Getting a Residence Permit and Cyprus Passport

There is some confusion on the new measures that the Government has decided for foreign people (non – E.U. members) to get a residence permit and even a Cypriot (E.U.) nationality through the use of real estate. Residents of third countries (i.e. countries which are non E.U. members, such as Russians, Ukrainians, Iranians etc) who have shown interest in acquiring property in Cyprus have now an added bonus. A similar article was published a couple of months ago, but having discussed this with the Ministry of Interior, we believe that now we have the corrected information.

  1. Immigration Permits – Which is equivalent to a permanent residency permit, can be sought by those people from third countries, who buy a residence in Cyprus of a value not less than €300.000. Such persons are exempted from time consuming procedure, which applies to nationals of third countries and who now require consular visas, renewal of permit of stay, permit for re-entry and applicants are looked upon favorably if they buy a house etc. It is made clear however that such permits will be given by the Minister of the Interior, provided the applicant has no criminal record and has an insured annual income of an appropriate amount (around €20.000/couple/p.a.) and which is generated from abroad and not from employment or self employment in Cyprus. This category of applicants do not have the right to seek a Cypriot passport outright, but can seek a Cypriot passport/nationality after 7 years of stay through an application. A permanent residency permit will be given to eligible people that can prove that they want to emigrate in Cyprus. For this reason although the application may be submitted after the purchase of the property, the authorities will need to be “convinced” that the applicant/or his family lives in Cyprus for at least 6 months (say 185 days/year), but this may not apply strictly (so we understand, further investigation/clarification need). The applicant may travel abroad etc for his business, but it is a matter of fact. He may not for example buy a house and then live abroad, in excess of 185 days in total per year. If the applicant brings his family and underage (less than 21 years old) children in Cyprus who live here permanently, this is a good proof (children going to local-foreign schools etc).

Other parameters include:

  1. People with the intend to invest in agricultural, fishing, animal farming business, provided they have acquired the analogous land and they have a capital of €430.000 approximately.
  2. Mining business provided he has available €350.000 capital – provided a permit for mining is secured.
  3. Any other business who intend to invest in Cyprus for €260.000 provided he can secure such a business permit from the authorities.
  4. Business or profession provided the applicant has enough own funds and provided there is such a need in Cyprus.
  5. Employees of any business provided they can prove that their employment will not be antagonistic circumstances in the sphere of the work that they carry out.
  6. This refers to foreign people who do not work in Cyprus, but stay here as tourists and have annual income of €10.000 per person. This income may come from pensions, interests, deposits etc.
  7. Any other applicant from who the Minister of the Interior decides and he does not fall within the above categories and provided the granting of a permit will not be detrimental to Cypriot residents e.g. parents of foreign residents, who may not have enough annual income.

For those who are approved and live abroad they must come to Cyprus within one year from the issue of the permit. If an applicant secures a permit, but lives abroad for 2 continuous years, he may lose his permanent residency status.

All dependents of an applicant (wife, underage children – i.e. under 21 years old) can also obtain a residency permit.

A permanent resident may apply after 7 years for a Cypriot passport/ nationality. In this case he will be treated as a local with no restrictions.

  • Getting a Cypriot Passport/Nationality – This proposal is now approved as follows under an exceptional procedure (naturalization) under economic criteria, but the general proposal suggests the following:
    • (i) The applicant must have a direct investment in Cyprus for at least €25 mil. (e.g. immovable property, factories, land, business etc OR
    • (ii) The applicant must set up a local Co/Cos with an annual turnover of at least €85 mil. for the year prior to his application. OR
    • (iii) The applicant is introducing new innovative technological projects for Cyprus including research centers. He must prove that the applicant has introduced such activities of a large scale and in those fields that are vital for the Cyprus economy or he has set up a research center of a large scale for local research. OR
    • (iv) He has personal deposits with Cypriot Banks (or Co’s cash deposits which he controls) for an amount of €17 mil. at least. OR
    • (v) A combination of direct investment and business operation and Bank deposits. In such case the applicant must prove a value of €26 mil. in total.
    • (vi) Other conditions include that the applicant must be over 30 years of age. No criminal record.
    • (vii) A permanent resident or a person, who lives legally in Cyprus for 7 years, may apply (i.e. by naturalization).
    • (viii) A person married to a Cypriot after 3 years of stay (by Registration).

These financial measures have the target to attract wealthy individuals and business and it is a measure to help the Cyprus economy during this difficult period of recession. As such it is not necessarily adopted that they will last for ever. This sort of measures (passports for cash) have been adopted by numerous countries, the more well known being that of Canada, who provided Canadian passports for $500.000 deposit/ business set ups by applicants.

Mr Antonis Loizou FRICS, the Managing Partner of Antonis Loizou & Associates – Chartered Surveyors, a Cyprus Real Estate service provider based in Cyprus with offices in Romania and Russia. The company website offers more than 3000 Cyprus properties for sale online.

Mr Loizou has practiced in the UK and Cyprus for over 30 years, has a long track record of providing advice on complex real estate projects, writes regularly in the financial press, and is involved in the highest levels of the Cyprus government influencing policy.