Wealthy expats offered EU passports by Cypriot authorities

Published:  25 Oct at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
The European Parliament is furious with Cyprus for offering wealthy expats and their families fast-tracked European Union passports.

The Cypriot government has just changed the requirements for their ‘citizenship by investment’ scheme, allowing wealthy expats to purchase EU passports and the right to remain for a sum of around 2.5 million euros. After just three months as part of the revised programme, expat investors are granted an EU passport, residency in Cyprus and free access to the Shengen zone. The island’s governing body is boasting the scheme has full approval from the European Union, adding it’s the fastest and simplest way to get EU passports for those wealthy enough to be able to afford it.

European parliament members, however, aren’t at all happy about a member state selling EU passports to the highest bidders. Coincidentally, the scheme’s most vociferous critic, Ana Gomes, an EU Civil Liberties, Home Affairs and Justice Committee member, is a native of Portugal, the only other EU nation which runs a similar scheme. According to Gomes, selling passports is totally unacceptable and outrageous, adding she hates to see the proliferation of such unsavoury schemes.

Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet is also not best pleased, and is suggesting the programme is risky in that it could undermine security. It’s unlikely the Cypriot government are listening, as to date it’s raised some three billion euros from wealthy expats desperate to retain or obtain EU citizenship.

Qualifications for the passport and residency include the purchase of a home costing at least 2 million euros, which must be kept for a period of at least three years before it can be sold. However, it’s not mandatory to actually live in Cyprus. Once the original property is sold, another worth at least 500,000 euros must be purchased.

The alternatives to property ownership are a stake of 2 million euros in Cyprus’s government bonds, a start-up business employing at least five locals or an investment bond plus a property worth 500,000 euros or more. Along with the much-sought after EU passport, foreign investors are offered 17 years’ zero tax deals on interest and dividends earned offshore. Reports state most of the take-up is from wealthy Russians, with Russian tourism also soaring by 43 per cent over last years’ totals.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive