There has been a recent increase in the interest of third country nationals obtaining immigration permits in the Republic of Cyprus, as Cyprus is a popular and very appealing destination for third country nationals who would like to obtain a Permanent Residency Permit in an EU country.
Non-EU nationals wishing to reside permanently in Cyprus can do so by applying for an Immigration Permit. This Permit is granted for an indefinite duration to non-EU nationals who comply with the requirements of applying under each Category.
The Immigration Permit grants non-EU nationals, as well as their wife/husband and children under 18 years old, the right to permanently reside in the country and travel to Cyprus without immigration entry procedures.
Third country nationals can apply for immigration permits subject to Cyprus Immigration Laws under 6 Categories, which are referred to in Regulation 5 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, as:
- Immigration Permit in Cyprus
Category A: for persons who intend to work as self-employed in agriculture, cattle breeding, bird breeding or fish culture in the Republic of Cyprus, provided they have possession of land or have permission to have possession of land and have fully and freely at their disposal a capital of €430,000.00. Such employment should not negatively affect the general economy of the Republic of Cyprus.
Category B: for persons who intend to work as self-employed in mining enterprises in the Republic of Cyprus, provided they have in their possession such a permit and have fully and freely at their disposal a capital of €350,000.00. Such employment should not negatively affect the general economy of the Republic of Cyprus.
Category C: for persons who intend to work as self-employed in a trade or profession in the Republic of Cyprus, provided they have or can acquire such a permit and have fully and freely at their disposal a capital of €260,000.00. Such employment should not negatively affect the general economy of the Republic of Cyprus.
Category D: for persons who intend to work as self-employed in a profession or science in the Republic of Cyprus, provided they have academic or professional qualifications, for which there is demand in Cyprus.The applicants must also possess sufficient funds or have a secured income.
Category E: for persons, who have been offered permanent employment in the Republic of Cyprus, provided the employment will not create unjust 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 €10,000 for a single applicant and moreover at least €5000 for every dependent person, but the Immigration Control Board may demand additional amounts as necessary. Most applicants come under this Category, the majority of them being pensioners or retired persons.
For the granting of an Immigration Permit, an application is submitted 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 original of documents regarding the income of the applicants.
The applications are examined by the Immigration Control Committee which submits a relevant suggestion 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
- New Accelerated Procedure for Permanent Residency in Cyprus
Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations provides for the fast-track process to obtain the Permanent Residency permit. The conditions which have to be met for a non EU national to obtain the Permanent Residency are:
- The applicant must prove that he has a secured minimum annual income of €30.000 and that this income is derived from abroad and not from working in Cyprus. Moreover, the required minimum annual income is increased by €5.000 for each dependent person.
- The applicant must submit the application form together with the Title of ownership or contract of sale of a property in Cyprus worth a minimum of €300.000. He should also provide proof of payment for at least €200,000. The contract of sale must be deposited to the Land Registry before the applicant submits his application for Permanent Residence.
- The applicant should provide a confirmation letter from a Cypriot Bank stating that he has deposited a minimum of €30.000 in a 3-year Fixed Deposit Account.
- The applicant must have no Criminal Record and provide sufficient proof from the relevant authorities of his country.
- The applicant is not allowed to engage in any profession in Cyprus and should submit a statement to this effect.
- The applicant has to visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
- It usually takes around 2-3 months for the examination, processing and approval of the application.
Any third country national that has applied for an Immigration Permit under Category F can submit additional documents in order to have their application examined according to the provisions of Regulation 6 (2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations on a much faster basis. The application will be examined on a fast track basis by the Civil Registry and Migration Department and will be submitted immediately to the Minister of Interior for a decision.
Due to the changes that may arise in the legislation and/ or procedures, this article does not constitute legal advice but is a summary of residence permit applications in Cyprus. For up to date and detailed advice please contact a legal professional.