UK nationals living in Cyprus. Residence rights after Brexit for Chinese

Benefits of Cypriot Citizenship:
  • You and your family can freely travel, reside and work within the EU;
  • Your spouse, children and parents can easily obtain Cypriot citizenship;
  • You can purchase property in any EU country and invest in any activity of choice.
Ways to Obtain a Cypriot Passport:
  1. Citizenship by investing.
  2. Naturalization by years of residence.
  3. Marriage to a Cypriot citizen.
1. Cyprus Citizenship by Investment
Fast Track Option
From November 1, 2020, Cyprus suspended the Island’s Citizenship by Investment program until further notice.
Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme Revision –
Provisions effective from 15th of May 2019

Fast Track Option

Cyprus Investment Programme

The recent amendments to the Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by Exception Scheme established the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP) in 2018. The Cyprus government has formulated a citizenship scheme aimed at high net worth individuals and investors.

The program grants Cyprus Citizenship by investment to successful applicants and their families in 6 months. Individuals from China seeking for the second passport have to invest €2.2 million in Cyprus economy and meet some additional criteria.

Program overview

According to the Council of Ministers Decisions (dated 13.09.2016 and subsequent decision 21.05.2018), non-Cypriot Investors from China can acquire the Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization and the Cyprus Passport for them and their families (by the exception based on the Civil Registry Laws of 2002 — 2017).

Benefits:

  • Visa-free travel to over 172 countries. No visa requirements for all the EU member states, Canada and Australia, amongst others.
  • Access to Cyprus and EU education system. The education system in Cyprus is well known for its high quality and standards. There are many English-speaking private schools and Universities which provide many Education opportunities. A Cyprus citizen has access to EU Universities and can apply for EU grants.
  • Cyprus dual citizenship is allowed under Cypriot Citizenship law.

Eligibility

  • The whole family, including the spouse of the applicant, children under 18 years old and adult financially dependent children (up to 28 years old).
  • The investor’s parents and/or parents in law are entitled to apply for citizenship provided they are owners of a Cyprus residential property with at least €500.000 (Plus V.A.T if any)
  • Six months expected time-frame for the examination of the application.
  • Citizenship by investment is valid for life and passed on to new generations.
  • No Tax consequences – the applicant does not become a tax resident in Cyprus unless he spends more than 183 days in one calendar year.

Cyprus Investment Programme

Step by Step Procedure

  1. Immigration Lawyer Engagement
  2. Investment Selection & Preparation of Documents
    Requirements:
  3. Purchase Main Residence for EUR 500 000
    Properties EUR 2 million
    EUR 1.5 million ResidentialorParticipation in Cypriot Companies
    or or
    EUR 2 million Commercial AIF or financial assets of Cypriot Companies
    Donation EUR 200 000

  4. Submission of Citizenship and Permanent Residency Applications
  5. Visit Cyprus for Biometrics for Permanent Residency
  6. Permanent Residency Cards issued
  7. Citizenship Application Examined by Ministries of Finance & Interior
  8. Approval = Certificate of Citizenship is issued
  9. Visit Cyprus for Biometrics for Passport & ID card (Passport is 1 day, ID card in 7 days)

Terms and conditions:

  • Adult applicants must hold a Clean Criminal Record from the country of origin and the country of residence if they differ. Their names must not be included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the EU.
  • An applicant whose application for EU citizenship in any other member-state of the European Union had been rejected is not eligible to apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot citizenship by Investment Programme.
  • The applicant must hold a valid Schengen visa. Third-Country nationals that do not require an entry visa for travelling in European Union member-states, as well as citizens of European Union Member States are excluded from this obligation.
  • Adult applicants must hold a Residence Permit in Cyprus for at least 6 months before acquiring the Cypriot Citizenship.
  • Investments need to be retained for at least 5 years from the date of taking the Citizenship.
  • Must keep for life a residential property (House/Apartment) valued €500.000. Rental of all the properties is allowed.
  • The money for the investments should be transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

Cyprus Investment Programme 2020 requirements:

In 2020 the following criteria apply to investors looking for Cyprus citizenship:

  • The applicant is required to buy a house or apartment in Cyprus for at least €500.000 (plus VAT if any). It is not allowed for the investor to sell the primary residence. However, the rental of it is permitted.
  • Additionally, to invest as follows in either of the below:
A1. Investment in real estate, land development, and infrastructure projects:

Residential properties €1.5 million (plus VAT if any) (Can even be a single primary residence for €2M)
or
Commercial properties €2 million (plus VAT if any)
A2. Purchase or establishment or participation in Cypriot companies or businesses    for €2 million
A3. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by CySec
A4. Combination of the investments mentioned above.

In addition to the required investments to proceed as follows:

  • To donate €100.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation, or to invest at least €100.000 in a certified innovative enterprise or a certified social enterprise. Or to donate €100.000 to the Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Conservation Fund, National Solidarity Fund or Service of Industry and Technology.
  • The above obligation is lifted If the applicant has made an investment under the criterion for Purchase / Establishment / Participation in Cypriot Companies of a total amount equal to at least €400.000 in a company active within the primary, or secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the industries of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
  • To donate €100.000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation.

Cyprus citizenship investment options for citizens of China explained:

Α.1 Investment in real estate, land development, and infrastructure projects

The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or the creation of other land development projects (residential or commercial developments, developments in the tourism sector) or other infrastructure projects.

It is noted that investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased area will be included in the application. It is understood that investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development, is excluded.

Α.2 Purchase or establishment or participation in Cypriot companies or businesses

The applicant should have made a purchase or should have participated in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment costs of at least €2,0 million. The invested funds shall be channelled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan. The applications shall be evaluated to verify that the companies or organizations have proven physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or citizens of European Union member-states. The minimum number of employees shall increase if more than one applicant invests simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company. Also, the employees of the companies need to have legally and continuously resided in Cyprus during the five years preceding the application submission date.

Α.3 Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies or Cypriot organizations that are licensed by CySec

The applicant should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed and supervised by the CySec and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Programme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance. To confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Programme will be kept for at least five years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministries of Finance and Interior regarding the value of the initial investment.

The purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations of at least €2,0 million, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion.

It is noted that the purchase by an AIF of units of other AIFs is not considered eligible.

Α.4 Combination of the investments mentioned above

The Chinese applicant may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2,0 million.

Application procedure for the Cyprus Investment Programme

Application procedure and timeline:

  • The Investor and family members can apply at the same time. They need to sign the application forms at Cypriot court or a Cyprus Embassy, and the service provider will submit the applications with all necessary supporting documents.
  • Simultaneously with the submission of their application, they will also apply for Residence Permit (issued within 5 working days). They need to visit Cyprus to give biometrics for the residence permit.
  • The ministries of Interior and Finance examine the application and present it to the Council of Ministers for approval.
  • Provided they have Residence Permit for 6 months and following approval the Citizenship certificate is issued, they can visit Cyprus to give biometrics, so that the Passports can be issued.

Cyprus citizenship fees

The cost of the Cyprus Investment Program is 2m euros plus the donation of €200.000, and it does not include the following government fees for the citizenship application:

ApplicantCIP application submission feeCertificate issuance feeTotal
Investor€2000€5000€7000
Investor’s spouse€2000€5000€7000
Adult children & parents (each)€2000€5000€7000
Minor child€80 €80
Passport issuance fee (each)€120
Identity card issuance fee (each)€30

Our services

We provide guidance and representation through all the procedure until the approval and the issuance of the Cyprus passports for Chinese passport holders.

  • Advice and preparation of all required documents
  • Complete due diligence on real estate or other investments
  • Preparation and review of all necessary legal documents (sale agreements, the establishment of companies etc.)
  • Applying and following the application process
  • Keeping you updated about the status of the application
  • Assist with obtaining passports and ID cards for you and your family members.

Our immigration lawyers would be happy to meet or provide additional information and give you a detailed description of the process and our services.

An applicant and other dependent family members – spouse, minor children (under age 18) and financially dependent adult children (students under age 28) obtain citizenship. Parents can also get Cyprus Citizenship by buying a property for a minimum €500,000 if their Children already acquired it. In other words, parents are NOT required to make a full investment of €2 million euros, only the purchase of a house or an apartment for a minimum amount of €500,000 is enough.

There are no requirements.

No, it is not required.

Yes, that is precisely so.

No, you are not required to reside in Cyprus.

No new or additional tax liabilities arise for the investor unless he opts to become a Cyprus tax resident, i.e. to spend 183 days in Cyprus (or more days than in any other jurisdiction). Cyprus tax residents who are NOT DOMICILED in Cyprus, that means they have not been Cyprus tax residents for 17 years out of last 20, by the July 16, 2015 tax legislation will now NOT BE SUBJECT to taxes on dividends, rental income and bank deposit interest on a worldwide income and income generated in Cyprus.

Yes. All investment options to citizenship allow for dependents. ‘Dependent’ refers to: (1) children under the age of 18, (2) children between the age of 18 and 28 who are full-time students and financially dependent on the principal applicant, and (3) parents or grandparents over the age of 65 years old, if they are living with or fully supported by the main applicant. Neither the spouse nor the children are required to make any additional financial investments.

No. Cyprus does not require you to be present or reside in Cyprus before or after the approval of your CIP application.

Yes, that is just so. Regardless of the criterion based on which an investor will prefer to apply, the law provides for the purchase of property for private use, the value of which is at least €500,000+VAT.

If you purchased one residential property worth €2 mln, it is not required to buy additional private real estate. If you bought several residential properties of the same amount, then you don’t have to purchase other property. The investment may be sold after five years; however, the investor must always maintain a property with a value of at least €500,000.

You lose nothing. After five years (minimum duration of investment), you can sell investment properties and get back your invested money back.

As far as the sale of your villa is concerned the law provides for such an option only five years after purchase. Within the first five years, you can sell your €2 million villas, but you are obliged to maintain your €2 million investment. That means when you sell, you must simultaneously buy one home for the amount of €2 million or multiple residential units for the total amount of €2 million. In case you purchase numerous residential units, at least one of them must be a minimum €500,000. For example, you can buy a Villa for €500,000 and 15 apartments for €100,000 each, a total €2,000,000. After five years you can sell your properties provided that you always keep on your name one house or apartment which you purchased for a minimum €500,000.

Investment through a company or fund or foundation is eligible, provided that there is a proven correlation between the investor and the company or fund or foundation.

The transfer fees are not included in the amount of the investment, as no other charges or taxes are.

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time. So, you can invest in any property resale or new. The difference of new properties is that you pay between 5% to 19% Value Added Tax (VAT), which is not refundable and is not considered part of your investment.

No. When you acquire Cyprus citizenship by way of investment under the program, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.

Yes, it does.

Since the Investor is not required to reside in Cyprus, it is possible to rent out their privately-owned residence. It is also possible to replace the residential property with another property of the same value.

It means that to file a Naturalization application by the provisions of this Scheme, the investor must have concluded the investment during the three years preceding the submission date of the said application. That is to say, if the applicant applies in 2019, the investment must have been concluded during the period 2016 – 2019. Furthermore, the investor is obliged to retain the investment for at least five years following the acquisition of citizenship. The five-year period begins on the date of the approval of the application by the Council of Ministers.

The VAT is neither included in the amount of Investments», nor in the amount of €500.000 required as a minimum purchase value of the privately-owned residence.

The purchase value.

According to the contents of the Council of Ministers’ Decision, the eligible investment is not limited to properties purchased for the first time.

Yes.

Yes, provided that he/she will buy a different residence of equal or higher purchase value.

  1. The investments will need to be kept for a period of 5 years from the date of receiving Cyprus Citizenship. The investor may replace the investments during the said 5-year period provided receives the permission of the council of ministers.
  2. In Addition to the required investments to proceed as follows:
    a) To donate €75.000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation, or to invest at least €75.000 in a certified innovative enterprise or a certified social enterprise.
    The above obligation is lifted If the applicant has made an investment under the criterion for Purchase / Establishment /Participation in Cypriot Companies of a total amount equal to at least €400.000 in a company active within the primary , or secondary sector of the economy (excluding constructions), or in the sectors of research and development, education, health and renewable energy sources.
    AND
    b) To donate €75.000 to the Cyprus Land development Corporation.
  3. Investments in the shipping sector will be eligible on the basis of criteria that will be determined.
  4. The applicants must hold a valid Schengen visa. Applicants that do not require an entry visa for travelling in EU countries, are excluded from this obligation.
  5. If the applicant has invested in housing units that have already being used for the purpose of acquiring the Cypriot citizenship via the Programme, then the total amount of the investments, including the privately-owned residence, will be at least €2,5 million.
  6. For Investment in real estate, land development a Town-planning permit is required.
  7. If the purchased property is under construction, it is required either to maintain an amount equal to the 5% of the purchase value in a special account or for the seller to issue in the benefit of the purchaser a performance bank guarantee equal to the 5% of the purchase value.
  8. A complete abolition of investment in government bonds as an acceptable investment within the Program.
Criteria for exceptional naturalization to foreigners:
  1. Real Estate, Land Development, and Infrastructure Projects​:
    The applicant must have made an investment of at least €2,0 million for the purchase or construction of buildings or for the construction of other land development projects (for residential or commercial purposes, developments in the tourism sector etc.) or other infrastructure projects.
    Please note that investment in land under development is included in this criterion, provided that an investment plan for the development of the purchased land will be included in the application. Investment in land that is situated in a building zone of zero development is excluded.
    Investor is entitled to sell his investments after 3 year.
  2. Purchase, Creation, or Participation in Cypriot Businesses or Companies:
    The applicant should have made a purchase or should have participated in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus with investment of at least €2,0 million. The invested funds shall be channelled towards the financing of the investment objectives of these companies exclusively in Cyprus, based on a specific investment plan.
    The applications shall be evaluated to verify that the companies or organizations have proven physical presence in Cyprus, with significant activity and turnover and employ at least five (5) Cypriot or citizens of European Union member-states. The minimum number of employees shall increase, if more than one applicant invest simultaneously or almost simultaneously in the same business or company. In addition, the employees of the companies need to have legally and continuously resided in Cyprus during the five years preceeding the application submission date.
  3. Investments in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) or financial assets of Cypriot businesses or organizations:
    The applicant should have bought units of at least €2,0 million from alternative investment funds (AIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, licensed and supervised by the CySec and whose investments are made exclusively in the Republic of Cyprus, in investments that meet the criteria of this Scheme or in areas approved by the Minister of Finance.
    In order to confirm that the investments that meet the criteria of the current Scheme will be kept for at least three years, the manager or the auditor of the Fund shall inform in writing and on an annual basis, the Ministries of Finance and Interior with reference to the value of the initial investment.
    The purchase of financial assets of Cypriot companies or organizations of at least €2,0 million, such as bonds, bills and securities, issued with the approval of the CySec, by companies that have proven physical presence and substantial economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus, and have as a purpose the financing of the investment plans of these companies or organizations exclusively in Cyprus, based on an investment plan, fall under this criterion.
    Please note that the purchase by an AIF of units of other AIFs is not considered eligible.
  4. Combination of the aforementioned investments:
    The applicant may proceed with a combination of the above investments, provided that the total investment will amount up to at least €2,0 million.
    Within this criterion (combination of investments) the applicant may purchase special government bonds of the Republic of Cyprus, up to €500.000, which will be issued by the Public Debt Management Office of the Ministry of Finance, on condition that the investor will retain these bonds for a three year period. The characteristics and the terms of these special bonds will be determined by the General and Special Issue Terms of the Government Bonds of the Republic of Cyprus. Investments in government bonds through the secondary market are not considered eligible.
Please note:

Applicants from China who satisfy the criteria for applying for Citizenship must:

  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Their names must not be listed in the list of individuals whose assets are ordered to be frozen within the borders of the European Union.
  • Additionally, applicants must hold a permanent privately-owned residence in Cyprus, the market value of which must be worth of a minimum €500.000 plus V.A.T.
Our Practice:

We can represent you all the way until successful outcome. We ensure that whatever is necessary to be done, is duly done on time. We assist you on completing all necessary forms (M127) and submit all mandatory documentation. Our dedicated Immigration team is happy to meet you and give you a whole description of the process.

2. Citizenship by Naturalization
of Years

You may qualify for naturalization if:

  • You have been a permanent resident in Cyprus for 7 consecutive years;
  • You have been a permanent resident in Cyprus for 5 consecutive years and you are child/parent of a Cypriot citizen.

In both cases, the Chinese applicant must have resided legally and continuously in Cyprus during the 12 (twelve) months prior the date of the application.

Document requirements:

  1. Passport Copy of the Applicant and his/her wife/husband;
  2. Alien Book (ARC) & Residence Permit;
  3. Declaration of harmonious living for the couple signed by local Muhtar;
  4. Birth Certificate for the applicant (official and certified translation);
  5. Criminal Record Certificate for the applicant;
  6. Marriage Certificate (official and certified translation);
  7. Children’s Birth Certificates (official and certified translation);
  8. 2 Small Passport photos for the applicant certified by Local Muhtar;
  9. Original and Copies of Passport which show the previous arrivals in the Republic.

*Please note that, Marriage Certificate, Children’s Birth Certificates should be translated in English or Greek and be certified by the Ministry of foreign affairs of the country that will issue them and also by the Embassy of their country in Cyprus/or Cyprus Embassy in their country.

Our Practice:

We assist you with the whole application process. We represent you in front of the relevant authorities and we ensure that all forms are duly completed so as to avoid unnecessary delays. Our Immigration team is very well experienced and we have represented clients on their naturalization process for many years.

Upon Submission of Application you need the following accompanying documents:
  • Birth certificate of the applicant;
  • Certificate of clean criminal record of the applicant;
  • Marriage certificate;
  • Copies of all the pages of all the passports of the applicant showing his/her arrivals and departures in Cyprus;
  • Detailed statement of arrivals and departures completed by the applicant;
  • Copies of newspaper advertisements in two consecutive publications which report that the applicant has filed an application for naturalization;
  • Two passport size photographs;
  • Photocopy of receipt for the amount of 500 euros paid as fees.

PLEASE NOTE that all public documents issued abroad must:

  1. Bear an official translation into Greek or English from Press and Information Office.
  2. Be certified with APOSTILLE if the country has signed the Hague Convention of 1961 or Certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of origin of the applicant and then by the Embassy/Consulate of Cyprus in his country or The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of origin of the applicant and then the Embassy / Consulate of his country in Cyprus and then certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.

In the instance that the country of origin of the applicant has not signed the Hague Convention of 1961and there is no Embassy /Consulate in the above mentioned country the documents must be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country of origin of the applicant and then the nearest Embassy / Consulate which is accredited to Cyprus.

3. Citizenship by Marriage
(The foreign spouse of Cypriot citizen)

The foreign spouse of Cypriot citizen, who has resided legally in Cyprus, can claim Cypriot citizenship after completing 3 years of marriage.

Document requirements:

  1. Copy of valid passport or ID of the Cypriot citizen related to the applicant (family member). The original passport or ID should be presented with the application;
  2. Copy of valid passport or other travel document with validity of at least 3 months from the date of the submission of the application;
  3. Copy of the passport or other travel document, indicating the last arrival in the Republic and the relevant visa;
  4. Marriage Certificate of the alien with the Cypriot spouse;
  5. Non Marriage Certificate of the alien spouse from the country of origin (in the case that the applicant was single prior to the marriage);
  6. Copy of the divorce certificate and Affidavit of the alien spouse that he/she has not been married since the date of issuance of his/her divorce;
  7. Copy of the divorce and Affidavit of the Cypriot spouse that he/she did has not been married since to the date of issuance of his/her divorce;
  8. Certificate of full medical insurance which covers both in-patient care, out-patient care and transportation of corpse (Plan A) or medical card of the Ministry of Health in case the Cypriot citizen is not working;
  9. Proof of stable or adequate income deriving from sources other than employment of the alien and his/her Cypriot family member;
  10. Certificate of Social insurance contributions of the Cypriot citizen, who is a member of the alien’s family (if he/she works)
  11. Original birth certificate of the child (who is a Cypriot Citizen) which mentions the name of the Cypriot parent (where applicable)
  12. Title deed or Rental Agreement of the sponsor, with description of the house/flat and proof of rent payments (where applicable).
Preparing your Cyprus Citizenship Application

It is extremely important that you correctly fill in the necessary application forms and submit all relevant documentation to the appropriate immigration authority. The application forms and other due diligence can be complex to complete and difficult to obtain without professional guidance.

We can assist you with the entire application procedure including obtaining and administering application forms and providing reliable information with sample documents the applicant may need.