Cyprus, the 3rd largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is located at the eastern end of Europe, at the crossroads of three continents, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Cyprus is a small but dynamic country in the sense that it has achieved to establish itself as a destination of choice for doing business. Competitive advantages include one of the lowest corporate tax within Europe (at just 12,5%), multiple tax incentives for attracting international business companies and private clients, as well as an overall business friendly environment and advanced infrastructure. All this combined with a high quality of life and the best possible weather all year-round.
No wonder that Cyprus has been ranked so high both by leisure as well as business key indicators as an attractive destination for investor immigration.
The applicant must prove that he has a secure annual income of at least €50,000. This annual income increases by €10,000 for each for each minor child and €15,000 for the spouse (of the applicant and/or his spouse). This income should derive from abroad and may include salaries or wages, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits, rents, etc.
Have a clean criminal record from the country of origin as well as from the country of residence in case it differs.
Have in place Health Insurance Certificate for medical treatment covering inpatient and outpatient care.
Visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
Declare that they will not engage in any employed activity (can of course form a company in Cyprus and receive dividends).
The main applicant will also be required to provide on an annual basis, evidence proving that he still maintains the initial investment and the required income determined for him and his family.
In cases where the applicant chooses to invest in any type of investment other than residential, he should then present information about his place of residence and that of his family members in the Republic of Cyprus (e.g. property title deed, rental agreement, sale and purchase agreement).
Should the applicant chooses to invest in residential property, but the number of bedrooms of the investment property cannot satisfy the needs of the dependent members of his family, he should indicate another property or properties which will constitute the place of residence of these persons (e.g. property title deed, rental agreement, sale and purchase agreement).
Provided that the above criteria are met, the application shall be examined by the Ministry of Interior and the permit is expected to be granted within two months.
Having the intention and the ultimate goal of attracting international investment and talent in Cyprus, the Council of Ministers approved the “Strategy for Attracting Businesses for Activities or/and Expansion of their Activities in Cyprus”, on the 15th of October 2021. As part of this program, the Business Facilitation Unit (BFU) came into force on the 1st of January 2022. In essence, this unit is a reviewed and simplified version of the Fast Track Business Activation Mechanism. The main aim of the BFU is to provide a faster and more effective process of applying for foreign interest company establishment in Cyprus or the development of existing companies.
Furthermore, the unit provides support regarding the review and application for new or existing foreign interest companies wishing to employ third country nationals. Submissions and issuance of residence and employment permits will take place at a new separate area of the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD), aiming at the establishment of a faster and direct procedure. Once the company is registered with the BFU, a written confirmation will be given. Using the written confirmation, companies can contact the CRMD for the residence and employment of their third-country personnel.
Eligible businesses must meet one of the following criteria:
For cases 3-8, the investment criterion is also applicable and the company’s initial investment in the Republic of at least €200,000, must be proven by presenting the appropriate certificates (e.g. bank statement at the time of deposit of the amount or proof of investment (purchase of office space and/or office equipment)).
* An enterprise qualifies as ‘High Technology Company’ if:
(a) it is already established and has a presence in the market, and
(b) it has a high level or experimental R&D intensity, and
(c) it developed product/s that fall into one of the following categories: products related to aviation and space industry, computers, information and telecommunication technology (ICT), pharmaceuticals, biomedical, research and development equipment, electrical machinery, chemicals, non-electrical machinery.
The new program also introduced new criteria regarding the employees of foreign interest companies. As of January 2022, there will be no categorization of the personnel of the company. Employees of foreign interest companies are now titled “high skilled employees” and they can apply for residence permit for up to 3 years given that:
During the period of 5 years, from the date of joining the BFU, the maximum number of third country nationals that can be employed in a foreign interest company is set at 70% of all employees. When the said period comes to an end, in cases where it is impractical to employ 30% of EU workers the matter will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
In addition to the above, the current legislation for family reunification is still in force and will apply to any third country national who has obtained a residence permit in accordance with the above criteria. This will provide immediate and free access to the labour market, with remunerated employment for the spouse of a high skilled third country national.
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