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 Ministry of Interior following recommendation of the Immigration Control Committee can deliver an immigration permit to an applicant 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.
b) The applicant must secure a minimum annual income of €30,000 from sources other than employment in Cyprus, i.e. employment abroad, rents, shares, etc. 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 together with proof of payment for 2/3 of the amount. 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 benefits:
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.
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 of at least €500.000 + VAT
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 to the above, there are six different ways for an applicant to acquire Cyprus citizenship by exception:
Investments & Donations to Governmental Funds
The applicant should make the following investments and donations to Governmental funds:
a) At least €2 million to be invested in shares and / or bonds of the Cyprus Growth & Investment Fund, which amount should be deposited at the Cyprus Treasury Department until the bonds have been issued.
b) A minimum amount of €0.5 million shall be donated to the Research and Technology Fund.
The applicant should have direct investments in Cyprus of at least €3 million which include but are not limited to:
a) Purchase of real estate: in the event the full €3 million amount is invested in real estate, the 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.
b) Acquisition of business/companies that are based in Cyprus
c) Purchase of shares of companies registered in Cyprus
d) Purchase of financial instruments (e.g. bonds and debentures registered and issued in Cyprus)
e) Participation in a company that is in charge of the execution of a Government project.
Regarding the above conditions [(a) – (d)], the applicant must have in possession the related investments for a period of at least 3 (three) years. In the event there are shares or bonds, it should be ensured that their value during the three year period is not less than the specified amount.
The applicant should have deposits in Cyprus banks amounting to €3 million for a minimum period of 3 (three) years, which can be either personal or of private entity or of a trust whereby the applicant is the beneficiary.
The applicant can choose the following combination and should be amounted to €3 million:
a) Mixed investments and donations to a Government fund
b) Direct investments
c) Deposits to Cypriot banks
Entrepreneurial Activities / Beneficiary in Cyprus Company
The applicant should be the beneficiary of a Cyprus company which is based and operating in Cyprus. The company should have paid in Cyprus at least €500.000 per year in State Funds and for the purchase of corporate services during the three years preceding the application filing date. This amount can include Corporate Tax, VAT etc., and the acquisition of professional services in Cyprus, such as legal, accounting and audit.
In the event that:
a) The Cyprus Company is active in Cyprus, with its main office in Cyprus and employs at least five Cypriot citizens then the minimum annual amount to be paid in Cyprus is reduced from €500.000 to €350.000 for the last three years preceding the date of the application filing.
b) The Cyprus Company employs ten Cypriot citizens then the minimum annual amount is reduced to €200.000 per year.
In the event that the applicant has paid direct revenue or fees into the Cyprus economy (as stated above), which are lower than the ones mentioned above, a combination can be made with criteria 1, 2 or 3. The whole amount of the payments made to Cyprus funds for the last three years shall be deducted from the required investment to satisfy criteria 1, 2 or 3.
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 mixed investments and donations to a Government fund as per point 1 or in direct investments as per point 2.