The pace of submitting applications for Cypriot citizenship by foreign investors over the past six months has intensified in view of the imminent implementation of amendments to the citizenship by investment scheme.
As far as applications go, the number of 700 citizenships which is the annual set ceiling will be reached quite soon.
But insiders hint of an unofficial extension to the May 15 set date for the implementation of the new measures. And that this will concern only those investors who have sales documents in their hands but have failed to submit the required documents beforehand.
That is, if an investor simply submits the sale document before May 15 and the remaining documents a bit later, then his/her application will be reviewed in accordance with rules and regulations applied before that date.
Despite the rising number of applications, the fact is that it takes at least six months before a passport is granted and, thus, the final naturalisation approval is taken after several months. For example, applications that may be submitted over the next few days will be finally approved or declined by the end of the year or even early in 2020.
Indicative of the mobility that has been recorded over the past months – which is also directly reflected in the real estate sector – is KPMG’s recently released ‘Cyprus Real Estate Market Report’. This shows an annual increase of 27% in real estate transactions worth over €1 million within 2018.
This trend continued in the early months of 2019, according to market research, mainly because some of the scheme’s new requirements are considered particularly difficult – such as the Schengen visa and due diligence by independent private firms to be appointed by the Finance Ministry.