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Important changes to the Civil Registry Laws affecting naturalized persons under the Cyprus Investment Programme

The House of Representatives, on the 17.8.2020 has voted to change the Civil Registry Law. These changes, a summary of which are described below, will affect the persons naturalized under the Cyprus Investment Programme.

  • An independent examination committee for the deprivation of citizenship has been established;
  • The law has been amended so as to also encompass the naturalization provided to the family members of the investors;
  • Regulations can now also be legally issued for the providers as added on the CIP registry. These regulations are in the form of responsibilities, obligations and penalties in the event of non-compliance. Additionally a committee for the supervision of such service providers has been approved legally and a naturalization control unit will be formed;
  • A number of definitions has been added:
    • “Disability” has the meaning given to this term by Article 2 of the Law on Persons with Disabilities.
    • “Minor child” means the legal unmarried child of the spouses/partners, or of one of them, who has not completed the eighteenth year of age, and includes a stepchild, a child recognized out of wedlock and a legally adopted child.
    • “Family members” means
      • (a) the spouse/partner, of the foreigner, as the case may be;
      • (b) the minor children of the foreigner under the age of eighteen (18) years;
      • (c) the foreigner’s parents and / or the parents of the spouse/partner, as the case may be;
      • (d) the financially dependent adult child of the foreigner.
  • It is understood that the term “partner” is interpreted in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Political Cohabitation.
  • “Financially dependent adult child” means
    • (a) an unmarried legal child of the spouses or one of them who has completed the eighteenth year but has not completed the twenty-eighth year of age, provided that he/she is still attending a higher education institution for the acquisition of diploma or undergraduate or postgraduate degree and has as his/her main activity the study and includes a stepchild, out of wedlock a recognized child and a legally adopted child;
    • a person with a disability that renders him/her incapable of work.
  • “Spouse” means one of the parties in a legal relationship between two persons, as a result of a marriage recognized by the state.
  • One of the amendments under the law now clarifies that when a person has been deprived of his citizenship under Article 111A (this is the basis for the naturalization under the Cyprus Investment Programme), there will be no refund in respect of any investment/contribution/donation/other funds paid. Moreover, the citizenship of the family members of this investor, who acquired their citizenship under the same application, may also be deprived.
  • The Council of Ministers, may proceed to deprive citizenship if it is satisfied that such person:
    • (a) by deeds or words, demonstrated a lack of legitimacy or contempt for the Republic of Cyprus;
    • (b) behaves in a manner that constitutes acceptance of the illegal administration in areas not controlled by the Republic, holds any office related to it or holds or has unlawfully entered, caused damage or interfered with immovable property situated in those areas owned by another lawful owner (this is in reference to the occupied are of Cyprus);
    • (c) acted, during any war waged by the Republic, in a transaction or communicating with the enemy or engaged in conducting an operation or participating in any operation in such a way as to have assisted the enemy, or
    • (d) within ten years of his/her registration or naturalization has been sentenced in the Republic of Cyprus or in any other country, to imprisonment for a serious criminal offense, which carries a prison sentence of five years or more or for another serious offense; or for an offense of dishonor or involving moral indecency. It is understood that, in case of conviction in another country, the offense upon which such conviction stands, is also an offense in the Republic, as provided above, carries a prison sentence;
    • (e) within ten years from  his/her registration or naturalization is wanted at EU level by EUROPOL or internationally by INTERPOL for a serious criminal offense, which carries a prison sentence of five years or more or for another serious offense or for an offense of dishonor or involving moral indecency. It is understood that the offense for which the person in question is wanted is an offense in the Republic which, as mentioned above, carries a prison sentence;
    • (f) within ten years of his/her registration or naturalization, he/she has been subject to sanctions or his/her name is included in a list of sanctions, as specifically specified in the Regulations issued pursuant to Articles 111A and 117 (the reference here is made to the Regulations of the programme);
    • (g) within ten years of his/her registration or naturalization, it is found that he/she still does not comply with the criteria and / or additional conditions set out in Regulations issued pursuant to Articles 111A and 117 (the reference here is made to the Regulations of the programme).
  • In the event that the Council of Minister wishes to deprive a person of his/her nationality, such person will be able to refer to the independent examination committee.

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