On 27th February 2019, some changes of the Cyprus Citizenship-by-Investment Program were published by the Government. Please see below the most important changes that will come into effect on the 15th of May 2019:
1. At the time of submitting the citizenship application investor + spouse should be in possession of a valid Schengen visa; it is understood that citizens of non EU countries that do not require a visa to travel to EU member states shall be excluded from the requirement to hold a Schengen Visa. It is also understood that the requirement to hold a Schengen Visa applies to any adult members of the investor that will submit a Citizenship application ( i.e parents/ adult children);
2. Applicants who were rejected by another EU country shall be excluded from the CIP and their applications will automatically be rejected by the Ministry;
3. The investment should be maintained for 5 years following the date of naturalization, instead of 3 years;
4. A donation of €75,000 for research and business innovation development is mandatory (Research Promotion Foundation); The obligation for the contribution of this amount will not be applicable in case that the Applicant has invested an amount equal to at least €75,000 in a certified innovative Company (which has obtained relevant certificate from the Ministry of Finance) or in a certified social enterprise. Furthermore, the obligation of the donation can also be removed in case the Applicant has invested under criteria A3 (Purchase/ Establishment/ Participation in Cypriot Companies/ Businesses) of an amount equal to the 20% of the required investment amount of this criteria (thus minimum of €400,000) in a Company that is active in the primary or secondary sector of the economy (with the exception of the construction sector), or in the sectors of research and technology, education, health or renewable sources of energy. It is understood that in case the applicant wishes to make a donation of more than €75,000 any surplus amount paid will be calculated towards his investment amount;
5. A donation of €75,000 to the land development organisation (Cyprus Land Development Corporation) to fund affordable housing schemes is mandatory. It is understood that in case the applicant wishes to make a donation of more than €75,000 any surplus amount paid will be calculated towards his investment amount;
6. Investment in shipping can be accepted based on specific criteria that will be determined jointly by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Ministry (based on criterion no. A3 purchase or establishment or participation in Cypriot Companies / Business);
7. Investment in government bonds shall no longer be available for the purposes of the CIP;
8. Due diligence and background checks shall be carried out by a specialized foreign Firm on each applicant/investor (the firm has not been hired yet and will be decided within the next two months).
9. A planning permit shall be mandatory and should be included in the citizenship application for properties that are under construction
10. A certificate of completion of works will have to be presented when the property is finished signed by the architect of the project. In case the project is under construction, an amount equal to 5% of the price will have to be maintained in a special account or a Performance Bank Guarantee equal to 5% of the price will have to be issued from the Vendor in favour of the Purchaser;
11. A bank waiver should be issued and submitted in cases where the properties the investor is purchasing are subject to mortgages;
12. During the 5-year period the investor will be able to change his investment provided that he/ she obtains a consent in this regard by the Ministry of Finance;
13. In cases where the applicant is purchasing residential properties that have already been used by another applicant for his/her application, then the investment amount will be increased to €2,5 million.
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