On the 13th February 2019, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus approved a series of changes as part of its efforts to further improve the Cyprus Investment Programme (the ‘‘CIP’’). These amendments aim to make the CIP even more credible, targeted and trustworthy.

The main amendments of the Programme are listed below:

  • A mandatory donation of €75.000 to the Foundation for Research and Innovation and a further donation of €75.000 to Cyprus Land Development Corporation. The obligation to donate to the Foundation for Research and Innovation can be waived under certain conditions.

  • Where the investment relates to the acquisition of real estate as well as in the case of the permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, a town-planning permit, a completion certificate and a bank waiver will be required. For real estate projects under construction, an amount equal to 5% of the value must be retained in a specific account or a performance bank guarantee of an equal value will need to be issued from the seller in favour of the purchaser.

  • The €2 million investment threshold for investments exclusively in residential properties, is now increased by further €500.000 in case of applicants who acquire residential properties that were already used under the CIP. For residential properties not already used under CIP the existing threshold of €2 million remains.

The abovementioned provisions shall enter into force for every application to be submitted as from 15/05/2019.

  • stments in the shipping sector amongst the eligible investments, on the basis of specific criteria to be jointly defined by the Ministry of Finance and the Shipping Deputy Ministry.

  • The inclusion of investments in Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) amongst the eligible investments, in addition to investments in Alternative Investment Funds (AIF), as well as the possibility for these Organisations to invest up to €200.000 in securities of the Cyprus Stock Exchange’s secondary market.

  • The option to invest in government bonds is completely abolished.

  • Investors are now obliged to retain the investments for a period of at least five years after naturalization. Within this five-year period investors have the option to replace their investments provided that the prior approval of the Ministry of Finance is obtained.

  • Applicants must possess a Schengen visa in order to be eligible to apply under the CIP. Also, applicants who have applied for the acquisition of citizenship in any other Member State of the European Union and have been rejected will not be entitled to acquire the Cypriot citizenship under the CIP.