Global mobility has always been significant among individuals who are seeking for improved living conditions for themselves and their families. Residency rights enable citizens to transfer not only their place of residence but also to transfer or expand their place of business. In a world of uncertainty, a residence permit grants the holder relocation rights and mobility options, leading to safety and security in troubled times. Each jurisdiction has a set of criteria and conditions to be met in order to enable individuals and their families to relocate to the destination country.
THE CYPRUS PERMANENT RESIDENCE PERMIT (FAST TRACK)
The Cyprus Permanent Residence Permit (PR) was introduced in 2013 and was amended in 2016. It is considered one of the most popular residence permit schemes due to the straightforward process, the set criteria and the short period of examination, which is currently 2-5 months. The Cyprus PR is granted on an expedited fast-track procedure to non-EU nationals who invest in Cyprus and meet certain criteria.
WHY CHOSE THE CYPRUS PR?
In comparison to other residency programs, the residence permit which is granted under this scheme is permanent and valid for as long as the holder lives, with no requirement to re-apply after a certain period, provided that the holder visits Cyprus once every two years, and provided that the holder maintains his/her residence in Cyprus.
The PR is suitable for the whole family: the main applicant and the spouse, minor children up to 18, unmarried adult children up to 25 years of age (provided that they are financially dependent on their parents and undertaking their studies), the main applicant’s parents and parents-in-law. The PR remains valid even if the holders exceed the age of 25 and even if they do not remain unmarried, students or financially dependent on their parents.
The holders of the Cyprus PR can access the Cyprus General Health System. The children can receive free education at public schools, while a variety of private schools is available for PR holders from which to choose.
The main applicant’s adult children may choose to study in Cyprus at one of the many universities on the island, enjoying a high level of education. The courses are often taught in English in partnership with reputable overseas universities. The students receive well-recognized degrees, while paying lower tuition fees. During their studies in Cyprus they will receive a temporary residence permit as students. Following the completion of their studies in Cyprus, regardless of their age, the children will be able to submit their own PR application, provided that the main applicant presents only an additional annual income of 5000 euros for each such child.
CRITERIA FOR THE PR
In order to apply for the Cyprus Permanent Residence, the applicant and each adult member of his/her family applying for PR should have a clear criminal record from the country of origin or residence. Applicants should not be considered a threat in any way to the public order or public security of Cyprus.
The PR provides the right to reside in Cyprus but does not grant the holder the right to work or be employed in Cyprus. Non-EU citizens who are interested in being employed in Cyprus should apply for a work permit, instead of a PR, as soon as they secure a job position. Nonetheless, holders of a PR might set-up their own business in Cyprus and receive the dividends from the company’s profits.
Since the Cyprus PR does not grant the right to work in Cyprus, the main applicant should be in receipt of adequate and secure annual income from abroad, such as salary from employment, pension, dividends, or rentals. A minimum amount of 30,000 euros per year, increased by 5,000 euros per year for every dependent person (spouse and children) and by 8,000 euros per year for every dependent parent and parent-in-law, should be presented through supporting documentation. For the calculation of the total amount of the annual income, the spouse’s income may also be considered.
The main applicant’s parents and parents-in-law can obtain PR without the necessity to have their own residence in Cyprus and without requiring an additional bank deposit or an increased investment in real estate.
INVESTMENT FOR THE CYPRUS PR
The main applicant should invest in new real estate units of at least 300,000 euros (plus V.A.T.), out of which at least 200,000 euros (plus V.A.T.) should be paid in advance to enable the applicant to apply for PR. This amount must be transferred to Cyprus from abroad. The real estate purchase can be made in the name of the applicant individually or through a legal entity, provided that the applicant and/or the spouse are the sole shareholders of such entity. The applicant may purchase up to two housing units (apartments or houses), which can be independent, but purchased from the same developing company, or one housing unit and a shop of a surface of up to 100 square meters, or a housing unit and an office with a surface area of up to 250 square meters, provided that the total market value amounts to 300,000 euros. The said purchase must be in relation to properties sold for the first time by a developing company, and, as such, resale units are not suitable under this scheme.
In case the holder decides to sell the residence, another one of the same or higher price should be purchased in order to maintain the PR status. In case two years have elapsed without the holder visiting the country, the PR will automatically be cancelled and the individual would need to reapply.
Lastly, a bank deposit of 30,000 euros into a Cyprus bank account in required, which must be pledged for at least three years.
The Cyprus PR has been popular among applicants from different parts of the world and in particular from China, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Middle East, South Africa, as well as individuals from different industries.
Besides retirees who relocate to Cyprus to enjoy the scenic landscape and the fantastic climate throughout the year, families with children choose to move to Cyprus to access a high level of education and affordable standard of living and at the same time enjoy a family-friendly and safe environment with a low crime rate. Some PR holders choose to set-up their own businesses on the island and travel to Cyprus frequently to monitor their business operations, while others choose to acquire a second home or a holiday home to enjoy with friends and family. Many individuals choose to relocate to Cyprus and become tax-residents of the country, enjoying an advantageous tax system. The PR enables them to stay in Cyprus during the required minimum period of 183 or 60 days within a year so as to obtain and maintain the tax residency, as the case may be, while at the same time they can enjoy a beneficial Non-Dom tax residency status.
APPLICATION TIMELINE FOR RESIDENCY
According to the provisions of the amended scheme, the examination of an application which is duly submitted takes two months to be completed. As the Cyprus PR has proven to be popular among citizens from around the world, the increased number of submitted applications has caused delays in the examination. As such, the timeframe has been currently extended up to five months from the time of the submission of a completed application.
HOW TO GET CYPRUS CITIZENSHIP
Holders of the Cyprus PR who relocate to Cyprus and reside in the country continuously for a period of 5 years, may apply for the Cyprus citizenship.
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