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How to obtain a residence permit (RP) in Cyprus

This section provides information for nationals of countries that are not members of the EU.

If you have purchased a property in Cyprus for the purpose of holiday making there is no need to apply for a residence permit. The visa granted on the grounds of property ownership will allow you to stay in the Republic of Cyprus altogether 180 days a year, 90 days every six months.

In case you plan to live in Cyprus on more or less permanent basis you should apply for a residence permit. See below the procedures for obtaining permanent and temporary residence permits. 

Permanent Residence Permit. Simplified Procedure of Obtaining

Fast-track procedure of obtaining PR permit for foreign nationals is available in Cyprus. The term for obtaining PR is 6-8 months. Previously, this procedure took 2 months, but now, due to the large influx of applicants, the terms have lengthened.

Benefits of Fast-track Procedure

Obtaining of PR permit by fast-procedure offers a lot of benefits:

  • The PR permit has unlimited validity (life-long).

  • The residence permit is granted not only to the applicant but also to applicant’s spouse, minor children, as well as financially dependent adult children up to 25 years (if they are not married)

  • PR permit holders are free to enter and live in Cyprus without the need to obtain a visa
  • They are not obliged to actually relocate to Cyprus - they simply need to visit Cyprus once every two years to maintain the permit
  • The PR holder and family have a ‘second home’ in Cyprus
  • Being a holder of a Cyprus PR permit in itself does not affect one’s tax liability in Cyprus
  • Actual residence in Cyprus may lead to eligibility for Cyprus citizenship by naturalization, currently after 7 years (2.555 days) of staying in Cyprus within 10 calendar years

 

To accomplish obtaining of PR permit by fast-track procedure the applicant will have to meet the following criteria.

Investment criteria

The applicant must make an investment of at least € 300,000 (plus VAT if applicable) in one of the following investment Categories:

(A) Investment in a house/apartment. The property should be new and purchased from a developer. The applicant may purchase up to two housing units (not necessarily from the same developer).

The applicant must submit a title of ownership or contract of purchase for a property. Payment of at least €300.000 (net of VAT) to be made in order to file an application. Evidence must be provided that the investment money has come from abroad from the bank account of the applicant and/or his/her spouse to the seller's account in a Cyprus bank.

Investments are also possible in the resale property, if the sale agreement for it was registered with the Land Registry before 05/07/2013.

In cases where the applicant invests in a property, the number of bedrooms of the which cannot satisfy the needs of his dependent family members, he/she should indicate another property or properties which will constitute the place of residence of these persons (e.g. property title deed, sales or rental agreement).

The purchase of real estate will be accepted even when it is made by a legal entity in which the applicant and/or the spouse are the exclusive shareholders or final beneficiaries and which is legally established in Cyprus or in another member state of the European Union or of the European Economic Area.

(B) Investment in commercial real estate (such as offices, shops, hotels or similar developments or a combination of those). The property can be either new or resale.

(C) Investment in share capital of a Cyprus company. A company should be based and operate in the Republic of Cyprus and employ at least five (5) people.

(D) Investment in shares of Cyprus Collective Investment Funds (type AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF)

 

Any alienation of the holder of the Residence Permit from the investment he/she has made without immediately replacing it with another of the same or greater value, which should meet the conditions set in this procedure, will entail cancellation of the Residence Permit.

Income criteria

In addition to the above-mentioned investments the applicant must provide evidence that his/her annual income amounts to at least €50.000. The annual income is increased by €15.000 for the spouse and €10.000 for each minor child.

This income can come from salaries, pensions, stock dividends, interest on bank deposits, rents earned abroad, which should only be proven through the tax return from the country in which the applicant is a tax resident or through official certificate from an independent chartered accountant. In calculating the total income, the income of the applicant's spouse may also be taken into account.

In case of Investment in Category (A) the income sources should be located outside of Cyprus. For other investment Categories the total income or part of it can also come from sources within Cyprus, provided that it is taxable in the Republic.

Quality criteria

  • The applicant and the spouse must submit a certificate of no criminal record and of being under no investigation for criminal offences attested by relevant authorities from the country of origin as well as from the country of residence (in case it differs).
  • The applicant and the dependent family members must provide a Health Insurance Certificate for medical treatment covering inpatient and outpatient care.

  • The applicant and his/her spouse will certify that they do not intend to work in Cyprus with the exception of their employment as Directors in a Company under investment category (C). In cases of investment in Categories (A), (B) and (D) the applicant and/or his/her spouse may be shareholders in companies registered in Cyprus. They may also hold the position of Director with no salary in such companies.
  • In cases where the applicant chooses to invest in Categories (B), (C) or (D), he/she must present information about his/her place of residence in Cyprus (eg title deed, real estate purchase document, rental document).

The status of a permanent resident does not impose any restrictions to the period of stay in Cyprus. The only exception is that an applicant should visit Cyprus at least once every 2 years.

Relatives of Applicant also receiving PR Permits

Permanent residence permits are granted to the following applicant’s relatives.

  • Applicant's spouse. In case they wish, two separate PR permits can be issued for each spouse without the requirement for the dependent spouse to purchase a property. In the event that the Residence Permit granted to the investor is canceled for any reason, it will entail the cancellation procedure for the other part of the couple.
  • Dependent minor children up to the age of 18 years of the applicant and his/her spouse.
  • Single children from 18-25 years old and financially dependent, who prove to be students. They may apply to obtain the “for so long” PR permit for themselves, without the need to invest in additional real estate. In this case the parents will need to prove additional income of at least €10,000 a year for each dependent child. The PR Permit will still remain valid even after the Permanent Residency holder turns 25 years and even if he/she is no longer single and/or a student and/or financially dependent on his/her parents. However, it is understood that their future spouse and children will not be entitled to obtain the PR permit.

Сontrol mechanism compliance with the criteria

The applicant is required to submit on an annual basis from the date of obtaining the Residence Permit evidence that he maintains the investment and that he and his family members are holders of a health insurance certificate. In addition to the above, the applicant and his adult family members are required to provide every three years a certificate of a clean criminal record from their country of origin, as well as from their country of residence.

It is understood that, in case the holder of the Residence Permit fails to prove the above, it will entail the cancellation of the Permit for himself and his family members.

PR Permit for Two (Several) Families

Suppose an applicant who has adult financially independent children over 25 years old wishes to obtain permanent residence permit not only for his/her family but also for the families of his/her adult children. In case the applicant has one adult child he/she shall purchase property amounting to at least €600.000 (net of VAT). Property investment rises to €900.000 for two children.

In case the investment will be in Categories (A) and (B), a proof of payment of at least 2/3 of the contract amount for the real estate must be submitted.

Each family shall state annual income of at least €50.000 (plus €15.000/10.000 per each dependent family member) a year.

The investment can be made jointly in the name of the applicant and the adult child or exclusively in the name of the applicant.

Permanent Residence Permit. Normal Procedure of Obtaining

Suppose you are not entitled to obtaining permanent residence permit according to simplified procedure. For example:

  • You have purchased property the value of which is below €300.000
  • You have purchased resale property
  • Two families (yours and your adult child’s over 25 years old) purchased new property the value of which is over €300.000 but below €600.000. Respectively only one family may enjoy the simplified procedure but not the both

In those cases one can resort to the standard procedure of obtaining permanent residence permit. Besides documents for property, you have to prove sources of income outside of Cyprus and availability of funds in a Cyprus bank. The law does not stipulate precise figures of income and cash assets. Allegedly they should be sufficient for applicant’s normal living in Cyprus. The timeframe for processing your application for permanent residence permit is again not stipulated.

It should be noted that since 2019 the Cypriot state has not issued a single permanent residence under the standard procedure. Do not expect to receive it at this time.

Temporary Residence Permit

Perhaps you do not wish or cannot claim the status of a permanent resident of Cyprus but at the same time you have to stay in Cyprus for the most part of your time.

In this case you can achieve a status of a temporary resident for the period of one year, so-called Pink Slip. This immigration status assumes stay in the country up to 365 days a year.

Pink Slip may be extended for an unlimited number of times. To accomplish this one should submit documents for extension one month prior to the expiration of the current Pink Slip validity. Your application may be considered for 1-3 months. Over this period you will be staying in the country on a legal basis. If for some reason or other you have to leave the country after expiration of current Pink Slip validity but before obtaining a new one you will have to obtain a single visa or to use a multiple visa obtained earlier to be able to enter Cyprus again.

Temporary residence permit has two drawbacks as compared to permanent one.

  • Firstly it should be extended on a yearly basis
  • Secondly you cannot be absent from Cyprus for over three months. In case you leave the country and do not return (do not cross the border) within three months time then your Pink Slip becomes invalid. Subsequently you will have to enter the country on a visa and then to apply for a new Pink Slip all over again

Requirements for Applicant

The applicant should have sufficient financial resources, derived from stable or satisfactory sources of income. Specifically such “income” may include income sources from abroad, such as salary, pension, foreign bank deposits, rental income, dividends, interest, etc.

The relevant criterion can also be satisfied in cases where the applicant derives income from sources within Cyprus, such as dividends from a Cyprus company, rental income from Cyprus situated immovable property or even from Cyprus bank deposits emanated from salaries in connection with the previous employment of the applicant in Cyprus in a company of foreign interests.

As per the amended policy, the relevant income threshold should not be less than €2.000 per month or €24.000 per year. The minimum requirement increases by 20% for the spouse and by 15% for each child of the applicant.

Individuals applying for the first time should present a cash transfer (carrying the relevant proof from Customs) or an initial bank transfer from overseas of a minimum €10.000.

Individuals submitting an application for the first time should also present:

  • Recent clean criminal record certificate from the country of origin (or the country of residence), duly certified and translated;
  • Property documents (Purchase Contract, Ownership Certificate or Rental agreement)
  • Bank guarantee for at least 1 year. Issued by a bank after depositing €512 on an account (per person)
  • Certificate from school stating that a child attends it for school-age children (if it is so)
  • Medical insurance
  • Medical results certificate for specific exams undertaken in Cyprus, after the arrival of the individual in Cyprus.

Applications’ renewals

For any applications which relate to renewals of Pink Slip, the applicant should submit a detailed bank statement (of a Cypriot Bank) for the most recent 12-month period, showing foreign remittances in the name of the applicant based on the applicable thresholds mentioned above (i.e. not less than €2.000 per month or €24.000 per year).

Further, as part of the application for the renewal of the Pink Slip, the applicant should provide a bank statement (of a Cypriot Bank) showing a balance of not less than €6.000.

 

And finally we will note that it is desirable not to have your immigration status in Cyprus registered on your own but to apply to a professional lawyer who specializes in immigration issues. Legal companies – associate members of Alliance – have a great experience in solving immigration matters and will gladly provide you all the required support.

In light of recent events and difficulties that your clients might experience with keeping money in European banks and/or maintaining investment activities, we can offer very quick and agile solutions with regards to residency in the EU (Cyprus), that will allow to maintain accounts as before.

PLEASE CONTACT US FOR DETAILS!

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