The already attractive ‘Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme’ appears to be becoming even more attractive. Whilst the terms by which Cyprus grants citizenship are noteworthy in themselves – being amongst the most accessible and affordable in the EU – the developing economic and political conditions affecting the Mediterranean isle are making property investment there an even more appealing investment proposition.

Attractive criteria

By comparison with citizenship by investment schemes elsewhere across Europe, the Cypriot scheme is relatively streamlined, uncomplicated and affordable. The essential requirement is for a property purchase or an investment in excess of €2.5million or a property investment in excess of €5million. Provided other standard criteria are met, a passport is usually granted within three months. The applicant is obliged to maintain their investment for a minimum of just three years.

A key value of a Cypriot passport is that it allows the holder the right to live and work anywhere within the EU. Since the Citizenship by Investment Programme does not oblige applicants to take up residence on the island, it has been widely taken up as a popular route to European citizenship.

Property boom

The influx of investment that the programme has stimulated appears to have triggered a property boom on the island, with the effect that applicants are able to make profitable investments whilst negotiating their change of citizenship.

Following the economic bailout of 2013, the Cypriot economy is now stabilising with Q1 of 2015 showing the highest growth in the EU (up 1.6% on Q4 2014). And on the back of that positive economic picture, political talk of reunifying the island is once again on the agenda. Leaders Mustafa Akinci, leader of the Turkish Cypriot state, and Greek-Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades, have been conducting UN sponsored talks regarding the possibility for reunification, with the Norwegian adviser on Cyprus to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Espen Barth Eide, describing July’s talks as ‘encouraging’.

Although no timescale for reunification has yet been established, the clear potential for economic growth that reunification would bring represents yet another positive factor in the appeal of the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme.