Malta Citizenship by Investment vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

    Malta Citizenship by Investment vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

    Malta Citizenship by Investment vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

    A comparative overview of the citizenship by investment programmes offered by Malta and Cyprus, in the light of recent amendments to the Cypriot programme.

    Table of Contents

    • Introduction;
    • The key amendments to the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme;
    • Malta Citizenship by Investment vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment; and
    • Conclusion

    Malta Citizenship by Investment vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

    Introduction

    Situated in the Mediterranean region, both Malta and Cyprus have always been considered as attractive destinations for international investment, migration and mobility.

    The purpose of this article is to provide a comparative overview of the two citizenship by investment programmes, most notably in the light of the recent amendments to the Cypriot programme.

    In 2013, the  Cypriot government launched a citizenship by investment programme, which is officially entitled the “Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception”. The Cypriot programme has been significantly amended recently, with such amendments having entered into force in 2019.

    In 2014, the Maltese Government followed suit and implemented the Individual Investor Programme (IIP), which offers eligible applicants the possibility of Maltese citizenship through naturalisation, subject to certain conditions and a thorough due diligence process.

    Both programmes allow for the inclusion of dependent children, spouse, parents and grandparents. However, under the Cypriot programme the main applicant is required to acquire a separate residential property if parents or grandparents are included, at a minimum value of not less than €500,000. The Maltese programme does not apply such a requirement, however, an additional non-refundable contribution of €50,000 per parent or grandparent, and €25,000 per minor dependent are payable upon approval.  

    In terms of international mobility, Maltese nationals enjoy visa-free travel to more than 180 countries, including the USA, whilst Cypriot nationals enjoy visa-free travel to approximately 170 countries, excluding the US. Malta also forms part of the Schengen area, however, Cyprus does not.

     

    As a leading immigration agent, Nexia BT offers bespoke advice to individuals who may be considering the two immigration programmes.

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    The Key Amendments to the Cypriot Citizenship by Investment Programme

     

    The Key Amendments to the Cypriot Citizenship by Investment Programme

    As of 2019, the Cypriot citizenship by investment programme has been subject to significant modifications, with the most salient amendments being the following:

    1. The introduction of the requirement of a non-refundable contribution of €150,000, to be allocated against research and development, and land development organisation;
    2. The extension of the minimum investment holding term, from 3 to 5 years;
    3. The introduction of the requirement for the applicant to hold a valid Schengen visa;
    4. The possibility of investment in government bonds is no longer available, whilst investments in the shipping sector are now permitted;
    5. If the residential property to be acquired, has already been used for the purposes of the Investment programme by a previous applicant, then the total amount of the investment must constitute € 2.5 million;
    6. Any person who has been rejected an application for citizenship in any other EU Member State is no longer eligible to apply for Cypriot citizenship by investment; and
    7. The due diligence process has been enhanced.

    Malta Citizenship by Investment

     

    Malta Citizenship by Investment vs Cyprus Citizenship by Investment

     
      Malta Citizenship by Investment Cyprus Citizenship by Investment
    Non-refundable Contribution €650,000 to be allocated to the National Development and Social Fund. €150,000 to be allocated to research and development, and land development organisation.
    Types of investments

    The applicant is required to:

    • Acquire immovable property at a minimum value of €350,000, or rent immovable property at a minimum annual rent of €16,000; and
    • Invest €150,000 in any securities listed on the Malta Stock Exchange.

     

     

     

     

     

    3 options are available for the investor:

    • Option 1:
      • Acquire residential property in Cyprus at a minimum value of €2,000,000; OR
    • Option 2:
      • Invest in commercial real estate at a minimum value of €2,500,000; and
      • Acquire residential immovable property at a minimum value of €500,000; OR
    • Option 3:
      • Invest €2,000,000 in securities (excluding government bonds); and
      • Acquire residential immovable property at a minimum value of €500,000;
    Obligation Period
    • Immovable Property: 5 years;
    • Securities Investment: 5 years.
    • Options 1, 2, and 3: 5 years;
    • Residential property acquired at a minimum value of €500,000 must be retained for life.

     

    Conclusion

    Whilst the amended Cypriot programme increases the overall financial burden for potential applicants, the amount of the non-refundable contribution remains less than that required under the Malta programme.

    On the other hand, one must also take into consideration the fact that under the Malta programme, applicants are only required to hold a title of lease or ownership over immovable property for 5 years, whereas, under the Cypriot programme, applicants must retain ownership of a €500,000 property, for life.

    In terms of the investment retention period, the amended Cypriot programme has been increased from 3 to 5 years, thus matching the Malta requirement.

     

    Why choose Nexia BT?

    Nexia BT is a leading firm providing a wide range of services in the financial sector to corporate and private clients.
     
    We pride ourselves of having worked closely with large international companies and high-net-worth individuals. This experience allows us to help our clients achieve their maximum financial results in business.
     
    Nexia BT specialises in the development and maintenance of various business structures for corporate entities as well as private HNWI and UHNWI clients together with residence and immigration planning. Nexia BT is accredited by the government of Malta for various residency and citizenship programmes.
     
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    Author
    Mikhail Botvinov 
    International Client Services
     

    Key Contact

    Key contact malta citizenship by investment

    Karl Cini
    Partner 
    Tax and International Client Services

    karl.cini@nexiabt.com
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