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Cyprus passport - new regulations and more demanding requirements

May 16, 2019

Recent years have seen a growing interest in investor citizenship (“golden passport”) and investor residence (“golden visa”) programs, which aim to attract investment by granting investors citizenship or residence rights of the involved country. Cyprus, among other countries, has raised concerns about certain inherent risks of such programs, in particular as regarding security, money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.

As a result, additional more demanding requirements for granting "golden passports" of the Republic of Cyprus to foreign citizens came into force on 15 of May 2019. According to the Insider, for those candidates, who have already signed real estate purchase contracts but have yet to collect all of the required documents, the government did allow to participate in the program in accordance with old requirements. These investors may submit documents, compliant with old requirements, till July 15.

It is worth noting that in February 2019, the Council of Ministers of Cyprus approved the terms for the new procedure of granting citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus in exchange for investments.

The new rules that came into force as of May 15, among others, include the following requirements:

• Schengen visa issued by EEU Country;

• Temporary residence permit in the Republic of Cyprus;

• Due diligence of candidates and the origin of their funds, which they intend to invest in the Republic of Cyprus;

• Payment of mandatory contributions in amount of 150,000 euros to the funds of research and development and the land development organization.

On May 21, the government of Cyprus will announce the results of the competition held to determine three candidates, who will be given the right to inspect applicants for "golden passports". Among the contenders are international companies Exiger, BDO Consulting, Thomson Reuters, Wealth X, Bishops, S-RM, Intelect and Globe Detective.

It was also decided to involve Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA) in the investor citizenship program. The agency’s role will be a supportive one: it will mostly assist the candidates with preparation of required documents (without checking the origin of their funds).

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