Cyprus Investment Immigration Program — a Popular Option amongst the Global Elite
Recent data released by the Interior Ministry of Cyprus shows that the country’s popular Cyprus investment immigration program has led to inflow of FDI exceeding €2 billion into the country’s economy during 2012-13 to 2014-15. The Cyprus investment immigration program offers permanent residency as well as citizenship to high net-worth individuals from all over the world.
Investors can gain permanent residency in Cyprus by purchasing property costing a minimum sum of €300,000. For those seeking citizenship, Cyprus offers multiple options ranging from investment in bonds to purchase of real estate or companies.
One option for obtaining citizenship involves purchase of shares or bonds of state-run investment companies of minimum value of €2 million along with a €0.5 million donation to the Research and Technology Fund instituted by the government.
Or, applicants can make investment of not less than € 5 million towards purchase of residential property, commercial real estate, hotels, shops, or offices with the only condition that the property so purchased must be put to use by the investor.
The third option involves purchase of active companies that were founded in the country or purchase of shares of companies that are registered in Cyprus.
Or, fourthly, investors can simply deposit a sum of €5 million in a Cypriot bank or establish and retain beneficial ownership in a company for the same value. This investment must be held for a period of at least three years.
The lenient Citizenship by Investment program is just one of the many reasons why wealthy individuals are flocking to the country. Various studies have consistently ranked the county as one of the top-ten retirement destinations in the world. A very favorable tax regime and high ranking in parameters related to business and leisure makes this the only European country other than Switzerland to be ranked as one of the top five relocation destinations in the world.
Introduced in 2013, Cyprus investment immigration program seeks to attract wealthy investors and entrepreneurs seeking EU citizenship without onerous residency requirements. The program scores over a similar option offered by Malta due to the fact that it does not require significant donations to the government. Applicants choosing Malta are required to make a €650,000 donation over and above the minimum investment.
Unlike Malta, investors can apply even if they have never lived in Cyprus. Malta requires investors to show proof of residence for a period of not less than one year prior to the filing of the application as a mandatory requirement.
Quick processing with passports being issued within 3-4 months of filing of the application, a favorable tax regime, reputation as a developed financial center, and its strategic location are other reasons why investors prefer Cyprus. The country’s social infrastructure consisting of reputed private schools and access to quality medical facilities combined with a low crime rate and high standard of living makes makes Cyprus a popular option amongst investment immigrants.
Inflow of FDI has led to steady pickup in the commercial real estate sector in the country. Grade A office buildings are in demand with tenancy leases for periods ranging from 8-12 years offering an attractive 6% annual return to investors. Real estate experts expect this positive trend to spill over into the residential sector as well.
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