The amended regulations related to the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP) as adopted by the Council of Ministers and approved by the Cyprus Parliament, were published in the official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus on 18 August 2020.
The CIP remains largely unchanged, with the amendments and new provisions introduced aiming to provide a more robust and straightforward framework.
The new or amending provisions introduced relate to the following:
• the establishment of a “Supervision and Control Committee” for overseeing the overall implementation of the scheme by the authorised service providers.
• the creation of a “Naturalizations Control Unit” for examining citizenship applications, including compliance of applicants with all relevant regulations and the coordination and/or supervision of the CIP.
• introduction of detailed provisions for guidance and supervision of registered service providers, in order to ensure compliance with all applicable regulations and the code of conduct.
• increase of the mandatory donation to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation as well as to one of the following organisations to €100,000 each (previously €75,000 each):
o The Research and Innovation Foundation; or
o The Industry and Technology Service; or
o The Fund for Renewable Energy Sources and Conservation of Energy; or
o The National Solidarity Fund.
• the applicant is not entitled anymore to set up a land development company for the purpose of channelling the investment.
• the minimum number of Cypriot or European employees that a Cyprus entity must have, in case the particular investment option is chosen, is increased from 5 to 9.
• increase in the period during which the applicants’ Criminal Record Certificate can be considered as valid from 3 months to 6 months from the date of issuance.
• applicants and their family members falling in any of the following categories are not eligible to apply for the CIP:
o politically exposed persons (PEPs), who hold such a position at the time of the application or within the 12 months prior to the submission of the CIP application (previously the period was 5 years prior to the submission of the application);
o persons who are subject to criminal investigation either in Cyprus or abroad at the time of the application and/or persons convicted for serious criminal offences punishable with imprisonment of 5 years or more;
o persons who are included and/or who are connected with natural or legal persons included in the Restrictive Measures Lists of the European Union and/or persons who were connected with such natural or legal persons at the time of their inclusion in such lists;
o persons who are included and/or who are connected with natural or legal persons who are included in the Sanctions Lists of the European Union and/or persons who were connected with such natural or legal persons at the time of their inclusion in such lists;
o members who are included and/or who are connected with natural or legal persons who are included in the Restrictive Measures Lists of either the European Union or the United Nations, against whom such restrictive measures remained valid for a period ended up to 12 months prior to the submission of the CIP application;
o persons who are included in the “Wanted List” of either EUROPOL or INTERPOL; and
o persons the estate of whom has been seized within the borders of the European Union.
• family members of applicants can now apply either simultaneously with them or any time thereafter, whereas previously, except from the spouse, they could only apply after citizenship was granted to the applicants.
• it is provided that the parents of applicants or those of their spouse, as the case may be, can apply to the programme provided that they purchase a residential property with a minimum value of €500.000 plus VAT, if applicable.
Certain existing provisions have been re-emphasized, such as the following:
• funds to be invested must come from abroad, from the applicant’s personal bank account or from the bank account/s of companies belonging to the applicant based and operating abroad.
• citizenship may be revoked if any of the economic criteria and/or requirements of the CIP are no longer satisfied.