In February 2016, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus revised the criteria for granting Immigration Permit, in the context of the new procedure to applicants from third countries (i.e. non-EU countries) who invest in Cyprus. This procedure takes approximately two months and if the application is approved, the permit is granted to the applicant, his/her spouse and any minor children (less than 18y.o.) for the duration of their lives.
The high quality of the services provided, the competitive taxation regime, the booming tourism industry and the prospects of a solid energy sector in the foreseeable future are all great reasons for investing in Cyprus, a reputable international business centre and EU’s most eastern gateway. The procedure for granting an immigration permit provides potential investors with further incentives to invest in Cyprus and enjoy a wide range of benefits for both themselves and their families, in addition to the financial benefits stemming from their investment in the country.
Under Regulation 6(2) of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, the Minister of Interior, may issue an Immigration Permit to applicants from third countries, in cases where the following criteria are met:
A. Investment/Financial Criteria
(I) The applicant must have deposited a minimum capital of €30.000 into a Cypriot bank account, which will be pledged (i.e. ‘blocked’) for a period of at least three years. It must be proved that the said amount has been transferred to Cyprus from abroad. A confirmation letter from the relevant financial institution in Cyprus must be obtained, as evidence of the transaction.
(II) The applicant must prove that he/she has at his/her disposal a secure annual income of at least €30.000 (plus €5.000 for his/her spouse, €5.000 for each dependent child and €8.000 for each dependent parent or parent-in-law). The income’s source must not be illegal and the income must be created abroad. ‘Income’ may include employment salaries, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits, rents, income from legal business activities etc. For the calculation of the total amount of the annual income, the spouse’s income may be also taken into consideration.The two spouses have the option to apply for two separate permits provided two separate applications are made. If they opt for two separate permits, there is no need for the dependent spouse to personally prove an additional income of at least €30.000. The couple’s children may be added as dependents either on one of the permits or both of them.
- Any unmarried children of the applicant/s between 18-25y.o., who can prove that they are students or undergraduates for the six months following the date of the application and who are financially dependent on the applicant/s, may also obtain a permit provided their parents prove an additional income of €5.000 for each child as described above. The permit may be retained even after the children turn 25 years old and even if they get married or are no longer considered students/undergraduates. However their future spouse and/or children must apply separately and personally meet the criteria specified in the Regulation before obtaining a permit for themselves.
- A permit may also be granted to children of the applicant over the age of 18, who are not financially dependent on the applicant/s, provided that the market value of the acquired property attributed to each such child is at least €300.000 (excluding V.A.T.). For example, in the event the applicant has an adult child who is financially independent and wishes to obtain an immigration permit, the purchased property’s value must be at least €600.000; if the applicant has two adult and financially independent children, the purchased property’s value must be at least €900.000 and so on. In such an event a confirmation of payment for the 2/3 of the market value of the property must be submitted with the application (e.g. €400.000 for a property worth €600.000). The child in question must also submit the necessary documentation with his application (i.e. secured annual income of €30.000, a deposit in a financial institution in Cyprus amounting to €30.000, bound for 3 years).
- Finally, as of February 22nd, 2016, the financially dependent parents of the applicant or his/her spouse, are also entitled to apply for a permit without having to invest in additional real estate. The applicant and his/her spouse must prove an additional income of at least €8,000 for each dependent parent. A separate application must be submitted for each dependent parent.
(III) The applicant must purchase new* (i.e. not resale) immovable property** in Cyprus with a total market value of at least €300.000 (excluding V.A.T.).
- The applicant should submit, with the application, the relevant title deeds or a contract of sale in his/her name and/or in the name of his/her spouse***, which has been officially deposited with the Land Registry.
- The applicant must also submit official receipts for the payment of at least €200.000 out of the €300.000 (again, excluding V.A.T.), irrespective of the date for the delivery of the property.
- The full payment of the value of the property must be made into an account of a Cypriot financial institution.
- The abovementioned amounts must be proven to have been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.
- The seller of the relevant property must be the developer company which is responsible for the construction.
* Any contracts of sale in relation to a re-sale of dwellings that have been officially deposited with the Lands and Surveys Department prior to 07/05/2013 (the date of depositing the contracts of sale is to be confirmed by the Department of Lands and Surveys), shall be accepted for the purpose of implementing this policy.
**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 sq.m., or a housing unit and an office of a surface of up to 250 sq.m., provided that their total market value is at least €300.000 (excluding V.A.T.). In the case of acquiring two dwellings, both must be sold by the same developer company.
***Purchase of property in the name of a company is permitted, provided that the company is registered in Cyprus, the applicant and his/her spouse are the sole shareholders and their names appear in the certificate of the shareholders of the company. In the event that the shareholder of the company is another legal entity, it must be proven that the sole shareholder of the said legal entity is the applicant or his/her spouse or both.
B. Qualitative Criteria
- The applicant, his/her spouse and children above the age of 16 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. The confirmations will be considered valid only if they have been issued in the three months prior to the application.
- The applicant and his spouse shall confirm that they do not intend to be employed in Cyprus in any direct or indirect manner. Receiving dividend income from any company registered in Cyprus is permitted and will not be considered as ‘employment’ for the purpose of the application.
- The applicant and any members of his family for whom a permit has been granted, must visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
- All the necessary documentation, that is attached to the application, including the translation of the documents into the Greek or English language, must be duly certified.
Application procedure and examination of the application
Applications must be submitted directly to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD), personally or through an agent. Applications that are submitted in Cyprus shall be submitted in a standard envelope (every document of the application shall be punctured and inserted in the envelope and numbered in blue ink from the first page of the application to the last page, at the responsibility of the person submitting the application). The envelope shall also include a list of the documents submitted with the application, including any other supplementary documents, to be completed by or on behalf of the applicant. The main application form as well as checklists for the other documents required are available electronically on the website of the Ministry of Interior.
A fee of €500 is payable with the submission of the application.
Apart from the relevant documentation proving the criteria set out above, the applicant must also include in his application the following:
- Copy of his/her passport and of the other members of the family (all pages).
- Birth certificates of the applicant and the other members of the family. The original documents are required (true copies which have been certified by the relevant authorities of the country that issued the documents will also be accepted).
- Marriage certificate (if applicable). The original documents are required (true copies which have been certified by the relevant authorities of the country that issued the documents will also be accepted).
- Divorce certificate (if applicable). The original documents are required (true copies which have been certified by the relevant authorities of the country that issued the documents will also be accepted).
- Four recent passport-size photos of the applicant and each member of his/her family.
- Brief CV including any academic qualifications.
- Certificate for Medical Insurance covering the applicant and any dependants in Cyprus.
- Any other document that is requested by the authorities of the Republic.
The application shall be processed by the CRMD and be submitted to the Minister of Interior, through the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior (MOI). An interview with the applicant shall take place only in when it is deemed necessary by the Permanent Secretary of the MOI. The Ministry of Interior shall notify the applicant or his agent and the CRMD as to the decision of the Minister of Interior. Once the applicant is successful his/her spouse and any minor children will also receive the permit. The applications are usually being processed within two months.
Finally it must be noted that this procedure may be utilised by potential investors who wish to invest under the Cyprus Investment Programme and are not holders of Immigration Permit.
Marios Hartsiotis & Co LLC