Undoubtedly the law amendments on the registration and acquisition of a temporary residency permit in the Republic, published on the government website, will affect British nationals relocating to Cyprus post-Brexit.
Those of us working in the field of immigration law have been taken aback by reforms to the current regime and regulations governing the granting of temporary residence permits to third-country nationals (which de facto now includes British Nationals post-Brexit).
We have been anticipating reforms to the law on permanent residency but were not aware that regulations on temporary residency permits would undergo revision.
According to the Aliens and Immigration Regulations, third-country nationals can extend their stay in Cyprus for more than 90 days for the purpose of
(a) entering the Republic for short or long-term holidays
(c) investigating the possibility of settlement in the Republic, they can apply for a temporary residence permit – the so-called “pink slip” – which allows non-EU passport holders to extend their stay in Cyprus for more than 90 days.
Under this permit, a person can live in Cyprus for one year as a visitor but cannot normally carry out any economic activity in the Republic.
Spouses and children under 18 can also get a temporary residence permit as dependents.
To be eligible for this type of permit, the applicant mainly needs to show the following:
- adequate income from abroad to cover living expenses while residing in Cyprus
- they are renting or have bought a house or apartment in Cyprus
- they have health insurance for medical care valid in Cyprus
This permit is valid for one year and can be renewed annually, provided that the relevant criteria are met.
It is important that a holder of this temporary residence permit cannot stay out of the country for more than three months at a time, as this will result in the permit being cancelled.
Until now, there was no requirement for a clean criminal record to be provided from the country of origin or residence nor for medical tests to be taken.
Furthermore, there was no specific amount of the deposits required in a Cypriot bank, and the amount of annual income that had to be received from abroad was not quantified.
The indication was that the income had to be sufficient to cover living expenses whilst in Cyprus.
From January 1, 2023, however, this will change.
In addition to the documents required to date, such as proof of a residence in Cyprus (rented or owned) and private health insurance, new requirements have been added, and applicants are required to produce the following:
- Original Clear Criminal Record Certificate from the country of origin or residence, if the applicant resides in a country other than the country of origin, with a duly certified official translation in Greek or English
- Original medical examination certificate of blood tests proving that the third-country national does not suffer from hepatitis B and C, HIV, syphilis, and a chest X-ray for tuberculosis with a doctor’s opinion, stamped by a specialist doctor from the Republic of Cyprus
- Original letter of guarantee from a banking institution in the Republic of Cyprus, with a duration of ten (10) years, to cover possible repatriation expenses in the applicant’s name from their bank account. The amount depends on the country of origin. To date, this was not required to be provided by UK Nationals, and we anticipate that this will continue to be the same in the New Year.
- Evidence that the applicant has sufficient and stable resources derived from a stable or satisfactory income of the applicant outside the Republic.
Income includes salary, pension, deposits in a bank account abroad, rents, dividends, interest on deposits or by exception from dividends from a company in the Republic (with certification by the Company’s Accountant, they do not receive any salary from his position) or rents in the Republic, or from income in the bank account in the Republic from a salary from previous work in a company of foreign interests.
- Detailed statements of bank account transactions in a financial institution in the Republic of Cyprus need to be provided from the date of opening the bank account in the case of a first permit, showing the foreign remittances in the name of the applicant, which in total should be not less than €2,000 per month or €24,000 per year for one person. This amount increases by 20% for the spouse and 15% for each child. For the purposes of calculating the amount, transfers abroad or to third parties will not be considered.
- A cash transfer or deposit of at least €10,000 is also accepted during the first permit. The cash declaration at customs must be submitted in case of a cash deposit.
When applying for the renewal of the visitor’s permit, the balance in the account must, in any case, not be less than €6,000, which corresponds to three months’ income, regardless of the size of the family.
For purposes of calculating sufficient funds, the bank statement will be accompanied by the following:
(a) a declaration of the number of family members that the sponsor will support in the Republic
(b) a summarised statement of income.
There is some vagueness in the new requirements, and no doubt there will be more guidance given once the regulations come into force.
Obviously, the government’s policy is to raise the bar on who will be allowed to reside in Cyprus on a temporary residence permit. There are no doubt additional hurdles imposed on prospective applicants in the new year, making compliance slightly harder.
We anticipate that these amendments will particularly affect British Pensioners who wish to retire in Cyprus.
By Esme Palas Barrister at Law, at law firm Michael Kyprianou & Co LLC
This article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. For further information or advice, please contact Esme Palas, Partner at Paphos Office, by email [email protected] or telephone ++357 26930800.