Cyprus –The Mediterranean Oasis
The Republic of Cyprus is the largest island in the eastern Mediterranean situated south of Turkey, north of Egypt and west of Syria. A former British colony, Cyprus became independent in 1960 from British rule.
Greek and Turkish are the official languages of the nation and English is taught and spoken as a second language in both the ethnic communities.
Cyprus is a Presidential republic. The country has the lowest crime rate in Europe and is the 5th safest country in the world.
Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM2) in May 2005. The country officially adopted the euro as its national currency on 1 January, 2008.
The Republic of Cyprus has an advanced, high-income market economywhich is small, diversified, and prosperous. The Cypriot economy is essentially dominated by the service sector. Tourism, financial services and real estate are the most important sectors. The island’s main economic activities are tourism, clothing and craft exports and merchant shipping.
The island has witnessed a massive growth in tourism over the years and as such the property rental market in Cyprus has grown alongside. Added to this is the capital growth in property that has been created from the demand of incoming investors and property buyers to the island.
The island-nation has also been sought as a base for several offshore businesses for its highly developed infrastructure. The economic policy of the Cyprus government has consistently focused on meeting the criteria for admission to the European Union.
Residency & Citizenship by Investment Program of Cyprus:
The first Cyprus investment program was introduced in February 2009 to counteract the devastating international economic crisis that was threatening to destabilize the economies of many European countries including Cyprus. The introduction of this program also aimed at boosting the purchase of immovable property in Cyprus by increasing incentives for the purchase of a home by citizens of non-EU countries.
Under this program, non-EU nationals could obtain a residence permit of Cyprus by purchasing a house for their personal use in Cyprus whose value is not less than 300,000 euros. This program was initially directed at any persons who came and remained in Cyprus and who could sustain their existence in Cyprus by means of an income earned abroad. However, after the economic crisis, the Cyproit government decided to extend this program to non-EU nationals.
In September 2016, The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus issued a law to make Citizenship by Investment available to investors. The new program is more beneficial to investors and their families. By virtue of this program, the Cyprus Council of Ministers may grant citizenship by naturalization to foreign entrepreneurs. Additionally, Cypriot citizenship will be also granted to the spouse, children and parents of the investor.
Who can qualify?
- To qualify, the main applicant must be at least 18 years of age
- Applicant’s spouse and children under the age of 18 years can also be included in the application. Additionally, an investor’s child with severe mental or physical disability that makes him or her unable to work can also be included in the application
- Parents of the main applicant may be included in the same application provided an additional €500,000 investment is made in a residential property in Cyprus.
- The main applicant and his/her dependents must have no criminal record
- Investor’s name must not be included on the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen by the EU.
- Investment in real estate, development and infrastructure projects
- Purchase, incorporation or participation in Cypriot businesses and companies
- Investment in alternative investment funds or financial assets
- Combination of the above three
- The minimum investment amount required is €2,000,000 for any of the above investment options
- The investor must purchase one residential property worth at least €500,000 plus VAT
- The investor is obliged to retain the investment amount for at least three years following the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship, with the exception of the residential property of at least €500,000 + VAT, which has to be retained for a lifetime. If this residential property is disposed for any reason, the investor must substitute it with another property of equal or higher purchase price.
All investments need to be concluded with fresh funds from abroad.
In principle, approval for citizenship is granted within 2-3 months of submitting an application. Application can be submitted only after the requisite investment is made and residential property worth €500,000 is purchased.
Passports and certificates of naturalization are issued within 6 months of filing an application.
Benefits of Cyprus residency program:
- Cyprus is a full member of EU and soon will become a part of the Schengen zone
- There is no requirement to reside in Cyprus after obtaining citizenship
- There is no language requirement
- Visa-free travel to over 150 countries around the world
- Access to all privileges offered to EU citizens – freedom to work, study and reside in any EU member state
- Access to well-established EU healthcare systems
- Dual citizen permitted
- Cyprus offers an advantageous tax system for international business. The uniform corporate tax rate of 10% is lowest in the EU.
- No foreign income tax, no inheritance tax, no withholding tax on interest earned.
- Applicant does not become a tax resident in Cyprus unless he/she spends more than 183 days per year in the country.