In a notable legal development, the Cypriot House of Representatives has passed an amendment to the Civil Registry Law, signifying a major shift in the country's naturalisation policy. While important for all applicants, these changes are particularly impactful for professionals in the 'research and innovation' sector, reflecting the objective to establish Cyprus as a leading global tech hub and an attractive destination for international business.
Given the recent amendments, the requirements for naturalisation in Cyprus are as follows:
1. Revised General Requirements
All applicants are required to have legally resided in Cyprus for 12 months prior to application, with permitted absences not exceeding 90 days. In addition, they should have legally stayed in Cyprus for at least seven out of the preceding ten years, with similar absence allowances. Furthermore, a clean criminal record and good character are essential for applicants. They must also be financially self-sufficient and possess appropriate living arrangements. A basic understanding of Greek (Level B1) and familiarity with Cypriot political and social frameworks are required, alongside the intent to continue residing in Cyprus.
2. Special Provisions for Tech Professionals
For individuals with high qualifications in technology, the requirements are more accommodating. The aforementioned seven-year residency requirement is reduced to four years for those who can speak Greek at an A2 level and to three years for those at a B1 level. An equally important benefit afforded to professionals in the ‘research and innovation’ sector is the ability for their spouses and civil partners to apply for naturalisation under the same conditions, while also allowing minor children (at the point of application) and dependent adult children to become naturalised citizens. This ensures an easy transition from migrant workers to full Cypriot citizens for the whole family unit. Applications from highly skilled tech professionals will undergo an expedited process, which will be completed within eight months, subject to a fee.
The above legislative changes firmly position Cyprus as a competitive destination for top talent in the technology and business sectors. The law not only aims to attract skilled professionals but also offers an inclusive path to citizenship for all, emphasizing on successful societal integration. Notably, applications submitted before the enactment of these amendments will be evaluated under the new standards, offering a retrospective benefit to those already in the application process.