EuropePolicy Updates

Detailed Criteria for Cyprus’ New 3-Year Citizenship Fast-Track

Charles Savva

Last week, Cyprus’ Ministry of Interior unveiled the operational facets of the Population Registry (Amendment) Law of 2023, which, among other measures, provides for a 3-year naturalization period for professionals who learn Greek.

This legislative adjustment heralds a significant shift in Cyprus’s naturalization framework, setting forth various eligibility requirements. 

These criteria, which prospective applicants must satisfy collectively, mirror Cyprus’ mission to welcome new citizens who are both economically established and culturally integrated.

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A cornerstone of this initiative is introducing a swift three-year route to citizenship, the shortest ordinary naturalization period in the European Union. 

The entire naturalization process is quick, especially when considering that Cyprus has a legal mandate that necessitates adjudicating citizenship applications within eight months. 

To be eligible under the new legistlation, applicants must adhere to several essential requirements:

  • A prerequisite is 12 months of legal, uninterrupted residence in Cyprus directly before applying, with allowable short absences not exceeding 90 days that do not break the continuity.
  • A history of lawful residence in Cyprus for a total of three, four, or seven years within the last decade, tailored to the specific citizenship route chosen.
  • Character and Integration Measures; applicants must have:
    • Demonstratable good character
    • Sufficient knowledge of the Greek language at a B1 level (for seven years of residency), A2 (for four years of residency as a highly skilled professional), or B1 (for three years of residency as a highly skilled professional). 
    • An understanding of the basic elements of the Republic’s modern political and social reality.
    • Suitable accommodation.
    • Stable and regular financial resources to support oneself and one’s family
    • The intention to reside within the Republic.

The government has designated the three- and four-year fast-track specifically for highly qualified employees, either working for international companies as directors, key personnel, or specialists or those with any other valid permit.

These professionals must earn a minimum of €2,500 monthly, hold a university degree or equivalent, and have two years’ relevant employment experience.

Cyprus also has a non-domicile tax program that provides tax breaks and includes a 17-year tax exemption on key global income streams. Non-residents can utilize this favorable tax regime while they meet the minimum residence requirement for naturalization.

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Charles Savva AuthorSubscriberParticipant
Managing Director , Savva & Associates

Charles Savva is the founder and Managing Director of Savva & Associates, and is based in Nicosia, Cyprus. He is Canadian-Cypriot and has lived in Cyprus since 2001.

With over 22 years of experience in the Cyprus professional services space, Charles’ areas of expertise include Cypriot tax, international tax planning, and investment immigration.

Since founding Savva & Associates in 2009, Charles has advised extensively in the areas of tax optimisation (personal and corporate), and assisted HNWIs and their families obtain EU citizenship or permanent residency via investment programs.

Prior to founding Savva & Associates, Charles obtained five years’ experience working with two major banks in Toronto, Canada, and was responsible for the Financial Reporting of publicly listed mutual funds. In Cyprus, he has worked for Big 4 accounting firms, as well as some of the largest professional services providers.

He has made numerous presentations at conferences worldwide regarding the uses of Cyprus in international tax planning, and is a frequent speaker at events dedicated to EU investment immigration solutions offering citizenship or permanent residency via investment programs.

Charles holds an MBA degree in Corporate Finance from the internationally renowned Schulich School of Business in Toronto, Canada, is a UK qualified Chartered Accountant, and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.

Apart from his native English, he is fluent in Greek.

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