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Updates to the Cyprus Investment Program

The Cyprus Investment Programme has approved 1,864 applications for last 6 years since 2013. The program has brought €6.6 billion foreign investment towards Cyprus economy, especially in real estate sector.
 
The Cabinet has approved new economic and procedure criteria changes to the program on 13 February 2019, to make the scheme more reliable and increase its transparency. These new changes aim to encourage the creation of an eco-system of business and help finance the affordable housing programs.
 
Changes to economic criteria:

Mandatory Donation
(effective from May 15th, 2019)
  1. A €75,000 donation to the “Foundation for Research and Innovation”. The obligation is waived if the applicant invests at least €75,000 in a certified innovative business (which holds a certificate of approval from the Ministry of Finance) or a certified social company.
Additionally, this obligation is waived if the applicant has made an investment under the criterion “Purchase or Establishment or Participation in Cypriot Companies or Businesses”, amounting to at least 20% of the investment cost of the stated criterion (i.e. €400,000) to a company operating in the primary or secondary sectors of the economy or in one of the fields of research and development, education, health and renewable energy.
  1. A €75,000 donation to the “Cyprus Land Development Corporation”.
Invest Options
  1. Investing in government bonds is no longer acceptable.
  2. Investments to the Cyprus shipping industry are now considered as eligible option with specific measurable criteria.
  3. Investing in Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) is also included in eligible investments, other than investments in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), as well the ability of such organizations to invest up to €200,000 in stocks listed on the Secondary Market of the Cyprus Stock Exchange.
  4. The applicant has the right to replace the investment made in the five-year period, provided it obtains prior approval from the Ministry of Finance
  5. In cases of residential units that have already been used by another investor for the purposes of the CIP and will be reused, the provision stipulating that if the applicant has invested in residential unit(s) on the basis of the criterion “Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects” is not required to purchase another permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic if the properties is worth at least €500,000,  will be valid provided that the total investment, including the privately-owned residence is increased from €2mln to €2.5 mln.  (effective from May 15th, 2019)
 
Additionally, instead of the current 3 years period, the investments will be required to maintain for at least 5 years.
 
Changes to Procedures

For the better control and functioning of the CIP program, some changes to the application procedures are introduced at the same time to increase the transparency and security of it:
  1. The applicant must hold a valid Schengen visa in order to apply for the naturalization of Cyprus.
  2. In cases that the applicant was rejected in any other EU citizenship program, he/she will not be allowed to submit the application under the CIP scheme.
  3. For any investments in real estate properties as well as in the case of the permanent privately-owned residence the following documents should be provided to the authorities:  (effective from May 15th, 2019)
  • Planning permit
  • Certificate of completion (for completed properties) signed by the project architect
  • In cases, where a property is under construction, at least 5% of the total value of the property should be maintained in a special account or a bank guarantee of equivalent value is issued in the name of Buyer (Performance Bank Guarantee)
  • In case where there is a mortgage on the property to be acquired, a bank waiver should be in place


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