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Citizenship

Citizenship

Citizenship by Investment Programmes

Citizenship


Citizenship by Investment Programmes

Properdino specialized in the field of investment programs leading to residency and citizenship status around the world. We focus mainly on the Cyprus and Greek programs offering exclusive services mainly to prominent businessmen in the Persian Gulf but also to investors around the world looking to expand their business through acquiring a second citizenship.

Today’s high profile members of societies all over the world opt to pursue immigration in search of another nationality. Nevertheless; many are hesitant to commence the process as they do not know how, where and with whom they should trust. Properdino provides full data concerning this entire process in complete confidentiality with a personal service through its associates. Our firm has a team of professionals, lawyers, tax consultants, auditors and real estate advisors that meticulously investigate all immigration and citizenship investment programs around the world.

Our research process is comprehensive and we do not promote a single program unless we have visited the country and met with authorized representatives to ensure the integrity of the program and the feasibility of the end result.

GENERAL INFORMATION

INTRODUCTION

Within the framework of the economic policy of the Republic of Cyprus to further encourage Foreign Direct Investment and to attract high net worth individuals to settle and do business in Cyprus and considering the strong investor interest, the Government of Cyprus has established on 13.09.2016 a revised “Scheme for Naturalization of non-Cypriot investors by exception” (the “Scheme”), with specific incentives, terms and conditions and control procedures in order to prevent abuse.

On the basis of the Scheme, a non-Cypriot citizen, who meets one of the prescribed investment criteria (listed in section A., below), either personally or through a company/companies in which he/she participates as a shareholder-in proportion to his holding percentage, or through investments done by his/her spouse or jointly with the spouse or even as a high-ranking senior manager of a company/companies that meets one of the Investment Criteria , may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship through naturalization by exception.

A high-ranking senior manager may apply, provided that he/she receives such a remuneration that generates for the Republic tax revenues of at least €100K over a 3-year period and provided that this tax has already been paid or prepaid.

The Investor should have made the necessary investments during the 3-years preceding the date of the application and must retain the said investments for a period of at least 3-years as from the date of the naturalization. In addition, the Investor must fulfil the Additional Criteria (Terms and Conditions) set out in section B below.

In the case where, following a periodic inspection, it has been established that a criterion, term or condition of the Scheme has been breached, the granted naturalization may be revoked.

SUMMARY & HIGHLIGHTS

Key information

  • Legal basis: Based on a Council of Ministers’ Decision (dated 11.07.2007 and revised on 24.05.2013, 19.03.2014 and on 13.09.2016).
  • Opportunity for reduced investment of minimum €2,0M per investor (plus the permanent residence of minimum €500K, if applicable).
  • The Investor does not become a tax resident in Cyprus, unless he/she spends more than 183 days in any one calendar year.
  • Flexible scheme for granting the Cyprus Citizenship by investment in various areas i.e. property, local business activities etc.
  • Required investments can be made by Investors as individuals or through companies they own.
  • Applications are approved by the Council of Ministers following examination by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior.
  • Applications processing time is around 3-4 months.

Key advantages

  • Freely travel and reside (and work) within the EU.
  • All family members can obtain Cyprus citizenship i.e., married spouse of the Investor, children under 18 years, and adult dependent children up to 28 years old (studying for a 1st Bachelor's or a 1st Master's degree).
  • Free Movement of Capital; Free Movement of Services; Free Movement of Goods.
  • Redeemable investment (3 years after the date of Naturalisation); except for the permanent residence of minimum €500K to be kept for life. Permanent residence can be replaced with another residence of the same or higher value.
  • In case an investor purchases solely a residence/s of minimum €2,0M plus VAT (if applicable), he/she is not obliged to buy an additional residence in Cyprus of €500K.
  • Such investments could be structured through a Fund (Alternative Investment Fund).
  • No requirement to physically reside in Cyprus either before the application or after obtaining the citizenship. However, the Investor will need to be in Cyprus for the collection of biometric data (photograph & fingerprints) at the time of issuance of the Permanent Residence and the Passport and ID Card.

Investment/Financial Criteria Options

  • A1: Investment in Real Estate, land development and infrastructure projects.
  • A2: Investment in Cyprus companies or Organizations.
  • A3: Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or Financial Assets of Cyprus companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by CySec
  • A4: Combination of the aforementioned Criteria (limited to €500K investment in Government Bonds + €1,5M from the Option A1 –A3 + €500K residential property)

The minimum possible investment for citizenship purposes is €2,0M in the Residential Real Estate only (Option A1).

A. INVESTMENT CRITERIA

One of the following investment criteria must be met for a non - Cypriot citizen to be eligible to apply for Naturalization by exception.

Α.1 Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects

The Investor must have made an investment of at least €2,0M for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects.

Investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application.

Α.2 Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses

The Investor should have made a purchase or should have participated in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of at least €2,0M. The invested funds shall be channeled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan.

The abovementioned companies or organizations must have proven physical presence and substantial activity in Cyprus, with significant turnover and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or European Union citizens. The minimum number of employees shall increase, if more than one applicants invest in the same business or company. In addition, the employees of the companies need to have legally and continuously resided in Cyprus during the five years preceding the application submission date.

Α.3 Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations that are licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission (CySec)

The Investor should have bought units of at least €2,0M from alternative investment funds (AIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed and supervised by the CySec and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Scheme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance.

In order to confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Scheme will be kept for at least three (3) years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministries of Finance and Interior with reference to the value of the initial investment.

An investor may invest in financial assets of Cyprus companies or organizations of at least €2,0M, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion.

The purchase by an AIF of units of other AIFs is not considered eligible.

Α.4 Combination of the aforementioned investments

The Investor may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2,0M.

Within this criterion (combination of investments) the Investor may purchase special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus, up to €500.000, which will be issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, on condition that the investor will retain these bonds for a 3-year period. The characteristics and the terms of these special bonds will be determined by the General and Special Issue Terms of the Government Bonds of the Republic of Cyprus. Investments in government bonds through the secondary market are not considered eligible.

B. ADDITIONAL CRITERIA (Terms and Conditions)

B.1 Clean Criminal Record

  • Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and from the country of residence (if different).
  • The Investor should not be included in the list of persons whose assets within the EU have been frozen as the result of sanctions.

B.2 Residence in the Republic of Cyprus (purchase of a permanent residential property in Cyprus of at least €500K plus VAT).

  • In all cases listed in section A (Investment Criteria) the Investor must possess a privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500K plus VAT.
  • If the purchase value of the residential property exceeds the €500K, the additional amount can be considered as part of the main investment (as per section A criteria).
  • If the Investor has invested under criterion A.1, the purchase of another permanent residence in Cyprus will not be required, if at least one of these housing units is worth at least €500K, plus VAT, provided that the Investor retains the possession of the residence for life.
  • The same residence can be acquired collectively by members of the same family, who apply separately, given that the total purchase value covers the amount of €500K per investor.

B.3 Residence Permit in Cyprus

  • If the Investor does not already hold a residence permit, he/she must also apply for a Residence Permit (see Section F below), simultaneously with the application for citizenship.
  • If the Residence Permit is required solely for purposes of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship, there are no other conditions than those stated in both Section A and Section B of this Scheme.

All of the above also apply for the adult members of the family of the Investor, who will apply for citizenship. In case the application for citizenship is rejected for any reason, the residence permit, obtained in accordance with these provisions, will be cancelled immediately.

C. FAMILY MEMBERS OF THE INVESTOR

C.1. Spouse/Civil Partner. The relevant application is submitted simultaneously with the Investor’s application.

C.2. Minor Children. The relevant application is submitted after the Investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship, subject to the other parent’s consent to the grant of the citizenship.

C.3. Adult Children. Only financially dependent adult children of the Investor are eligible to apply for citizenship. The relevant application is submitted after the Investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship. Financially dependent for the purposes of the Scheme are:

  • Higher education students (i.e. diploma or undergraduate or, master’s degree) up to 28 years old. Studies for professional qualifications such as Chartered Accountants or Barrister, are excluded from the Scheme.
  • Children with severe physical or mental disability that renders them unable to work.

C.4. Investor’s Parents.

  • The relevant application is submitted after the Investor had acquired the Cypriot citizenship with the prerequisite that the parents will purchase a permanent residential property in Cyprus of at least €500K plus VAT.
  • The Investor and the Investor’s parents may acquire collectively the same residence given that the purchase value of such residence will be at least €1.000.000 plus VAT.

D. PROCEDURE

D.1 Investor’s Application. The following are submitted at the Ministry of Interior during a pre- arranged appointment:

(a) application M127 with all required applicable documents specified in Section E, with a full set of copies thereof; and

(b) the amount of €2.000.

  • Upon the submission of the application the examination process begins and documents and information (i) related to the Investment Criteria are sent to the Ministry of Finance for evaluation and views on whether the criteria are met; and (ii) related to the Additional Criteria are evaluated by the Ministry of Interior. If all the Criteria are met, the Minister of Interior presents the case to the Council of Ministers for final decision. The processing time is around 3-4 months.
  • Upon approval of the application and in order for the Investor to acquire a Cypriot Passport and Identity Card provided that (i) the Investor holds a residence permit for a period of at least 6 months, the certificate of Naturalization is issued by the Civil Registry and Migration Department following the payment of the relevant fee of €5.000. In any other case the Investor will have to wait until the 6-month period is completed; and (ii) the Investor shall give the Oath of Faith to the Republic of Cyprus before a Registrar of a Cyprus Court or a Consular Officer of the Republic of Cyprus.

D.2 Investor’s Spouse/Civil Partner Application. The application of the Spouse/Civil Partner of the Investor can be submitted along with the Investor’s application. The same procedure and fees described in D.1 applies, except from the evaluation of the application by the Ministry of Finance regarding the Investment Criteria, which is examined only once, upon submission of the original application by the Investor.

D.3 Investor’s Adult Children Application. The application of the adult children of the Investor can be submitted after the acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship by the Investor. The same procedure and fees described in D.1 applies except from the evaluation of the application by the Ministry of Finance regarding the Investment Criteria, which is examined only once, upon submission of the original application by the Investor.

D.4 Investor’s Parents Application. The application of the Parents of the investor can be submitted after the acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship by the Investor. The same procedure described in D.1 applies except from the evaluation of the application by the Ministry of Finance, which is examined only once, upon submission of the original application by the Investor.

D.5 Investor’s Minor Children Application. The application of minor children of the Investor can be submitted after the acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship by the Investor and the following are submitted at the Civil Registry and Migration Department:

(a) application M126 with all required documents specified in Section E, with a full set of copies thereof; and

(b) the amount of €80.

E. REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

E.1 Investor’s Application

General

1.1. Application Form M127 signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot Court or a Consular Officer.
1.2. Check List of Investor’s Application Documents.
1.3. Letter by the Investor or his/her representative, in which the investment criterion under which the Application is submitted is briefly explained.

Personal Documentation

1.4. Birth Certificate.
1.5. True Copy of passport.
1.6. Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
1.7. Marriage Certificate/Civil Partnership Certificate (if application is made jointly with spouse).
1.8. Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper; two (2) consecutive posts.
1.9. Two (2) passport size photographs.
1.10. Curriculum Vitae.
1.11. Copy of Residence Permit in the Republic of Cyprus (if the application is not done simultaneously with the citizenship application).
1.12. Copy of the employment contract (if the application is done by a High-Ranking Executive).
1.13. Receipt from the Department of Inland Revenue (if the application is done by a High-Ranking Executive).

Residence in the Republic of Cyprus Documentation

1.14. Contract of Sale.
1.15. Title Deeds or Proof of Registration of the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department.
1.16. Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
1.17. Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the Seller or the Seller’s Company.

Financial/Investment Criteria (as applicable)

1.18. Certificate of Registration of the company(ies) by the Registrar of Companies.
1.19. Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies or certificates evidencing that the Investor is the beneficial owner of the company(ies).
1.20. Audited accounts of the company(ies) for the last three (3) years preceding the year of the application.

1.21. (A.1)Investment in realestate, land development and infrastructure projects
1.21.1. Contract of Sale.
1.21.2. Title Deeds or Proof of Registration of the contract with the Lands and Surveys Department.
1.21.3. Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
1.21.4. Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company.
1.21.5. Investment Plan for the development of the purchased land, if the investment involves the purchase of land under development.

1.22. (A.2.)Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses
1.22.1. Contract of Sale.
1.22.2. Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
1.22.3. Certificate of shareholders by the Registrar of Companies.
1.22.4. Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization.
1.22.5. Specific investment plan.
1.22.6. Copies of the employment contracts of the Cypriot or European Union citizens employed by the company in which the investor has invested.
1.22.7. Confirmation from Social Insurance Department as to the insurable income of the Cypriot or European Union citizens employed in the company.
1.22.8. Copy of Social Insurance Contributions for every Cypriot or European Union citizen employee.
1.22.9. Registration Certificate (MEU1) or Permanent Registration Certificate of Union Citizen (MEU3) for employees that are European Union citizens.

1.23. (A.3) Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations that are licensed by CySec
1.23.1. Title/Titles and other relevant documents of the financial assets/units purchased.
1.23.2. Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the company or the organization.
1.23.3. Specific investment plan.
1.23.4. Confirmation by the CySec.

1.24. (A.4)Combination of Investments-Investment in government bonds
1.24.1. Proof from the Public Debt Management Office for the purchase of special government bonds.
1.24.2. Copy of the wire transfer into a bank account of the Treasury of the Republic of Cyprus.

E.2 Investor’s Spouse/Civil Partner Application

General

2.1. Application Form M127 signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot Court or a Consular Officer.
2.2. Check List of Investor’s Family Members Application Documents.

Personal Documentation

2.3. Birth Certificate.
2.4. True Copy of passport.
2.5. Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
2.6. Marriage Certificate/ Civil Partnership Certificate.
2.7. Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts.
2.8. Two (2) passport size photographs.
2.9. Curriculum Vitae.
2.10. Copy of Residence Permit in the Republic of Cyprus.
2.11. Copy of the investor’s Naturalization Certificate (if application not submitted simultaneously with Investor).
2.12. Copy of the Investor’s Cypriot passport (if application not submitted simultaneously with Investor).

E.3 Investor’s Financially Dependent Adult Children Application

General

3.1. Application Form M127 signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot Court or a Consular Officer.
3.2. Check List of Investor’s Family Members Application Documents.

Personal Documentation

3.3. Copy of the Investor’s Naturalization Certificate.
3.4. Copy of the Investor’s Cypriot passport.
3.5. Birth Certificate.
3.6. True Copy of passport.
3.7. Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
3.8. Marriage Certificate/Civil Partnership Certificate.
3.9. Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts.
3.10. Two(2)passport size photographs.
3.11. Curriculum Vitae.
3.12. Copy of Residence Permit in the Republic of Cyprus.
3.13. Certificate of attendance by an academic institution(original)–where applicable.
3.14. Medical Certificate attesting the disability(original)–where applicable.

E.4 Investor’s Parents Application

General

4.1. Application Form M127 signed before a Registrar of a Cypriot Court or a Consular Officer.
4.2. Check List of Investor’s Family Members Application Documents.

Personal Documentation

4.3. Copy of the Investor’s Naturalization Certificate.
4.4. Copy of the investor’s Cypriot passport.
4.5. Birth Certificate.
4.6. True Copy of passport.
4.7. Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence (if different).
4.8. Marriage Certificate/ Civil Partnership Certificate.
4.9. Copies of advertisements in a daily newspaper two consecutive posts.
4.10. Two(2)passport size photographs.
4.11. Curriculum Vitae.
4.12. Copy of Residence Permit in the Republic of Cyprus.

Residence in the Republic of Cyprus Documentation

4.13. Contract of Sale.
4.14. Title Deeds or Proof of Registration of the contract with the Landsand Surveys Department.
4.15. Proof of payment of the agreed purchase price.
4.16. Copy of the wire transfer to a Cypriot commercial banking institution in the name of the seller or the seller’s company.

F. IMMIGRATION PERMIT SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ACQUIRING THE CYPRIOT CITIZENSHIP

In case the Investor does not already hold a residence permit, he/she needs to acquire an Immigration Permit solely for the purposes of acquiring the Cypriot Citizenship right after the submission of Naturalization application. The procedure described below needs to be followed for the submission of the citizenship application of the Investor’s adult family members (i.e. parents and financially dependent adult children of the Investor that do not already hold a residence permit. Only the spouse/partner and minor children (under the age of 18) of an Immigration Permit holder are considered dependent family members and therefore they may acquire the Immigration Permit without the submission of separate applications. All the other family members (i.e. parents and financially dependent adult children of the investor) need to submit separate Immigration Permit applications. An Immigration Permit acquired for the purposes of acquiring the Cypriot Citizenship will be immediately cancelled if: (i) the Naturalization procedure is completed and the Applicant acquires the Cypriot citizenship; (ii) the application for naturalization is rejected for any reason.

In case where an Immigration Permit application is required to be submitted along with the Naturalization application the below procedure needs to befollowed:

F.1 Submission of the Citizenship application at the Ministry of Interior

Upon successful submission of the Citizenship application and all required documents, the “Confirmation of Submission of Application for Naturalization by Exception” (not the same thing as the fees payment receipt) will be issued and delivered to the Applicant of his/her representative. This “Confirmation” will be used for the submission of the Immigration Permit application at the Civil Registry and Migration Department.

F.2 Submission of the Immigration Permit application

The following documents need to be submitted:

  1. Form MIP1.
  2. Clean Criminal Record Certificate.
  3. Copy of Passport.
  4. Marriage Certificate/Civil Partnership Certificate (only if the spouse/partner of the investor wishes to acquire the Immigration Permit as the Investor’s dependent).

  5. “Confirmation of Submission of Application for Naturalization by Exception” by the Ministry of Interior.

Since documents under 2.-4. above would have already been submitted in their original form for the Naturalization application, it is accepted to file copies of the submitted documents. The Marriage Certificate or the Civil Partnership Certificate will need to be submitted only if the spouse or partner of the investor wishes to acquire the Immigration Permit as the investor’s dependent.

For the submission of the application for Immigration Permit an appointment needs to be arranged beforehand.

F.3 Collection of applicant’s biometric data

For the issuance of the Immigration Permit the collection of the applicant’s biometric data (fingerprints and photograph) and signature is mandatory. For collection of the biometric data the applicant is required to appear in person at the Civil Registry and Migration Department. Moreover, the applicant needs to present an original travel document.

F.4 Issuance of the Immigration Permit

Following collection of the biometric data, the Immigration Permit (card) is issued within five (5) working days.

The applicant cannot be considered as a holder of a residence permit, unless the above procedure is completed, all relevant fees paid and the Immigration Permit issued.

Our team and associates poses the knowledge, expertise and know-how to provide the required services and support in all areas related to the acquisition of Cyprus Citizenship by an investor and his/her family.

SERVICES

Our services cover the full process of naturalization application, including Immigration Permit (if required) until the issuance of the Cyprus Passport and also include all related supporting services, such a legal review and due diligence of the property and/or other investment to be acquired, incorporation and maintenance of a corporate vehicle in Cyprus (if client choses to use one) and drafting and/or review of contracts or other required document, as may instructed, required or chosen by client. Our Firm’s services for a naturalization application include:

  1. Ascertaining client’s needs and investment criteria and establishing client’s family and investment profile.
  2. Advising on the requirements for an Immigration Permit Application.
  3. Reviewing of all relevant documentation and assisting with the preparation of the relevant required application for an Immigration Permit, submission of same with the authorities and follow up of the process until conclusion and finalization.
  4. Advising on the requirements for the granting of citizenship via the Naturalization by Investment Scheme.
  5. Reviewing of all relevant documentation, assisting with the preparation of the relevant required application, arranging for the relevant publications, submission of application with the authorities and follow up of the process until conclusion/finalization.
  6. Assistance to the identification, upon client’s pre-determined criteria, of potential properties, either in the form of residential property or investment property and/or other eligible investments.
  7. Legal review and/or drafting of contract of sale of a (residential) property and/or title check/legal due diligence for property purchase.
  8. Any other, additional or auxiliary or supporting services, not included in the above, that may be requested, as agreed with the client.

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