Although the Mediterranean island’s new criteria for the citizenship-by-investment scheme start applying on May 15, the Council of Ministers has given the green light for a two-month extension to be granted to certain applicants.
Specifically, to those who already possess a bill of sale for a property but have not managed to file all the required paperwork by that deadline, informed sources told INSIDER.
In these cases, if an applicant submits the bill of sale prior to May 15, but not the other documentation, his or her application for naturalisation could be assessed based on the existing, looser criteria.
Back in February, the government introduced changes to the citizenship-by-investment scheme, tightening up requirements. Among them are stricter criteria for applicants who will undergo background checks by a specialised foreign firm.
Applicants will also be obliged to already possess a Schengen visa – a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. And those who have already been rejected by other EU states will be excluded.
At the same time, Invest Cyprus (CIPA) is expected to play an important role in the development of the island’s citizenship programme since the Agency will be responsible for drafting out the applications for Cyprus passport as part of a foreign investment.
Informed sources have clarified that CIPA’s role will be purely procedural with absolutely no involvement in background checks which is to be undertaken by a specialised foreign firm, anyway.
On May 21, the government is expected to take a final decision on the specific foreign firm that will be carrying out due diligence. According to a decision by the Council of Ministers, dated 26/2/2019, the Ministry of Interior was authorised to receive tenders from three such international firms.
According to the World Citizenship Council website, the top international agencies in background checks are: EXIGER, BDO CONSULTING, THOMSON REUTERS, WEALTH X, BISHOPS, S-RM, INTELECT, GLOBE DETECTIVE.