After a recent meeting of the Council of Ministers in the Republic of Cyprus on 13 February 2019, important changes to the Cyprus Investment Programme will come into effect from 15 May 2019 onwards, thereforepermanently changing the CIP’s status quo. The CIP currently enables non EU nationals to acquire Cypriot citizenship within an approximate 6 month time frame, and at the current minimum investment of 2 million euros. 

 The date on which these new changes will come into effect is set for 15 May 2019however, until that time, investors who are interested in investing through the Cyprus Investment Programme and obtaining citizenship for themselves and families, have the unique opportunity to benefit from the current regime, to the extent of saving anything between 150,000 to 650,000 euros, before the new changes comes into force.

The main changes which were voted by Cyprus’ Council of Ministers, and which will come into effect on 15 May 2019, are the following:

  • A limitation of 700 Applications Per Annum under the CIP in the Republic of Cyprus;
  • A donation of €75,000 for research and development shall be mandatory (in addition to the existing criteria of the CIP);
  • A donation of €75,000 to the land development organisation to fund affordable housing schemes shall be mandatory (in addition to the existing criteria of the CIP);
  • Applicants will now need to be in possession of a Schengen visa when submitting an application;
  • Applicants who were rejected by any other EU country for citizenship, will not be allowed to pursue Cypriot Citizenship under the CIP (this has immediate effect);
  • The investment will need to be maintained for 5 years following the date of naturalization, instead of 3 years;
  • During this 5-year period, the investor will be entitled to change his investment into other forms of permitted investments, provided he / she obtains consent from the Ministry of Finance, prior to making any changes;
  • Shipping will be included in the investment sectors, while investing in government bonds shall no longer be available for the purposes of the CIP;
  • If the investment is in real estate, a planning permit must be in place in order for such investment to qualify;
  • Due diligence and background checks shall be carried out by a specialized foreign firm for each and every application (the name of this firm will be confirmed soon following a public tender).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.