This very pricey citizen-by-investment program was scaled-down to levy more realistic demands on investors while offering the fastest route to citizenship in Europe.

After a divisive conflict the Greek and Turkish controlled portions of this Mediterranean island will finally be formally reunited soon. This former British colony of 1, 1-million has evolved into one of Europe’s premier vacation spots with beaches and attractions that convey the spirit of a liberal economic environment since joining the EU in 2004. Cyprus is on the cusp of becoming part of the Schengen Area, another step towards full European integration.

The Country

  • Population: 1,14 millions
  • Language: Greek & Turkish
  • Visa-Free Travel: 159 countries with
    Cyprus citizenship
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)

The Program

Personal Net Worth

500,000 EUR

INVESTMENT AMOUNT

5,000,000 EUR

Benefits

Being part of the EU allows Cyprus to offer you and your family quick, easy access to citizenship that gives you the right to work, live and purchase property in all 28 member EU countries. Citizenship can be obtained within three or four months and there is no minimum residency requirement.

You gain obtain visa-free travel to 158 countries as well as access to education and health care systems that extend to other EU countries. New measures have revitalized the economy and have largely improved the quality of life for Cyprus citizens. Favorable taxation laws and government incentives have been added to lure investors.

Investment

Regardless of the option you choose, a minimum EUR 2 million will get you full Cypriot citizenship. It can be invested by you or a company in which you own shares or act as a senior manager.

There are four available options:

  • Real estate, infrastructure or other development projects.
  • Investment in a Cypriot company or one that you create as long as in either case it employs at least five citizens.
  • You can invest in the Alternative Investment Funds or in financial assets of Cypriot companies in the form of bonds, debentures or securities.
  • Or it can involve a combination of all these options including up to EUR 500,000 in government bonds.

Financial Requirements

You are required to own for life a residential property in Cyprus valued at a minimum EUR 500,000 (US$560,000). This demand has raised questions as to how Cyprus can impose such a strict requirement once someone has gained full mobility under EU citizenship.

The residential property can be included as part of the real-estate investment option. New rules allow you to include your parents provided an additional EUR 500,000 above the required minimum EUR 2 million is invested to purchase a private residence.

In 2013 alleged Russian “corruption money” shattered investor confidence in the Cypriot banking system which is why some analysts consider the real estate option a safer bet.

Commitment

With approvals granted within three months Cyprus remains the fastest destination to obtain a second citizenship. There are no language tests or previous business experience required. You are allowed to keep your citizenship from your country of residence. And there is no requirement to make a donation to a government agency as in the case of Malta. The only physical visit to Cyprus is required when you swear the Oath of Citizenship. That usually takes place within three or four months of filing your application. You then receive within days a biometric passport.

Benefits

With Malta citizenship comes full citizenship in Europe which gives you access to all 28 EU countries and Switzerland and visa-free travel to about 160 countries.

To be granted citizenship you must among other obligations either buy a home or lease a residence for a minimum five years. That’s when your formal residency begins. Twelve months after purchasing or leasing a property proving that you have established residency you can apply for citizenship. If you already meet residency requirements, citizenship can be granted within six months.

As a resident you get to enjoy an excellent education and health care system and a safe social environment.

Investment

The financial demands are substantial. You and your family must make a non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund: EUR 650,000 (US$725,000) for the main investor, EUR 25,000 (US$28,000) for your spouse and minor aged children, EUR 50,000 (US$56,000) for unmarried children aged 18 to 26 as well as for other dependents such as parents.

Then you must either purchase a home valued at a minimum EUR 350,000 (US$390,000) or choose the cheaper option of leasing a property that rents for at least EUR 16,000 (US$18,000) per year.

You must also make a EUR 150,000 (US$167,000) investment in government approved financial vehicles for a mandatory five-year.

Financial Requirements

You will need to meet the highest standards of due diligence and a detailed background check while showing impeccable credentials and standing.. That means proving beyond any doubt that you are a deserving and reputable investor. All income sources of income and funds must include supporting documents and evidence.

Due diligence fees range from EUR 7,500 for the main applicant, EUR 5,000 for your spouse and adult dependents and EUR 3,000 for children aged 13-17. Other fees and scheduled deposits are also required.

You are only required to pay taxes on income earned in the country. There are no municipal, estate, inheritance or wealth taxes.

Commitment

You are not required to live in Malta the full 12 months to qualify for residency. A visit to Malta will suffice after purchasing or leasing a property and you must visit to undertake the Oath of Allegiance.

You will need a comprehensive international health insurance policy to cover medical expenses of at least EUR 50,000 per family members.

Dual citizenship is accepted and there are no language requirements. All children born from those bearing Maltese citizenship become full European citizens.

But the program is firmly capped at 1,800 participants and will likely meet its quota by year’s end. So you need to act fast if you don’t want to miss this opportunity.

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