European & Cypriot Citizenship & Residency Permits

Cyprus is an ideal pathway to Europe, enabling non-EU applicants to obtain citizenship on an expedited basis

MS Lawyers are able to assist with all forms of immigration law, including:

  • Application for Cypriot-EU citizenship
  • Immigration permits
  • Employment permits
  • Permanent residency permits, and
  • Visas applications

Working permits & residency in Cyprus

There are a number of reasons that make Cyprus an attractive destination to reside, migrate or work. On the one part, it is a popular location to visit and work, especially popular with workers from developing countries. Many programmes and schemes allow families to hire foreign aid, such as in age- and child-care services. Further to this, Cyprus has fast cemented its position as a regional education hub, attracting students from such countries, including Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and sub continent (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh) and even the Far East, namely Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Education in Cyprus is modelled on the British and US systems, with classes always conducted in the English language, and providing certification from globally renowned and credible institutions. At the same time, students are legally able to work a certain amount of hours while studying in Cyprus.

Citizenship in Cyprus & the European Union (EU)

Over recent years, there has been increasing interest in Cypriot citizenship to facilitate investments goals, and relocation of funds to a stable and secure jurisdiction in the European Union (EU). Indeed, Cyprus provides an ideal location for such high-net worth individuals, both for investment purposes and quality standard-of-living for their families.

Successful Cypriot citizenship applicants can enjoy equal treatment with nationals with regards to various social benefits, education, medical, welfare, and access to other EU territories with a Cypriot passport. Cypriot citizenship holders do not actually become tax residents in Cyprus unless they spend more than 183 days in any calendar year. Although it is also worth mentioning that Cyprus has one of the lowest and most beneficial tax regimes in all of the European Union.

There has already been numerous citizenship permits granted to affluent Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern families, and poised to grow significantly. The citizenship by investment program in Cyprus enables foreign citizens to apply for a Cyprus citizenship provided that they:

  • have a clean criminal record,
  • own a permanent residence in Cyprus with a value of at least EUR 500,000 (excluding VAT),
  • are not in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen by the EU,
  • visit Cyprus at least once

Applicants are required to meet one of the following key financial criteria in order to apply for the Cyprus citizenship:

  • Mixed Investments and Donation to Government Fund amounting to a minimum of €2.5 million. The Ministry of Councils has issued additional guidance that cancels this criterion, but official announcement is still pending; or
  • Direct Investments amounting to a minimum of €5 million or €2 million subject to conditions outlined below. The Direct Investments include purchase of Cyprus government bonds or debentures, shares in Cyprus companies, acquisition of local businesses, and participation in a joint venture for the execution of a government project in Cyprus. Investment can drop to €2 million for a special collective real estate purchase scheme of a total value of no less than €10 billion. As per latest developments, the investment has been reduced to €2.5 million for investors participating in a collective investment worth at least €12.5 million, and further reduced to €2 million where the collective investment is worth over €12.5 million. These latest provisions apply until 1.6.2014; or
  • Deposits in Banks operating in Cyprus amounting to a minimum of €5 million (personal deposits or deposits of privately owned companies). The list of eligible banks includes local banks and subsidiaries of foreign banks operating in Cyprus but excludes branches of foreign banks. The funds can be deposited in various of the eligible banks; or
  • Combination of the above criteria amounting to €5 million; or
  • Business Activities - the applicant established a company/(ies), administered in Cyprus and he/she made payments to the authorities (i.e. taxes etc) and purchased business services for at least €500.000 on average per annum for the last 3 years before his/her application. In case the company/(ie)’s central office is in Cyprus and employs 5 Cypriots, then the above amount is reduced to €350.000 per annum and in case of employing 10 Cypriots, it is further reduced to €200.000 per annum. Further, there must be a proven correlation between the investor and the company/(ies) he/she has acquired. The investor must hold proof that he has contributed to Cyprus’ economy 3 years prior to applying for the citizenship; or
  • Impaired Deposits in the Bank of Cyprus and/or in Popular (Laiki) Bank - the applicant has impaired deposits amounting to a minimum of €3 million. In case of impaired deposits of less than €3 million, the applicant can proceed to make additional investments from the criteria outlined above.

For more information contact MS Lawyers