The interior ministry on Friday announced a new set of criteria for people who wish to be naturalised as citizens of the Republic of Cyprus.

Those wishing to be naturalised must meet a set of amended criteria to be able to apply for Cypriot citizenship.

They must have maintained legal and continuous residence for 12 months immediately preceding the date of their application for citizenship. However, according to the new criteria, periods of absence which do not exceed 90 days in total do not interrupt that period.

They must have had legal residence in the Republic of Cyprus for a cumulative period of not less than seven years during the ten years immediately preceding that 12-month period.

In addition, they must be of good character, display an “adequate” knowledge of the Greek language, at a minimum level of B1, and display an adequate knowledge of “basic elements of the modern political and social reality of the Republic.”

They must also prove they have adequate accommodation and “stable and regular financial resources sufficient for the maintenance of themselves and members of the family”, and they must show intent to continue to reside in the Republic.

The government has also unveiled its requirements for naturalisation of “highly skilled” individuals. This application is limited to employees of companies adhering to strict criteria.

It includes companies belonging to foreign interests operating in the Republic and operating independent offices in Cyprus, which are “housed in suitable premises, separate from any private premises, separate from any private residence or other office.”

In addition, it applies to Cypriot shipping companies, Cypriot high-tech and innovation companies with products related to the aerospace industry, computers, information technology and communication, pharmaceuticals, biomedical equipment, research and development equipment, machinery, and chemicals.

Cypriot pharmaceutical companies and Cypriot companies active in the fields of biogenetics and technology are also included, as are foreign companies which are also registered in Cyprus.

“High skilled” applicants must meet similar requirements to regular applicants, but with reduced residence and language requirements.

They only have to have lived in Cyprus for either three or four years in the ten years preceding the 12 months prior to their application, and some applicants will only have to prove competence in the Greek language to a minimum level of A2.