The number of Cypriot Citizenship Applications has been rising over the first few months of 2019.
Private sector offices providing such services under licence by the Ministry of Finance confirm that Cypriot Citizenship applications have risen in the first months of 2019. They attribute this to the fact that criteria for acquiring a citizenship will become stricter as a result of changes due to come into effect on May 15.
Both overseas property investors and business investors have been flocking to get Cypriot Citizenship applications in before the change deadline.
Public tenders will open soon for a specialised foreign firm to carry out due diligence and background checks for each and every application.
One of the main changes to Cypriot Citizenship applications is the fact that the investment will need to be maintained for five years following the date of naturalization, instead of three years.
And during this five-year period, the investor will be entitled to change his/her investment into other forms of permitted investments, provided he/she obtains consent from the Ministry of Finance, prior to making any changes.
Another important change is the provision that if the investment is in real estate, a planning permit must be in place in order for such investment to qualify.
Moreover, all applications from prospective investors should be accompanied by real estate valuations made by licensed property valuers.
However, the most important new criterion appears to be the fact that applicants will now need to be in possession of a Schengen visa when submitting an application.
And applicants who were rejected by any other EU country for citizenship, will not be allowed to seek Cypriot citizenship under the programme.
Cyprus will have a hotline with other European countries regarding foreign investors who apply for Cypriot citizenship
This is part of further changes promoted by the government in the Citizenship by Investment Scheme in a bid to stop strong criticism by the European Commission. In addition, an investor applying for a Cypriot citizenship will be required to also submit his/her Shengen visa since this would prove that the application was not rejected by any other EU country.
The Commission wants the Scheme’s provisions to become more stringent because investors, in addition to Cypriot citizenship, also automatically obtain European citizenship.