Cypriot citizenship goes mainly to Russians and Chinese through the Mediterranean island’s Citizenship by Investment scheme, according to a study conducted by the Finance Ministry on the impact of the plan on the Cypriot economy. Russians are the majority of ‘new Cypriot nationals’, followed by Chinese.
Third in line are investors from Ukraine, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Russians and Chinese have boosted the real estate market in Cyprus since their investments focused mainly in real estate over the period of 2017-2018. Their top preference is Limassol followed by Paphos and Larnaca.
Russians who buy apartments mainly choose Limassol, while Larnaca is the favourite of Lebanese-origin buyers who also invest primarily in apartments. Paphos is chosen by Russians and Chinese who buy both houses and apartments. The Chinese invest in houses and the Russians in both. Russians, Lebanese and Chinese have also invested in the free area of Famagusta.
Nicosia does not seem to attract foreigners, while Larnaca does record a slight increase in the sale of houses to foreigners – but not necessarily because of the citizenship by investment plan.
The EU member’s ‘passport for citizenship’ scheme was introduced in 2013 in the wake of the financial crisis in order to stimulate economic development.