Residency Permits in Cyprus (EU)
The Republic of Cyprus is a Eurasian island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of its most popular tourist destinations. An advanced, high-income economy with a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement until it joined the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Cyprus was placed under British administration in 1878 until it was granted independence in 1960, becoming a member of the Commonwealth the following year. In 1974, following 11 years of inter-communal violence and an attempted coup d’état by Greek Cypriot nationalists, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern portion of the island. The inter-communal violence and subsequent Turkish invasion led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cypriots and the establishment of a separate Turkish Cypriot political entity in the north. These events and the resulting political situation are matters of ongoing dispute. The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters except small portions, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, which are allocated by treaty to the United Kingdom as sovereign military bases. The Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, comprising about 59% of the island’s area, and the Turkish-occupied area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island’s area and recognized only by Turkey.
Cyprus is very popular among Russian buyers of second home or clients seeking alternative residence. Relocation to Cyprus is very popular among rich Russians due to tax incentives (double-taxation avoidance agreement between Cyprus and Russia and special tax regime for non-domiciled).
Immigration to the Republic of Cyprus
Foreigners may make an application to obtain an Immigration Permit on the basis of based on one of the Categories referred to in Regulation 5 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations. An Immigration Permit will not be granted to anybody unless the Immigration Control Board recommends to the Minister of Interior that such person belongs to one of the following Categories:
Category A: Persons who intend to work as self-employed in agriculture, cattle breeding, bird breeding or fish culture in the Republic, provided that they have in their possession adequate land or a permit to acquire same, they have fully and freely at their disposal capital of approximately EUR 430,000 and such an employment should not negatively affect the general economy of the Republic.
Category B: Persons who intend to work as self-employed in mining enterprises in the Republic, provided that they have in their possession a relative permit, they have fully and freely at their disposal capital of approximately EUR 350,000 and such an employment should not negatively affect the general economy of the Republic.
Category C: Persons who intend to work as self-employed in a trade or profession in the Republic, provided that they have in their possession a relative permit, they have fully and freely at their disposal capital of approximately EUR 260,000 and such an employment should not affect negatively the general economy of the Republic.
Category D: Persons who intend to work as self-employed in a profession or science in the Republic, provided that they have academic or professional qualifications, for which there is demand in Cyprus. Possession of adequate funds is also necessary.
Category E: Persons who have been offered permanent employment in the Republic, which will not create undue local competition.
Category F (Permanent Residency): Persons who possess and have fully and freely at their disposal a secured annual income, high enough to give them a decent living in Cyprus, without having to engage in any business, trade or profession. The annual income required should be at least EUR 30,000 for a single applicant and additional EUR 5,000 for every dependent person, but the Immigration Control Board may demand additional amounts as necessary. Most applicants come under this Category, the majority of them being pensioners or retired persons.
Permanent Residency (PR) in Cyprus by Purchase of Property Valued 300,000 EUR
Immigration Permit of permanent nature is for those who buy property valued 300,000 EUR. Please, note that in the case of PR the properties that qualify are only new properties (not re-sale). This is a fast track program (applications are normally processed in a couple of months). In addition, the applicant must have a three years deposit 30,000 EUR with a Cypriot bank and must demonstrate annual income 30,000 EUR. Our standard fees the drafting of the sale agreement and representation in all government authorities in respect of the property are set at 2,5% of the value of the sale agreement with a minimum charge of EUR 10,000. Professional fee for preparing PR application is another EUR 10,000.
Citizenship of the Republic of Cyprus (Summary)
Citizenship is based upon the Republic Law of 1967. The legal basis for citizenship is divided between those born before and those born after August 16, 1960, the date of independence. All questions regarding Turkish Cyprus should be directed to the Cypriot Embassy. Citizenship by birth: All citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who were born in Cyprus between November 5, 1914, and August 16, 1960, and who were resident in Cyprus during the five years preceding independence (August 16, 1960). Citizenship by descent: Person born in wedlock, after August 16, 1960, whose father is a citizen of Cyprus, regardless of the country of birth. In the event the father is unknown or stateless, Cypriot citizenship may be passed on by the mother. Citizenship by naturalization: seven years of legal residency is required. Dual citizenship is recognized.
Citizenship by Investment in Cyprus
On the basis of a Council of Ministers’ Decision dated 24th of May 2013 foreign investors can acquire citizenship of Cyprus by investment of 2,000,000 EUR depending on the chosen investment option. In addition to the above-mentioned investment the applicant is expected to purchase residence in Cyprus the cost of which must exceed the amount of EUR 500,000 (+ 5 % VAT). If all the investment is put into property then 2,000,000 EUR (instead of 2,500,000 EUR) is sufficient for citizenship application. More information about naturalization by exception can be found on the following link: citizenship of Cyprus (EU)
Questions related to immigration to Cyprus (passive residency):
Question: We are interested in PR or category F immigration permit in Cyprus. The question is as follows. I have annual income exceeding 30,000 EUR. My wife has annual income about 15,000 – 20,000 EUR. Can the wife be the main applicant for PR (we want to buy property in her name)? Does the combine income of the family count? Or the main applicant must show his/her income but not the income of the spouse or of a family?
Answer: The combined income is certainly acceptable for the fast track PR. In the case of Category F, the criteria are not so clear-cut, so it is a matter of presenting a convincing case. Again, I would say the combined income could count.
Question: If the property is purchased 50-50 (half of the house belongs to me and another half to my wife) can we still participate in the PR program? The property cost is slightly above 300,000 EUR. After we get PR do we need to spend a certain amount of time annually in Cyprus?
Answer: You can purchase the property jointly and then one of you will be the main applicant and the other accompany the main applicant as a spouse. With property EUR 300,000+ you can apply under the fast track program provided the property is not a resale. Fast-track PR holders (as well as category F) are not required to be physically present in Cyprus. They just need to come once within one year from the approval of their application and then once every two years thereafter.
Question: We are in common-law relationship. Can we apply together for Category F as a family?
Answer: Legislation of Cyprus does not recognize common-law unions. You should get married or invest and apply separately.
Question: After the person is granted category F permit is he required to physically stay a certain amount of time in Cyprus annually? I mean if it is valid for 1 year what are the requirements to renew after 1 year?
Answer: In response to the last question you raised please note that when a person is granted a Category F permit they must come to Cyprus within one year to activate it. Physical presence of the applicant is not required for a certain amount of time. However, he/she must come to Cyprus at least once every 2 years. Renewal is not necessary as the Permit is on a permanent basis provided the requirements are fulfilled.
Question: What is your approach to professional fees regarding assistance with category F permit? We do not want to buy property in Cyprus; we want to rent. Our annual income is sufficient.
Answer: Our fees for the Category F permit are in the range of EUR 10,000 + out-of-pocket expenses. Category F is a slow procedure (takes 9 months for an approval) and each application is judged on its own merits by the Immigration Control Board. You will need to have some funds in a Cypriot Bank, and the general idea is that you show an intention to live in Cyprus. On the other hand, the fast-track Permanent Residency procedure is much quicker and straightforward.
Question: Can I get a residency permit based on property investment in Cyprus?
Answer: If you purchase real estate valued 300,000 EUR and can show a stable annual income 30,000 EUR then you are eligible for a fast-track immigration permit. This immigration permit is of permanent nature (permanent residency in Cyprus) but it does not give an opportunity to be gainfully employed in the country.
Questions related to relocation via business in Cyprus:
Question: Can I get residency if I apply as a key manager in Cyprus Co? 100,000 EUR is already invested into that company and it deals with payment solutions. I hold Senegal passport.
Answer: For a foreign interest company to be able to employ third country nationals in Cyprus an investment of €171,000+ in Cyprus is required. Specifically, and additionally please note the following:
1. The €171,000+ must have come from abroad.
2. The €171,000+ must have actually been invested in Cyprus, e.g. into office equipment, remodeling of premises etc., and not just share capital.
3. Additional amount in the vicinity of €40,000 must be available to spend in the company’s account.
4. The company must have an actual presence in Cyprus, not just a virtual office.
5. The company must be owned by a foreigner.
All the items listed must be evidenced with supporting documentation, e.g. invoices, receipts, bank transfers etc. These are the key elements. If the answer to these is yes then we can go into the particulars of the paperwork that is needed. If the answer is no then the permit application will go through another route where we will need to prove things like special skills or the lack of available personnel from within the EU.
Question: May I receive information on how I can apply for residency in Cyprus through the investment program and how I can eventually apply for citizenship?
Answer: Those who invest 171,000 EUR into Cyprus Company may get temporary residence permit (valid initially for 1 year and then renewed for 2 years) which can become permanent residence after 5 years of residence. You can apply for citizenship by naturalization after 7 years of residence in Cyprus (5 years as temporary resident + 2 years as permanent resident). If you are citizen of EU-country then different (simplified) conditions for temporary residence acquisition apply.
Question: What are the conditions for residency in Cyprus, i.e. how many days a year do I have to stay in the country to maintain my residency and do I lose my residency if I do not live there? What kind of company do I need to invest the money in and is it not possible to invest it in real estate?
Answer: You must physically stay in the country 6 months + 1 day annually to maintain your residency. In case you stay less your residency may be withdrawn. You cannot invest in real estate (if you are not seeking Category F permit which does not imply right to work and to be gainfully employed in Cyprus). Normally, you are expected to incorporate a new company in Cyprus and invest 171,000 EUR in it in order to get Residence Permit with the right to work as a key manager.
Question: I am contacting you from United Arab Emirates, and I am interested in company setup in Cyprus for getting residency and permanent status. I have sufficient funds on my disposal which may be required in the Cypriot bank. I have my family of two children (below 18) and a wife. Kindly let me know your charges and cost involved in the procedure. Thanks.
Answer: Setup of a company in Cyprus as such does not give the opportunity to get temporary residence permit. Non-EU nationals are expected to invest at least 171,000 EUR in the company (which may be your own newly registered company) in order to be eligible to apply for temporary residence permit. It will be valid for one year and renewed semi-automatically provided your company is doing business and you work in the company on a managerial position. Permanent residency is possible after 5 years of residence in Cyprus. Our legal fee to assist with residency is discussed individually on case-by-case basis.
Question: I have a question to ask that I didn’t find an answer on your website for. If I do have a company registered in Cyprus of many activities such as trading and FOREX portfolio account management, can I get a temporary or permanent residency in Cyprus? As I will want to open my office in Cyprus as well to so I have to have a residency to work in my own company.
Answer: If you want to be gainfully employed in Cyprus you will be expected to invest at least 171,000 EUR in your company.
Question: We need to know the definition of investment. Because we will be trading amounts far more than 171,000 but in FOREX. Can I know please from you what kind of investments we should be doing? Or our business can be considered as the right investment?
Answer: In these cases, it must be proven that the company is a company of foreign interests (i.e. belonging to a foreigner), there must be a direct investment in Cyprus of 171,000 EUR and these funds must emanate from outside Cyprus and the company must have an actual presence, activities and offices in Cyprus, not just a registered office. In order for a foreign employee to be approved the position they will hold in the company must be managerial or that of key personnel. In terms of the process, such a company must first be registered so as to be eligible for the employment of third country nationals. If the company qualifies then the employee will also submit a set of documents in order for a permit to be issued. You should note that the first permit is issued for one year and then it is renewed on a two-yearly basis. After 5 years of residence and work in Cyprus you will be eligible to permanent residency permit. Both company and employee documents are submitted simultaneously. Once the documents are all fully submitted then the approval is usually issued in less than a month. As to FOREX companies, this activity is a regulated activity and a license for this must be acquired from the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission. This is not necessarily a quick process, especially for new companies that will have to do all the setting up from the beginning. The licensing procedure entails the organization of the company as provided in the relevant legislation in Cyprus which stems from the EU MiFID Directive (i.e. key persons, manuals, compliance, risk management, IT systems etc). We can go into more details if we have a particular case.
Legal Fees and Other Costs
Elma Global charges flat fixed fees EUR 10,000 per main applicant + 2,000 per spouse (except for minor children) for preparing and filing an application for an immigration permit for Non-EU citizens including assistance with the completion and filing of all the necessary forms. The government fees for the granting of an Immigration Permit amount to EUR 120 and are paid against a receipt following the approval of the application and before the issue of the Immigration Permit. Incorporation of Cyprus Company normally costs EUR 3,000. If you wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining permanent residence in Cyprus or incorporate a low-tax company, contact us today