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Sunday, 03 December 2023 07:23

Cyprus introduces citizenship programme for foreigners in research and innovation 

Cyprus has introduced its Golden Knowledge Programme for foreign nationals in the ‘research and innovation’ sector to apply for expedited citizenship through a fast-track process.  

In a bid to attract tech talent to the island, the Cypriot House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Civil Registry Law, introducing more lenient criteria for granting Cypriot citizenship to foreign nationals in the research and innovation sector.  

Nairametrics learns that the revised law incorporates safeguards to ensure that only qualified and deserving individuals are granted citizenship. Applicants are therefore required to have a physical presence in Cyprus, establishing genuine connections with the island. 

This recent legislative amendment represents a strategic move to draw tech talent without relying on traditional citizenship-by-investment programs, emphasizing knowledge-based immigration with built-in safeguards for economic advancement. 

What the Minister said

According to MP Nicolas Papadopoulos,  

  • “The aim is to attract qualified specialists in specific fields. Investing in research and innovation means investing in our country’s future, and this will have an immense economic benefit”. 

Papadopoulos also clarified that it is not a ‘golden passports’ program but rather a ‘golden knowledge’ program whose amendments primarily address the residency requirements and language proficiency for foreign nationals seeking Cypriot citizenship. 


Concerning the amended law, applicants in the research and innovation sector must exhibit functional proficiency in Greek, financial self-sufficiency, a clean criminal record, and good character, with the processing time for citizenship applications limited to eight months. 

Key Provisions of the Amended Law: 

  • Fast-track citizenship for foreign nationals in the research and innovation sector. 
  • Requirement of a working knowledge of the Greek language for applicants. 
  • Financial self-sufficiency and a clean criminal record  
  • Family members of applicants are also eligible for citizenship. 
  • The processing of such citizenship applications is streamlined, taking no more than eight months. 

Benefits of the amended law 

So far, the benefits of the amended law are to attract tech talent to Cyprus, encourage the retention of skilled workers in the country, and stimulate economic growth in Cyprus. 


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