Cyprus: New citizenship legislation

Cyprus amended its Civil Registry Law in late 2023 to introduce new processes and requirements for naturalisation.

The change primarily aims to attract talented and specialised foreign individuals to the island, streamlining the naturalisation process of High-Skilled Employees and their families as well as introducing a new pathway for naturalisation based on years of residence in Cyprus. 

The relaxations introduced relate to the amount of time a foreign national would need to reside in Cyprus prior to applying for naturalisation, as well as knowledge of the Greek language. Applicants would still need to have a working knowledge of the Greek language, to be financially self-sufficient, to have no criminal record and to be “of good character.” Family members of such applicants would also qualify for citizenship provided that, among other things, they legally and continuously resided in Cyprus during the 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the application. Processing of such citizenship applications would take no longer than eight months.

Specifically, the amended legislation provides that a highly qualified individual employed by a Foreign Interest Company can apply for Cypriot citizenship if the below criteria are met:

Key Requirements

  • 12 months of legal and continuous physical stay in the country preceding the naturalisation application, with permitted absences abroad not exceeding a total of 90 days;
  • Good character and a clean criminal record;
  • Suitable residence in the country;
  • Adequate knowledge of the Greek language: (i) level A2 for the individuals interested in naturalisation for five (5) years, and/or (ii) level B1 for the individuals interested in naturalisation for four (4) years;
  • Proven academic and professional qualifications;
  • Financially self-sufficient, earning a stable monthly salary of at least €2 500;
  • Entry and departure to/from the country has not been from any illegal and/or closed airports and/or ports (i.e. all the airports and/or ports in the occupied areas);
  • Basic understanding of Cyprus’s modern political and social landscape;
  • The intention to reside in the country.

Family members

The new amendment also provides for the naturalisation of the applicant’s family members. A family member of a person who meets the above criteria and applies for naturalisation pursuant to them, may apply for naturalisation on the basis of years of residency in the Republic, after residing for 8 years in Cyprus, within the 11 year period preceding their application.

A family member is also subject to the requirement of legal and continuous residence in the Republic for a period of 12 months preceding the date of submission of the application (periods of absence must not exceed a total of 90 days within this period).

Family members include spouses, civil partners, and adult children.

Naturalisation due to years of residence in Cyprus

The amended legislation also introduces an updated regime for naturalisation applications due to years of residence for individuals who legally reside in Cyprus under other residency schemes.

Individuals who wish to apply for naturalisation under this new regime, should legally reside in the Republic for 8 out of the last 11 years before the submission of their application.

Applicants should also legally and continuously reside in Cyprus for a period of 12 months preceding their naturalisation application, however – contrary to the old regime – periods of absence from the country not exceeding a total of 90 days in the previous year are not considered interruptions in the legal residence.

It is to be expected that any pending applications submitted prior to the passing of the new law will be examined based on these new amendments and criteria.

Source found here


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