretion of the Cabinet to lower certain criteria regarding investment in government bonds, assets in Cypriot enterprises, real estate, development and infrastructure projects as well as the purchase, establishment or participation in Cypriot businesses, in order to help the island’s economy.

Note that the SCHEME FOR NATURALISATION OF INVESTORS IN CYPRUS BY EXCEPTION as per the Council of Ministers decision of 24th of May 2013 is still in force. A non-Cypriot citizen may by exception apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship if he/she meets one of the following criteria (or a combination of them):

· A.1 Mixed investments and a donation to a state fund

· A.2 Direct Investments

· A.3 Deposits in banks

· A.4 A Combination of Mixed Investments and a Donation to a State Fund (A.1), Direct Investments (A.2) and Deposits in Cypriot Banks (A.3)

· A.5 Business Activities

· A.6 Persons whose deposits with the Bank of Cyprus or Popular Bank have been impaired due to the measures implemented in both Banks after the 15th March 2013

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