Obtaining Permanent Residency in Cyprus
Obtaining Permanent Residency and Citizenship in Cyprus
Immigration to the Republic of Cyprus
Foreigners may make an application to obtain an Immigration Permit on the basis of 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:
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 10,000 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.
Granting of permanent residency in Cyprus to third country citizens who obtain privately-owned residence in Cyprus for self-occupancy:
Obtaining an Immigration Permit
The Ministry of Interior has decided a favorable treatment for all third country nationals who fulfil the following criteria:
a) The applicant must prove that s/he has at his/her disposal a secured minimum annual income (employment in Cyprus is strictly prohibited) amounting to 30.000 EURO. The minimum annual income in increased by 5.000EURO for each dependent person. The annual income should be derived from abroad and can include overseas employment income, pensions, rental income etc.
b) The application form (M.67) must be accompanied by a title deed or a contract of sale that has already been submitted to the Department of Lands and Surveys, for the acquisition of a house, apartment or any other building situated in Cyprus, of a minimum market value of 300.000 EURO (excluding VAT). Further, the applicant must submit proof of payment for at least 200.000EURO (excluding VAT) in respect of the above mentioned property.
As from 07 May 2013, the Immigration Authorities will only accept applications for granting immigration permits under Regulation 6(2), provided that the above mentioned property is being sold for the first time (i.e. applications regarding resale properties will not be permitted).
c) The applicant must submit a confirmation letter from a Cyprus Banking Institution that s/he has deposited a minimum amount of 30.000 EURO which will be pledged for a minimum period of three years.
Please note that the amounts mentioned in paragraphs (b) and (c) should be proven to have been transferred to Cyprus legally from abroad.
d) The applicant must submit a clean Criminal Record Certificate, issued by the relevant authorities in his/her country of origin and in general, s/he should not constitute a threat against public order in Cyprus.
e) The applicant must submit a statement confirming that s/he has no intention to work or be engaged in any form of business in Cyprus.
f) The applicant is required to visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
Provided that the criteria described above are fulfilled, the application shall be examined by the Minister of Interior in a positive spirit and the Immigration Permit shall be granted.
It is estimated that the period for examining the application under the new procedure shall not exceed 1 – 2 months.
It should be noted that an Immigration Permit is equivalent to a Permanent Residence Permit allowing its holders to be exempt from the time-consuming immigration formalities that other categories of third countries citizens who enter Cyprus territory have to go through.
For the granting of an Immigration Permit, application is submitted on form M.67 to the Civil Registry and Migration Department directly or through the District Aliens and Immigration Branches of the Police. Applicants who are abroad may submit an application directly to Cyprus or through the local Consular Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus
Acquisition of Cypriot Citizenship by Foreign Investors
Revised criteria for granting Cypriot citizenship by exception.
The Cyprus Government through the Ministry of Interior has recently announced further relaxations to the already revised set of criteria for granting the Cypriot citizenship by exception to foreign investors.
Criteria for granting the Cypriot citizenship by exception:
The applicant should make the following investments and donations to Governmental funds:
a) An amount of at least €2 million be invested in shares and/or bonds of the Cyprus Investment Company that will be formed (the applicant must deposit the amount said at the Cyprus Treasury Department until the shares and /or bonds of the aforesaid company are issued);
b) An amount of at least €0.5 million shall be donated to the Re-search and Technology Fund.
The applicant should have direct investments in Cyprus of at least €5 million, noting that direct investments include but are not limited to:
a) Purchase of real estate (houses, offices, shops etc);
b) Acquisition of businesses/companies that are based and have activities in Cyprus;
c) Purchase of shares of companies registered in Cyprus;
d) Purchase of financial instruments (e.g. bonds and debentures regis-tered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus);
e) Participation in a company/consortium that is in charge of the execution of a Government project.
f) Regarding conditions (a) to (d) above, the applicant must have in his/her possession the related investments for a period of at least three years. In case of a portfolio of shares or bonds, it should be ensured that the value of the portfolio during the three year period will not be less than the specified amount.
The applicant should have deposits in Cyprus banks amounting to €5 million, for a period of 3 years. The deposits can be either personal or deposits of his/her private entity or of a trust whereby the applicant is the beneficiary.
The applicant may choose to have a combination of:
a) Mixed investments and donations to a Governmental fund (criterion 1)
b) Direct investments (criterion 2)
c) Deposits to Cypriot banks (criterion 3)
The applicant should have a combination of the above, amounting to €5 million.
The applicant should be a shareholder or the ultimate beneficiary of a Cyprus company that has its head office and business operations in Cyprus. Further, the Cyprus company should have paid in the Republic of Cyprus at least €500.000 per year during the three years preceding the filing date of the application. The amount of €500.000 can include payments made to public Cyprus funds (e.g. Corporate Tax, VAT) and the acquisition of professional services in Cyprus (e.g. legal, accounting, audit);
Alternatively, in the instance that the Cyprus company:
a) employs at least five (5) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid in Cyprus (as described above) is reduced to €350.000 per year during the three years preceding the filing date of the application; or
b) employs at least ten (10) Cypriot citizens, then the minimum amount that must be paid in Cyprus (as described above) is reduced to €200.000 per year during the three years preceding the filing date of the application.
In the scenario where the applicant has paid into the Cyprus economy direct revenue or fees (as described above) lower than the ones mentioned above, a combination can be made with criteria 1, 2 or 3. The sum of the payments made to the public Cyprus funds and the professional fees for the last three years shall be deducted from the required investment to satisfy criteria 1, 2 or 3.
Any foreigner who was the holder of deposits in the Bank of Cyprus and/or Laiki Bank and suffered an impairment in the value of his/her deposits of at least €3 million as at March 15th 2013, as a result of the measures imposed on the two banks.
In the instance that the foreigner has suffered an impairment in the above mentioned banks which is lower than €3 million, s/he may still apply for Cypriot citizenship provided that s/he invests the remaining amount (i.e. to sum up to €3 million) in mixed investments and donations to a Governmental fund (criterion 1) or in direct investments (criterion 2).
It is noted that in addition to satisfying any one of the above criteria, the applicant must:
a) Have a clean criminal record; and
b) Own a permanent residence in Cyprus of a market value at least €500,000 (plus VAT).