New terms and criteria have been introduced through regulations recently adopted by the ministers of the interior and finance, respectively, for the exceptional naturalisation of foreign businesspersons in Cyprus for public interest reasons.

The terms and criteria provide that any person who is over 30 years old, has no criminal record and a permanent privately owned residence in Cyprus valued at more than €1 million may become a Cypriot citizen without having to reside in Cyprus for seven continuous years, in the event that the person has:

  • direct investments of at least €10 million including, among other things, purchase of immovable property, businesses or companies, shares or securities issued in Cyprus;
  • established a company in Cyprus with a total annual turnover of at least €10 million for the three years prior to the application for citizenship or employing Cypriots amounting to one-third of all company employees;
  • personal deposits in Cypriot banks or deposits of a private company (or companies) or trusts in which they are shareholders in Cyprus that amount to at least €15 million. This amount must be retained in reserve in any Cyprus bank for a period of at least five years. In the event that, after periodical checks, these limits have been violated, citizenship may be revoked;
  • any of the above, in combination, totalling personal assets of €15 million; or
  • established a company (or companies) in Cyprus in combination with either the full payment in Cyprus of income tax or value added tax or for the purpose of purchasing businesses' services (eg, legal, accounting, auditing or banking services) amounting to at least €500,000 annually.

To date, 76 businesspersons have obtained this exceptional Cypriot citizenship; the decision regarding the naturalisation of foreigners ultimately rests with the Council of Ministers.

For further information on this topic please contact George Z Georgiou at George Z Georgiou & Associates LLC by telephone (+357 22 763 340), fax (+357 22 763 343) or email ([email protected]).