Cyprus cancelled Citizenship by Investment Program

Cyprus cancelled Citizenship by Investment Program

On 13 October, 2020 the information on decision to cancel Citizenship by Investment Program made on the extraordinary meeting of Council of Ministers has been published by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus press office.

It is stated in the press release that the date of cancellation of Citizenship by Investment Program agreed by the Council of Ministers is 1 November, 2020. The decision to cancel this Program is based on periodic appearance of its procedural deficiencies and on facts of abuse by applicants.

In 2020 some conditions of the Program have been modified in order to reach their compliance with current anti-money laundering legislation. At the same moment the list of cases when the passport must be revoked by public authorities of Cyprus has been established, and such cases include the investor being connected to crimes, subject to international sanctions or being on the international wanted list.

Shortly before the publication of the Council of Minister’s decision mass media mentioned that there were some practical cases of Cyprus citizenship revocation with respect to investors who did not meet the requirements formally, but nevertheless obtained a passport of this state as a result of lacks in verification procedures. However, at that moment representatives of Cyprus public authorities have refused to confirm or to deny the fact of revocation of previously issued passports making a reference to “information distortion” by mass media.

During the period when the Program was effective, the minimum investment threshold was 2 000 000 Euro, and it was allowed to invest in immovable property situated in Cyprus, in the capital of Cyprus companies and foundations, or in bonds. The period necessary to obtain a citizenship could be 6-7 months. After the cancellation of the Citizenship by Investment Program only standard procedure to become a Cyprus citizen (i.e. naturalization) remains available: it means that long-time residence in Cyprus (5-7 years) or family relationship with Cyprus citizen will be required.

The press release contains a notice that the Cyprus Government will decide how to revise the policy of attraction of foreign capital to this jurisdiction (i.e. to attract it in a similar or in a completely different way) based on results of investigation in relation to Citizenship by Investment Program.

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