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Obtain a residence permit and a Cypriot passport

Obtain a residence permit and a Cypriot passport

There is some confusion regarding the new procedures that the government decided for foreigners (non-members of the European Union) to obtain a residence permit and even Cypriot (EU) citizenship through the use of real estate. Third country residents (i.e. non-EU countries, such as Russians, Ukrainians, Iranians etc.) who have shown interest in owning property in Cyprus have an added bonus. A similar article was published two months ago, but after discussing this with the Home Office, we believe we now have the correct information.

  1. Immigration permits – It is equivalent to a permanent residence permit, that can be requested by those persons from third countries, who purchase a residence in Cyprus with a minimum value of €300.000. These people are exempt from the time-consuming procedures, which apply to third country nationals who now require consular visas, renewal of residence permit and re-entry permit and applicants are viewed favorably if they purchase a home etc. Obviously, such permits will be granted by the Minister of the Interior, provided that the applicant does not have a criminal record and has an insured annual income from working abroad of a suitable amount (about 20,000 euros). This category of applicants is not entitled to explicitly request a Cypriot passport, but they can obtain a Cypriot passport/citizenship after 7 years of residence by submitting an application. A permanent residence permit will be granted to eligible persons who can prove their desire to immigrate in Cyprus. For this reason, although the application can be submitted after the property has been purchased, the authorities must be “satisfied” that the applicant/or his family has lived in Cyprus for at least 6 months (eg 185 days/year), but this may not strictly apply (so we understand, further investigation/clarification needed). The applicant may travel abroad etc. for his work, but this is a fait accompli. He may not for example buy a house and then live abroad, for more than 185 days in total in a year. If the applicant brings his family and underage children (under 21) in Cyprus who live here permanently, this is good evidence (children go to foreign local schools, etc).

Other parameters include:

  1. Persons who intend to invest in agriculture, fishing and animal husbandry, provided that they have acquired the corresponding land and have a capital of approximately 430.000 euros.
  2. Mining business provided he has available capital of €350,000 – subject to obtaining a mining permit.
  3. Any other company intending to invest in Cyprus for €260,000 provided that he can obtain such a business permit from the authorities.
  4. Employment or profession provided that the applicant has sufficient private funds and provided that such need exists in Cyprus.
  5. Employees of any company provided they can prove that their work will not have hostile conditions in the field of work they do.
  6. This refers to foreigners who do not work in Cyprus, but who reside here as tourists and have an annual income of €10,000 per person. This income may come from pensions, interest, deposits, etc.
  7. Any other applicant decided by the Minister of the Interior who does not fall into the above categories provided that granting the permit would not be detrimental to Cypriot residents, such as parents of foreign residents, who may not have sufficient annual income.

For those who have been approved and are living abroad, they must come to Cyprus within one year of the permit being issued. If the applicant obtains a permit, but has lived abroad for two consecutive years, they may lose their permanent resident status.

All dependents of the applicant (spouse, underage children – ie under 21 years old) can obtain a residence permit.

A permanent resident may apply after 7 years for a Cypriot passport/citizenship. In this case, he will be treated as a local without restrictions.

  • Obtaining a Cypriot passport/citizenship – This proposal has now been approved as follows under an exceptional procedure (naturalization) under economic criteria, but the general proposal proposes the following:
    • (I) The applicant must have a direct investment in Cyprus of at least €25 million. (such as immovable property, plant, land, business, etc or
    • (secondly) The applicant must establish local Co/Cos with an annual turnover of at least €85 million. for the year prior to his request. or
    • (Third) The applicant presents new innovative technology projects to Cyprus including research centers. It must prove that the applicant has introduced such activities on a large scale and in those areas which are vital to the Cypriot economy or that he has set up a research center on a large scale for local research. or
    • (Fourthly) He has personal deposits in Cypriot Banks (or cash deposits of the company he controls) in the amount of €17 million. at least. or
    • (Fifth) A combination of direct investment, commercial operations and bank deposits. In such a case, the applicant must prove the value of 26 million euros. In total.
    • (VI) Other conditions include that the applicant be over 30 years old. No criminal record.
    • (vii) A permanent resident or a person who has lived legally in Cyprus for 7 years may apply (ie by naturalisation).
    • (viii) A person married to a Cypriot after 3 years of residence (by registration).

These financial measures are intended to attract wealthy individuals and businesses and are a measure to help the Cypriot economy during this difficult period of recession. As such, it wasn’t necessarily embraced that it would last forever. This type of procedure (passports for cash) has been adopted by several countries, the most famous being Canada, which has offered Canadian passports for $500,000 for deposits/businesses by applicants.

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