Immigration Permit for third-country nationals who invest in Cyprus
One of the advantages of the EU is that there exists the principal of the free movement of goods and people between the different Member countries. This means if you are a resident of the EU there is no requirement to obtain a Visa to travel between the other Member countries.
Obviously, the ease with which one can visit any country is a major factor in where you may look to buy a property, or look to attain residency, however if there are any restrictions affecting your ability to travel easily this will naturally put you off buying a property in that country. Similarly, if you have to apply for a Visa each time you visit that country, this will again affect your future planning.
The Cyprus Government is therefore seeking to stimulate its economy by attracting inward investment through the creation of an Immigration Permit for third country nationals. This is where people who previously needed a visa to enter Cyprus can obtain residency in Cyprus through investment.
The Minister of Interior in Cyprus, in pursuance of the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, has decided to issue the Immigration Permit to third-country nationals who invest in Cyprus if specific criteria are fulfilled. There are of course investment criteria which must be met for any applicants seeking a residency permit, from which the applicant must fulfill one, and quality criteria that must further be fulfilled.
What are the Residency Visa investment requirements in Cyprus?
The applicant for the Residency Visa must invest at least €300,000 in one of the following investment categories.
There are several options an applicant may select. The first option for the applicant is to purchase a house or an apartment from a development company in Cyprus which should relate to a first sale of at least €300,000 (plus VAT). Another option for an investor could be the purchase of other types of real estate in Cyprus, such as offices, shops, hotels or related estate developments or a combination of these again with a total value of €300,000. Resale properties would also fall within this criterion.
The applicant could also choose to invest at least €300,000 in the share capital of a Company registered in the Republic of Cyprus, based, and operating in the Republic of Cyprus and having a proven physical presence in Cyprus and employing at least five people.
A third option for an applicant would be to make an investment worth €300,000 in units of Cyprus Investment Organization Collective Investments. This option deems that the applicant buys units from Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) or Alternative Investment Funds with limited Number of Persons (AIFLNP) or Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIF) established in the Republic of Cyprus, which are licensed/registered and supervised by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec).
Additionally, to the initial financial investment, the applicant must prove that they have at their disposal a secure annual income of at least €30,000, which increases by €5,000 for each dependent family member and €8,000 for each dependent parent of the applicant and/or his spouse. This income must derive from abroad and can include salaries or wages, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits, rents, etc. in cases where the applicant chooses to invest in a house or an apartment.
When calculating the total amount of income, the spouse’s income may also be taken into consideration. In case the applicant chooses to invest according to the three given options their total income (or part of it) may also come from sources coming from activities within the Republic of Cyprus.
What are the Residency Visa quality requirements in Cyprus?
As regards the quality criteria that must be fulfilled, the applicant and his spouse must submit a certificate indicating a clean criminal record from their country of residence and they should in general not be considered in any way as a threat to public order or public security in Cyprus. They must also confirm that they do not intend to be employed in the Republic apart from their employment as Directors in a Company in which they have chosen to invest under this policy.
Regarding investments that do not concern a Company’s share capital, applicants are allowed to be shareholders in companies registered in Cyprus and the income gained from the dividends of such companies would not be an impediment to the granting of an Immigration Permit. In this situation, applicants may also hold the position of Director in such companies without any financial remuneration from that Company.
In the cases where an applicant invests according to the three latter options, evidence must be provided regarding their accommodation in the Republic (e.g., title of ownership or a contract of sale and proof of payment for the property or any relevant rental agreement).
What are the legal requirements for the Immigration Visa in Cyprus?
When investing in a house, an apartment, or another immovable in Cyprus, the applicant must submit, along with his application, a Title deed, or a sale contract under his or his spouse's name. The Title Deed or contract of sale must have been officially filed at the Department of Lands and Surveys for a house or any other real estate of total market value of at least €300,000 (plus VAT, if applicable) and official payment receipts of at least €200,000 (excluding VAT), irrespective of the delivery date of the property.
The amounts must be proven to be transferred to Cyprus from abroad and must not be derived from domestic loans (remittances, foreign card payment receipts, bank certificate) which should be linked to the corresponding investments. It should be stressed that the full payment of the real estate value must be deposited in an account in a financial institution in Cyprus.
A legal person can also purchase immovable property provided that the applicant and/or their spouse are the sole shareholders or the ultimate beneficial owners of it, and that this legal person is legally established and in the Republic of Cyprus or in any other member state of the European Union or of the European Economic Area.
Can you buy multiple properties as part of the criteria for the Immigration Permit in Cyprus?
The simple answer is yes. There is the possibility for the applicant to purchase two housing units that amount to the €300,000 required, and in the case of a couple, these restrictions apply for the couple and not for each of the persons involved. The purchases must however be in relation to units sold for the first time by a development company unless the purchase of the units took place before 7/05/2013. The properties do not have to be purchased from the same development company.
What documents are required for the purchase of shares to obtain the Immigration Permit in Cyprus?
Regarding the purchase of share capital, the following documents must be submitted:
- Share Purchase Agreement,
- Shareholder Certificate
- Certificate of Incorporation from the Department of registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, the Business Profile of the company that included business goals, a Payment Receipt (e.g., bank transfer) and evidence for the employment of staff from Social Insurance Department.
In case the applicant invests in shares of a Cypriot Undertaking for Collective Investments the following documents must be submitted: Titles or other proof of the purchased units and confirmation by the CySEC on the setup of the Fund and a memorandum of the Fund or Investment Fund.
The applications, and the required documents, must be submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) in person or through an authorised representative.
What is a Category F application for Residency in Cyprus?
The above routes to a Residency Permit in Cyprus are all available through investment. Whilst this route is suitable for some, there exists another route, known as a Category F application. The Category F route doesn’t have the same minimum purchase price and having a property in Cyprus will be considered sufficient.
What is the process to obtain the Residency Permit in Cyprus?
For the granting of an Immigration Permit, an application is submitted on the form M.67 to the Civil Registry and Migration Department directly or through the District Aliens and Immigration Branches of the Police. The application should be accompanied by the appropriate documents, depending on the Category for which it is submitted.
Applications for Category F which are the most usual should be accompanied by the originals of documents regarding the income of the applicants.
Applicants who are abroad may apply directly to Cyprus, as stated above, or through the local Consular Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. The applications are examined by the Immigration Control Committee which submits a relevant request to the Minister of the Interior for a decision to be taken.
An Immigration Permit will be automatically cancelled if the interested person fails to acquire residence in Cyprus within one year from the approval of the application in case he/she is residing outside Cyprus. It will also be cancelled if he/she acquires permanent residence abroad or be absent from Cyprus for a period of two years.
Why use Judicare when applying for an Immigration Permit in Cyprus?
Decades of combined immigration law experience. Plain English advice.
We work hand in hand with our trusted lawyers in Cyprus, so clients get the very best legal advice.
At the same time, as UK-based solicitors, we are here to answer your questions and keep you informed every step of the way in plain English.
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As a UK law firm, we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). This means you can be confident we will adhere to the strict standards expected of UK solicitors.
Complete understanding of how UK and Cypriot laws interact
Working with our trusted partners in Cyprus, we are perfectly placed to advise on what happens when laws interact in more than one jurisdiction at the same time.
When dealing with Cypriot law, working with a law firm with strong international property expertise is a good idea. This is one area where we excel.
We are a member of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP), which was set up to improve standards of professionalism in a largely unregulated overseas property market. As AIPP members, we have signed up to a Code of Conduct that assures we adhere to the highest standards of honesty and professional integrity.
Decades of collective experience dealing with Cypriot Law.
We have forged a strong bond with our trusted Cyprus lawyers over the past decade. This experience and knowledge create an in depth understanding of the majority of issues clients may need to consider, allowing us to find solutions quickly to the common problems clients can run into (and the not so common ones).
Drawing on our collective experience, we can help clients to plan effectively and make sure every aspect of your case goes ahead as smoothly as possible.