Cyprus is an island country off the coast of Turkey, in the Eastern Mediterranean region. It is Europe’s sunniest country with an average of 320 blue sky days. It also features pristine beaches, excellent food and stunning architecture. Cyprus is a full member of the European Union and the Eurozone. All of the above, combined with an economic citizenship program, makes it an interesting second passport option. In this article, I review the Cyprus Investment Programme and explain how to apply.
Evidence shows that there has been a human presence on the island of Cyprus as far back as 10000 BC. History has not been kind to the Cypriots, however, with the island experiencing countless wars and frequently falling under foreign occupation. Today the island is effectively divided into two separate jurisdictions, the predominantly Turkish north and the predominantly Greek south. Reunification talks have been held over the past decades but so far have led nowhere.
Despite all this political instability, Cyprus has managed to develop into a high-income, high quality of life economy. Its economy is mostly service-oriented, with tourism and finance accounting for the largest portion. Cyprus has also become a hub in the banking and finance industry for the issuance of EU operating licenses.
The Cyprus Investment Programme works differently from most of the other economic citizenship programs. Instead of requiring a cash donation or one-time investment, Cyprus requires an ongoing financial commitment. It can be in the form of a real estate purchase (which can be split between multiple properties), an investment in a business (or multiple), the purchase of approved financial instruments or a mix of all options. Regardless of the mix, there must also be a real estate component worth at least half a million EUR. The minimum commitment period is three years while the half a million EUR real estate component must be maintained indefinitely. You can find the exact amounts and more details directly on the government website. In return for meeting this financial commitment, full citizenship is granted.
By acquiring Cyprus citizenship, you gain the right to carry a Cyprus passport. It grants visa-free access to a large number of countries including the UK, all EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and more. Because Cyprus is a full member of the European Union, its citizenship can also be used to relocate to all other member-states.
Cyprus has one of the most attractive taxation systems in Europe. The first twenty thousand or so EUR in personal income is exempt, capital gains are generally excluded and there is a cap on social security contributions. With that said, most of the Caribbean programs, as well as Vanuatu’s, are far more interesting from a taxation standpoint.
While the above sounds pretty good, it is important to understand that as is often the case with these programs, there is always a risk that it may be canceled and that citizenships could be revoked. There is simply no telling what future governments may do, especially in the long-term. An economic citizenship is an investment and as with any other investments, there is a risk of loss. Keep that in mind.
Additional information and recent updates (2019)
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How to apply
The application process is fairly simple. You first need to choose an authorized agent from the list available on the government website. I recommend getting in touch with David Lincoln (firstname.lastname@example.org – +357 99 862030). He is a very knowledgable citizenship by investment adviser and location independent entrepreneur. Your authorized agent will then guide you through the due diligence process. This will involve gathering a number of documents, attending an interview and going through an extensive background check. Keep in mind that the minimum waiting time is currently six months.