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Deciding Between Cypriot Citizenship or Residency by Investment Options

6 March 2017

Deciding Between Cypriot Citizenship or Residency by Investment Options
When it comes to immigration through investment, most countries offer either Citizenship by Investment Programs or Residency by Investment Programs. However, some countries will offer both options, such as Cyprus. So how do you know which option is best for you and your family? Is citizenship more beneficial or does permanent residency offer a better plan in the long run? This blog will discuss the different requirements for citizenship and residency in Cyprus, and how each option can benefit those seeking immigration solutions abroad.

Citizenship by Investment Cyprus vs. Permanent Residency in Cyprus

Cyprus’ Citizenship by Investment Program was established in 2014 as a means to attract wealthy foreign nationals and their capital to the country’s economy. In exchange for a substantial investment, successful applicants and their dependants are granted Cypriot citizenship and passport in exchange.

Cyprus Permanent Residence Permit grants applicants and their family permanent residence status in exchange for a financial contribution to Cyprus’ economy. However, applicants are not granted citizenship and a second passport but have the option of applying for Cypriot citizenship after 7 years of permanent residency.

Program Requirements for Cyprus

Both programs have similar requirements, such as applicants having clean criminal records and real estate investment options. However, there are distinct differences between the two programs. Below is a quick overview of Cypriot citizenship and permanent residency requirements:
 
Requirements Citizenship by Investment Residency by
Investment
Minimum Net Worth EUR 2 million EUR 500,000+
Minimum Investment Amount EUR 2 million; OR,
EUR 2.5 million (as a combined investment)
EUR 330,000
Real Estate Investment Purchase of a personal residence for a minimum of EUR 500,000 (including VAT)* Property purchased must be worth at least EUR 300,000 (not including VAT)**
Physical Residency No Yes
(6 months +1 day)
Employment in Cyprus Applicants can work anywhere in Cyprus Applicants should not have any intention to work in Cyprus

*Please refer to Cypriot Citizenship Investment Options for greater detail about real estate requirements.
** Please refer to Cypriot Permanent Residency Investment Options for greater detail about real estate requirements.

Cypriot Citizenship Investment Options
  • Applicants must invest a minimum amount of EUR 2 million in Cypriot real estate, which must be held for at least three years. However, a portion of the initial investment amount must also include a personal residence valued at a minimum of EUR 500,000 (plus VAT); OR,
  • Applicants can make a minimum investment of EUR 2.5 million, which must also be held for at least three years. Like the abovementioned option, at least EUR 500,000 (plus VAT) of the investment must include a personal residence. With this option, however, applicants must make a combined investment as follows with the remaining EUR 2 million:
1. Invest in real estate or development projects by purchasing or constructing buildings, such as residential, commercial, or infrastructure projects in Cyprus;
2. Invest in government securities up to a EUR 500,000;
3. Buy, establish, or participate in Cyprus’ business sector (applicants who choose this option must also invest in a business or company that employs a minimum of five citizens of Cyprus).

Cypriot Permanent Residency Investment Options

Without question, investment amounts for Cypriot permanent residency are significantly lower. Investment amounts are as follows:
  • First, applicants must deposit a minimum amount of EUR 30,000 in a Cypriot financial institution;
  • Applicants must have a secure annual income (this can be combined with his or her spouse) of at least EUR 30,000 transferred to a Cypriot bank account from abroad. However, the annual income amount should increase by EUR 5,000 for every dependent (children under the age of 18); AND,
  • The applicant and his or her spouse must purchase either personal residence(s) or other buildings:
     
1. Two residences (apartments or houses); OR,
2. A personal residence and a shop; OR,
3. A personal residence and an office.

The property purchased must be worth at least EUR 300,000 (not including VAT).

Benefits of Cypriot Citizenship vs. Cypriot Permanent Residency

When it comes down to deciding between Cypriot citizenship and Cypriot permanent residency, the most important question to ask is, “Which program can I benefit from the most?” Let’s discuss what each has to offer.

For starters, both programs offer applicants fast-track citizenship or residency. Cypriot citizenship can be obtained in as little as 3 months, whereas Cypriot permanent residency is granted in 2-3 months.  Both programs recognize dual citizenship and provide applicants and their family visa-free and visa-on-arrival access to 159 countries, including the Schengen region.

As mentioned, there are differences to each program’s benefits. For instance, applicants seeking permanent residency must reside in Cyprus for a minimum of 6 months (and one day), whereas those applying for Cypriot citizenship are not obligated to reside in the country at all. This can be a significant factor for those wishing to remain in their country of origin. Cypriot permanent residency also allows access to quality healthcare and educational institutions anywhere in the country. In addition, Cyprus has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, which offers applicants and their family added safety and security.

While both of Cyprus’ programs offer access to the EU and Schengen region, obtaining Cypriot citizenship and passport allows holders to live, work, and study in any EU member state. In addition, having a second passport is similar to a life insurance policy, which can help an individual in an emergency. While Cypriot citizenship might have more attractive benefits, it also comes at a higher cost.

As we have learned, Cypriot citizenship and residency each have their own requirements and benefits. Depending on the applicant’s circumstances and immigration needs, one might be better than the other. Contact our offices today to discuss Cyprus’ citizenship and residency options.

For more information on Cyprus’ Citizenship by Investment Program, please click here.

For more information on Cyprus’ Permanent Residence Program, please click here.

Fill out our Free Assessment to see if you qualify for any of the immigration programs offered.
 

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