The Cyprus Permanent Residency by Investment (Fast-track) procedure has recently been revised, further cementing Cyprus as one of the most sought after relocation destinations in Europe.
The revisions to the PR program are in line with the Cyprus government's objective to stimulate and increase foreign investment, as the Ministry of Interior has simplified the procedure for issuing Permanent Residency Permits to Non EU nationals who wish to invest in Cyprus.
The recent amendments, as published by the official Cyprus Gazette on 22nd February 2016, now allow for:
- Dependent children of the applicant who are over the age of 25, can now retain the Permanent Residency permit irrespective of whether they become financially independent, stop studying, or marry.
- The dependent parents of both the applicant and spouse (i.e. grandparents) are now also eligible for Permanent Residency. And where the Spouses have already obtained PR, then their parents can also obtain the PRP.
Below is a comprehensive summary of the Cyprus PR fast-track program, including investment and eligibility requirements.
CYPRUS PERMANENT RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT: YOUR GATEWAY TO EUROPE
Cyprus has been ranked the 5th best relocation destination in the world by an international lifestyle review (source: 2014 report prepared by Knight Frank, a leading independent, global real estate consultancy firm). Ranked by key business and leisure indicators, Cyprus was the only European country alongside Switzerland to make it into the top five – ahead of London, Madrid and Monaco. Cyprus also ranked highly due to its favourable tax regime for new residents. With at least 320 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus is classified the sunniest European location and is proving an ideal destination for Permanent Residency of Non EU nationals enabling you to travel across Europe, without elaborate visa requirements.
In line with the Cyprus government's objective to increase foreign investment, the Ministry of Interior has recently simplified the procedure for issuing Permanent Residency Permits to Non EU nationals who wish to invest in Cyprus.
WHY APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY (PR)?
- Regulation 6 (2) Permanent Residency Permit grants a Non EU national the right to permanently reside in Cyprus with no renewal requirements;
- Lifts traveling restrictions and elaborate visa requirements (i.e. Visitor's Visa) across the EU, facilities access to the Schengen zone;
- Once granted, the Permanent Residency Permit covers the whole family: the main applicant and spouse, their parents and dependents up to the age of 25 (who must be enrolled students, and cannot be working towards a professional degree i.e. PhD, lawyer, chartered accountant, medical doctor etc.);
- Fast track application procedure - all applications are reviewed by the Civil Registry and Migration Department and the Ministry of Interior grants final approval within 2 months from the date of filing;
- The application can be processed in the applicant's absence and filed on their behalf;
- Cyprus Permanent Resident status is recognised by Denmark, Latvia, Ireland and Slovenia;
- Application for a Cyprus Permanent Residency Permit (PRP) can be the first step towards gaining Cyprus Citizenship;
- If a Cyprus tax resident, the PRP holder is exempt from tax on worldwide dividends and interest income for a period of 17 years. In addition to this, a Cyprus tax resident is exempt from tax on gains on disposable of securities. This is recognised as the most attractive personal income tax regime in the entire onshore tax world.
- Cyprus is a Schengen-zone applicant, along with Bulgaria and Romania, with membership approval expected in the latter part of 2016.
The Cyprus Permanent Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programs have proven widely successful in attracting investment into Cyprus from third country nationals.
Cyprus has proven to be attractive for third country nationals for the following reasons:
- Geographical location (Cyprus is at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa);
- Stable economy in a western-type presidential democracy;
- Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone holds significant economic growth potential in Oil & Gas exploration;
- Low tax rates as well as a highly favourable international double tax treaties;
- No Inheritance Tax;
- Legal system based on English common law;
- English language is widely spoken and the accepted language for business;
- High level and mature professional services industry;
- Highly trained professional labour force;
- Access to reputable private and public schools including esteemed British universities based in Cyprus;
- Safety: Cyprus boasts the lowest crime levels in the EU;
- Low cost of living;
- Reasonably priced immovable property;
- High quality healthcare: Cyprus offers access to leading medical centres;
- Schengen applicant state, with membership pending;
- Excellent telecommunication and air travel connections;
- Rich history with four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cyprus (in Paphos, Choirokoitia and Troodos).
SIMPLE FAST TRACK PROCESS
- Purchase of a "first-time" sale residential property in Cyprus of at least €300,000 (non- inclusive of VAT, being either 5% or 19%, if applicable). An initial payment of at least €200,000 must be made; applicants' presence at the time of purchase is not mandatory and can be facilitated by legal representatives;
- Permanent Residency application and legal documents must be prepared and submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department (this can be done on your behalf by our representatives, through the granting of a Power of Attorney);
- Receive your Cyprus PRP within two months of submission of the application, provided the necessary investment criteria have been met;
- Once the PRP has been granted, successful applicants must visit Cyprus within one year to obtain the actual permit and have biometrics taken by the authorities (for issuance of PR card), and subsequently once every two years thereafter.
OTHER QUALIFYING FINANCIAL CRITERIA & TERMS:
- Maintain a three year fixed deposit account with a Cyprus bank for an amount at least €30,000; the funds deposited must emanate from sources outside Cyprus;
- Provide evidence of secured annual income of at least €30,000, originating from abroad (increased by €5,000 for each dependent included in the application, and €8,000 for each parent of the main applicant and/or spouse).
In addition to satisfying the above financial criteria, the applicant, their spouse, their parents and their dependents, as applicable, must fulfil all of the following conditions:
- Have a clean criminal record;
- Declare their intention not to be employed in Cyprus (holders of a PRP may however, own a Cyprus Company and receive dividends from its profit);
- Declare they have a secured annual income from abroad;
- Ensure the applicant's name is not included in the list of persons whose property is ordered to be frozen by the EU;
- Visit Cyprus within one year of the date of issuance of the PRP, to take receipt of the permit, and obtain their biometrics, and subsequently once every two years thereafter.
WHO CAN JOIN THE PRP APPLICATION?
- The PRP issued covers the holder's spouse and children up to 17 years old;
- The main applicants' and/or spouse's parents;
- Adult children of the PRP applicant between 18 and 25 years old, can join a PRP application (provided they are enrolled students);
- Married children of PRP applicants between 18 and 25 years old, who are students can join their parents' application.
WHEN CAN A PRP BE REVOKED?
- When the PRP holder was granted a permanent residence permit in another Country (other than the country of his nationality).
- When the PRP holder does not visit Cyprus for a period longer than 2 years.
WHAT ARE THE DISBURSMENTS FOR FILLING A PRP APPLICATION?
- EUR 4 for the Official Declaration confirming the absence of intention to be employed in Cyprus in any direct or indirect manner;
- EUR 500 for the filling of the PRP application;
- EUR 70 for the issuance of the Alien Registration Certificate.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.