The Republic of Cyprus granted citizenship to 4,223 non-EU nationals in 2014-15 according to Eurostat data, with just over half going to Russians or Ukrainians.
In 2015, a total of 2,697 passports were issued, of which 1,138 were granted to Russians, 256 to Ukrainians and 122 to Chinese nationals. These were the top three countries of origin for the acquisition of citizenship by non-EU nationals in 2015, according to Eurostat.
In 2014, Cyprus awarded 1,526 citizenships, of which 618 were to Russians, 125 to Ukrainians and 107 to Australians (the third highest).
Between 2014 and 2015, therefore, 1,756 passports were issued to Russians and 381 to Ukrainians. Together they accounted for 50.6% of the 4,223 total.
This is the first official data on the number of citizenships granted since the Cyprus government introduced the naturalisation by exception (‘cash for passports’) scheme in early 2014. The Cypriot government has not published any figures on the number awarded.
Under the scheme revised in September 2016, non-EU citizens may acquire citizenship by investing between €2 million and €2.5 million in the country depending on the type of investment. At least €500,000 must be in real estate.
Prior to that, the minimum investment was €5 million.
In total, EU member states granted 727,207 citizenships in 2015. The highest number for the EU as a whole was awarded to people from Morocco (86,100), followed by Albania (48,400) and Turkey (35,000).
Malta issued 522 citizenships in 2015, with the highest number (261) going to Russians. Portugal issued 19,647, with the highest number (6,394) going to Brazilians.
Spain issued the largest number of passports in 2015, at 111,857, with the highest number (24,286) going to Moroccans.
The UK issued the second highest number, at 104,792, with the largest number (18,395) going to Indians.