Are you considering going for Cyprus citizenship?
Perhaps you’re fascinated by Cyprus’s culture, history and beautiful scenery. Or perhaps you have Cypriot heritage in your family tree. Whatever the case, Cyprus citizenship might be the right pathway for you.
In this article we’ll discuss how to get citizenship of Cyprus, the process and requirements, and different ways to obtain residency on your path to eventual citizenship.
There are many benefits to living in Cyprus, including its warm climate and beautiful natural scenery.
In addition, Cyprus is ideally located close to both Europe and the Middle East, which makes it an attractive option for expats from around the world who want to live and work abroad.
Other benefits of living in Cyprus include a high standard of living, low rates of crime and violence, a strong economy, and excellent healthcare.
British émigrés may find Cyprus an especially compelling choice, due to its strong political, cultural and historic ties to the UK, which date back to the 19th century. There’s a significant British community living in Cyprus, of around 25,000-30,000 people, while many British tourists visit every year.
That’s all well and good, but how does Cyprus measure up as a destination for acquiring EU citizenship?
Cyprus Citizenship in a Nutshell
- Timeline to citizenship through naturalization: 7 years (can be reduced to 5 in some cases)
- Dual citizenship allowed? Yes
- Minimum income requirements for citizenship? Not applicable
- Minimum physical stay requirements: 183 days per year; 365 in year before applying
- Must pay tax in Cyprus? Yes
- Language requirements: English only
- Citizenship test required? No
- Passive income pathway available? Yes, Category F
- Investor residency pathway available? Yes
Benefits of Citizenship of Cyprus
As a citizen of Cyprus, you’ll automatically gain EU citizenship.
You’ll become a full member of the European Union (EU), with the rights to live, work, do business, study or retire in any of the EU and EEA member states. That’s 30 stable, peaceful and economically strong countries!
Another benefit of Cyprus citizenship is Cyprus’s flexible passport, which allows its holders to travel to 176 countries without a visa.
In fact, the Cyprus passport is ranked 14th among all the world’s passports in terms of visa-free travel.
Cyprus allows dual citizenship, so you’ll be able to keep your original passport alongside your new one.
How to get Cyprus Citizenship
Like most EU countries, Cyprus offers various different routes to citizenship, depending on your personal circumstances. Let’s take a look at the details of each one.
Cyprus Citizenship by Naturalization
You can get Cyprus citizenship as a foreigner without any links to Cyprus, apart from living there for the required number of years.
In the case of Cyprus, you’ll need to reach a total of seven years of legal residence in order to submit your citizenship application.
In addition, you’ll have to spend all of the final year before applying physically in-country.
Cyprus Citizenship by Descent
Also known as citizenship by origin, Cyprus citizenship by descent can be obtained in three ways.
Type M121 – Application for Consular Birth Certificate
This option covers:
- Those born abroad after August 16, 1960, whose father was a Cypriot citizen at the time.
- Those born after June 11, 1999, whose mother was a citizen of Cyprus at the time of their birth.
Type M126 – Application for Registration of Minors
This option covers:
- Minors born before June 11, 1999 either in Cyprus or abroad, with a Cypriot citizen mother and foreign father
- Minors whose fathers took Cypriot citizenship after they were born
- Minors whose father or mother obtained citizenship through naturalization or marriage
Type M123 – Application for Adults
This option covers adults born on or after August 16, 1960, in cases where both parents were foreigners at the time of their birth.
(Source: Cyprus Civil Registry and Migration Department)
Cyprus Citizenship by Marriage
Another way to get citizenship of Cyprus is by marrying a Cypriot. In this situation, you’ll need to have been married for three years, and resident in Cyprus for two years before submitting your citizenship application.
It’s also possible to apply for Cyprus citizenship as the spouse of a Cypriot, even if you live abroad. In that situation, you’d need to have been married for at least three years and provide an explanation for requesting citizenship.
Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus
Cyprus used to have Europe’s fastest citizenship by investment program.
By making a relatively modest investment in the country, investors could net themselves a valuable EU passport in approximately six months.
Unfortunately, the EU wasn’t fully on board with this scheme, so Cyprus was forced to close its citizenship by investment program in November 2020.
Fortunately, there’s still a viable alternative for obtaining citizenship of Cyprus.
You can establish residency in Cyprus by making an investment in the country. This works in a similar way to other “Golden Visa” programs across the EU, such as in Greece or Portugal.
With Cyprus residency by investment, successful applicants can get a permanent residency card after just two months. This fast tracks them to citizenship eligibility after just five years of living in Cyprus with this residence permit.
This timeline puts Cyprus on a level with other European residency by investment programs, such as those of Portugal or Ireland.
With just one visit to Cyprus every two years, the Cyprus residency by investment program allows the holder to access state healthcare and stay in Cyprus without limits, while also acquiring the same benefits for their spouse, children, and parents.
Residency by Investment Routes in Cyprus:
- Residential Real Estate Route – Purchase of a brand-new house or apartment for at least €300,000. This can be split across multiple properties and includes off-plan.
- Commercial Real Estate Route – Purchase of commercial real estate, including shops, hotels, or offices or a mix of any of those. The minimum threshold is also €300,000.
- Investing in Companies Route – Either buying shares in an existing Cyprus company or setting up a new one in the country, with at least five employees. Investment in share capital must be a minimum of €300,000.
- Investment Funds Route – Invest a minimum of €300,000 in an approved investment fund in Cyprus. Under Cyprus law, there are two distinct types of investments funds: Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) and Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS). (Source: Chambers and Partners)
Faster routes to citizenship
There’s no getting away from it – seven years living in a country to be eligible for citizenship is quite a long time.
So does Cyprus have any ways to shorten the citizenship timeline? The good news is, there are two.
Any foreigner who is the child or parent of a citizen of Cyprus is eligible to apply for citizenship after just five years of residency instead of seven.
You can also apply for Cyprus citizenship after just five years of residency via the Cyprus residency by investment program. This is different from the previous citizenship by investment program (which was abolished in November 2020).
Getting residency in Cyprus
Residency with passive income
Cyprus has a residence permit route called Category F, which you can use if you have passive income to the required level.
According to the government website, this should be “a secured annual income, high enough to give a decent living in Cyprus, without having to engage in any business, trade or profession.”
The minimum annual income requirement is €9,568.17 for a single applicant. If you have any dependents to bring with you, then you’ll need to show proof of an additional €4613.22 in annual income for each one.
(Source: Cyprus Civil Registry and Migration Department)
Residency by investment
If you have at least €300,000 to invest, you can get a permanent residency permit for Cyprus within just two months. This can be used as a fast track to citizenship after just five years (instead of the usual seven).
See the above section on ‘Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus” for further details.
The Citizenship Application
Applying for Cyprus citizenship is relatively straightforward.
One noteworthy part of the process is that you’ll need to make a full list of your entries and departures from Cyprus over the years that you’ve been resident there.
This is necessary for the authorities to confirm that you’ve been in the country for enough days to be eligible for citizenship.
It’s easier for Cyprus to do this (when compared to other EU countries) because Cyprus isn’t a member of the Schengen zone. Hence, the border authorities will stamp your passport upon entering or leaving the country.
Other than the list of your arrivals and departures, you’ll also need the following:
- Two passport size photographs stamped by the local Muhktar (a government employee who is president of the community council)
- Valid passport
- Copies of passport pages showing your arrival and departure stamps (this will support the list you prepared earlier)
- Birth certificate
- Criminal record check, from country of origin and any other countries where you’ve been resident in the past
- Marriage certificate, if applicable
- Copies of newspaper ads in two local publications mentioning that you’ve submitted an application for citizenship
- Copy of your updated CV
(Source: George K. Konstantinou Law Firm)
Cyprus Citizenship vs other EU options
So how does Cyprus citizenship measure up to other options in the EU? We’ve compared some of the most popular options according to our key criteria for the citizenship journey.
As you can see from the below comparison, Cyprus has one of the longer citizenship timelines, at seven years, although not as long as Spain or Italy.
However, this can be reduced to just five years if you invest via the Cyprus residency by investment program. Investment thresholds are reasonable, with a flat rate of €300,000 minimum for any of the four investment routes.
What’s more, if you’re not confident with learning languages, then Cyprus could be a great fit. Cyprus doesn’t require any sort of language exam for citizenship. You’ll be fine with just English!
|Country||Timeline||Dual citizenship ok?||Physical stay||Tax residency required?||Language level|
|Cyprus citizenship||7 years (5 with investor residency)||Yes||183 days per year; 365 in final year||Yes||English only|
|French citizenship||5 years||Yes||183 days per year||Yes||B1 French|
|Italian citizenship||10 years||Yes||183 days per year||Yes||B1 Italian|
|German citizenship||6-8 years||No||183 days per year||Yes||B1-B2 German|
|Portuguese citizenship||5 years||Yes||7 days per year with Golden Visa||No||A2 Portuguese|
|Spanish citizenship||10 years||No||183 days per year||Yes||A2 Spanish|
|Irish citizenship||5 years||Yes||183 days per year; 365 in final year||Yes||English only|
|Luxembourg citizenship||5 years||Yes||183 days per year||Yes||B1 French or Luxembourgish|
FAQs: Cyprus Citizenship
Does Cyprus allow dual citizenship?
Yes, Cyprus does allow dual citizenship, without any restrictions.
How many years do you have to live in Cyprus to get citizenship?
You have to live in Cyprus for a minimum of 7 years to apply for citizenship by naturalization. This can be reduced to 5 years, either through marriage to a Cypriot citizen or through getting residency by investment.
Is Cyprus a Schengen country?
No, Cyprus is not yet a Schengen country. However, it is a full member of the European Union, so Cypriot citizens can enjoy the benefits of freedom to live, work, do business, study, and retire across the whole EU, plus the EEA and Switzerland.
Can I buy property in Cyprus after Brexit?
Yes, you can buy property in Cyprus after Brexit without restrictions. It’s also possible to get permanent residency in Cyprus through the residency by investment scheme, if you invest at least €300,000 in a property.
Cyprus citizenship is a relatively accessible pathway to acquiring EU rights.
Although the standard naturalization timeline is fairly long at seven years, those willing to invest in the country can benefit from a reduced timeline of just five years.
What’s more, the minimum investment amount of €300,000 makes Cyprus a strong competitor to the Portugal Golden Visa – at least in terms of timeline and investment threshold.
There’s also a passive income pathway available for those with pension income, overseas rentals income, or dividends from an online business.
For those who don’t like learning foreign languages, Cyprus doesn’t require any sort of language exam and you’ll be ok just with English.
Overall, Cyprus is a worthy contender for those seeking EU citizenship.