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Changes to Cyprus residency visas

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Following the abolition of the Cyprus Investment Programme regarding the “sale” of Cypriot passports, a new revised scheme was introduced for permanent residency visas and expanded with some changes.

As of 24.3.2021, the following general parameters are required by foreign applicants to apply for such a visa.

  • The applicant must invest a sum of at least €300,000 in the following categories:
  1. The purchase of a residential unit (flat/house) of a minimum price of €300,000 + VAT. A developer must have developed these units for sale, and it must be the first sale.
  2. Investment in other real estate (other than residential units) can comprise offices, shops, and hotels for at least €300,000, including resales (not residential).
  • Investment in the shareholding of a Cypriot company (€300,000) with business activities in Cyprus and a minimum of 5 staff.

Once the visa is secured, and the applicant disposes of their investment, the visa may be withdrawn by the government unless this is replaced with a similar/higher value.

The applicant must prove they have an annual income of at least €30,000 with an added €5,000 p.a. for each dependent, for the parents of a dependent, the €5,000 increases to €8,000 per person.

Such amounts must have a source outside Cyprus.

Also, for the (ii) and (iii) investment amounts may come from abroad.

The amount of €200,000 out of €300,000 must be paid in Cyprus before the application.

The applicant must prove they have permanent residency in Cyprus, whereas other than above, the money for the investment must come from abroad.

The applicant may acquire up to 2 residential units (to total €300,000).

The permanent visa/immigration permit covers the applicant’s spouse and his/her children (under 18 years).

If the applicant has non-dependent children, the €300,000 investment is increased by another €300,000 per child.

The applicant should receive a reply from the authorities around two months from the date of application.

After securing the visa, the applicant cannot live outside Cyprus for a cumulative period of more than two years.

No work permit will be given in Cyprus, save income/salary from a business that the applicant has invested in.

It is evident the attraction of such visas is nowhere near that of the (now abolished) golden passports – be it the investment was considerably higher (€2 mln).

It is evident that new houses are at an advantage, causing existing owners to be somewhat enclaved in their initial investment [there was an exception when existing owners bought their property before 7/5/2013 a resale will be allowed by the new provisions].

Bear in mind that the applicant who has secured the visa may be eligible to apply for a Cypriot passport after seven years of permanent residency.

In summary, the new visa programme is a good effort to replace the disgrace passports scheme’s contribution to the Cyprus economy.

We will have to wait and see its effects and attractiveness to foreign investors in the near future.