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Immigration (Residence & Work Permit, Citizenship)

The firm provides legal advice and assistance to both EU and non-EU clients for the acquisition of the following:

 

1.      Residence & Work Permit

The legal authority for issuing immigration permits falls under the authority of the Ministry of Interior and its relevant committees that have discretionary powers on all immigration issues.

 

Visitors receive immigration permits for a limited amount of time.

For EU citizens wishing to work in Cyprus, the delivery of resident work permits is a straight forward procedure based on the EU Freedom of Establishment and other relevant EU laws.

 

Non EU citizens who wish to open a company in Cyprus and be allowed to employ foreign staff must invest a minimum of €171,000.

The Directors of the company should receive a minimum monthly salary of about €3,500.  

Staff members should receive a minimum monthly salary of about €2,000.

They will be first given a 2 year permit to be renewed for 3 years and after five years in Cyprus have the possibility for a 5 year permit.

Their family members are given a 1 year permit renewable for 2 years and so forth.   

 

Furthermore, the Civil Registry & Migration Department and the Ministry of Interior following recommendation of the Immigration Control Committee can deliver an immigration permit to an applicant within 3 months that fulfills the condition of one of the categories A-F below.

Category A: Applicants who possess immovable property or a permit to acquire immovable property, who have a capital worth between €400,000 - €450,000 that can be invested in agriculture and/or fish farming and/or cattle farming are entitled to acquire immigration permit provided their activity is of public interest.

Category B: Applicants who have a capital of €350,000 to be disposed, possess a basic permit, wish to invest in mining companies and work as self employed are entitled to acquire immigration permit provided their activity is of public interest.

Category C: Applicants who have a capital of €260,000 to be disposed, possess a basic permit, wish to invest in trade and work as self employed are entitled to acquire immigration permit provided their activity is of public interest.

Category D: Applicants who wish to work in the sector of science as self employed are entitled to acquire immigration permit provided they possess all relevant academic qualifications, there are vacant positions to be fulfilled in their field and they possess a minimum capital.

Category E: Applicants who have acquired a permanent job in a company in Cyprus are entitled to acquire immigration permit provided their position is not considered to create unfair competition to locals.

Category F: European Permanent Resident Immigration Permit for third country nationals investing in Cyprus (Aliens & Immigration Regulation 6(2))

a) The Immigration authorities via this procedure provide permanent resident permit for an indefinite period of time that exempts you from immigration entry procedures, i.e. visitors visa. Furthermore, even though Cyprus does not belong to the Schengen area, the holder of a European Permanent Resident Immigration Permit can easily obtain a Schengen visa via application to an embassy of any Schengen area country in Cyprus, that allows the applicant to travel freely in all EU member states.

b) The applicant must secure a 3 year Fixed Deposit Account with funds transferred from abroad and deposited in a bank operating in Cyprus. Furthermore, a minimum annual income of €30,000 from sources other than employment in Cyprus, i.e. employment abroad, rents, shares, etc.must be
transferred on a regular basis and from abroad to a bank operating in Cyprus.  The income is increased by €5,000 for each dependent person. Relevant duly notarized documentation must be provided. 

c) The applicant must provide a contract of sale submitted to the local authorities or title deed for immovable property in Cyprus with minimum value €300,000 + VAT together with proof of payment for 2/3 of the amount. The immovable property can be purchased by way of 2 residences, or 1 residence & 1 office, or 1 residence & 1 shop. Furthermore, the immovable property must be sold for the first time applications regarding resale of properties are not permitted.

d) The applicant must provide a letter issued from a Cypriot bank confirming deposit of a minimum capital of €30,000 pledged for a minimum 3 year period, together with proof of payment of the amount.

e) The applicant must submit a criminal record certificate issued from his country of origin, duly stamped and notarized.

f) The applicant is allowed to include his wife and children aged under the age of 18, as well as children over 18 under the Reunification Act, as long as a minimum annual amount of €9,500 is secured for each of them.

g) The applicant must submit a statement stating he does not intend to work in any form of business in Cyprus.

h) The applicant must provide copies of valid passport, CV, marriage certificate if any and children’s’ birth certificates if any, duly notarized.

i) The applicant must subscribe to a health insurance policy.

j) The applicant must visit Cyprus at least once every 2 years in order to avoid the cancellation of the immigration permit.

Note: Chinese Nationals

i) Chinese Nationals holding Cyprus permanent resident’s permit are entitled to travel to Hong Kong and Macau without any restrictions.

ii) Chinese Nationals holding Cyprus permanent resident’s permit are considered Chinese of Diaspora and admitted into Chinese universities with lower credits.

iii) Chinese Nationals holding Cyprus permanent resident’s permit can take advantage to lower tuition costs in European countries as they are considered permanent residents in the EU.

 

2. Citizenship & Cypriot citizenship by exception


Under Cyprus Law an applicant for citizenship should be living and working in Cyprus continuously for at least 7 years. According to Article 111 of the Civil Registry Law 141(I) 2002 as amended, the Minister of Interior has discretionary power to grand a certificate of naturalization to any foreign adult with full capacity who satisfies the conditions set by Table 3 of the Law. The naturalization of the applicant is officialized by an official declaration of faith to the Republic as per Table 2 of the Law.

Article 111A of the Civil Registry Law 141(I) 2002 as amended refers to the provision of Cyprus citizenship to foreign investors and allows the Council of Ministers to bypass the conditions set by Table 3 of the Law or to apply new conditions overriding those of Table 3 of the Law, in order to provide honorary citizenship to businessmen and investors for reasons of public interest. As a result, in May 2013, the Council of Ministers has issued the new legal framework for Cypriot citizenship by exception under subsection (2) of Article 111A of the Civil Registry Law 141(I) 2002.

Firstly, citizenship by exception provides the following opportunities:

a)   The holder of Cyprus citizenship can travel freely within the countries of the EU with the exception of non EU countries belonging to the Schengen area namely, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

b)   The wife and children under 18 years of age of the holder of Cyprus citizenship can file application for Cyprus citizenship once the husband has acquired it. Children being students for a first bachelor or master degree between 18 and 20 years of age can also apply. Furthermore, the age limit is irrelevant for children suffering from permanent disability.

c)  A high ranking senior manager residing in Cyprus may apply for citizenship provided he/she receives a salary that generates tax revenue of at least 100,000 for a 3 year period in favor of the Republic and provided that this tax has been paid or prepaid.

 

Secondly, the applicant for citizenship by exception:

a)   Must have a clean criminal record

b)   Must be at least 30 years old

c)   Must own a permanent residence in Cyprus of a market value exceeding €500.000 + VAT. Please note that this additional obligation to the seven options available for acquiring citizenship via investment, as mentioned below, can be avoided in the event the applicant purchases a residence for 5 million or more, or €2.5 million if his/her application falls within the collective investment scheme as mentioned below.

d)   Must not appear in any list of individuals whose property within the EU has been placed under restrictions

e)   Must travel to Cyprus to justify his relation to the country

f)    Does not need to hold any kind of residence permit for Cyprus



Further and additionally to a-f above, there are six different ways for an applicant to acquire Cyprus citizenship by exception:

Investments in State Bonds

The applicant must invest at least € 5 millions in bonds issued by the Republic of Cyprus.

Collective Investment: the Council of Ministers can decrease the minimum investment as follows:

(i) Until 1/6/2014 the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth more than €12.5 millions.

(ii) After 1/6/2014, the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2.5 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth at least €12.5 millions.

OR

Investment in financial assets of Cyprus Companies or Cyprus Organizations

The applicant must invest at least € 5 millions in financial assets of Cyprus entities, namely, bonds, securities, debentures registered and issued in the Republic of Cyprus.

The financial assets can be purchased at the issuance or subsequently to the purchase.

Collective Investment: the Council of Ministers can decrease the minimum investment as follows:

(i) Until 1/6/2014 the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth more than €12.5 millions.

(ii) After 1/6/2014, the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2.5 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth at least €12.5 millions.

 

OR

Direct investments in real estate, developments & infrastructure

The applicant should have direct investments in Cyprus of at least € 5 million in real estate or other residential, commercial developments and infrastructure projects.

Authorities may cancel the obligation to purchase a permanent residence in Cyprus of a market value of at least €500.000 + VAT as mentioned above.

Collective Investment: the Council of Ministers can decrease the minimum investment as follows:

(i) Until 1/6/2014 the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth more than €12,5 millions.

(ii) After 1/6/2014, the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2,5 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth at least €12,5 millions.

OR

Incorporating, acquiring or investing in Cyprus companies

The applicant must invest at least € 5 million in companies residing and operating in Cyprus that he has acquired, incorporated or in which he has participated.

Such companies must have a physical presence in Cyprus (substance) and employ at least 5 Cypriot nationals. Furthermore, they have the obligation to turn deposits into shares.

Collective Investment: the Council of Ministers can decrease the minimum investment as follows:

(i) Until 1/6/2014 the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth more than €12,5 millions.

(ii) After 1/6/2014, the amount necessary for foreign investors to secure a Cypriot passport is reduced to € 2,5 million for an investor participating in a collective investment worth at least €12,5 millions.

OR

Bank deposit

The applicant should have deposits in Cyprus banks amounting to €5 million for a minimum period of 3 years which can be personal or of private entity or of a trust with the applicant being the beneficiary.


OR

Suffered Impairment in Laiki Bank / Bank of Cyprus

Any foreigner who has suffered impairment in the Bank of Cyprus or Laiki Bank on his deposits of at least € 3 million as of March 15th 2013 due to measures imposed on the two banks.

The foreigner who has suffered an impairment in the Bank of Cyprus or Laiki Bank on his deposits of less than € 3 million may still apply for Cypriot citizenship provided that he/she invests the remaining amount (i.e. necessary to sum up to €3 million) in one of above mentioned ways, except investment combination.

 








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