Over the years, the Cyprus Government has assisted foreigners (non – E.U. members) to get a residence permit and even a Cypriot (E.U.) nationality through numerous of regulations and laws.
Categories eligible to apply for a Residence Permit
Under Regulation 5 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations of 1972, aliens may apply for a residence permit in Cyprus if they fall under either of the categories described below:
A. Persons with the intent to invest in agricultural, fishing, animal farming sectors, provided they have acquired the analogous land and they have available a capital of approximately €430,000.
B. Persons who intend to work as self-employed in the mining sector provided that they have available capital of €350,000 and provided that a permit for mining is secured.
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, and they have freely a capital of €260,000 and provided that they can secure such business permit from the authorities.
D. Persons who intend to work as self-employed in a profession or science in the Republic provided that they have the corresponding academic or professional qualifications and provided that there is demand for such professions in Cyprus.
E. Persons who have been offered permanent employment in the Republic, which will not create undue local competition.
F. 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 €9568,17 for a single applicant and moreover at least € 4613,22 for every dependent person.
International Business Companies entitled to hire foreigners
A company may hire foreigners only upon the condition that it has a strict ownership structure and transparent capital sources, it has fully operative administrative office and it has stable financial growth confirmed by annual accountancy sheets.
1. Criteria for Registration of the Company at the Migration Department:
- Proof that the percentage of foreign participation in the company's share capital is over 50%.
If the above criteria are not applicable and the share capital of the foreign participation is equal or less than 50%, then the share capital needs to be an amount of equal or greater than the amount of €171.000.
- A deposited amount of at least €170.860, by the ultimate beneficial owner.
- A fixed deposit at a Cyprus Financial Institution of at least €41.006 (from the initial investment of €170.860).
2. For existing Companies established in Cyprus there is an administrative procedure which needs to be performed and documents to be submitted.
A New Procedure for obtaining a Permanent Residence Permit
In pursuance of the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, Third Country Nationals may apply for a permit in cases where the following conditions are satisfied:
- Proof of a deposited minimum capital of €30.000 in a Cyprus Bank account, which will be pledged for a period of at least three years. The said amount must be proved that it has been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.
- Proof of a secure annual income of at least €30.000, this annual income should increase by €5.000 for every dependent person of his/her family (spouse and children) and by €8.000 for every dependent parent or parent-in-law.
- Proof of purchase of a real estate, of total market value of at least €300.000. It should be stressed that the full payment of the real estate value shall be settled in an account in a Financial Institution in Cyprus.
The holder of such a permit, as well as his/her dependent persons who are included in his/her permit are obliged to visit Cyprus once every two (2) years.
Automatic Naturalisation of Foreign Investors/Entrepreneurs
The scheme for obtaining a Cypriot passport/nationality through investment was initially enacted by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus in 2011 as it has been amended from time to time dismissing the 7-year residency requirement which was applicable until then.
A foreign applicant may proceed with investments under at least one of the 4 categories mentioned below, as follows:
1. Investment in Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) or in financial assets of Cyprus companies or Cyprus organisations that are licensed by CySeC (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission)
The applicant must proceed with the purchase / establishment of an AIF or with an investment in the financial assets of Cyprus companies or Cyprus organisations regulated by CySeC for a value of at least €2 million. Additionally these companies are obliged to utilise their capital exclusively for the purpose of investments in the Republic of Cyprus.
2. Investment by purchasing or by incorporation or by participating in companies or business organisations established in the Republic of Cyprus
The applicant must proceed with the purchase, incorporation or participation in business organisations or companies that are or will be based in the Republic of Cyprus. The investment in such companies shall be for a value of at least €2 million and the investment will be used only in Republic of Cyprus based on a pre-approved business plan. Additionally the company is obliged to employ at least 5 (five) Cypriot or European Union citizens. All he employees mentioned need to have had a permanent residence in Cyprus for at least 5 (five) years prior to the date of the employment in the business.
3. Investment in Property in the Republic of Cyprus
The applicant must proceed with the purchase of immovable property for a value of at least €2 million (plus VAT if applicable). The purchase of property may include an investment of land for the purposes of constructing residential and or commercial units or development of land for touristic purposes.
4. Combination of Investments
The applicant may choose to proceed with a combination of any of the above mentioned categories for a total amount of at least €2 million and provided that the minimum period requirements as provided below are met. For the purposes of this category the Applicant is entitled to buy government bonds issued by the Republic of Cyprus for an amount not exceeding €500,000, in combination with the rest of the investment types.
It is provided that the investment types contained in all categories herein above must be retained by the Applicant for a minimum period of 3 (three) years.
Additional conditions for eligibility to apply for a passport:
The applicant must have a clean criminal record and his name must not appear in any list of individuals whose property within the EU has been placed under any restrictions.
For categories (1) (2) and (4) above, the applicant is additionally required to proceed with the purchase of a residence within the Republic of Cyprus of purchasing cost of at least €500.000, (plus VAT if applicable) which needs to be retained by the applicant for life. For category (3) above, the applicant is not required to proceed with purchasing an additional residential property worth of Euro 500,000 (plus VAT if applicable) if at least one of the properties purchased will be used as his permanent residence and it is worth at least €500,000 (plus VAT if applicable).
In the circumstances where the applicant does not already possess a permanent residency permit in the Republic of Cyprus then a corresponding application for obtaining the same, must be submitted simultaneously with the citizenship application.
Advantages of the Cyprus investors’ passport scheme:
The Cyprus passport grants you with all the advantages of being a European national, including among others, the right to free movement and residing within the European Union.
The whole family, including one lawful wife and children up to 28 years of age, being financially depended on their parents are entitled to partake in the investor’s application, without the obligation for amounts to be invested. The Scheme includes also the parents of the applicant, provided they purchase a permanent residence worth of at least €500,000 (plus VAT if applicable).
There is no requirement under the Scheme for the Applicants to live or physically reside in Cyprus before or during the procedure of applying for the citizenship.
The procedure is quick as the application is processed within a few months.
The above information is only a brief description of the provisions of the relevant Law up to the date of publication of this Memo and in no way is exhaustive. Further professional advice should be sought for each particular case. Our firm does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage occurring by acting on the basis of this information.