Cyprus: the new criteria for naturalization and how they relate to the Golden Visa

This month, the government of the Republic of Cyprus unveiled the operational aspects to implement the Population Registry Law of 2023, which aimed to modernize the legal framework for the naturalization of foreigners.

In that law, among other things, both the qualification criteria and the due diligence process for handling nationality applications were improved.

Additionally, a very relevant aspect is that, thanks to this law, Cyprus is the first European Union country with a Golden Visa program to regulate the processing time for naturalization petitions, setting a limit of only 8 months.

As highlighted by IMI Daily, this means that once a person has resided in Cyprus long enough to be eligible for citizenship, under any scheme, the government must now process their citizenship application within the 8-month timeframe, without further delays.

The recently announced specifics clarify some points about eligibility criteria for obtaining citizenship, which had been outlined in a general form in the 2023 law.

These criteria, which aim to ensure that new citizens are financially stable and culturally integrated, are as follows:

  • As a prerequisite, 12 months of uninterrupted legal residence in Cyprus before applying, with absences not exceeding 90 days.
  • Having a legitimate residence history for 3, 4, or 7 years, depending on the chosen citizenship route.
  • Proficiency in the Greek language at level A2 (being able to communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters) or level B1 (the ability to understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, etc.)
  • Understanding the basic elements of modern social and political reality in Cyprus.
  • Having appropriate accommodation.
  • Having stable and regular financial income to sustain oneself and their family on the island.
  • Expressing the intention to reside in the country.

Cyprus also has a tax program that offers tax exemptions for up to 17 years for certain income from abroad. This can be utilized by non-residents on the island while their minimum residency period for naturalization passes.

To apply for Cyprus’s Golden Visa program, some things should be considered:

  • The minimum required investment is €300,000, which can be allocated to real estate, businesses, or investment funds. When applying for the visa, you have the option to include your spouse and children under 25.
  • A demonstration of international income of at least €50,000 is required. If you want to include your family group, you must add additional income of €15,000 (for the spouse) and €10,000 for each child under 25.
  • The minimum residency period required to maintain the visa is just one day every two years, with renewal required every three years.
  • It does not confer the right to work in the country.

If you are interested in the topic, get in touch with our team and schedule a meeting now! We are experts in international mobility and have teams both in Chile and Europe.

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