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June 13, 2024
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Cyprus residency and citizenship: comparison of requirements and benefits

Foreigners have more than 15 ways to become Cyprus’s residents. For example, a residence permit can be obtained by an applicant with a foreign income of at least €2,000 and permanent residence — by buyers of real estate worth more than €300,000.

The possibilities of a Cyprus residence permit and permanent residence are similar. The choice depends on the goals: relocate solo or with a family, create a “safe haven”, or save assets.

The Cypriot passport gives more opportunities than a residence permit, but foreigners can’t become citizens directly by investment.

Igor Buglo
Igor Buglo

Helps investors to choose and obtain residency in Cyprus

Cyprus permanent residency, Cyprus residence permit, and Cyprus citizenship: how to get in 2023

Cyprus residency and citizenship: comparison of requirements and benefits

Cyprus permanent residence for investors

Foreigners receive Cyprus Golden Visas when buying real estate, Cypriot company shares and investment fund units for €300,000. Cyprus PR allows them to move to the country with their family, open a company and apply for Cyprus citizenship after five years of living in the country.

Applications for Cyprus PR are accepted from applicants over 18 with legal income and an impeccable reputation:

  • no criminal record;

  • no entry bans to the EU countries and the UK;

  • not in sanctions lists.

A spouse, children under 25, and spouses' parents can also apply for the status if they depend financially on the investor.

Cyprus Permanent Residency by Investment in !year: a Golden Visa with a Purchase of Real Estate, Securities and Bonds

Cyprus Golden Visa Program

The Cyprus permanent residence program provides four options, but investors prefer to buy property. Residential apartments and houses can only be bought from a developer, while commercial properties can be purchased on the primary and secondary markets.

Cyprus’s immovable property is a profitable investment. Prices for apartments are growing faster than for other types of real estate: according to the 1st quarter of 2023 results, apartments in Cyprus have risen in price by almost 11% year on year. Offices have increased in price by 9,6% over the same period.

Under the investment program terms, real estate can be rented out but not sold as long as the investor intends to remain a resident of Cyprus. It is possible to sell properties and not lose the status after five years of living in the country if a foreigner decides to obtain Cyprus citizenship by naturalisation.

The cost of obtaining permanent residence consists of the property value, taxes, and fees when buying real estate. For example, buyers of new properties pay VAT at 19%. The VAT amount is usually included in the property price.

The preferential VAT rate of 5% applies only to housing in new buildings if the property value does not exceed €350,000. The tax is calculated at a reduced rate only on the first 130 m² of the property.

Money for investing can come from the applicant’s personal bank account and the company’s account in which they or their spouse is the sole shareholder.

The investor’s minimum annual income must be at least €50,000. €15,000 is added to this amount for a spouse and €10,000 for each financially dependent child.

Tax returns from the country of tax residency confirm the annual income.

The investor obtains permanent residence within three months. Within this time, they must:

  1. Passing a preliminary Due Diligence reduces the risk of refusal for a residence permit.

  2. Collect, translate, and apostille the necessary documents.

  3. Fulfil an investment condition, such as buying a property.

  4. Apply for permanent residence.

  5. Get permanent residence.

Buying a property in Cyprus, applying for a VAT exemption, and applying for permanent residence to the Cyprus Migration Service can only be done by lawyers who act under a power of attorney from the applicant.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent of the Cyprus Golden Visa Program. We help investors obtain residency, choose and buy a property in Cyprus, open a bank account, and apply for tax residency.

Permanent residence by investment is granted for life. The investor does not need to collect documents annually and renew the permit; changing the ID card once every five years is enough.

7 benefits of Cyprus permanent residency

1. Living in a safe country. Cyprus closes the top five countries in terms of security. Besides, Cyprus is considered an attractive place for business and residence with its warm and stable climate and convenient geographical position.

2. Pleasant lifestyle and rich culture. Cyprus offers a Mediterranean lifestyle with beautiful beaches, a favourable climate, and a cultural heritage, making Cyprus an attractive destination for individuals seeking a high quality of life.

3. Education and healthcare. Cyprus has reputable educational institutions and universities, making it an attractive destination for students. A resident has access to quality education for themselves and their family members.

Cyprus has a well-developed healthcare system, and residents can benefit from quality medical services.

4. Favourable taxation for business. Applicants for the Cyprus Golden Visa can buy shares in local businesses, open their own companies, or transfer operating companies to the island’s jurisdiction.

The corporate tax rate is one of the lowest in Europe — 12,5%.

5. Life-long status. Cyprus PR holders can live in the country without restrictions and additional registration. Once granted, the Cyprus permanent residence permit doesn’t need to be renewed.

6. Opportunity to get citizenship. Five years after receiving a Cyprus Golden Visa, an investor may apply for citizenship by naturalisation. The applicant must take a test on knowledge of the language and culture of the country and pass an interview.

Cyprus allows second citizenship, so the applicant will not have to give up their original passport.

The Cypriot passport allows holders to travel without visas to more than 170 countries, including the Schengen Area, the UK and Canada, and live, work and study in any EU country freely.

7. Developed housing market. Investors participating in the Cyprus PR Program through real estate investment can choose properties appropriate for living or renting out.

How can an investor obtain Cyprus permanent residence?

Successful participation in the Cyprus Golden Visa Program depends on providing reliable documents. The application process normally takes 3 months. Only investors who have undergone the required Due Diligence check can be granted permanent residency in Cyprus.

To reduce the risk of rejection to a minimum, the Immigrant Invest experts use their own preliminary Due Diligence check.

1

1 day

Preliminary Due Diligence

Before starting work on the PR application, an Anti-Money Laundering Officer estimates an investor’s chances for successful participation in the Cyprus PR program.

2

1 week

Choosing an investment option

Immigrant Invest experts reveal the nuances of all investment types and advise the option considering investor tasks and goals.

3

2 weeks

Collection of documents

Immigrant Invest lawyers help translate and apostille documents, get medical insurance, and conclude a real estate agreement if needed.

4

1 day

Submitting the required documents

The applicant does not have to fly to the island, as our agent in Cyprus can submit all the documents.

5

2 months

Application approval

The relevant government department issues a letter of approval for the application.

6

40 days

Receiving a Cyprus PR card

The investors need to come to the island to submit biometrics. To maintain Cyprus permanent residence, they must visit Cyprus once every two years.

How an investor can apply for a Cyprus residence permit

Foreigners with a stable income outside Cyprus can obtain an Autonomous Visitor Permit. The conditions of this type of residence permit imply that the applicant will provide for themselves and their family at the expense of foreign income and does not plan to work in Cyprus.

Applications for a visitor permit are accepted only from third-country nationals over 18, their spouses, and children under 18.

The applicant must prove an income of at least €2,000 per month. Income requirements change if a foreigner includes family members in the application: increases by 20% when adding a spouse and by 15% for each child. Thus, the income of a married couple with a child must be at least €2,700 per month or €32,400 per year.

The qualifying income includes a salary, pension, income from bank deposits, and dividends from foreign companies or companies in Cyprus if the applicant does not receive a salary there. The total income also includes rentals from foreign and Cypriot real estate.

It is necessary to have a registered address in Cyprus to apply for a residence permit. Applicants provide a long-term housing lease or purchase agreement. There is no minimum purchase price for a property.

The term for obtaining a visitor permit is at least three months. The applicant must go through eight main stages:

  1. Obtain a visa to enter Cyprus.

  2. Rent or buy a property.

  3. Collect, translate, and certify documents for a residence permit.

  4. Pass a medical examination in Cyprus: take blood tests for infections and fluorography.

  5. Pay registration fees: €70 each for obtaining a residence permit and registration in the Migration System of Cyprus.

  6. Apply for a residence permit and submit biometric data — photo and fingerprints.

  7. Obtain an ARC, Alien Registration Number.

  8. Get a Cyprus residence permit.

The collection of documents for obtaining a visitor permit can be divided into two stages. First of all, one must prepare certificates in the country of residence. After that, come to Cyprus and submit the documents with the medical examination results and a lease agreement or an ownership certificate.

The main list of documents for obtaining a visitor permit includes the following:

  • a MVIS6 application form;

  • a passport valid for at least three months from the application date;

  • certificate of no criminal record from the country of origin or residence;

  • results of blood tests for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B and C and the results of fluorography with the doctor’s opinion;

  • health insurance;

  • a letter of guarantee from a bank for a period of 10 years to cover the possible costs of repatriation;

  • confirmation of the place of residence in Cyprus — a lease agreement or a sale and purchase contract;

  • a bank statement that confirms the applicant’s financial viability;

  • marriage and birth certificates.

A visitor permit is issued for a year, while foreigners can renew it unlimited times.

When applying for an extension, a foreigner must collect the same documents, except for a certificate of no criminal record. The minimum balance on the account must be at least €6,000 when extending the status, regardless of the family composition.

It is necessary to live permanently in Cyprus to maintain a visitor permit. At the same time, applicants cannot leave the country for more than three consecutive months.

Benefits of the Cyprus RP include but are not limited to the following:

  1. A residence permit grants you the right to live, work, and study in Cyprus without restrictions. It allows you to move freely within the country and travel to Bulgaria and Romania.

  2. Cyprus provides a favourable business environment with low taxes and access to the EU market. Holding a residence permit can enable you to establish and manage a business in Cyprus or participate in various investment opportunities.

  3. Cyprus offers a high standard of living, with a pleasant Mediterranean climate, beautiful landscapes, and an excellent healthcare system. Residents can enjoy the island’s rich cultural heritage, vibrant nightlife, and recreational activities.

  4. Spouses, children, and dependent relatives can often apply for family reunification, allowing them to reside in Cyprus and access the same benefits as the primary residence permit holder.

Cyprus citizenship for investors

The Cypriot passport is obtained in one of three ways: through naturalisation, descent, or marriage.

Foreigners could become Cypriot citizens by investment: applicants were asked to contribute €2.2 million to the economy. As of November 1st, 2020, the program was closed.

Foreigners are eligible to become Cyprus’s citizens by naturalisation if they lived in the country most of the time over the past seven years. Applicants cannot leave Cyprus for one year before applying.

The Cyprus permanent residency by investment program simplifies the path to citizenship: if you live in the country permanently, you can apply for a passport in five years.

Children under 18 can acquire Cyprus citizenship if at least one of their parents has become a Cypriot citizen by naturalisation.

Obtaining second citizenship in Cyprus can benefit individuals and their families.Here are some of the key advantages of Cyprus citizenship:

  1. Passport holders enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to more than 170 countries and regions worldwide. It facilitates easier business, leisure, and personal travel, eliminating the need for cumbersome visa applications and providing greater mobility.

  2. By obtaining Cyprus citizenship, individuals also become citizens of the EU, granting them the right to live, work, and study in any EU member state. The EU social welfare system, healthcare facilities, and educational opportunities can benefit them.

  3. Acquiring Cyprus citizenship can provide individuals and their families with a secure and stable environment to live and conduct business, offering peace of mind in uncertain times.

  4. Cyprus permits dual citizenship, allowing individuals to retain their original passports. Dual citizenship can offer advantages such as expanded travel options and access to consular support.

  5. Cyprus has favourable inheritance laws that can benefit individuals and their families in terms of wealth preservation and succession planning.

Cyprus passport for investor

The Cypriot passport allows its holder to travel without visas to 179 countries, including the Schengen Area states, the UK and Canada, and live, work and study in any EU country

Cyprus residency and citizenship comparison

The Cyprus passport provides more opportunities than a residence permit or permanent residence. However, Cyprus citizenship has no direct path, as it cannot be obtained by investing in the country’s economy.

The choice between a residence permit and permanent residence depends on the investor’s goals.

Moving to Cyprus is possible with each of the statuses. At the same time, residence permit holders must spend at least 183 days in the country and not leave for longer than three consecutive months.

Foreigners with permanent residence by investment do not have to live in Cyprus to maintain their status. It is enough to come to the island once every two years.

Only investors with Cyprus Golden Visas get the status for the whole family: they can add a spouse, children under 25, and parents to the application. Including only spouses and minor children in the application for a residence permit is allowed.

If the investor obtains a Cyprus passport through naturalisation, their children under 18 can also apply for citizenship. Relatives over 18 must submit separate passport applications.

The validity of the status is limited only to a residence permit: it must be renewed every year. Permanent residence and citizenship are obtained for life.

Investments for obtaining the status are established only for the permanent residence program: applicants need to invest in the country’s economy at least €300,000, for example, buy an apartment or office in Cyprus.

Applicants for a residence permit will only need to confirm income and rent housing in Cyprus.

Cyprus citizenship by investment cannot be obtained.

The term for obtaining a residence permit and permanent residence in Cyprus is at least three months. The path to citizenship takes five years.

The passport provides the opportunity to travel without visas to 179 countries. Cyprus residency does not give sufficient freedom of movement, as the country is not part of the Schengen Area. It is allowed to come only to Romania and Bulgaria without visas.

Both citizens and foreigners with residence permits gain access to quality education. There are branches of Cypriot international schools and universities.

Access to medical services in Cyprus is open to citizens and residents alike.

Foreigners use the services of public and private clinics, register with the National Health System of Cyprus and receive European Health Insurance Cards. This card entitles the holder to use medical services while travelling within the EU free of charge or at reduced prices.

What do investors need to know about Cyprus residency and citizenship?

  1. Cyprus permanent residency can be obtained by investments of at least €300,000, for example, when buying real estate. A foreigner and their family receive Cyprus Golden Visas and apply for citizenship after five years of living there.

  2. A Cyprus RP can be obtained by foreigners with a stable foreign income of €2,000. The resident card is issued for one year with the possibility of renewal.

  3. Cyprus citizenship can be obtained by naturalisation, marriage or descent. The Cypriot passport provides more opportunities than a residence permit or permanent residence. For example, Cypriots have the right to travel without visas to 179 countries.

  4. The Cyprus Golden Visa is the best solution for investors who want to move to the country and acquire citizenship or for those who want to create a “plan B”.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to become a Cyprus resident by investment?

    Foreigners can obtain Cyprus PR by investments in real estate, shares and shares of investment funds. The program costs will be from €300,000. If a foreigner chooses to purchase real estate, they pay VAT or a transfer tax in addition to the property cost.

  • What is the difference between a Cyprus residence permit and permanent residence?

    Period of stay in Cyprus and the need to renew the ID card.

    Foreigners with a Cyprus RP must spend at least 183 days a year in the country and not leave for more than three months. In addition, they must regularly extend the validity of the residence permit.

    Cyprus RP is issued for life: the status does not need to be renewed; only the ID card must be renewed every five years. In addition, the holder of permanent residence has no obligation to live in the country permanently. This will be required if a foreigner plans to obtain Cyprus citizenship.

  • Is it possible to obtain Cyprus citizenship by investment?

    No, the Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Program closed on November 1st, 2020. A Cypriot passport can only be obtained by naturalisation, marriage, or descent.

  • What benefits does Cyprus permanent residency give?

    Cyprus permanent residence gives the right to move to the country, open a company, use medical services, give children a European education, and apply for citizenship after five years of living there.

  • What are the benefits of a Cyprus residence permit?

    A residence permit in Cyprus allows you to move to the country and live there while the resident status is valid.

    A residence permit and permanent residence do not give the right to visa-free entry to most European countries. However, a status holder can obtain a Schengen visa under a simplified procedure at the consulates in Cyprus.

    Cypriot residents can register with the National Health System of Cyprus and receive public and private clinic services.

  • What are the benefits of Cyprus citizenship?

    The Cypriot passport gives the right to live in any EU country for up to 90 days without registration, to get married there, or get a job. Citizens of Cyprus can also travel visa-free to 179 countries.

    Cyprus allows you to have dual citizenship and pass on citizenship by inheritance.

  • Can I travel to Europe with a Cyprus residence permit?

    Cyprus is a member of the EU but not a member of the Schengen Area. Therefore, only Bulgaria and Romania can be visited without visas with a Cyprus RP or permanent residency.