The requirements for applying for naturalisation under the Civil Registry Law are as follows:
1. Five or seven consecutive years of residence, and uninterrupted stay in Cyprus during the last twelve months (e.g. holiday). The required residence period depends on the status of residency and beneficiaries of international protection fall under the category that requires five years.
2. Three guarantors who are of all Cypriot nationality.
3. Clear criminal record.
In practice, the application is submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) with a submission fee of €500. Until 2016, applications took on average six-seven years to be examined and nearly no beneficiaries of international protection were granted citizenship. In 2015 and 2016, measures were taken to examine the backlog, with the intention of speeding up the process. Currently an application requires two-three years to be examined.
Furthermore, there had been a significant rise in the number of beneficiaries of international protection receiving citizenship with an estimated 50 persons receiving in 2015 and 20-30 persons in 2016. However, this trend did not continue and based on information during 2018 and 2019 from beneficiaries of the Cyprus Refugee Council and other NGOs it is clear a sufficiently lesser number of persons with international protection received nationality. It was also noted that although the requirements for nationality do not include financial criteria, an applicant’s financial situation is a primary consideration and if the person is a recipient of state benefits, including persons with special needs, survivor of torture etc they will most probably be rejected. In the decision it is cited that they are a ‘burden on the state’.
The backlog is estimated to be between 5,000 and 6,000 applications.
Based on information from beneficiaries/cases represented by the Cyprus Refugee Council.