Cyprus’ Council of Ministers yesterday announced several significant amendments to the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme. The changes include capping the number of naturalizations at 700 a year, changing the program’s official name, and tightening due diligence.
The cap on applications will come into effect already this year, according to the Cyprus Mail. The article does not state explicitly that the number refers to main applicants, or whether dependents would count toward the 700 as well.
Last year, Cypriot authorities naturalized 503 main applicants under the program, as well as 510 dependents. The application volume has risen steadily since the program’s inception in 2014; That year, 214 main applicants (and 186 dependents) received approvals, while 337 (342) and 443 (461) passports were issued in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
The government’s Press and Information Office (PIO) further announced a name-change; The program will henceforth be known officially as the “Cypriot Investment Scheme”.
Following Monday’s cabinet meeting, the PIO further informed the press that all future applications will be subject to enhanced due diligence, the cost of which will be borne by applicants themselves.
Additionally, the PIO said, in a statement, that the real estate investment holding period of three years will now start from the time a town planning permit is issued.
Cyprus’ amendments are the last in a series of policy changes this year; in March, the government issued new rules regarding who may market the program (and which types of marketing would be permissible). It also published a strict code of conduct aimed at “preventing excesses and abuses”.