Since its inception in 2013, the Cyprus Citizenship-by-Investment Programme (CIP) has gone through a number of changes, with the most recent being made public this week.
The CIP is now officially named the ‘Cypriot Investment Scheme’ and is expected to continue to prove popular with high net-worth private clients from around the world, predominately because an applicant can qualify by making a real estate purchase as opposed to a non-refundable donation.
In 2015, the Cyprus CIP granted citizenship to a little over 330 main applicants and 340 dependents followed by just over 440 and 460 in 2016.
The highest numbers on record were seen in 2017, with the Cyprus CIP having granted citizenship to just over 500 applicants and 500 dependents. In anticipation of these rising figures, the Council of Ministers recently announced a restriction on the number of applicants that will be granted citizenship.
“While they have capped this at 700 per year, in no previous year has the CIP reached this number so it should not pose an issue for our clients interested in obtaining Cypriot citizenship just yet” remarks Omar Mina, Latitude’s Managing Director in Cyprus.
The Cyprus Government also promised to enhance the process of due diligence on prospective clients, another improvement to the programme which is also welcomed by Omar Mina: “The performance of the Cyprus CIP in comparison with other citizenship programmes has always stood out for its speed, efficiency and transparency. I am pleased that it will now also have a due diligence process to rival all others.”
These recent changes come on the heels of those announced back in March which included the establishment of a Supervision and Control Committee to oversee the CIP, the creation of a registry of service providers and a Code of Conduct governing the promotion of the programme. In addition, in order to comply with Personal Data Protection the names of successful applicants will remain confidential and such disclosure of said applicants could result in criminal charges.
Aside from the option to qualify via the purchase of real estate, what has helped with the popularity of the Cypriot Investment Scheme is certainly the fact that the Cypriot passport affords visa-free travel to over 165 countries, provides the holder with the right of establishment in any EU country and citizenship may be passed on to future generations.