A clear path to Cyprus Citizenship

Publisher: Patrikios Pavlou & Associates LLC

The Civil Registry Law in Cyprus that governs the naturalization process has undergone a vital amendment, recently approved by the Parliament. This amendment addressed the pressing need for modernization of the applicable legislation, introducing changes in the process and conditions for the naturalization of foreign nationals (i.e. granting citizenship to third-country nationals). The revisions align with contemporary lifestyles and aim to bolster the framework for the naturalization of foreign nationals as Cypriot and consequently EU citizens. The focus of the amendment is on fostering integration and recognizing the valuable contribution foreign nationals make to Cyprus’s knowledge economy and society as a whole.

The modifications primarily focus on the duration of residence required for foreign nationals before applying for naturalization as well as a basic level proficiency in the Greek language. In addition, the recent amendment to the law provides for a clear timeframe, addressing the delays faced in previous citizenship applications. In addition, there are specific provisions, expediting the process, for applicants possessing advanced qualifications or skills in the technology sector.

These special amendments aim to attract and retain highly skilled individuals (and their families) in industries related to technology and high-tech industries in general.

This amendment is overall deemed as a positive development towards sustainably positioning Cyprus as an international technology hub and building on Cyprus’ momentum as an emerging international business hub.

Main provisions for naturalization include:

  1. Twelve months of legal and continuous physical stay in Cyprus preceding the naturalization application, with allowances for absences abroad not exceeding a total of 90 days.
  2. Seven (out of last ten years) of legal physical stay in Cyprus before the aforementioned 12-month period. Absences not exceeding a total of 90 days per year are not considered as interruptions in the legal stay.
  3. Good character and a clean criminal record for the applicant.
  4. Financially self-sufficiency applicant and a suitable residence.
  5. Adequate knowledge of the Greek language (Basic Level B1 certificate) and basic understanding of the country’s political and social characteristics.
  6. Intention to reside in Cyprus.

Special provisions permitting foreign nationals to take advantage of an expedited process include:

  1. Reduction of the seven-year residency requirement to four years for applicants engaged in the technology sector with an A2 level Greek language certificate, and reduction to the period to three years for those with a B1 level certificate.
  2. Family members of applicants, including spouses, civil partners, and adult children, may apply for naturalization under the same conditions described above.
  3. Highly qualified individuals’ applications have the option to be processed under a ‘fast-track’ process not exceeding eight months, contingent upon the payment of a relevant fee, details of the process and fee will be determined in the near future by the Council of Ministers.

It is further announced and expected that pending applications submitted before the enactment of these amendments will be evaluated based on the new criteria outlined above.

The above list is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list of all the criteria required for the application for naturalisation as Cyprus citizen but is intended to highlight the key amendments in the revised legislation.

 

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