Realities of the Golden Visa program in Cyprus

Since August, the rules have been seriously changed in Cyprus, according to which you can obtain citizenship of this country in exchange for investment.

Since August, the rules have been seriously changed in Cyprus, according to which you can obtain citizenship of this country in exchange for investment. The Golden Visa program has been working almost unchanged in Cyprus since 2013 and allowed foreign investors who have invested more than 2 million euros in the country to obtain a passport within 90 days. Holders of such a passport, in addition to the opportunity to live and work in the EU, were subject to a low tax when doing business on the island. On August 1, Cyprus had the highest speed of obtaining such citizenship - it was only 3 months. Now a lot has changed. Serious investors have to wait for a new passport for six months. Previously, homeowners could sell it just 3 years after the registration of the purchase agreement, now the date of purchase is the date of issue of the certificate of naturalization, or the date of planning permission. The verification of Cyprus passport applicants under the Golden Visa program has become much more thorough, as in recent years there has been a lot of rumors about corruption in this area. The main innovation concerns the number of applications that will be considered during the year. Now only 700 applications can be approved.

Nevertheless, already in December it can be noted that the innovations did not alienate those wishing to become citizens of Cyprus. Most of the real estate investors on the island are from Eastern Europe, Asia, Arab states and Europeans. Statistics show that the quota of 700 people did not have an impact on this area. For example, in 2017, before all the innovations, in Cyprus only 503 such residence permits were issued to the investors themselves, and another 510 passports were received by their family members. Last year in this respect was, according to statistics, the year of issuing the largest number of Cyprus passports to investors. In total, from 2014 to 2017, the Cypriot services approved 2,996 applications, and this includes not only businessmen themselves, but also their family members. With regard to the total number of applications filed from investors who want to become citizens of Cyprus, it is constantly growing. More than 2,300 such applications were filed in May and the three summer months. Therefore, while we can say with confidence that the innovations adopted in August, perhaps, speak of a desire to more carefully select candidates for citizenship, but for the most part they were adopted due to the inclusion of the country on the OECD's "black list" - an organization for economic cooperation and development , which fights tax evaders using programs like the Golden Visa.

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