New, expedited procedure for granting Cypriot permanent residency to applicants who are third country nationals

Posted on 25 Sep 2014, by Esme Palas

The Cyprus government has put in place a number of programmes entitling owners of property in Cyprus who are third country nationals and their families to obtain permanent residence permits on an accelerated basis provided they satisfy certain criteria.

What are the benefits of obtaining Cyprus Permanent Residency?

  • Once the eligibility criteria are fulfilled there is a very high possibility of approval.

  • It is an expedited process, which is completed in two months.

  • The criteria are simple and easy to fulfil compared to other destinations.

  • Cyprus Permanent Residency permit is permanent and unlimited in duration.

  • English language proficiency, education certificates and physical examinations are not required.

  • It is not necessary to reside in Cyprus. A short visit once every two years is sufficient.

  • Cyprus Permanent Residency applies to the applicant and his entire family, and under certain circumstances, it can even be granted to dependents over the age of 18.

  • Once the Cyprus Permanent Residence permit is obtained it is easier to travel within the European Union.

  • Cyprus is expected to enter the Schengen Zone of Europe in the near future allowing all Cyprus Permanent Residence holders to travel freely through Europe. At the moment, a Schengen Visa is required. However, the Cyprus Permanent Residence makes it easy to receive a Schengen Visa. The whole process takes just a short time compared to not having the Cyprus Permanent Residence.

  • Cyprus Permanent Residence holders have the right to much lower tuition costs in European countries, because they are considered Permanent Residents of a European country.

  • The property investment can generate rental income.

  • The holder of a Cyprus Permanent Residence has access to the excellent health care and educational system in Cyprus.

  • Cyprus has a very low crime level and a high standard of living.

  • Cyprus offers a modern infrastructure, a sound legal system and the provision of professional services at competitive and reasonable prices.

Criteria for applying and obtaining Cyprus Permanent Residency within the scope of the new expedited procedure

In pursuance of the provisions of Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations an Immigration Permit (Permanent Residency Certificate) may be issued to applicants from a third country in cases where the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. The applicant needs to purchase immovable property of €300.000 (Euro three hundred thousand) minimum, excluding VAT.

    The applicant should submit the title deeds for the property in question along with the application. If the title of ownership has not yet been obtained, the applicant must submit the contract of sale in their name and/or their spouse duly stamped by the Stamps Commissioner.

    The contract of sale must have been officially deposited with the department of Lands and Surveys for a dwelling or another type of building for a total market value of €300.000 (Euro three hundred thousand) minimum, excluding VAT and official receipts for the payment of €200.000 (Euro two hundred thousand), excluding VAT irrespective of the date for the delivery of the building.

    It should be noted that the full payment of the value of the building shall be settled in an account in a financial institution in Cyprus. The abovementioned amounts must be proven to have been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

    For the purpose of implementing this policy, the applicant may purchase up to two housing units (apartments or houses) which might be independent, or one housing unit and a shop of a surface of up to 100 square meters, or a housing unit and an office of a surface of up to 250 square meters provided that the total market value satisfies the conditions in paragraph 2.3. In the case of a couple, these restrictions apply for the couple and not for each of the persons involved.

    The said purchase must be in relation to a dwelling (and the combinations described above) sold for the first time by a development company. In the case of acquiring two dwellings, both must be sold by the same company.

  2. The applicant needs to deposit in a Cypriot bank account the minimum amount of €30.000 (Euro thirty thousand).

    The applicant should submit a confirmation letter given by a financial institution in Cyprus that they have deposited the minimum amount of €30.000 (Euro thirty thousand) into an account, which will be pledged for a period of at least three years. It must be proved that the said amount has been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.

  3. The applicant, together with their spouse, should prove that they have at their disposal a secure annual income of at least €30.000 (Euro thirty thousand) from sources other than employment in Cyprus.

    The secured annual income is increased by €5.000 (Euro five thousand) for each dependent person. This income should derive from abroad and may include salaries from employment, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits, rents etc.

  4. The applicant needs to provide a clean criminal record certificate.

    The applicant and their spouse must submit a confirmation of a clean criminal record from their country of residence and generally they should not be considered as a threat in any way to the public order or public security in Cyprus.

  5. The applicant must not intend to be engaged in any employment in Cyprus.

    The applicant and their spouse must confirm that they do not intend to become employed in Cyprus in any direct or indirect manner and must provide an official statement that they do not intend to work or be engaged in any form of business in Cyprus.

    It is noted that the applicant and their spouse may be a shareholder(s) in a company registered in Cyprus and the income from the dividends of such a company in Cyprus is not deemed an impediment for the purpose of obtaining an immigration permit.

  6. The applicant must provide the following documents for themselves and their dependants:

    • Copy of a valid passport

    • Copy of a valid temporary residence permit if the applicant resides in Cyprus.

    • Curriculum Vitae, including academic qualifications.

    • Health insurance policy.

    • An official and certified translation of a marriage certificate if applicable.

    • An official and certified translation of their children’s birth certificates if applicable.

      All the documents issued by a foreign authority should be translated to either Greek or English and be duly authenticated. They should bear the stamp «APOSTILLE» if they are issued by countries that have signed the Hague Convention. Otherwise they should be sealed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the issuing country and the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Cyprus in the issuing country.

Spouse and dependent children:

The immigration permit issued to an applicant covers their spouse and children under the age of 18. Unmarried children aged between 18 and 25, who are students or undergraduates and are financially dependent on the applicant may submit a separate application to obtain an immigration permit.

In such a case, the father or mother or both parents together must present an additional annual income of €5.000 (Euro five thousand) for each dependent child. It is noted that each dependent child must submit with his application all the documentation defined in paragraph 6. The said permit is still valid even if the holder has exceeded the age of 25 years old.

Financially independent children of the applicant:

An immigration permit may also be granted to the children of the applicant who are above the age of 18 and are not financially dependent on the applicant provided that the market value of the acquired property attributed to each child is at least €300.000 (Euro three hundred thousand), excluding VAT, as described in paragraph 1 above. The child must submit the necessary documentation with their application, such as secured annual income of €30.000 (Euro thirty thousand), a deposit in a financial institution in Cyprus amounting to €30.000 (Euro thirty thousand) that is bound for 3 years.

7. The applicant and their family included in the immigration permit must visit Cyprus at least once every two years.

Timeframe and procedure for the submission and examination of an application

All applications must be submitted directly to the Civil Registry and Migration Department. A fee of €500 (Euro five hundred) is payable along with the submission of the application.

The application shall be processed by the Civil Registry and Migration Department and must be submitted to the Minister of Interior, through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

It is noted that the application shall be examined by the Minister of Interior in a positive manner and an immigration permit shall be issued given that the criteria are satisfied and there is no risk with regard to either the criminal record of the applicant or to public order and public security issues.

It is estimated that the procedure described in this policy statement for the examination of the application shall not exceed 2 months from the date of the submission of the application.

Legal advice on issues regarding the purchase of immovable property law and immigration

The purchase of immovable property in Cyprus is the most essential requirement for the acquisition of Cypriot permanent residency. The provision of legal advice and guidance by a reputable law firm specialising in immovable property law and immigration law will prove invaluable and shall determine the success or not of the application.