Since Cyprus first introduced its “Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program” back in May 2013, there‘s been a rush by Chinese, Russian and Middle Eastern residents looking to gain full European Union citizenship. The primary incentive is that it provides visa free travel across 176 countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world. It’s also a free pass for non-EU/EEA citizens to live, work and study anywhere within the European Union as a citizen.

The program is straightforward when compared to the immigration by investment programs in other European Union countries, such as the UK investor or Spanish Golden Visa. You can get a full Cypriot (EU) citizenship and passport within months if you buy a luxurious property worth €2.5million, or invest at least €2.5 million or €5 million into Cypriot real estate.  You can sell your properties after three years and acquire, or hold, a permanent residence equivalent of €500,000 to maintain your Cypriot passport.

Reuters predicted in December 2014 that Cyprus is expected to return to growth this year. According to the governor of the central bank of Cyprus, Chrystalla Georghai, the capital controls imposed during the bank crisis back in 2013 could soon be rendered redundant and there is a general consensus that recovery is coming faster than previously forecasted. Moreover, the Land Registry has revealed that the total property purchases from overseas has inversed by 20% in the first half of 2014. Good news for property investors as now is believed to be as good a time as any for those looking to invest in Cypriot real estate.

With an ever-increasing demand for immigration into europe, countries such as Portugal, Spain and Greece have developed Golden Visa packages that allow investors to receive permanent residency in their desired location in exchange for investment towards the countries’ economic recovery. What makes Cyprus distinctive is that it allows investors and their families to obtain a citizenship directly with one off investment and the speedy issue of a Cypriot (EU) passport.

From the submission of an application to a passport being issued, the entire process can be completed within only three months.  Also, passports can be issued to the applicant (the investor), the spouse, all underage children and adult dependents in full time education and are under 28 years of age.  For those who require visa free travel throughout Europe, or would prefer to educate their children in European universities or private schools while taking the advantage of local tuition fees, the Cyprus (EU) citizenship and passport can be an excellent solution.

Another benefit of the Cyprus citizenship program is that investors don’t have to reside in Cyprus. There is no requirement for investors to stay in or visit Cyprus after they have been granted a passport. In contrast, Spain requires Golden Visa holders to stay in the country for a minimum of 185 days each year, and Portugal requires 14 days.

Also, you can use your permanent residence either as a holiday home or as a buy-to-let investment opportunity. The months between April and October are peak season for holidaymakers, or alternatively you can provide longer letting arrangements for those wishing to escape the cold winter months that can increase the rental period substantially.

It’s an ideal time to invest in Cyrpriot real estate given the positive outlook for the economy, as well as suppressed pricing due to market conditions over the last few years. Total purchases from overseas increased by 20% in the first half of 2014 and looks set to continue.

The Cyprus (EU) Citizenship and Passport Program is getting more and more popular as it is so far the fastest way for investors and their families to acquire a EU citizenship and a passport. More importantly, there is no residency requirement so that the investors can enjoy the real freedom by the time when they get their passports. Overall, putting properties in exchange for an instant EU citizenship, together with selling the investment properties after three years, make the Cyprus (EU) Citizenship and Passport Program a good investment choice.

This post was written by Heather Landau, Managing Director of Immigration Into Europe. We offer our clients a set of immigration services including immigration into Cyprus, company formation, bookkeeping, virtual offices or introductions to investment programs that will support your immigration requirements.

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