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Cyprus citizenship in 2023. A complete guide

Cyprus citizenship in 2023

Cyprus citizenship entitles non-EU/non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals to reside in Cyprus as permanent residents.

Once foreign residents have acquired Cypriot citizenship, they can reside in the country with the same rights as Cypriot nationals.

Foreign nationals can invest a minimum of 300K into the country's economy to obtain the naturalization rights to reside in the country.

The citizenship by investment process makes the foreign national eligible to apply for permanent residency.

In this comprehensive guide about Cyprus citizenship, we will cover the following topics and how you can obtain Cyprus EU citizenship.

Table of contents

  • Cyprus citizenship by investment
  • How to get Cyprus citizenship?
  • Cyprus citizenship benefits
  • Cyprus citizenship requirements
  • Cyprus citizenship by naturalization
  • Cyprus citizenship law
  • Cyprus citizenship by marriage
  • Cyprus citizenship cost
  • Cyprus citizenship application
  • Malta vs Cyprus citizenship
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Cyprus citizenship consultant

Cyprus citizenship by investment

How to get Cyprus citizenship by investment

Before 2020, investors could acquire a Cypriot Citizenship (and consequently European Passport) by investing in Cyprus the amount of 2 mil euro.

This program, called the Cyprus Investment Program (CIP) ended on the 1st of November 2022.

Today investors can acquire citizenship only if initially they acquire a permanent residency (or golden visa) and then apply for citizenship after living in Cyprus for 5 years.

To acquire Cyprus golden visa, investors must show sufficient income from abroad and purchase a property in Cyprus, no less than 300K in value.

There are two categories with this type of residence permit.

Category 6.2

This category, Category 6.2, also known as “Fast Track Permanent Residency (PR)”, requires a minimum investment of €300,000 plus VAT (5% or 19%).

A brand-new house or apartment must be purchased in Cyprus with the above criteria.

Category F permanent residency

This residency permit can be obtained by investing a minimum of €100,000 (plus VAT) in Cyprus real estate.

Additionally, the applicant must prove their annual income from abroad will comfortably cover their living costs while residing in Cyprus.

The required income starts from €9568 per applicant per annum, plus an additional €4613 for each eligible dependent person (spouses and family members).

Acquiring a property is not a legal requirement for Category F. Nevertheless, through experience the possibilities getting approved increase significantly when the investor buys a property with a value higher than €100,000.

How to get Cyprus citizenship

The application process for obtaining permanent residency in Cyprus can involve the help of an agent or lawyer.

The applicant does not need to be present during the application process. Instead, the application can be submitted by the investor's representative or lawyer.

Unlike other permits, these particular applications are only provided at the CRMD (Civil Registry and Migration Department) in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. These permits are not available in each city's district immigration units.

After the application process has taken place, the applicants must have their biometrics taken.

Passport photographs will be required and fingerprints will be taken to issue the residency cards. This can be done at any migration unit in any city before the application is approved.

Cyprus citizenship benefits

There are many benefits involved in having a permanent Cyprus residency. To a large extent, having the same rights as Cypriots and other European citizens living in Cyprus is one of the main benefits.

You will have access to the following benefits with PR and citizenship in Cyprus:

  • Cyprus golden visa (i.e. Permanent Residency) is unlimited, therefore it is permanently valid.
  • Living in Cyprus legally for five-seven years grants the right to apply for Cyprus EU Citizenship.
  • Dependents (i.e. spouse, children) can also obtain a permanent residence permit.
  • PR Category F allows permanent residency in a European country with minimal investment and without complicated processes.
  • Cypriot passport can be granted after seven years (application is required).
  • High living standards in Cyprus and good quality of life.
  • Access to the newly established national health system of Cyprus (under requirements) and inexpensive private medical insurance.
  • Access to an excellent educational system.
  • Tax benefits and high return on investments.
  • Cyprus dual citizenship is recognized by most of the countries globally.
  • Eligibility to register a company in Cyprus through a simplified process.

Cyprus citizenship requirements

Requirements for Cyprus permanent residency by investment for the fast-track permanent residency (6.2).

As mentioned above, Golden Visa Cyprus allows non-EU/non-EEA and non-Swiss nationals who buy property (and/or set up a business) in Cyprus to apply for permanent residency.

Applicants looking for Cyprus residency by investment must meet the following criteria.

The investor must buy a new property in Cyprus from any of the combinations:

  • The investor must purchase a new house or apartment in Cyprus from a development company. The minimum amount is €300K plus VAT (for the first property, VAT is 19% or 5% bought for use).
  • The investor must pay at least €200K plus VAT to be able to apply and register his sales agreement at the Land Registry
  • The money should be transferred from abroad (i.e. not from an existing account in Cyprus).
  • The investment payment must be made to the seller in Cyprus in their bank account.

Properties under construction are also eligible for the plan.

The property can also be purchased under the name of a company. The only requirement is that the ultimate beneficiary of the company (or the real shareholder) should also be the owner of the property.

The Cyprus Permanent Residency program also gives the opportunity to the applicants to buy a combination of properties with the only limitation that the one property should be residential.

Two properties may be purchased if the total sales price is within the above limits. It can be any of the following:

  • 1 residential property and 1 office (up to 250 sq.m).
  • 1 residential property and 1 shop (up to 100 sq.m).
  • 2 residential properties (houses or apartments).

In the future, the property can be replaced with another property of equal or higher value if the investor wishes to sell the property. In any case, the investor needs to follow all of the aforementioned conditions.

Annual income requirements

  • The investor (together with their spouse) must prove an annual income of a minimum €30,000. An additional €5,000 is required for each dependent (spouse and children).
  • This income can include salaries, pensions, dividends, fixed deposits, and rents.
  • An additional €8,000 is required for each dependent parent or parent-in-law.
  • The dependents can also apply and get a permanent residence permit (if the above criteria are met).

Family member's requirements

The Cyprus permanent residency permit also covers dependents (their spouse and children up to 18 years old).

Children between the ages 18 and 25 can also apply for a permit provided they fulfill the following criteria:

  • They are unmarried.
  • They are financially dependent on their parents.
  • If they are university students abroad they must have a minimum of 6 months of study remaining from the date of the application submission.
  • The investor has to provide an additional annual income of €5,000 for each.

The great advantage of Cyprus Permanent Residency is that it can be kept indefinitely by the investor’s child even and after the age of 25 regardless of his/her marital or financial condition.

Nevertheless, future spouses and children cannot be added as dependents on their PR.

If the named children want to study in Cyprus, they must apply as students for a temporary residence permit.

Regardless of their age, when they finish their studies, they will be able to apply for permanent residency (with the extra annual income condition as stated above).

Parents (and parents-in-law) requirements

The investor's parents and parents-in-law can also get PR without buying additional property.

The main requirement is the additional annual income (€8,000 as stated above) for each parent (or parent-in-law). The applicants must also comply with other conditions and provide the following documents.

  • Police checks: provide a criminal record from their home country of residence.
  • They should not be a danger to Cyprus and be regarded as such by the security of Cyprus.

Category F Requirements for Cyprus Permanent Residency

As mentioned above Category F is the second way to apply for Permanent Residency in Cyprus.

To be eligible for Cyprus Permanent Residency Category F, the applicant needs to primarily provide evidence of the following.

Property purchase (flexible)

  • Category F residency does not have a specific property purchase requirement.
  • It is only recommended to buy a property in Cyprus. There is no set minimum value of property, but a property with a value of more than €100K is a great plus and can lead to the approval of the application.
  • The purchase money does not need to be transferred from abroad.
  • The property can be a resale property.

Annual income

  • Must have an annual income of a minimum of €9568 for one applicant.
  • Additional €4613 annual income is required for each dependent (spouse and children).
  • The income must be from abroad (it can be from salaries, pensions, rents, dividends).

Bank deposit in Cyprus

  • Approximately €15,000 to €20,000 needs to be deposited in the applicant's bank account in Cyprus.
  • It is a simple deposit and not pledged, i.e. the money can be used after applying.

Family members requirements Category F

  • Only children up to 18 years old can apply as dependents. Their Cyprus PR will only be valid until they become 18 years old. Then they can apply independently under the Category F, or the Fast Track process 6.2.
  • Parents of the applicants are not eligible as dependents.

Unlike other permits, applying for the Cyprus PR category F while purchasing a rental property is possible.

However, it is generally recommended to apply after purchasing a property. The Migration department may decline your rental property application.

Permanent residency program conditions and restrictions

  • The PR holder has to visit Cyprus once every two years or the permit will be canceled.
  • The PR does not allow the holders to work in the country, but they can become shareholders in a Cypriot company and receive dividend income from international business activities.
  • The Cypriot PR does not allow visa-free travel within European Union member states or abroad. It is only valid in Cyprus.

Conditions and restrictions Category F only

  • The children of the applicant will lose the PR once they are 18 years old
  • The processing time for Category F residency applications is extremely difficult to estimate, since it depends from the number of applicants.

Cyprus citizenship by naturalization

Non-EU citizens who have legally resided in Cyprus for five consecutive years are entitled to apply for a long-term residence permit. After which time they may become eligible for Cyprus EU citizenship by naturalization.

The citizens must have a valid Cyprus temporary residence card first and live in Cyprus for 5 years before they are eligible to apply for citizenship. This is known as the naturalization scheme (M127) based on years of residence.

The residence requirement is normally seven years for foreign nationals to become Cypriot citizens by naturalization.

Cyprus citizenship by marriage

Persons married to a Cypriot citizen are eligible for residency rights. They can apply for a residency permit with an unlimited duration.

In addition, their minor children from a previous marriage and parents of the Cypriot citizen (or parents-in-law) can also be granted the residency permit.

After the couple has completed at least three years of marriage, the application for the acquisition of citizenship can be submitted by spouses of overseas Cypriots.

The reasons for requesting the grant of Cypriot citizenship must accompany these applications in a letter written by the couple.

If the couple has at least one child and has been married for a minimum of five years, attaching the letter mentioned above is not necessary.

Cyprus citizenship law

Cypriot citizenship law, or nationality law, outlines the criteria by which a person is a Cyprus national.

The 1976 Republic of Cyprus Citizenship Law is the primary law governing nationality regulations. This applies to the entire island of Cyprus.

All Cypriot nationals are EU citizens as Cyprus is a member of the European Union.

Cypriot nationals have the right to reside and work in EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. They may also vote in elections to the European Parliament.

People born to at least one Cypriot parent in Cyprus automatically are citizens at birth (if neither parent is considered an illegal migrant).

Individuals born outside of the country with the above criteria are also eligible to acquire Cypriot citizenship.

However, birth in Cyprus by itself does not make a child eligible for citizenship. Foreign nationals may only become Cypriot citizens by certain criteria or by naturalization after completing a residence requirement (normally seven years).

Cyprus citizenship cost

The Cyprus government fees are as follows:

Applicant, applicants' spouse & children under 18

  • €500 for all of the above together (dependents are free)
  • €70 for each person for registration

Adult children & parents

  • €500 each
  • €70 for each person for registration

NB: The fees are the same as above for Category F permits.

NB: The fast-track permanent residency program fees are €300,000 (cost of the property).

Cyprus citizenship application

Each city's immigration unit address can be found below.

Department Address
Civil Registry and Migration Department Agamemnonos 6, Engomi, 2411 Nicosia
Limassol Immigration Unit Franklin Roosevelt 223, Zakaki, Building ¨D. Nikolaou¨, 2nd floor, 3046 Limassol
Larnaca Immigration Unit Piale Piasha 75, 6027 Larnaca
Paphos Immigration Unit Eleftheriou Venizelou & Kaningos 22, 2nd floor, 8021 Paphos
Famagusta Immigration Unit Eleftherias 83, Tatolos Bld, Derynia Plaza, 1st floor, 5380 Derynia

The lawyer (or applicant) will collect the PR cards on approval.

Malta vs Cyprus citizenship

Malta and Cyprus are both members of the European Union and offer Golden Visa programs. Both of these can lead to citizenship.

Cyprus has a larger population with over 1 million inhabitants whereas Malta has a smaller population of over 444,000 (2022).

Applicants for Malta and Cypriot citizenship will have the right to move freely in all other EU member states if they become citizens, including to live and work. However, Malta is a Schengen area member while Cyprus is not.

These two countries share the Euro (€) as currency, but generally, it's easier to travel to Europe with a Maltese passport.

Since the Cyprus Investment Citizenship by Investment (CIP) scheme has been suspended, Malta is the only country between them that offers an expedited route to EU citizenship out of the two countries.

However, Cyprus still offers an alternative route to permanent residency which can eventually lead to citizenship.

If you are considering applying for either one of the Golden Visa programs and acquiring citizenship, you won't have to worry about learning a new language. Neither country require language proficiency tests for obtaining citizenship.

To find out which citizenship option is better between Malta and Cyprus, it's important to consider the eligibility requirements for each country.

Malta citizenship requirements and cost

The Maltese Naturalization for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment (CES for short) is also known as the Act Granting of Citizenship for Exceptional Services Regulations.

CES is often inaccurately referred to as Malta Citizenship by investment.

The process for Maltese citizenship is a naturalization scheme, and it acts as an expedited route to EU citizenship.

Applicants to this scheme can apply for citizenship in Malta (along with their dependents) if they meet the following criteria:

  • Age requirement: the applicant must be 18 years or older (dependents can be younger).
  • Property requirement: Rent or buy a home for at least €700,000 and maintain it for 5 years, or rental property with a €16,000 lease minimum per year.
  • Residency requirement: must have been residing in Malta for the last 12 months.
  • Insurance requirement: must acquire private global health insurance coverage for a minimum of €50,000.
  • Investment requirement: make a philanthropic donation worth a minimum of €10,000 to a non-governmental organization in Malta approved by the agency.
  • Extra costs: €15,000 for the main applicant and €10,000 for dependents.
  • Passport fees: €500 per person and €200 bank charges per application.

In summary, a €600,000 investment must be made if you have completed 36 months of residency in Malta; or a €750,000 investment after residing in the country for 12 months; or a residential property worth at least €700,000 which must be held for a minimum of five years.

Below we take a look at the comparative costs required in Cyprus.

Cyprus citizenship requirements and cost

While Cyprus no longer offers the citizenship by investment (CIP) scheme, it still offers residency by investment that goes by different names, as mentioned.

This residency by investment grants qualifying applicants' (and their family members) residency rights in the island country.

This beneficial program is referred to as the Cyprus Golden Visa or Permanent Residency Visa.

The requirements for the residency program which can lead to Cypriot citizenship are as follows.

  • Age requirement: they must be 18 years or older (their dependents can be younger).
  • Investment requirement: applicants must invest at least €300,000 in real estate (this could be residential or commercial); Or
  • Invest shares in a Cypriot company: a minimum of €300,000 in an operating business or project with zero restrictions in terms of business; Or
  • Invest at least €300,000 in units of a Cyprus Collective Investment Organization (e.g. AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF).
  • Extra costs: pay additional fees such as an application processing fee of €500.

Malta vs Cyprus Citizenship – their advantages

The criteria for applying for the different residency programs reveal their similarities and differences. While both programs can lead to residency and EU citizenship, the best choice comes down to preference.

Depending on their desires and circumstances, some people may prefer Malta over Cyprus citizenship or the other way around.

One similarity exists with the requirement to purchase local real estate, but the investment amount differs. Overall, Cyprus offers a lower investment requirement than Malta which could be advantageous.

Seven years of living in Cyprus could lead to naturalization and the application process for EU citizenship. However, property in Malta can be sold after only five years and the time requirement leading to citizenship is much faster than in Cyprus.

The overall investment cost of obtaining Maltese citizenship is proportionately higher than Cypriot citizenship costs. Over €800,000 is required to be invested, compared to the €300,000 minimum investment required in Cyprus.

As an additional bonus, both Malta and Cyprus have advantageous legislation regarding taxation. The tax system of both is based on residency, not citizenship.

The winner when it comes to a fast turnaround is Malta.

The fastest option to obtain EU citizenship by investment is to apply for a Maltese passport and acquire citizenship by means of naturalization. This process takes up to 12 months.

Both Malta and Cyprus passports are equally powerful. They are 21st and 29th in the Global Quality of Nationality Index as of 2021, respectively.

There are no visa formalities for holders of both passports for many countries, however, Cypriots require a travel visa to travel to the United States while Maltese citizens can travel there freely without a visa.

Conclusion: Malta vs Cyprus citizenship

To summarize, the procedure to obtain Cypriot citizenship is comparatively slower than Maltese citizenship.

Cyprus offers an investment option of 300K, but Malta on the other hand demands a higher investment sum, nearly triple the amount.

Moreover, Malta only offers 400 spaces for immigration by investment, after the Maltese citizenship by investment changes occurred.

Overall, there aren't as many strict formalities when applying for citizenship in Cyprus as in Malta, but both application processes have their challenges.

To conclude, obtaining Maltese or Cypriot citizenship is largely a matter of personal preference.

Both options are affordable investments for non-EU citizens and individuals with a high net worth.

Frequently asked questions

How long will it take to become a citizen of Cyprus?

The fast-track Cyprus residency by investment takes approximately two months.

Upon approval, the residency cards can be collected by a lawyer on behalf of the applicant/investors.

The processing time for the examination of Category F applications cannot be estimated (as of October 2022).

Category F applications are submitted normally, but they are not processed in a specific timeframe until further notice by the immigration department.

How long will it take to get Cyprus passport?

Cypriot citizens living abroad will receive their passports from the Consular Authority at which the application was submitted within 2 – 3 months from the day of the application.

You can contact the Administration Authorities, the Citizens Service Centers, and the Service Centres (Post Offices) for more information.

How much does a Cyprus passport cost?

Cyprus citizenship fees are as follows.

Passport issuance fee: €120 (each)

Identity card issuance fee: €30 (each)

Can I get residency in Cyprus if I buy a house?

Yes, purchasing a property (apartment or house) in Cyprus to obtain citizenship is the easiest way to achieve this goal. Especially if you buy a property with a value higher than 100K euro.

The most effective way to buy a property in Cyprus is through an investment company.

Investment companies acquire large residential complexes with large discounts. They acquire either newly constructed residential complexes (ideal for Fast Track procedure) or properties confiscated by the bank (ideal for Category F).

Can you buy Cyprus citizenship?

You can invest in the country's economy, as detailed above, which will allow you to obtain citizenship in the country.

You must follow the guidelines as detailed above to acquire citizenship.

Cyprus citizenship by investment fees

The Cyprus government fees for Cyprus citizenship by investment fees are as follows.

Applicant, applicants' spouse & children under 18

  • €500 for all
  • €70 for each person for registration

Adult children & parents

  • €500 each
  • €70 for each person for registration

NB: The fees are the same as above for Category F permits.

NB: The fast-track permanent residency program fees include €300,000 (cost of the property).

Cyprus citizenship consultant

Citizenship by investment Cyprus lawyers

Our guide may have answered all of your questions so far, but there is always the option to receive additional expertise regarding legal matters.

Consulting an expert can provide invaluable advice in regard to acquiring Cyprus permits.

Professional advice will give you the peace of mind that you will not make any mistakes throughout the process.

One of the largest legal companies providing immigration services is ACIS .

Immigration insurance for Cyprus citizenship

If you are aiming to move to Cyprus while applying for citizenship, it's important to note that immigration insurance is mandatory for non-EU citizens.

You can obtain immigration medical insurance from Pitsas Insurances with premiums starting from €120, the lowest in Cyprus.

Pitsas Insurances provide coverage to families with discounts and pensioners up to 80 years old.

You can find more details about our immigration packages on our website. See here.

Immigration insurance quote

When obtaining an insurance policy for Cyprus citizenship, it's worth knowing your options.

For a hassle-free quote, see here.

 

Pitsas Insurances

Nicosia, Cyprus

14.12.2022


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