Cyprus Investment Programme Amendments 2019

Citizenship Programme Sustainability

Dr. Antoine Saliba Haig | Published on 13 Feb 2019

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"As of 1st November 2020, the Cyprus Investment Programme is closed until further notice. Contact us for further information."

The Cyprus Cabinet has just approved a number of changes to the country's investment programme. Whilst highlighting the benefit of such a programme, Finance minister Harris Georgiades pointed out that more needs to be done for the Cyprus economy as a whole to reap the advantages of the Cyprus Investment Programme, since currently most of the investment was being done in the real estate industry. Based on various studies done by the Finance Ministry, the cabinet approved a number of changes for the programme to contribute more directly to the economy. The Minister also confirmed that from the start of the programme 1864 applications have been approved.

Stricter Due Diligence - Cyprus Investment Programme

Apart from changes on the requirements of the programme, the Minister also announced stricter eligibility requirements as applicants will undergo a stricter due diligence test which will be conducted by a specialised external firm. Thus apart from the source of funds checks currently being held by the banks, and by the Cyprus authorities, other checks will be done by this firm which will be engaged by the Cypriot Government. 

Applicants will also be required to hold a Schengen visa for at least 90 days prior to submitting a citizenship application, and those individuals who were rejected a visa by any other EU state will be ineligible for submitting a citizenship application. In addition, applicants who were already refused citizenship by any other Member state of the EU will not be entitled to apply. 

Introduction of a non-refundable contribution

One of the main amendments approved by the Cabinet is an introduction of a €75,000 contribution to the Research and Innovation Foundation and another €75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Agency to fund affordable housing schemes, totalling to a €150,000 mandatory contribution. The obligation to contribute €75,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation does not apply if the applicant invests at least €75,000 in a certified innovative business or a certified social corporation. 

Investment shall be kept for 5 years

Another significant amendment approved by the Cabinet of Ministers is the obligation that the applicant must hold the qualifying investment for a total period of five years, rather than 3 years. The applicant is also given the right to replace the investment made within this five year period subject to the approval by the Ministry of Finance. 

Approved Amendments of the Cyprus Investment Programme

To summarise the new amendments to the Cyprus Investment Programme include :

  • A mandatory contribution of €150,000
  • Stricter due diligence test to be conducted by a specialised firm
  • The obligation to obtain a Schengen Visa prior to submitting an application
  • Applicants who were refused a visa by an EU Member State will be ineligible to apply
  • Applicants who were refused under another citizenship programme in the EU will be ineligible to apply
  • Holding period for investment has been increased to 5 years from 3 years
  • If a residential property had already been purchased under the CIP, the required investment is increased from €2m to €2.5m
  • Applicants are no longer able to invest in Cyprus Government Bonds
  • Investments made to the Cyprus shipping industry will be considered as an eligible investment under the CIP

Although the amendments have been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, these have not yet been implemented in the law and will be enforced from May 2019. Chetcuti Cauchi is accredited and approved by the Ministry of Finance to submit applications on behalf of applicants. 

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