Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for the Cyprus Citizenship by investment program.
Q: What are some of the reasons the Cyprus citizenship by investment program is attracting so many international investors?
International business executives, investors, and important persons who are active worldwide consider an alternative citizenship and passport a powerful tool for international tax planning and a safety net should the living conditions at home become unbearable. Applicants realize that the Cypriot residency/citizenship provides several benefits, including:
- Visa-free travel to 159 countries, including the UK, Canada, and Europe
- A better education for the applicant’s children
- Children and grandchildren gain visa-free travel and the right to live, work, or study anywhere in Europe and Switzerland.
- A better quality of life for the family, including better healthcare and an unpolluted environment
- Relatively low real estate prices
- Personal security
- Tax advantages
- Freedom associated with having multiple passports
Q: Which other family members are entitled to obtain citizenship of Cyprus along with an investor under the program: spouse, children, parents?
An investor and other dependent family members – spouse, minor children (under age 18) and financially dependent adult children (students under age 28) obtain citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus. Parents can also get Cyprus Citizenship by purchasing a home for a minimum €500,000 if their Children already acquired Cyprus Citizenship. 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.
Q: Can investor’s common-law wife (the marriage has not been registered) also obtain citizenship along with the investor or is only an official marriage recognized in Cyprus in order to participate in the program?
Provided that a marriage between spouses has not been officially registered but common-law spouses are really actual man and wife and live together in common-law marriage then they can register their marriage at a city hall (municipality) of one of Cyprus cities. In case they have no such intention then there is another option – they can be married in the church without state registration of their marriage. Certificate of marriage registered and certified by Orthodox Church of Cyprus is legally recognized in the Republic of Cyprus as well as a common-law marriage registered at a municipality.
Q: Do I get it right that citizenship and passport obtained under the program for investors differ in no way from all the other statuses of a citizen and passports of the Republic of Cyprus? Does an investor, who has obtained citizenship under the above program, enjoy all the same rights as other citizens (nationals) of Cyprus including the right to move freely, live and work within the area of the EU without any restrictions?
Yes, you do get it right, all the above is true. We can merely add that an applicant also acquires the voting right in the Republic of Cyprus.
Q: Please, advise if there are any requirements to an investor related to living in the country prior to obtaining citizenship.
There are no requirements.
Q: Please, advise if it is required to pass Greek language proficiency test or exam in the history of Cyprus as a condition to obtaining citizenship of Cyprus?
No, it is not required.
Q: Is a passport of a citizen (national) of Cyprus a full value passport of a country-member of the European Union?
Yes, that is exactly so.
Q: Does the BuySell Cyprus Real Estate company support the entire process of obtaining citizenship of Cyprus starting from application till obtaining a passport? Is selection of immovable property/other types of investment, paperwork included in your package of services?
Yes, of course, we do support the whole process from the very beginning and until an investor obtains a passport.
Q: Is an investor required to reside in Cyprus after he/she has obtained citizenship in order to retain it?
No, you are not required to reside in Cyprus in order to retain your citizenship.
Q: What tax burdens are imposed on an investor after obtaining Cypriot citizenship? Will the investor be required to pay taxes on income obtained from sources located abroad?
Upon obtaining citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus no new or additional tax liabilities arise for the investor unless the investor 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. This is indeed revolutionary!
Q: Will the Cyprus citizenship automatically grant me European citizenship?
Yes. Because Cyprus is a member of the European Union its citizens are automatically European citizens, which means you are allowed to live, work or study anywhere in Europe.
Q: Can I include my family in my application?
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 25 who are full-time students and financially dependent on the main 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.
Q: Am I required to live in Cyprus?
No. Cyprus does not require you to be present or reside in Cyprus before or after approval of your citizenship application.
Q: Am I required to own real estate in Cyprus?
Yes. Every main applicant must be the owner of a permanent residence in Cyprus, with a market value of at least EUR 500,000 plus VAT. Members of the same family - but filing separate applications - may pool their resources provided that the total amount of the residence/house covers the amount of EUR 500,000 for each applicant. However, the country does not require you to be present or reside in Cyprus.
Q: Is purchase of a private property a compulsory condition to meet the requirements of law when obtaining citizenship for investors?
Yes, that is just so. Regardless of the criterion based on which an investor will prefer to submit an application for obtaining citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus, the law provides for the purchase of property for private use the value of which is at least €500,000+VAT.
Q: Suppose I bought residential villa as an investment. Should I buy additional private property worth at least €500,000?
If you purchased one residential property worth €2 mln, is not required to buy additional private property. If you purchased several residential properties of the same amount, then you don't have to buy an additional property. The investment may be sold after 3 years; however, the investor must always maintain a property with a value of at least €500,000.
Q: I already have a villa in Cyprus. Can it go to offset when calculating the total investment?
Yes, it can, if you purchased this villa not earlier than three years before applying for citizenship.
Q: What is the period for immigration authorities of Cyprus to consider an application for granting citizenship to investors?
The period for consideration of applications comprises three months at the most from submission of an application. Thus you obtain a passport of a citizen (national) of the Republic of Cyprus within three months time.
Q: Please, advise whether I lose fully or partly invested money?
You lose nothing. After three years (minimum duration of investment) you can sell investment properties and get back your invested money back.
Q: Suppose I have purchased a villa the value of which is €2 million. But I am not going to live in it. Can I sell it as soon as I obtain a Cyprus passport?
As far as the sale of your villa is concerned the law provides for such an option only three years after purchasing.
Within the first 3 years, you can sell your €2 million villa 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 buy multiple residential units, at least one of them must be minimum €500,000. For example, you can buy a Villa for €500,000 and 15 apartments for €100,000 each, total €2,000,000.
After 3 years of obtaining your Cyprus citizenship, you can sell your properties provided that you keep always on your name one house or apartment which you purchased for a minimum €500,000.
Q: Investments must necessarily be made by the investor personally or can they be made through company/companies of the investor or an investment fund or an investment foundation?
An 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.
Q: In the case of purchase of real estate are transfer fees included in the amount of the €2,0 million investment?
The transfer fees are not included in the amount of the investment, as no other charges or taxes are.
Q: Is real estate investment for Cyprus citizenship restricted to new or can I invest in resale (real estate sold for the second time) be considered as an investment for the purposes of applying for citizenship?
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.
Q: Will my Cyprus citizenship expire?
No. When you acquire citizenship under the Cyprus citizenship program, you and your family enjoy full citizenship for life, which can be passed on to future generations by descent.
Q: How long does it take to get the citizenship and passport? What is the process?
Typically, the full process of obtaining citizenship approval in Cyprus will take three months if choosing the real estate investment option. From the approval day, it takes another three months to get your actual passport. Read the article below for details.
Q: How will new citizens be taxed?
Individuals are considered as a tax resident of Cyprus if they spend more than 183 days per year in Cyprus. Tax residents are taxed on all chargeable income that is accrued or derived from any source in Cyprus and abroad. Nontax residents are only taxed on certain income accrued or derived from a source in Cyprus. Any foreign taxes that are paid can be credited against personal income tax liability. Personal tax on income generated in Cyprus is taxed at progressive rates up to 35%. The corporate tax rate is 12.5%. VAT
Q: Can you help me find suitable properties for citizenship investment in Cyprus?
Yes. We would be happy to help you find your ideal residential and/or commercial property. Our professional relationships and local presence in Cyprus guarantee to our clients a smooth, comprehensive service that includes identifying suitable properties, providing transport for property viewings, drafting/reviewing legal contracts, and/or liaising with local experts until you get your passport.
Q: What does "Schengen Area" mean?
The Cyprus citizenship allows you to travel without restrictions across the "Schengen Area" of the European Union. The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders. It functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy.
Q: What are the government fees when receiving citizenship?
All government fees are shown in the table below:
APPLICATION SUBMISSION FEE
CERTIFICATE ISSUANCE FEE
Q: What are the Cyprus Passport Application criteria?
In addition to making a financial investment, applicants must also meet the following requirements:
- Must have a valid passport
- Provide documents supporting the source and origin of the declared funds for investment
- Provide proof that the applicant has no criminal record
- The applicant’s name must not be included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen within the boundaries of the EU
- Payment of application fees
For more information visit the official page of the Cyprus Ministry of Interior