Like other countries in Europe, Cyprus offers schemes for residency and citizenship by investment (sometimes known as “golden visas”), whereby an investor can make an investment into the country and thus acquire immigration status for themselves and their family.
Cyprus has a lot to offer to non-EEA potential investor migrants: it is a member of the EU, it has a low crime rate and English is widely spoken.
There are two such investor schemes on offer: a permanent residency programme and a citizenship programme, and the investment requirements for the two schemes are different.
The Permanent Residency Programme enables the visa holder to live permanently in Cyprus without any further immigration permission. The investment must be made into newly-built property (either one or two properties) and must be of at least 300,000 Euros. Family members – including spouses, children up to the age of 25 and grandparents – can be included in the application.
Processing of the visa is relatively fast; typically two months. And the minimum requirement for residence in Cyprus is very minimal: the visa holder must visit Cyprus only once every two years. Whilst the visa holder is of course quite entitled to reside in Cyprus as much as they want there is no legal requirement to reside there on any substantial basis.
The Citizenship by Investment Programme requires a much higher level of investment but it confers very great benefits.
The investor must invest a minimum of 2 million Euros in property. Again, family members can be included in the application, and the requirements for this are broader than for the Permanent Residency Programme, as children up to the age of 28 may be included.
After three years the investor may, if they wish and if it is feasible, sell some of their property, as long as the value of the investment does not fall below 500,000 Euros.
The minimum requirements for residence are the same as for the Permanent Residency Programme (one visit every two years) and the visa processing time – between two and three months – is similar.
The great benefit of this programme is that applicant can immediately obtain Cyprus citizenship and a Cyprus passport. As Cyprus is a member of the EU, Cyprus citizenship confers European free movement rights on the passport holder. This enables the passport holder not just to travel throughout the EEA and Switzerland but also to live, work or study throughout the area.
This enables, for example, the investor to work and carry out business in the EEA without restriction and also allows their children to be educated without restriction.
So for the investor who is prepared to invest 2 million Euros, who wants EU citizenship but does not want to tie themselves down to a European home this could be a very good option.