Our Law Firm noticed that during the past few months there is a growing interest by High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) from South Africa for the Cyprus Investment Program, a citizenship scheme that grants the Cypriot passport.
The benefits of the particular program for Cypriot citizenship scheme are highly regarded by South Africans who seek to ensure a second passport that will not only allow them to gain access to the European Union but also offers very attractive investment opportunities.
Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, member state of the EU since 2004 and a member of the Eurozone since 2008, is a business hub, a welcoming environment and a very popular tourist destination. It is considered as one of the most appealing destinations for citizenship by investment and living, backed with low corporate and income tax rate, multiple investment opportunities in different sectors, excellent climate, high education and high healthcare system, excellent security with incredibly low crime rates and excellent quality of life.
In order for someone to be eligible for the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program benefits he must apply through a certified service provider and meet the following criteria:
- Clean Criminal Record – the applicant must have a clean criminal record. Furthermore, his/her name must not be included in the list of persons whose assets, within the boundaries of the European Union, have been frozen as the result of sanctions.
- Residence in the Republic of Cyprus. The applicant must possess a permanent privately-owned residence in the Republic of Cyprus, the purchase price of which must be at least €500.000, plus V.A.T.
- Residence Permit in Cyprus – The applicant, prior to his/her naturalization as a Cypriot citizen must hold a residence permit in Cyprus for a period of at least 6 (six) months.
- Have obtained a valid Schengen visa.
After these preconditions are met, the applicant, with the assistance of a certified service provider who will act as his contact person in Cyprus, can invest in a variety of options such as residential or business real estate, shares in companies or organizations established and operating in the Republic of Cyprus, Alternative Investment Funds licensed/registered and supervised by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec), or, any combination of the above. The minimum investment amount required in order to be eligible to apply as per Cypriot citizenship by investment program is €2 million. The interested applicants are strongly advised to only engage certified service providers for the Cyprus Investment Program, such as AGP Law Firm, who is certified and authorised by the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Finance and the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency for promoting the Cyprus Investment Program.
The applicant for the Cyprus Investment Program is also required to make 2 different donations:
- A mandatory donation of €75,000 to the Foundation for Research and Innovation to promote the creation of an entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem.
- A mandatory donation of €75,000 to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation, aiming at the contribution of the program to the new integrated housing policy.
Although the procedure can take up to 6 months to clear, the benefits provided are clearly much more beneficial and a lot of South Africans have identified this opportunity to provide security, travel and investment options for their families, in Cyprus. The individual is required to hold on his investments for a period of at least 5 years.
Along with the increased interest in the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program, South Africans are also drowned to the Permanent Residence scheme that allows them and their families to live on the island. The preconditions for Permanent Residence permit are fewer and include the purchase of real estate (more than 300 000 euros) and a steady income or fund in a local Bank.
The Cyprus Investment Program and the Permanent Residence scheme are particularly popular lately among High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) from South Africa since they offer an EU member state citizenship, the option to live in Cyprus, Investment Opportunities, high return on assets, low taxation, security and many more.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.