Citizenship by investment is an increasingly common path for people seeking a better future for themselves and their families. These so called “passport investment” programs assure financial security as well as the promise of personal freedom and the ability to make more meaningful choices in life, particularly with regard to travel. The available choices are abundant but the most popular options are those offered by European Union countries (and the United Kingdom). Most investment migration programs offered by EU countries have a stay requirement which makes it necessary for the applicant to be present for a minimum number of days before they can obtain citizenship. The minimum number of days required varies from country to country, but generally tends to be between 3-5 years.
Out of all EU countries, there are 3 notable jurisdictions that have almost no stay requirements: Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria. This migration guide will be a 3 part series beginning with Cyprus.
Fastest time frame
FAST – Cyprus immigration offers a 6/9 month pathway to citizenship of a European Union member country through a straightforward real estate investment. Generally speaking, applicants will obtain their Permanent Resident (or “PR”) status in 6 months, and a passport in an additional 3 months. In terms of the local lifestyle, tax regime and benefits of nationality, Cyprus has it all. Ideally located between Europe, Africa and Asia, many find that the sunny Mediterranean climate, first world standards of living and friendly, welcoming English-speaking population make Cyprus a place worth calling home, beyond just an official country of residence on paper.
Friendly tax regime
Cyprus citizenship grants the right of travel, work or study in any EU country while life in Cyprus itself, with its beaches, perfect weather and diverse international community is just as desirable. Financially, some may find it even more so, given its generous tax regime with the corporate tax rate set at just 12.5%. Citizens that do not reside in the country face no tax liabilities whatsoever, and Cyprus has no inheritance tax. The individual income tax rates, before applying allowances, deductions and exemptions, are as follows:
For many scenarios applicable to High Net Worth Individuals or entrepreneurs, if their primary source of income is from company share dividends, income from investment portfolios in private banks or rental income from properties outside Cyprus, under the Cyprus tax regime all income is deemed tax-free.
This is a major attraction that most people underestimate in many countries offering investment migration programs. We cannot over-emphasize the importance of the local tax regime’s treatment of overseas investment income. For High Net Worth Individuals and entrepreneurs considering a second domicile, the tax regime in the selected jurisdiction could potentially create huge problems down the road.
Tax planning and optimization schemes are of course not impossible, but in a world of full transparency and global anti tax avoidance systems like the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard, why not start the relocation plan in a tax-friendly jurisdiction rather than seeking complicated planning afterwards?
A lot more to love
Apart from the taxation perspective , there is a lot more to Cyprus. With a wealth of culture that includes ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman heritage, Cyprus is more than just a financial base. From the Greco Roman mosaics in Paphos, a UNESCO world heritage site, to annual festivals and carnivals, Cyprus has a vibrant cultural identity. English is widely spoken, while a growing number of locals speak Russian and German. The official languages are Greek and Turkish, reflecting the country’s history of multiculturalism. The National Healthcare system provides free treatment, alongside a world class private sector in urban areas. Locals enjoy swimming, sailing and scuba diving in the safe, warm waters and the education and health care facilities are on par with anywhere else in Europe, making the Mediterranean island a perfect place to raise a family, as well as a gateway to the EU.
How to gain Citizenship in Cyprus by Investment
The cost of securing the path to citizenship in Cyprus is €2.15 million. First, the applicant is required to make a real estate investment of €2 million in a residential property (or commercial property at €2.5 million), after which they can immediately take advantage of Cyprus permanent residency benefits. In addition to the investment in real estate, a further €150,000 donation to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation and Research and Innovation Foundation is required.
Real estate is not the only pathway; investors can also attain eligibility by contributing €2 million to an Alternative Investment Fund, setting up a new local business with €2 million in capital, or investing the same amount in an existing local business. There is also an option to split the capital between any of these investments, for example investing €1 million in real estate and €1 million in funds and ventures. The most popular scheme by far is real estate investment.
Once the investment is made and the application approved, citizenship for the investor, their spouse and dependent children aged 28 and under will be granted. The investor’s parents can gain citizenship through an additional €500,000 real estate investment. Investments should be maintained for at least five years after gaining citizenship, although there is a possibility to reduce the amount to €500,000 after 3 years, with the reduced amount required to be maintained for the duration of citizenship.
Immigration to Cyprus is the fastest route to a European passport. If you want to pursue this path to a new beginning for yourself and your family, our staff can help you develop a plan of action according to your individual circumstances, guaranteeing not only a successful application but the best return on your investment. We value our clients’ prosperity and privacy and we are proud to offer our relocation services. Contact us with an enquiry about investment immigration today for a personalized, confidential consultation.
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