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New Amendments to the Cyprus Investment Programme

Cyprus citizenship-by-investment program, which has been recently renamed to the Cyprus Investment Programme, allows investors that contributed €2m to the Cypriot economy obtain citizenship in a quick manner. The program has granted citizenship to 1,685 investors and 1, 651 family members since 2008.

However, the Ministry of Finance has released an official statement past Friday regarding an establishment of a special committee that will be in charge of the Cyprus Investment Programme and will control the process of applications made by companies on behalf of their clients.

Interested parties can submit their applications using a special form on the website of the committee, that was already in place in January; the application will then proceed to a special registry.

Accounting, law, consulting companies and property developers that submit such applications on behalf of their clients are required to sign and comply with the sections in the code of conduct. Code of conduct puts responsibility on the companies to verify the legitimacy of the funds that investors bring to the country; furthermore, the companies are strictly prohibited to advertise the programme as a way to buy a Cypriot passport.  Advertising the programme in such manner on the company’s websites and in foreign media channels remains to be a main concern for Cypriot authorities.

According to the official statement that the Ministry has released, “The registry will be published on July 31, 2018 on the websites of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, and Invest Cyprus [the former name of Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency].” Furthermore, the registry is set to include the applications that were submitted by July 18, 2018, if, of course, they get a seal of approval.  

The committee will update information in the registry on regular bases. The Golden Visa Applicants can proceed to submit their applications based on the existing law by July 30. However, starting from July 31, 2018, application for naturalization can be submitted only by registered service providers. In order to become a registered service provider, the company needs to participate in a special training seminar that will take place on June 21, 2018. Participants of the seminar will obtain a certificate of attendance, which is a required document for registering as a service provider.

In May, Cypriot government decided to introduce a cap of 700 citizenships per year, in comparison to 503 passports that were offered in 2017. The government also decided to strictly enforce information disclosure procedures that applicants must follow due to a disapproval that had come from Transparency International (the global non-government organisation leading the fight against corruption). The NGO stated that the Cyprus Investment Programme “undermines fight against money laundering and corruption.” As for international law, the European Commission wants to prepare a report regarding the visa and citizenship programmes offered by the member states.  

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