To address concerns by the European Commission, Cyprus is making its citizenship-by-investment scheme more targeted and trustworthy. The Mediterranean island nation has been running one of the most popular citizenship-by-investment schemes in the world since 2013.
The passport allows investors to live and work in any European Union nation, do business in a country with the low corporate tax rate of 12.5%, and enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine a year.
Under the new criteria, a Cyprus passport will be granted in exchange for an investment of $2.8 million, up from $2.2 million. Provision were also made for a mandatory donation of $85,000 to the Research and Innovation Foundation and a second $85,000 contribution to the Cyprus Land Development Corporation to be used for affordable housing.
For Cyprus, the scheme launched in the aftermath of the island’s 2013 economic crisis has granted 1,864 citizenships and raised $7.43 billion, said Cyprus’s Finance Minister Harris Georgiades (Χάρης Γεωργιάδης).
Applicants will be obliged to already possess a Schengen visa — a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. Applicants who have already been rejected by other EU states will be excluded. The changes come after an EU report said Cyprus was not doing enough to ensure transparency to combat illicit and criminal activity.
Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria are the only members of the 28-member bloc which run schemes selling citizenship, while 20 countries sell residence permits.
Note: To receive a Maltese citizenship, Individual Investor Programme applicants must make a contribution of $732,000 to the Maltese Government (which is deposited in the National Development and Social Fund); lease property in Malta for a minimum value of $18,000 per annum, or purchase property for a minimum value of $395,000; and acquire $170,000 worth of Government Bonds or bonds/ securities listed on the Malta Stock Exchange.
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