A permanent residency permit can be obtained mainly via 2 different ways, either via:
(i.) purchasing property in Cyprus (the fast-track or normal option outlined below); or
(ii) it can be granted to applicants (and their family members) who have legally resided in Cyprus for a continuous period of more than five years.
Demand for the residency scheme remains strong, as third country nationals seek to use Cyprus as a gateway for their business in Europe.
A. Permanent Residency on a "fast-track" basis (known as Regulation 6 (2) application):
CYPRUS PERMANENT RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT: YOUR GATEWAY TO EUROPE
Cyprus has recently been ranked the 5th best relocation destination in the world by an international lifestyle review (source: 2018 Wealth Report prepared by Knight Frank, a leading independent, global real estate consultancy firm). Ranked by key business and leisure indicators, Cyprus was the only European country alongside Switzerland to make it into the top five – ahead of London, Madrid and Monaco. Cyprus also ranked highly due to its favourable tax regime for new residents. With at least 320 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus is classified the sunniest European location and is proving an ideal destination for Permanent Residency of Non-EU nationals enabling you to travel across Europe, without elaborate visa requirements.
In line with the Cyprus government’s objective to increase foreign investment, the Ministry of Interior has recently simplified the procedure for issuing Permanent Residency Permits to Non-EU nationals who wish to invest in Cyprus.
WHY APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY (PR)?
- Regulation 6 (2) Permanent Residency Permit grants a Non-EU national the right to permanently reside in Cyprus with no renewal requirements;
- Lifts traveling restrictions and elaborate visa requirements (i.e. Visitor’s Visa) across the EU, facilitating access to the Schengen zone;
- Once granted, the Permanent Residency Permit covers the whole family: the main applicant and spouse, their parents and dependents up to the age (and including) 24 (who must be enrolled students, and cannot be working towards a professional degree i.e. PhD, lawyer, chartered accountant, medical doctor etc.);
- Fast track application procedure - all applications are reviewed by the Civil Registry and Migration Department and the Ministry of Interior grants final approval within 2 months from the date of filing;
- The application can be processed in the applicant’s absence and filed on their behalf;
- Application for a Cyprus Permanent Residency Permit (PRP) can be the first step towards gaining Cyprus Citizenship;
- If a Cyprus tax resident, the PRP holder is exempt from tax on worldwide dividends and interest income for a period of 17 years. In addition to this, a Cyprus tax resident is exempt from tax on gains on disposable of securities. This is recognised as the most attractive personal income tax regime in the entire onshore tax world;
The Cyprus Permanent Residency and the Cyprus Investment Programme have proven widely successful in attracting investment into Cyprus from third country nationals.
- Geographical location (Cyprus is at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa);
- Stable economy in a western-type presidential democracy;
- Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone holds significant economic growth potential in Oil & Gas exploration;
- Low tax rates as well as a highly favourable international double tax treaties;
- No Inheritance Tax;
- Legal system based on English common law;
- English language is widely spoken and the accepted language for business;
- High level and mature professional services industry;
- Highly trained professional labour force;
- Access to reputable private and public schools including esteemed British universities based in Cyprus;
- Safety: Cyprus boasts the lowest overall crime levels in the EU;
- Low cost of living;
- Reasonably priced immovable property;
- High quality healthcare: Cyprus offers access to leading medical centres;
- Schengen applicant state, with membership pending;
- Excellent telecommunication and air travel connections;
- Rich history with four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cyprus (in Paphos, Choirokoitia and Troodos).
SIMPLE FAST-TRACK PROCESS:
- Purchase of a “first-time” sale residential property in Cyprus of at least €300,000 (non-inclusive of VAT, being either 5% or 19%, if applicable). An initial payment of at least €200,000 must be made; applicants’ presence at the time of purchase is not mandatory and can be facilitated by legal representatives;
- Permanent Residency application and legal documents must be prepared and submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (this can be done on your behalf by our representatives, through the granting of a Power of Attorney);
- Receive your Cyprus PRP within two months of submission of the application, provided the necessary investment criteria have been met;
- Once the PRP has been granted, successful applicants must visit Cyprus within one year to obtain the actual permit and have biometrics taken by the authorities (for issuance of PR card), and subsequently once every two years thereafter.
OTHER QUALIFYING FINANCIAL CRITERIA & TERMS:
- Maintain a three year fixed deposit account with a Cyprus bank for an amount at least €30,000; the funds deposited must emanate from sources outside Cyprus;
- Provide evidence of secured annual income of at least €30,000, originating from abroad (increased by €5,000 for each dependent included in the application, and €8,000 for each parent of the main applicant and/or spouse).
In addition to satisfying the above financial criteria, the applicant, their spouse, their parents and their dependents, as applicable, must fulfil all of the following conditions:
a) Have a clean criminal record;
b) Declare their intention not to be employed in Cyprus (holders of a PRP may however, own a Cyprus Company and receive dividends from its profit);
c) Declare they have a secured annual income from abroad;
d) Ensure the applicant’s name is not included in the list of persons whose property is ordered tobe frozen by the EU;
e) Visit Cyprus within one year of the date of issuance of the PRP, to take receipt of the permit, and obtain their biometrics, and subsequently once every two years thereafter.
WHO CAN JOIN THE PRP APPLICATION:
- The PRP issued covers the holder’s spouse and children up to 17 years old;
- The main applicants’ and/or spouse’s parents;
- Adult children of the PRP applicant between 18 and up to the age of (and including) 24 years old, can join a PRP application (provided they are enrolled students);
- Married children of PRP applicants between 18 and up to the age of (and including) 24 years old, who are students can join their parents’ application.
WHEN CAN A PRP BE REVOKED?
- When the PRP holder was granted a permanent residence permit in another Country (other than the country of his nationality);
- When the PRP holder does not visit Cyprus for a period longer than 2 years.
WHAT ARE THE DISBURSMENTS FOR FILLING A PRP APPLICATION?
- EUR 4 for the Official Declaration confirming the absence of intention to be employed in Cyprus in any direct or indirect manner;
- EUR 500 for the filling of the PRP application;
- EUR 70 for the issuance of the Alien Registration Certificate
B. Permanent Residency on a "normal-track basis" (known as Category F application).
Upon renting out a home or purchase of a house/apartment with any value, a third-country national may apply for a permanent residency (“normal-track basis”). The minimum requirements are as follows: <ul class="list-2">
- Minimum annual secured income of approximately EUR 10,000 from sources outside of Cyprus (increased by approximately EUR 5,000 per dependent);
- Applicant does not maintain employment in Cyprus;
- Income is derived from legally acceptable sources abroad;
- Income is secure and provides stable support for the applicant and their family in the long run (including supporting evidence that all financial needs of the family are adequately covered);
- Clean criminal record;
- No sanction order to have been made against applicant or any dependents.
The main benefit of this route is the lower threshold of annual income required, together with the flexibility of renting a house prior to outright purchase. It should be noted, that once the application is filed, the applicant is free to travel to and from Cyprus without any restrictions.
The main disadvantage of the above method of application is that it takes up to a year (officially – in practice it may even take longer) to have the Ministry of Interior’s decision.
Prior to purchasing property in Cyprus, you need to be aware of the potential pitfalls, ensuring that you make the right investment and that your purchase runs smoothly and efficiently.
C) Permanent Residency Permit for non-EU citizens residing in Cyprus
Citizens of third countries may apply for a Permanent Resident Permit upon at least 5 years of continuous legal stay in Cyprus and having held a Temporary Resident Permit for the entire preceding period.
D) Permanent Residency Permit for non-EU citizen and family members
Non-EU family members may also apply for a Permanent Residency Card.
The Permanent Residency Card for non-EU family members is valid for 5 years and can be extended.
E) Permanent Residency Permit for EU citizens (“Yellow Slip”)
EU Citizens entering the Republic of Cyprus to work and who will spend more than three (3) months on the island will need to register with the relevant authorities in Cyprus.
Given the above, the following matters and actions are applicable:
The procedure is initiated by the completion of the MEU1 form (available in both Greek and English), which must be signed by both the Employer and the Employee (if the EU national will be taking up employment). The following documents must also be supplied concurrently with the application:
- Valid passport or valid Identity Card (to be presented to the authorities).
- Certificate of Medical Insurance in the Republic (this needs to cover inpatient and outpatient matters in the Republic of Cyprus and transportation fees).
- Rental Agreement or Contract of Sale.
- Payment of about EUR 20.
- The application must be submitted before the expiration of the 3-month period to the Civil Registration and Migration Department (a fine is applicable in case of late application).
- It is noted that the presence of each applicant shall be required at the Immigration Department in order to submit biometrical fingerprints.
- A copy of the employment agreement (if applicable) .
- On the basis of our past experience, the registration certificate (“yellow-slip”) is issued within a time period of between 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on the backlog of the Immigration Department. These time frames are given by way of an indicative reference.
- The members of the family of a European national have the right to exercise an employment or self-employment activity in the Republic of Cyprus. This permit should be reviewed after a period of two years from the date of issue.
- In case nationals of EU Member States wish to pursue a profession that is regulated in Cyprus such as lawyer, medical doctor, accountant, engineer, electrician etc, by legislation determining the specific necessary qualifications and the procedure for acquiring the right to pursue the profession, then such person should contact the competent body responsible for the relevant application of the specific profession in order to acquire the relevant permit, in the same way a Cypriot national would.
HOW SAVVA & ASSOCIATES CAN ASSIST:
- Advise on the key financial criteria to be met, and assist the applicant with the complete application procedure;
- Conduct a thorough examination of the applicant’s specific circumstances, in order to establish the most efficient way to meet the required financial criteria;
- Find the right property matching the criteria of the applicant via our network of reputable licensed real estate agents and developers, and ensure the applicant is presented with properties that are good value for money;
- Drafting and assisting with the collection of all required documents;
- Regularly update the applicant on the progress of their application;
- Provide assistance with the opening of bank accounts at local banks.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES & SUPPORT:
Savva & Associates are well positioned to provide an extended scope of services to foreign investors and High-Net-Worth-Individuals in cooperation with our affiliate law firm, S. Evangelides & Partners, including:
- Legal advice on the applicable legislation as well as the preparation and drafting of agreements connected with the purchase of property in Cyprus;
- Due diligence connected with the acquisition of immovable property in Cyprus.
Our team of highly experienced professionals can advise you further on obtaining a Cyprus Permanent Residency by Investment, on the basis of your particular facts and circumstances. Please feel free to contact Charles Savva at email@example.com to discuss how we can be of assistance to you.