Cyprus citizenship is easy to obtain compared to other European countries. The island always welcomes new residents, especially if they are investing in the local economy.
Cyprus property is the main goal of investors, although there are other proposals. It is not that difficult to become a citizen of Cyprus. The main thing is to choose a strategy and prepare all the necessary documents.
1. What are the benefits of Cyprus citizenship
The most important plus of Cypriot citizenship is that Cyprus is part of the European Union. There is a wide variety of benefits for individuals:
- economic stability: you can be sure that the banking sector will remain stable, your savings won't be lost, and the government in the event of force majeure won't leave you without support
- the opportunity to travel, work, live and study in the EU
- a high salary in almost all areas in a stable currency
- low crime rate (especially in Cyprus)
- a high standard of living and culture: people in Europe are tolerant, anxiously concerned about the rights of animals and the environment, trying to solve the problems together.
For those looking to do business, the European Union is considered a great place to develop. Yes, there are many requirements for businessmen, but at the same time they receive many benefits, such as a low interest rate on loans, a loyal amount of taxes, the opportunity to return part of the investment, etc.
But Cyprus also has its own advantages as a small island with a rich history and culture, a small pearl of the Mediterranean Sea. Many people strive to obtain exactly Cypriot citizenship because:
- there are no harmful factories on the island, thus the air and water are clean here
- the climate here is the Mediterranean subtropics, thus the coast is above zero temperature even in winter
- local fruits and vegetables are abundant all year round, they can grow on your plot or be bought in the markets
- the sea is nearby, so you can swim and sunbathe 7-8 months a year
- life is calmly and very quietly in Cyprus, especially in winter: this is ideal for people who are tired of the gray and bustling metropolises and looking for peace
Cyprus is a small center for businessmen who want not only to become better, but also to live comfortably with their family on a sunny island. It is great to raise children here, to live in a healthy and comfortable place.
2. Four ways to obtain citizenship
A Cypriot passport can be obtained in several ways. The longest way is naturalization.
This method is the least expensive, since it is not necessary to become a property owner. But it takes as much time as possible: you need to live on the island for 7 full years.
Naturalization is often chosen by people who have come for a year or two to work or get an education in Cyprus. The island becomes the new home, and foreigners decide to stay here. To obtain a Cyprus passport, you need to go through three steps:
- obtain a temporary residence permit
- obtain a permanent residence permit
- obtain a Cyprus passport
Each document must be issued in a legal way, otherwise citizenship and even residence on the island may be denied.
Temporary residence permit (pink slip)
There are several types of temporary residence permit which you can stay on the island with:
- visitor: the applicant arrives as a volunteer, or has own or rented real estate, or is undergoing medical treatment, or a relative of a student or employee, etc.
- worker: the applicant works for a company registered in Cyprus, or plans to open his own business
- student: it is issued to students in colleges and universities.
The terms of each residence permit vary and depend on the type of activity of the guest. The packages of documents that are needed to get a pink-slip are slightly different as well:
- (international) passport
- marriage certificate, divorce certificate, if needed
- birth certificate
- school certificate / university diploma for students or workers
- confirmation of financial stability: bank statements, income certificates and other evidence
- medical insurance is desirable in all cases
- completed forms.
Long-term residence permit in Cyprus
You can get a permanent residence in Cyprus by purchasing your own real estate. Here are all the conditions:
- purchase of residential or residential + commercial real estate for a total amount of 300,000 euros
- the first installment of EUR 200 thousand must be paid immediately
- funds for the purchase should come from abroad as a loan in a Cypriot bank is not counted
- the applicant has no criminal record and can provide a certificate of this
- the applicant must deposit EUR 30 thousand in a Cypriot bank account and not withdraw them for 3 years
- the applicant is obliged to prove that he has income for living: EUR 30 000 per annum for themselves, EUR 5 000 for each dependent (the spouse and minor children) and EUR 8 000 for each parent and parent of the spouse; the income of spouses and parents can be summed up with the income of the applicant.
All relevant documents are submitted for consideration to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Cyprus, the application acceptance period is 2 months.
If the buying of expensive real estate is not included in your plans, you can go the longer route and get permanent residence of category F. It involves the purchase of inexpensive housing and the application can be considered up to 12 months.
There is no need to renew permanent residence of any type, it operates automatically. Holders of this type of residence are not allowed to work in Cyprus, thus they must receive income from abroad. The exception is for owners and shareholders, whose company operates in Cyprus and provides jobs, and helps the island's economy flourish.
Important: the owner of a Cypriot permanent residence must visit the island at least once every 2 years, otherwise their permanent residence loses its validity.
After 7 years of residence in Cyprus (5 years for parents of Cypriots and 3 years for spouses of Cypriots), you can apply for citizenship.
Important: the most important condition is to not leave the island during the last 12 months. The citizenship application cannot be approved without it.
The second condition is that all 7 years you need to live as a law-abiding citizen. The applicant must have no criminal record in their homeland and on the island. Otherwise, the Ministry refuses citizenship.
To become a full citizen of Cyprus, you need to prepare the following documents:
- birth certificate
- (international) passport and copies of its pages
- certificates of marriage / divorce, if needed
- result of criminal record check
- Cypriot newspapers where the applicant indicates that he wants to be a Cypriot
- info on all arrivals and departures in Cyprus
- two photos
- a receipt confirming payment of the state duty.
If you have been living in Cyprus for a really long time and already consider it your home, you can easily get a local passport, having fulfilled all the conditions.
• Getting married
A marriage with a Cypriot citizen allows you to obtain citizenship on an accelerated basis. A foreign husband or a foreign wife must have been married for 3 full years, lived in Cyprus as a permanent resident for 2 years.
When submitting an application, you need to take into account that the authorities will check if the marriage is sham. The spouses will be asked to sign a paper confirming respectful and real feelings between themselves. Also, an "inspector" will come to the applicant's house. Having common children greatly simplifies the matter.
The list of documents is almost the same as the list for naturalization, except for minor differences:
- Cypriot spouse's passport
- birth certificate of children (if needed)
- certificate of naturalization / residence in Cyprus.
All papers must be translated into Greek or English and certified by the local authority.
Many children, upon reaching the age of majority (and sometimes even earlier), want to change their citizenship to Cypriot, if one of their parents is a Cypriot. In this case, the island's authorities issue a passport of the Republic of Cyprus.
Who gets on the allowed list:
- individuals born abroad after the 16th of August 1960 and whose father at the time of birth was a Cypriot citizen
- individuals born abroad after the 11th of June 1999, whose mother was a Cypriot citizen at the time of their birth.
If both parents at the time of the birth of the applicant had Cypriot citizenship, the child automatically becomes a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus.
3. The procedure for obtaining citizenship
Registration of permanent residence, residence permit and citizenship is handled by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus. Thus you need to go there to submit all the papers. In addition, you need to find a notary office that will translate documents from Russian into English or Greek.
Many future citizens of Cyprus do another thing: they go to agencies that prepare all the necessary certificates and help with the purchase or rental of housing. This is really convenient, but you need to first find out the reputation of the agency as it must be impeccable.
• Passage of instances
As a rule, the procedure has 7 stages. The terms of consideration depend on the reason that became the basis for obtaining citizenship, as well as on the applicant's ownership of residential real estate.
- It is necessary to prepare all documents in a home country, and then translate and certify them in a notary office;
- The applicant must have a residence permit;
- It is necessary to documentary proof of residence on the island: contracts of purchase and sale or rental of housing, of opening an account in a Cypriot bank, etc.;
- The future citizen is tested for language proficiency and integration into society;
- Then the applicant pays all fees and submit papers to the immigration department;
- The terms for consideration of the application range from 6 to 12 months;
- If the application is approved, the documents are issued without delays.
Each stage requires its own set of documents (see above). If everything seems too complicated, do not despair, you can always consult with a specialist.
The testing is divided into two parts: a paid language testing (English or Greek) in a special language center and an interview to check the integration into the culture of Cyprus. None of the parts should be particularly difficult if you prepare carefully for the exam.
Unlike "serious" countries such as Canada, USA, Great Britain and others, Cyprus is not forced to know the history and all the rulers thoroughly. The exam is more like an interview: a candidate for Cypriot citizenship is asked simple questions that can be easily answered by a person who has lived for six months or a year and reads local news.
What may be asked:
- about Cypriot friends and local activities, about holidays in Cyprus
- if the applicant has a property on the island
- about finances: where do they come from, is there a labor activity on the island
- about the Cyprus government structure (easiest questions): the names of the president and 2-3 prominent politicians, the year of the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, the form of government, recent history, the political situation in the country, etc.
- how did you get to the island and why did you decide to stay here, what do you like
- what public holidays do you know, what they mean, what place does religion occupy in the life of Cyprus (they may ask about the famous monasteries and whether you have visited them)
- may ask a question about popular attractions, favorite places on the island.
It will be a huge plus if the candidate is interviewed in Greek, but if they prefer the Cypriot dialect of Greek, it will be perfect.
• List of documents
The list of documents may seem impressive, but preparing them is not that difficult. The most important thing is to make the correct translation and apostille, not forgetting to copy everything (just in case). Copies submitted to the Immigration Department must be certified.
What documents may be required at different stages of obtaining Cypriot citizenship:
- completed application form
- birth certificate
- marriage certificate and, if any, divorce certificate
- birth certificates of children, if any
- certificate of no criminal record at home or in the country of residence
- proof of residence in Cyprus: a lease or sale agreement, as well as, if there is housing on the island, ownership of it
- income statements: account statements, documentation for your own business and its income, etc.
- two publications in local newspapers informing that you are becoming a Cypriot citizen
- photos in personal files and in passport
- receipts for payment of state fees and contributions
- certificate of passing language testing and interview for integration
- confirmation of your stay on the island, including plane tickets if you traveled abroad
- documents for a business opened in Cyprus.
Documents of relatives may be added to this list, if citizenship is issued on the basis of a marriage with a Cypriot or by right of birth / origin.
4. Can I lose my acquired Cypriot citizenship?
Deprivation of Cypriot citizenship happens very rarely, nevertheless, they happen. This means that for gross violations, you can lose your Cyprus passport. What cases provide for this:
- A person who has become a citizen has committed a serious crime or has become involved in espionage, an anti-state acts;
- A person obtained citizenship illegally, for example, for a bribe;
- A naturalized citizen has not visited the island for 2 years or more.
The passport holder himself can renounce the island's citizenship, and this is not a deprivation, but a decision of his own free will.
5. When citizenship is denied
If you cannot provide at least one document required by the Immigration Department, you will be denied citizenship. But sometimes all the papers are in order, but the applicant is still refused. Possible reasons:
- the applicant had previously applied for citizenship of another EU countries, but was refused
- the applicant has a criminal record in any country
- EU sanctions or relations with legal entities that fall under the EU sanctions
- lack of integration into Cypriot society or bad reputation
- unknown origin of the funds on which the applicant lives
- business applicants have “black spots” in their activities.
All of the above cases are non-appealable. If the refusal was due to the fault of incorrectly executed documents (insurance, lease agreement), you can file an appeal, and if the data is corrected, the application will be reviewed again.
- Short-term residence permit in Cyprus. Expectation and reality (link)
- Permanent residence permit in Cyprus (link)
- What nationalities dream of getting a Cyprus passport? (link)
- Investment in real estate in Cyprus or bank deposit? (link)