Residency in Cyprus

Residency in Cyprus

Recent changes to the immigration regulations pertaining to certain countries have allowed for several countries to benefit from relaxations on their travel restrictions.

  • Invest € 100,000 in property in Cyprus and you can obtain A TEMPORARY RESIDENCY. After 5 years you are then entitled to apply for full Residency.
  • Invest €300,000 or more in property and receive full Residency to the EU island of Cyprus. 5 years have the option to apply for a full Cypriot passport.

    -   For the purchase of a home or other properties in Cyprus of 300,000 or more and proof of payment of 80% of this amount before application is lodged.

    1. Non-EU nationals allowed to buy land up to 4,000 sq meters to build their own house
    2. Allowed to buy two residences to make up the 300,000 euro minimum, flats or townhouses, but have to be in the same project and adjacent to each other
    3. Or allowed to make up the 300,000 euro minimum by buying one residence and one shop (up to 100 sq m) OR one residence and one office (up to 250 sq m)

    A married couple is considered one legal entity under the law for PR purposes (so you cannot buy 4 units, only maximum of 2

    -   Proof of a fixed deposit of 30,000 euro for a minimum of three years in a Cyprus based bank.

    -   All amounts mentioned above must be proven to have come from abroad.

    -   Subject to verifying the truth and accuracy of all papers that will be submitted with the Application

    For any applicants who do not meet one of these criteria, their application will be examined by the committee (slower response)

This is of course subject to approval and fulfilment of the other required elements discussed relating to Temporary Residence.

With the current property market hitting a record low for average property price sales, it is difficult to see that there is a better time to invest in this Mediterranean island. With favourable taxation, climate and standard of living it becomes a very attractive offer to many. 

RESIDENCE PERMITS IN CYPRUS

Cyprus with its warm and stable climate and convenient geographical position is considered as an attractive place for residence and employment. Residence and employment in Cyprus are governed by the Aliens and Immigration legislation of Cyprus (Alien and Immigration Law Chapter 105 of the Laws as amended; Alien and Immigration Regulation KDP 242/72 of 22.12.1972 as amended).

Entry

The requirements for visa vary depending on the nationality of each foreigner. For nationals of the following countries no visa is required for entry into Cyprus:

A. Temporary Residence Permit

An alien may request for the issue of the temporary residence permit for the purpose of holidays, tour around the island and for the search of a possible temporary or permanent settlement in Cyprus.

To receive a residence permit in Cyprus an alien resident must fulfil one of the following requirements

Property in Cyprus (holiday house).

  • The Title Deed or the Sale Contract must be presented to the District Aliens and Immigration Office.

 

Also the following documents must be enclosed:

  • Passport copies;
  • Personal bank account with sufficient amount of means to cover the expenses of the applicant in Cyprus and/ or bank letter of guarantee for CY£200.00-CY£500.00 (depending of the country of origin of the alien) to cover possible repatriation expenses (in case of US nationals no letter of guarantee is required);
  • Bank statement
  • 4 photographs and photographs of dependants;
  • Form M.61
  • Prescribed fees
  • Disposition of secured annual income
  • In some cases the Immigration Officer may secure a permit for an alien if he has stable and secured income from abroad.
  • It may be pension, dividends from investments, interest from deposits, etc.

Each case is examined individually taking into account all the circumstances of the matter.

B. Permanent Residence Permit

In order to settle in Cyprus permanently an alien may apply to the Chief Immigration Officer, Nicosia, Cyprus by submission of application form M.67. In accordance with the Regulation 5 of the Alien and Immigration.

Regulations of 1972 an alien person must belong 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 €420,000 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 €340,000 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 €250,000 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 €30,000 per couples application, but the Immigration Control Board may demand additional amounts as necessary.

PERMANENT RESIDENCY - SIMPLIFICATION, CLARIFICATION AND SPEEDY RESPONSE

Most applicants come under this Category F, the majority of them being pensioners or retired persons. If the application is finally approved an alien will not be allowed to engage in any form of business profession or occupation, whether paid or unpaid while residing in Cyprus will have to support himself(herself) and all his(her) family from own income.

The council of Ministers allow the Minister of Interior to take a decision on category F immigration permits applications (Permanent Residency) without the application having to go through the 4-member committee that has been deciding up to now, thereby speeding the process.

The criteria for a fast and unilateral decision by the Minister are as follows:

-  Income from abroad of at least 30,000 euro per couple (from income, interest, rentals, dividends, pensions, etc)

With most economies in Europe not being healthy and with the prevailing approach by E.U. to keep cutting spending and increasing unemployment, Cyprus real estate demand from abroad is reducing in numbers notwithstanding the fact that prices are reducing and business opportunities are now more apparent.

Cyprus business and Governmental bodies have eyed in addition to Russia and some other ex eastern block countries, China. Cypriot business visits and exhibition participations in China have taken place which brought up as an initial reaction the prevailing data.

  • The first and most important difficulty met is to explain to potential Chinese investors where Cyprus is!! Not an unreasonable experience bearing in mind the sizes of the two countries.

  • Notwithstanding the first obstacle and if we, as Cyprus, keep pushing the plusses of Cyprus, there appears to be an emerging interest from China regarding Cyprus investments.

  • Chinese showed a particular interest since Cyprus can be their springboard for the remaining E.U. countries. The relatively ease with which one can register a Co in Cyprus, the common language (English) that is spoken by just about everybody and the most favorable income tax, the lowest in Europe, with the 10% taxation is a start.

  • The measure of passports for cash i.e. with investments €10 mil.(+) in real estate and/or bank deposits/shares etc, plus the acquisition of a house not less than €300.000 will entitle a Chinese to apply for a Cypriot (E.U.) passport, a major attraction.

  • The measure of house buy (not less than €300.000) will entitle a Chinese buyer to apply for a permanent residency visa.

  • The various large scale investment projects that are coming up and are now in search of finance/equity participation is another factor of interest. There are now 4 golf courses all with real estate development and 2 marinas with real estate development seeking business associates.

  • The recent interest that a Chinese colossus of business aiming to build a 50.000 sq.mts. shopping mall for Chinese exports at Larnaca airport, is another indication of the growing interest. This Chinese firm who had a similar project in the Arab countries are considering of moving out due to the political situation there, to Cyprus and have the island/project as a permanent exhibition center for exports.

  • The above project and others which are being built up (see the recent visit of Mrs Ming Zhon who is the representative of China’s export board to Cyprus) is another case in hand which shows the road.

  • The recent shipping laws and the more recent international trust law which is considered as being a “state of the art” in the international trust world is another cause of cooperation.

  • The increasing number of Chinese students for the Cyprus colleges and universities is a small be it vibrant future link increasing the communication and friendship of the two countries.

Cyprus is one of the top 4 European countries which is popular for holiday home buyers. Spain is the first, followed by Portugal and France/Italy after and then Cyprus. All countries have their plusses and minuses, but Cyprus is on the up due to the following:

  • It has the lowest crime rate in Europe, with only 7% of the U.K. and 12% that of Spain, 14% that of France’s – safety and security of one’s life and property, is paramount in these difficult days of increasing crime worldwide.

  • The fact that everybody speaks English and that correspondence can be undertaken in English even with Governmental departments makes life of business and people much easier (try to communicate in English in Spain or France?).

  • Most healthy weather with 300 days p.a. sunshine, easy access to the beach, motorway links of all towns is another.

  • The low cost of living (20th lowest out of the 27 countries in the eurozone) is another fact to consider.

Regarding now the real estate situation, the local market is going through a very slow period allowing for interested investors to conclude deals at reasonable prices and conclude business deals which were not so easy to achieve 2-3 years ago.

The situation regarding foreign demand for Cyprus is shown by the following statistics:

 YEAR  NO. OF FOREIGN BUYERS
 2007  11281
 2008  6636
 2009  1761
 2010  2030
 2011  1652
 2012  (3 months) 351

 Prices have followed the above trend with the following downgrade scale

  • 2008   0% Base

  • 2009  -10%

  • 2010  -15%

  • 2011  -10%

Regarding real estate prices these vary since it depends on the location, town, facilities provided, land size, quality etc. But, as an indication and on a very general basis for new buildings, we provide the following:

  • OFFICES €3.500/sq.m.

  • APARTMENTS €2.000/sq.m.

  • SHOPS €5.000/sq.m.

  • VILLAS €3.000/sq.m.

Beach properties (residential) vary but on average are priced €4.000-€10.000/sq.m. depending on location.

We think that the basics are there and Cyprus is in the center of the Middle East and Europe being especially suitable for those who want to do business in these regions. The only problem, we feel, is the huge difference of sizes and wealth of the two countries that it might take a few months for either side to realize the parameters business and otherwise of the other. A recent Chinese client of ours who bought a 2 bedroom apartment having an extent of 80 sq.mts. was “impressed” by the“huge” size of the place!! (a small by Cyprus standards).

Welcome to Cyprus.