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13 November 2023

Cyprus Audit Service Demands Closure of Golden Visa Program

The Cyprus Audit Office has undertaken a new investigation.

This time the focus of attention was on the holders of "golden visas".

During a large-scale audit, it turned out that many foreigners received permits for permanent residence in Cyprus, without meeting all the conditions of the investment program. Interestingly, the audit was prompted by complaints about the way the Migration Department of Cyprus implements the program of "golden visas". In particular, the Cyprus Audit Office found that the regulatory body:

does not conduct regular eligibility checks after the granting of a residence permit;

does not enforce the provisions for revocation of residence permits when investors acquire a residence permit in another country or stay outside Cyprus for more than two years.

issues residence permits even in cases where foreign investors purchase real estate but do not have title deeds;

issues residence permits when only "unofficial proof of payment" is presented.

In this regard, the Cyprus Audit Service called on the Ministry of Interior to close the program of "golden visas". In turn, the Interior Ministry of Cyprus agreed that it is necessary to tighten the checks of candidates for obtaining a residence permit for investment. However, the question of canceling the scheme they did not want to comment.

Аудиторская служба Кипра требует закрыть программу «золотых виз»

Recall that in the spring of 2023 in Cyprus, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus approved amendments to the rules for issuing immigration permits to investors from third countries.

The amount of investment for this type of residence permit remained unchanged - 300 thousand euros minimum. However, the authorities decided to tighten the checks in the process and after granting this immigration status, as well as to increase the annual minimum amount of income for its holders.

The two main requirements that have come into effect are:

1) The holder of the immigration permit must confirm each year that he or she still owns real estate or shares in companies in which at least 300 thousand euros have been invested.

2) The amount of the minimum annual income must be 50 thousand euros, not 30 thousand euros, as it was before, for a spouse - 15 thousand euros, for each minor child - 10 thousand euros per year (previously for spouses and children was 5 thousand euros per year).

Another important change in the criteria for granting a residence permit for investment was that it is not granted to parents, adult children, as well as parents of the spouse of the main applicant. They must apply for a separate immigration permit, having invested at least 300 thousand euros in the country's economy.


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