Cyprus Announces Limit on Passport-by-Investment Scheme

 The Council of Ministers has responded to criticisms and has announced that the island will be limiting the number of naturalisations of investors granted under the citizenship by investment scheme to 700 a year going forward, starting this year.

The citizenship-by-investment scheme will also be renamed the “Cypriot Investment Scheme”, the Cyprus Press & Information Office (PIO) said in an announcement after the cabinet meeting.

Additionally, after the cabinet meeting it was decided that each applicant will have to pass to an enhanced due diligence test, the PIO said, with all applications having to wait up to six months to complete full background checks.  “A code of conduct has been adopted with clear provisions to avoid exaggerations and abusive practices. While investors have to remain owners of their investment for a minimum three-year period, in the case of buyers of real estate, the period now begins with the issue of a town planning permit.” A Spokesperson for the Council have declared.

The Cyprus government’s golden visa scheme allows investors to receive Cypriot citizenship for an investment of a mere EUR €2 million and has been introduced with the most recent concept in 2014 and has been amended several times since the schemes conception.

How Many Passports Have Cyprus Issued to Date?

 Financial Year

Number of Passports Issued for Investors

Passports Issued for Family Members & Dependents

2014 213 186
2015 336 341
2016 442 460
2017 502 509

Earlier this year, the European Commission responded to concerns and stated that it would investigate golden visa schemes of member states and prepare a report to address complaints for the following fundamental issues:

  • Vulnerability to abuse.
  • Undermining the fight against corruption.
  • Increasing the risk of money laundering.

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