06 December 2023

Cyprus naturalisation of foreign nationals - Updated process

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The Cypriot House of Representatives approved on the 30th of November 2023 an amendment of the Civil Registry Law (‘the Law’), modernising the current legal framework and relaxing the requirements and criteria for naturalisation of foreign nationals.

The amendments primarily relate to the amount of time that foreign nationals need to have resided in Cyprus prior to applying for naturalisation, as well as knowledge of the Greek language. Further, there are special (more relaxed) provisions for applicants with high qualifications/ skills in the technology sector.

The special amendments pave the way for attracting and retaining highly skilled and qualified individuals (and their families) in the field of technology. This is a welcome step towards the right direction for further establishing Cyprus as an international technology hub, thus strengthening further the island’s position as an attractive international business centre.

Main provisions

Applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • Legal and continuous physical stay in Cyprus for the twelve months preceding the application for naturalisation (periods of absence not exceeding 90 days in total are not considered to interrupt the 12-month period).
  • Legal physical stay in Cyprus for at least seven out of ten years preceding the aforementioned 12-month period (periods of absence not exceeding 90 days in total per year are not considered as absence for the purpose of calculating the duration of physical stay).
  • To be of good character and have a clean criminal record.
  • To be financially self-sufficient and have a suitable place of residence.
  • To have sufficient knowledge of the Greek language (certificate of basic knowledge, Level B1) and basic knowledge of the country’s political and social status.
  • To have the intention to stay in Cyprus.

Special provisions

The following special provisions differentiate some of the above standard provisions in the case of foreign nationals with high qualifications/ skills in the technology sector and employed by certain foreign interest companies as determined by the Council of Ministers, as follows:

  • The period of seven years (out of the last ten) of residence in Cyprus is reduced to four years for applicants having a certificate of knowledge of the Greek language of A2 level, and three years if the certificate is of B1 level.
  • Family members of the applicants may also apply for naturalisation, under the same conditions. Spouses or civil partners of the applicants need to possess the same certificates of knowledge of the Greek language as the applicants. Minor children of the applicants that reach adulthood (18 years of age) during the examination of their parent’s application shall still be considered minors for the purpose of the Law and be eligible for naturalisation. Dependent adult children with disabilities are also eligible.
  • Applications by highly qualified individuals shall be examined via a ‘fast-track’ process not exceeding eight months, subject to the payment of a fee. The details of the fast-track process and the relevant fee shall be determined via Ministerial decision.

Pending applications

Applications for naturalisation that were submitted prior to the enactment of the amendments in the Law shall be examined under the new criteria as described above.

For further information and assistance, feel free to get in touch with George Economides, partner in the firm.

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