Immigrant Investor Programs were designed to attract investment from HNWIs and entrepreneurs, by providing the right of residence and/or citizenship on an expedited basis. These are also known as “citizenship-by-investment” and “residency-by-investment” programs respectively. While several countries currently offer investors citizenship or residence in return for an economic investment, the concept is relatively new and was only brought to focus globally, in 2006.
Europe has long established itself as the most sought-after region in terms of high net worth immigration, accounting for over half of the total number of global citizenship applications, with the Caribbean in second place, followed by North America in third, it is no wonder that there has been increasing interest in Cyprus.
The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program is now considered the world’s most successful program, offering HNWIs and their families a gateway to all of Europe. The program was first introduced at a premium investment of €15mlnin 2002. After numerous revisions which improved the Cyprus CBI program, the current investment requirements, in place since September 2016, are a €2mln investment in residential property or a total investment of €2.5 mln with various eligible options being available (investment in both residential and commercial property and/or land,Cyprus companies, funds, and government bonds, with certain restrictions).
As a result of the evolution of the Cyprus CBI program, it is not surprising it is now considered the most attractive in the world, offering the fastest route to EU Citizenship (only 6 months), without the requirement to physically reside in the country before, during or after the CBI application (other than been present for one day to provide biometrics), in contrast to other CBI programs globally.
The Cyprus CBI program has attracted significant interest from HNWIswho are looking to hedge risk in the form of the ultimate insurance policy, and/or doing business in the EU. Investors have primarily come from Russia and CIS, China, and the Middle East.
In a recent CBI Index published by the Financial Times Professional Wealth Management in the summer of 2017, Cyprus led the European Union in offering the most attractive CBI program. Rankings were based on the aggregate of 7 measurable factors:
- Freedom of Movement;
- The standard of living;
- Minimum investment outlay;
- Mandatory residence or travel requirements;
- Citizenship timeline;
- Ease of process;
- Due diligence.
It is expected that the Cyprus government will shortly be announcing new measures, through a regulating committee, that will oversee and vet real estate developers and other immigration services providers, ensuring that all parties concerned, including Cyprus CBI applicants alike, adhere to a set “code of conduct”. By safeguarding the integrity of the program, the Cypriot CBI program will remain fully compliant, and continue meeting the highest EU standards, and maximizing investor’s value while protecting their financial interest.
The Cyprus government will also issue clear guidelines to all Cyprus CBI program providers, imposing restrictions on various aspects of marketing the program.
Through our affiliate Law firm, S. Evangelides & Partners LLC, and highly specialized Investment Immigration team, S&A acts as a one stop shop for all investors’ needs, offering advice prior to filing an application, file preparation and submission, through to successful completion and other connected wealth planning and tax compliance services.