On the 30th of November 2023, the House of Representatives approved the Civil Registry (Amending) Law of 2023 (Law), in an effort to modernize the existing legal framework regarding the qualifications and criteria for the naturalization of foreign nationals.
The Law also simplifies the naturalization process for highly-skilled employees of foreign interest companies and their families, aimed at keeping the Republic of Cyprus competitive as a destination for living and working.
The Law is expected to be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic within the week, indicating its formal enactment.
A. Criteria for Naturalization of Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals are eligible for naturalization, provided that the following requirements are cumulatively met:
- Legal and continuous residency in the Republic for a period of 1 year prior to the application, with permissible absences not exceeding a total of 90 days within that year;
- During the 10 years immediately preceding the 1-year period mentioned above, legally resided in the Republic for a cumulative period of 7 years;
- Clean criminal record, no pending legal proceedings and not subject to any sanctions imposed by the EU and/or UN;
- Suitable accommodation in the Republic;
- Stable and regular financial resources to sustain oneself and dependents;
- Greek language proficiency equivalent to level B1;
- Sufficient knowledge of the Republic’s modern political and social landscape;
- Must have the intention to stay in the Republic.
B. Special Provisions - Criteria for Naturalisation of Highly- Skilled Employees
The Law reduces the minimum years of residency requirement for naturalization in the Republic for highly-skilled foreign nationals working for foreign-interest companies. This is aimed at attracting international talent and promoting innovation.
Specifically, highly-skilled foreign nationals working for foreign-interest companies may apply for naturalization provided that the following requirements are met:
- Legal and continuous residency in the Republic for a period of 1 year prior to the application, with permissible absences not exceeding a total of 90 days within that year.
- During the 10 years immediately preceding the 1-year period referred to above, legally resided in the Republic for a cumulative period of 4 years. The 4 years rule applies to applicants that have a Greek language proficiency equivalent to level A2. The said period can be reduced to 3 years for applicants that have a Greek language proficiency equivalent to level B1.
- Spouses and Civil Partners of the applicants can apply for naturalization under the same conditions.
- Minor children who reach the age of 18 during the evaluation of their parents’ application, can still apply as minors would and obtain the Republic’s citizenship.
Importantly, the Law facilitates the fast-track examination of applications by highly-skilled employees, including their family members, as they are set to be examined within 8 months from the date of the application. The rest of the criteria mentioned in section A of this article remain applicable for highly-skilled employees.
C. Pending Applications
Pursuant to the Law, all applications submitted before this new legislation entered into effect, will be assessed based on the new criteria. This means that applicants will need to demonstrate both proficiency in the Greek language and the applicable minimum stay requirements to qualify for naturalization.
Our Perspective on the amending Law
We view this change as a positive development, easing the naturalization process for highly-skilled foreign nationals. The Law benefits applicants through reduced residency requirements and a focus on cultural integration, enhancing their opportunities in Cyprus's dynamic socio-economic environment. This fosters a welcoming, inclusive community, benefiting both Cyprus and the foreign nationals seeking to make it their home.
How we can Help
At Royal Pine, we are committed to offering an extensive range of solutions designed to assist individuals embarking on their relocation journey to Cyprus, as well as those aiming to secure the Cyprus citizenship under the newly revised naturalization framework. Our approach is tailored to meet the unique needs of each client, ensuring a seamless and personalized experience.
* This publication has been prepared as a general guide and for information purposes only. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render professional advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect you and/or your business, bespoke advice should be obtained.