Daily newspapers in recent days are flooded with announcements concerning people applying for the EU island’s citizenship provided through the Cyprus Investment Programme.
Private sector offices providing such services under licence by the Ministry of Finance confirm that applications have risen in the first months of 2019. They attribute this to the fact that criteria for acquiring a citizenship will become stricter as a result of changes due to come into effect on May 15.
As Phileleftheros has already announced, public tenders will open soon for a specialised foreign firm to carry out due diligence and background checks for each and every application.
One of the main changes is the fact that the investment will need to be maintained for five years following the date of naturalization, instead of three years.
And during this five-year period, the investor will be entitled to change his/her investment into other forms of permitted investments, provided he/she obtains consent from the Ministry of Finance, prior to making any changes.
In addition, a donation of €75,000 for research and development shall be mandatory. Also mandatory will be a donation of €75,000 to the island’s Land Development Organisation to fund affordable housing schemes.
However, the most important new criterion appears to be the fact that applicants will now need to be in possession of a Schengen visa when submitting an application.
And applicants who were rejected by any other EU country for citizenship, will not be allowed to seek Cypriot citizenship under the programme.
Excluded are third-country nationals for whom a visa is not required at EU member states.
Another important change is the provision that if the investment is in real estate, a planning permit must be in place in order for such investment to qualify.
In addition, shipping will be included in the investment sectors, while investing in government bonds shall no longer be available for the purposes of the programme.