Non-EU country nationals should be the only founder of a company that has access to 50,000 euros including venture capital funding, crowdfunding or other sources of funding. The applicant must hold an undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification with very good knowledge of Greek and/or English. The enterprise must be innovative with research and development costs accounting for at least 10% of its operating costs in at least one of the three years preceding the submission of the application as certified by an external auditor on the basis of international accounting standards. In the case of a new enterprise without any financial history, the evaluation will be based on the business plan submitted by the applicant. The business plan must state that the enterprise’s head offices and tax domicile will be established in Cyprus. The head offices may be common co-working spaces or co-location with other enterprises. Upon approval, the applicant will has access to economic activity and residence in the Republic for one year with the possibility of renewal for at least another year. He or she can enjoy self-employment or the right to paid employment in his/her registered company within the Republic. Prospective residence in the Republic is also available without any maximum time restrictions if the enterprise succeeds. Applicants can enjoy family reunification, recruit a specific number of personnel from non-EU countries without prior approval of the Department of Labor. The performance of the enterprise will be assessed at the end of the second year.
The Ministry is offering two types of startups: startups for foreign individuals and startups for innovative new or current Cyprus companies. The Ministry has revised the scheme from March 2019 to March 2021 for both types. The Ministry will look at the innovative nature of the startup business. For both types, there are specialized evaluators in this field who are working closely with the Ministry for this matter. For new Cyprus startup companies, the Ministry will consider the business with no financial background and determine the innovation aspect when the application is made and the submitted business plan. For Cyprus startup companies that possess a financial history, the Ministry will require the latest financial data and review where the R&D was spent. A clear breakdown of those costs will be required in order to differentiate the costs that do not fall under R&D. For existing Cyprus startup companies with audited accounts, they must prove that they have spent at least 10% of their capital in R&D before submitting the application, in the last available year. In order to ensure the requirement is fulfilled, the Ministry will request a breakdown of costs to examine whether such costs fall within the R&D. Please note the Ministry shall examine each cost separately in order to determine whether each cost falls under R&D. The expenditure relating to other activities of the company, such as marketing, will not fall under R&D.