The Government of the Island of Cyprus is doing all it can to facilitate immigration to the country by high net worth individuals and their families. In the past few years, the Government has simplified the family application under the Cyprus Citizenship Program and reduced the qualification requirements to encourage investment, immigration and naturalization. The program enables citizenship within three months of a correct and complete application being received, and where the applicants satisfy the qualifying requirements. On September 9, 2016, Cyprus’ Council of Ministers also made it easier for an investor’s family members to become citizens.
Family members should be legal residents before they apply for citizenship. If they are not already legally resident, and want to become citizens, then they may bypass the residency requirement, and apply for an immigration permit at the same time as they apply for naturalization. This is another example of how the Republic of Cyprus is working to simplify the process.
Family Application Under the Cyprus Citizenship Program, introduced by the Council of Ministers, enables the investor’s spouse or civil partner, the investor’s parents, minor children, and financially-dependent adult children to become Cyprus citizens. The council’s decision is confirmed in Section 110 (3) of Cyprus Civil Registry Law. Let us, now, look at the definition of each of those family member terms, and at the associated application conditions.
A spouse is defined as someone married to the investor, either in the Republic of Cyprus or in the investor’s country of origin or current country of domicile.
The term partner has been defined, for the purposes of the Scheme, and further clarified in Cyprus’ 2015 Civil Partnership Law 184 (1), as anyone who entered into a civil partnership with the investor that was concluded in Cyprus or in any other state provided the following conditions are satisfied:
The investor’s spouse or partner’s application for citizenship may be submitted along with the investor’s rather than afterwards and separately. Again, this simplifies and speeds up the process, and enables them to be approved simultaneously.
These are the investor’s children who are under the age of 18.
Citizenship applications must only be submitted after the investor has become a citizen and must be approved by both parents.
Adult children who are considered financially dependent must satisfy one of the two following conditions:
Adult children may only submit their citizenship applications after the investor has been naturalized as a citizen of Cyprus.
The investor’s parents may apply for citizenship provided they hold a permanent and privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus. The residence must have had a purchase price of at least €500,000 plus VAT. The investor and the investor’s parents may own a single permanent residence between them. In order for it to qualify, the jointly-owned residence must have had a purchase price of at least €1 million plus VAT.
Parents, like other dependent family members may only apply for citizenship after the investor has become a citizen.