The last changes that affected the Cyprus passport program took place in October 2020.
Let's see what happened then?
In 2013, during the crisis and the problems of banks in Cyprus, the government decided to modernize the existing passport program to restore the economy and attract foreign investment.
The Cyprus Council of Ministers decided to reduce the amount of direct investments to € 5,000,000, and of deposits to € 3,000,000. Just a month later, in April 2013, the program was again changed. It was necessary to invest at least € 2,000,000.
From that moment on, the Cyprus passport for investment program began to gain popularity.
During this period, the island's construction sector began to actively develop, creating new jobs, and gaining valuable experience in the construction of luxury real estate, which Cypriot developers did not know before.
What changes have occurred in 2018?
The first changes appeared in the Cyprus passport program:
Since 2018, new rules have been added to the program for obtaining Cypriot citizenship by investment:
- Verification of candidates for reliability became stricter and more thorough: verification of the source of funds provided for participation in the program.
- There was a limit on the number of applications accepted - no more than 700 applications per year.
- The term for consideration of applications has been increased to six months from the date of submission.
- A Supervisory Committee has been established to oversee investors.
- Advertising of passports of Cyprus is prohibited.
- Companies that provided services for the execution and filing of investor documents must be registered in the state register and have an appropriate license.
- Restrictions have been introduced on the purchase of secondary housing in Cyprus as the main income to the treasury of Cyprus comes from the receipt of VAT (TAX) from the sale of housing.
- The applicant must invest in real estate in Cyprus at least € 2,000,000 for a period of 3 years. The time period starts from the moment the authorization is obtained, not from the date of the sales contract.
The investment program of Cyprus was modified not to complicate the life of potential investors, but to create a certain order in the scheme and get a conscientious and trustworthy investor on the island. The only disadvantage of the changes in 2018 is the period for increasing the consideration of applications for participation.
What's next? Is the program still valid? No... In 2019, new changes were made:
- The applicant must have a valid Schengen area.
- The period of ownership of the purchased property has been increased from three to 5 years. During this period, the investor has no right to sell it, otherwise the Cyprus passport is canceled.
- Politically significant people can participate in the program, provided that they have withdrawn from their powers for 12 months or more.
- The investor must donate € 150,000. This money was distributed in equal shares between the state research and innovation fund of Cyprus, as well as for the implementation of the program as the construction of housing for low-income citizens of the country.
- Commercial real estate can participate in the investment program.
- The total entry amount remains unchanged (€ 2,000,000).
- The investor must own residential real estate for life in the amount of at least € 500,000. In the case of investing in real estate in the residential sector, this amount was included in the basic € 2,000,000.
- In the Passport by Investment program can participate not only the parents of the applicant, but also the parents of the spouse. At the same time, parents need separate housing from € 500,000, or they can purchase one housing for at least € 1,000,000.
The applicant and their family do not need to know Greek and the history of the country. There is no need to live in Cyprus either before or after obtaining a passport.
What else has changed?
- Established contributions to the Immigration Department from each passport - € 7,000.
- A registration fee is charged - € 500 from each applicant.
- VAT on the purchase of a new building has been increased to 19%.
- When building a new facility, applicants must provide permission from the town planning committee.
- If the object was encumbered, a Certificate of the removal of encumbrance is provided.
- If the acquired object is still under construction, applicants pay in advance a part of the amount of the object's cost to the bank, which is blocked as a bank guarantee.
List of required documents for filing:
- Birth certificate
- Marriage certificate
- Schengen visa
- Police clearance certificate
- Brief autobiography
All documents must be officially translated into Greek or English, and also be apostilled.
Throughout its existence, the program has undergone many changes and innovations.
Based on the research, over 5 years the Cyprus investment program brought the island about € 10 billion and created 10,000 new jobs.
How are things going with the investment program in 2020?
On October 13, 2020, by the decision of the Cyprus Cabinet of Ministers, it was decided to close the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment program from November 1, 2020, due to numerous violations and abuses.
All applicants who submitted documents before November 1, 2020, will be considered by the commission on the possibility of granting citizenship.
What's next for the Cyprus passport program? Everyone is asking this question now. Will it be revived with new improvements, as it was all these years? Or not?
Let's wait and see.