If you are a high net worth foreign investor looking to diversify your portfolio overseas, while also receiving some incredibly beneficial residency perks, Cyprus may be the answer you’re looking for. The tiny Mediterranean island has implemented programs that allow for one of the most affordable and quickest paths to permanent residency, a second passport, and EU citizenship.
Permanent Residency by Investment
This form of “Golden Visa” allows for foreigners to invest abroad in Cyprus and receive permanent residency for themselves and their family.
In order to qualify, a €300,000 investment must be made into a new property (or a maximum of two properties equaling €300,000) in Cyprus. The investment can be purchased through a company, so long as the beneficial owners of the company are the applicant, or the applicant and their spouse. What’s so remarkable about this residency through investment abroad in Cyprus is that the permanent residence status is granted in two months and covers the applicant’s family. This means the parents of the applicant, the parents of the applicant’s spouse, and any child dependents up to 25 years of age will also receive permanent residency abroad in Cyprus.
The only requirement to maintain this permanent residency through investment is to keep your property (or invest €300,000 into a new property if you plan to sell the original) and make sure that all family members taking advantage of the permit visit Cyprus at least once every two years. Of all the “Golden Visa” residency through investment abroad options in Europe, Cyprus’ can’t be beat for ease of maintaining and quickness of receiving residency.
After three years of this permanent residency, foreign investors in Cyprus can attain citizenship through naturalization for an investment of only €500,000, instead of the €2 million minimum for immediate citizenship.
Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus
For high net worth individuals who don’t want to wait the three years of investment residency for a second passport in Cyprus, citizenship can be purchased immediately for a €2 million purchase of real estate property in the country. This number was reduced from €2.5 million in 2016.
This form of immediate citizenship through investment gives foreign investors in Cyprus an instant second passport with the right to vote within the country and the ability to freely live, work, study, and travel in all 28 EU member states. Parents of the applicant can be added to the citizenship program for an additional €500,000 (plus VAT), invested into a private residence in Cyprus.
Known by the name “Golden Visa” to categorize this process with other citizenship through investment options around the world, applicants must fall under one of four main variants in order to achieve this citizenship through naturalization by exception:
- Investment in real estate, developments, and infrastructure
- Applicants will need to invest €2 million towards the purchase or construction of a new real estate property in Cyprus.
- Purchase, establish, or participate in Cypriot businesses
- Applicants must invest €2 million towards the purchase or creation of a company in Cyprus. Must have a visible presence in the country and employ at least 5 Cypriot citizens.
- Investment in Alternate Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot enterprises licensed by the Securities Exchange Commission
- Applicant will purchase €2 million worth of units from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF). Or, investment must cover the purchase of financial assets of Cypriot business organizations valued at €2 million in the form of bonds, securities, and debt securities.
- Combination of the above investments
If your method of investment abroad in Cyprus does not involve purchasing private property, you will need to acquire a permanent residence worth at least €500,000. Expats looking to obtain this investment visa in Cyprus will need to prove they have a clean criminal record in the country and any other country they hold a passport in. They will also need to obtain permanent residency first. Since this process only takes two months, gaining a second passport in Cyprus through investment abroad can be had in as little as 6 months after initial investment. This is the absolute quickest and most affordable (compared to the value in the “Golden Visa” market and the tax incentives) route to EU citizenship.
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Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.