Changes to the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme

Introduced in 2013 to stimulate economic growth in Cyprus, this dynamic investment programme has seen incredible success to date. In fact, according to a recent Cyprus BusinessMail article, “since the introduction of the scheme in its current form in 2014 and in a previous form in 2008, Cyprus has granted citizenships to 1,685 investors and 1,651 family members”. Recent changes to the programme have been implemented by the Council of Ministers in Cyprus, and announced via the Cypriot Press and Information Office (PIO). These changes seek to improve and regulate further the process for acquiring citizenship through this programme.

Amendments include:

  • An annual limit on the number of applicants
  • A change of name of the programme
  • More stringent due diligence requirements pertaining to applicants

A supervisory committee will be established to ensure adherence to these amendments by service providers such as law firms, accounting firms, property developers, and others; acting on behalf of applicants.

Let us take a look at the key changes in more detail:

1) Change of name of programme

The Cyprus citizenship programme will hereon forth officially be referred to as the Cypriot Investment Scheme. This was announced by the PIO, as part of the overall amendments to be effected.

2) New annual cap on applicants

Only 700 applicants (investors) will be granted Cyprus citizenship under the Cypriot Investment Scheme. This will take effect from 2018. To date, whilst the number of applications has increased considerably, this figure has not yet been surpassed.

3) Establishment of a supervisory and control committee

A new committee will be created, and a registry of approved service providers set up, to manage the entire citizenship by investment process in Cyprus. What this means is that only authorised legal entities and duly registered individuals will be able to act and submit applications on behalf of applicants who meet all relevant criteria. The Ministry has announced that the registry will be accessible by 31 July 2018 on the Ministries of Finance and Interior, and Invest Cyprus, websites. Applications submitted by 18 July will also be found on the registry, if they have been approved. This registry will be updated regularly.

Further, a Code of Conduct has been announced that all service providers must observe, or else stand the risk of incurring penalties. This includes banks, accountants, lawyers, financial firms, real estate consultants and developers, and others.  

4) More stringent Due Diligence requirements

With the current changes, adherence to due diligence procedures will become substantially stricter, and include the introduction of new due diligence tests. As a result, the application process will be increased by approximately six months for clearance to be obtained. All costs relating to due diligence costs will be borne by applicants.

5) Restrictions on promotion of the programme

Advertising of the Cypriot Investment Scheme (including photographs of the Cyprus passport) will be prohibited.

6) Public disclosure of identity of investors

The disclosure of the identity of investors who have been granted a Cyprus passport will now become a punishable offence by law.

For any further information or questions regarding the recent amendments, please don’t hesitate in contacting our office by telephone on +357 22272360 or by email at info@dplawcyprus.com.

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