Since the cancellation of the Cyprus Investment Programme, which exceptionally granted a shortcut to citizenship for individuals who invested into the Republic of Cyprus, the remaining route to naturalization is through the procedure of naturalization based on years of residence in the Republic. With the exception of individuals offering high value services to the Republic, such as athletes who can compete for the country on an international scale, the acquisition of the Cyprus Citizenship can only be granted to permanent residents who have completed a 7 year stay in the country.
Following the cancellation of the Cyprus Investment Programme, the Government has reconsidered the terms and conditions of the legislation in vigor, in an attempt to turn the requirements of naturalization more precise and easier to examine. The new legislative proposal which was submitted to the Cypriot Parliament enumerates an explicit list of conditions, for the acquisition of the Cyprus citizenship by residency:
1. Legal residence in the Republic for the entire period of 12 months immediately preceding the date of application.
2. During the 10 years immediately preceding the above-mentioned twelve-month period, the applicant must have legally resided in the Republic for periods of time not less than seven years.
The calculation of the residency period shall not take into account the following situations:
i) Residence in Cyprus under the international protection regime;
ii) Residence in Cyprus on the grounds of additional protection;
iii) Residence in Cyprus on the grounds of temporary protection;
iv) Residence in Cyprus on the grounds of a student visa or permit.
3. Good character requirement. The evaluation of good character shall include the following evidential support:
i) Clear criminal record;
ii) The applicant must not have entered through an illegal entry point;
iii) The applicant must not have resided in the Republic illegally;
iv) The applicant must not pose a threat to the public order and security of the Republic.
The character of the foreigner’s spouse shall also be taken into account.
4. Sufficient knowledge of the Greek language, equivalent to level B1, as defined in the common European reference framework for the languages of the Council of Europe.
5. Sufficient knowledge of basic elements of the modern political and social reality of the Republic.
The procedure and the way of evaluation of this basic knowledge shall be ascertained by a three-member evaluation committee which shall be composed of representatives of the Ministries of Education, Interior and Justice.
6. Suitable accommodation, as well as stable and regular financial resources, which shall be sufficient for the maintenance of the applicant and the dependent members of their family, without the need to resort to the social welfare system of the Republic.
For this purpose, the income from lucrative full-time employment or the income from other sources, of stable and legal character, shall be taken into account. Moreover, a long-term unemployment condition during the applicants’ stay in the Republic or any appeal to the States’ Social Welfare System shall be an important factor of influence.
According to the new legislative text, the Council of Ministers may consider, in extreme and specific cases, to take the following decisions:
1. To allow a continuous period of 12 months, which expired not more than six months prior to the date of application, to be counted as having immediately preceded the application date.
2. In case of an individual of Cypriot origin, to allow the residence in a foreign country prior to the 16th of August of 1960 to be considered as residence in the Republic.
3. To allow the residence in the former colony of Cyprus or a service in its’ government prior to the 16th of August of 1960 to be considered as residence in the Republic or a service on its’ territory.
4. To allow the naturalization of an individual of Cypriot origin who had renounced Cypriot citizenship.
The present article is purely for informational purposes and does not, under any circumstances, constitute legal advice. For further information on the subject, please contact Arsen Theofanidis LLC and one of our advocates shall be glad to assist you.
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