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July 3, 2020

Cyprus resumes review of CIP applications

Following a temporary freeze on the Cyprus citizenship by investment program in January, the government has re-started discussions on tightening criteria.

Cyprus has not processed any passport applications from foreign investors since January,
according to Cyprus Property News, with more than 180 investor applications currently
awaiting approvals.

The reason for the current freeze on its highly sought-after citizenship by investment
program is that the CIP is pending approval of tighter criteria following negative publicity
about a number of cases in which Cypriot passports were granted to questionable investors.

While a government bill on tightening criteria and regulations for the citizenship by
investment programme had been tabled in February, the onset of Covid-19 stalled
discussion of the bill for a further four months.

The House has started once more to discuss the proposal to codify procedures and
processes for its citizenship by investment programme, with Interior Minister Nicos Nouris
telling the House Interior Committee that his ministry was currently reviewing those
applications that were filed in 2019.

New regulations proposed include sanctions for a Cyprus passport holder who has broken
the law, meaning the government can withdrawn Cypriot citizenship from a foreign investor
if within 10 years of the date of receiving a Cypriot passport they have either been convicted
in Cyprus or another country for a serious criminal offence or are wanted by Europol or

Other new regulations include holding the service provider, who assists investors in filling
their application, more accountable by carrying out strict due diligence procedures.

“From now on, the due diligence procedure of applicants does not begin from the moment
they file an application to the Interior Ministry, but rather from the moment they select
their service provider,” Nouris explains.