Investment & EU Residency
Cyprus: Permanent Residence And Citizenship–Gateway To Europe
In light of the global recession and ever changing fiscal and monetary policies that impact investments, there has been an increased interest by foreign investors in relocating their funds and families to a jurisdiction that offers stability and security. Certain changes to the Cypriot immigration policy and legal framework now enable non-EU applicants to obtain Cypriot permanent residence (‘PR’) or citizenship promptly.
The citizenship by investment program in Cyprus enables applicants that have a clean criminal record, own a permanent residence in Cyprus with a value of at least EUR 500,000 (excluding VAT) and have substantial investments of approximately EUR 2,500,000 to EUR 5,000,000 to apply for a fast track citizenship.
The Cypriot permanent residency program enables applicants that have a clean criminal record, invest at least EUR 300,000 in Cypriot real estate, maintain a deposit of EUR 30,000 in a Cypriot banking institution and have sufficient source of funds from abroad to apply for the fast track permanent residency.
The key elements that need to be considered when selecting an immigration solution include:
Security over Funds: The jurisdiction should offer financial, political and social stability coupled with an attractive tax regime. Applicants can benefit from the fiscal benefits in Cyprus e.g. low personal income tax, no inheritance taxes and low property taxes. Furthermore, they are re-assured that their investments in Cyprus are protected by legislation that is harmonized with EU directives which afford stability and security. The Troika have provided Cyprus with bailout funds which have fueled the necessary liquidity to support the island’s economy
Speed and Process of Application: The respective immigration authorities should handle the applications in an efficient and prompt manner. In Cyprus, the fast track citizenship and PR applications are handled with utmost urgency, indicatively PR cases are finalized within two months and citizenship applications take approximately 48 months. The applicant can include their dependent spouse and children on the application, and they are not required to travel to Cyprus to submit the immigration application.
Return on Investment: Real-estate investment is required for both PR and citizenship applications. Currently, property is available at competitive prices and expected to substantially rise in value in the subsequent years, especially in light of the positive developments regarding the anticipated Cyprus gas revenues which will create new opportunities in real estate development.
Criteria for maintaining the permit: Once issued a PR permit is indefinite and will not be withdrawn, provided that the PR holder visits Cyprus bi-annually for at least one day and continues owning the Cypriot real estate, which renders Cyprus an attractive immigration solution to high net-worth individuals and their families. Cypriot PR holders can enjoy equal treatment with nationals with regards to social benefits, education, welfare, and access to EU territories, subject to compliance with certain conditions in the relevant jurisdictions which the PR holders wish to visit.
Cyprus offers a high standard of living, modern transport and infrastructure, excellent academic institutions, access to quality medical services, a stable government and a robust legal framework which is fully harmonized with EU directives. The recent amendments to Cypriot immigration policy have eased the criteria to obtain both permanent residence and citizenship in Cyprus in an attempt to incentivize high net worth individuals to invest in the island. Cyprus has already granted numerous permits to affluent Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern individuals and their dependent family members who are looking for a jurisdiction that offers financial stability, a gateway to Europe and a quality standard of living for their families.