In case you plan to live in Cyprus on more or less permanent basis you should apply for a residence permit. Cyprus offers probably the best conditions in the European Union for this.
See below the procedures for obtaining permanent and temporary residence permits.
Fast track Permanent Residence Permit
Fast-track procedure of obtaining PR permit for foreign nationals – purchasers of Cyprus property – is available in Cyprus.
Benefits of Fast-track Procedure
Obtaining of PR permit by fast-procedure offers a lot of benefits:
- An express procedure – 3 months to be approved
- Once Cyprus enters the Schengen zone, Cyprus permanent residence (PR) permit holders will have the right to travel freely in the zone
- The residence permit is granted not only to the applicant but also to applicant’s spouse, minor children, financially dependent adult children up to 25 years (if they are not married), as well as the parents of the applicant and applicant’s spouse
- PR permit holders are free to enter and live in Cyprus without the need to obtain a visa
- They are not obliged to actually relocate to Cyprus – they simply need to visit Cyprus once every two years to maintain the permit
- The PR holder and family have a ‘second home’ in Cyprus
- Being a holder of a Cyprus PR permit in itself does not affect one’s tax liability in Cyprus
- Actual residence in Cyprus may lead to eligibility for Cyprus citizenship by naturalization, currently after 5 years of staying in Cyprus within 7 calendar years
Requirements for Applicant
To accomplish obtaining of PR permit by fast-track procedure the applicant will have to:
- Submit a title of ownership or contract of purchase for a property the value of which is at least €300.000 (net of VAT)
- The property shall be new and purchased from a developer. The simplified procedure for obtaining permanent residence permit is not applicable to cases of resale property acquisition
- Payment of at least €200.000 (net of VAT) to be made
- Provide evidence that the purchase is being made from funds received from sources outside of Cyprus.
- Provide evidence that the applicant’s annual income amounts to at least €30.000 with income sources located outside of Cyprus. Those can be salary, dividends, rental revenue, interest from bank deposits, pension and etc. Applicant must also demonstrate an additional minimum income of €5.000 a year for any dependent family member (spouse and children). The additional minimum income of €8.000 a year should be shown for any applicant and applicant’s spouse parents
- Deposit at least €30.000 into a Cypriot bank for a 3-year period
- Submit a certificate of having no criminal record and of being under no investigation for criminal offences attested by relevant authorities of his/her country
The maximum period for granting PR permit according to the simplified procedure comprises 3 months.
The status of a permanent resident does not impose any restrictions to the period of your stay in Cyprus. The only exception is that you should visit Cyprus at least once every 2 years.
Relatives of Applicant also receiving PR Permits
Permanent residence permits are granted to the following applicant relatives.
- Applicant’ spouse. In case they wish, two separate PR permits can be issued for each spouse without the requirement for the dependent spouse to purchase a property or deposit €30,000 into an account. It is understood that a separate PR permit application should be submitted for the dependent spouse.
- Dependent minor children of the applicant and his/her spouse. The minor children can be added as dependents in both their parents PR permit applications
- Single children from 18-25 years old and financially dependent, who prove to be students for at least six more months from the date of application. They may apply to obtain the “for so long” PR permit for themselves, without the need to invest in additional real estate. In this case the parents will need to prove additional income of at least €5,000 for each dependent child. The PR Permit will still remain valid even after the Permanent Residency holder turns 25 years and even if he/she is no longer single and/or a student and/or financially dependent on his/her parents. However, it is understood that their future spouse and children will not be entitled to obtain the PR permit.
- The parents of a couple (of both husband or wife) who applied or they are already in possession of the Residence Permit, are also entitled to acquire the PR permit without investing in additional real estate. The couple must prove additional income of at least €8,000 for each dependent parent. A separate application must be submitted for each dependent parent.
- If the Principal Beneficiary of the PR permit passes away, then his/her spouse and dependent children may apply to acquire the Principal’s PR permit without investing in additional real estate.
- Any individuals who acquired the PR permit without having to invest personally in real estate or depositing money in a Cypriot bank account (Euro 30,000), will not be entitled to include on their own Permanent Residency Permit their spouses, children or parents.
Note 1. Purchasing Two Properties
In order to obtain PR permit it is not mandatory for an applicant to purchase one property. He/she can purchase the following two properties:
- Two residential properties (an apartment or a house)
- Residential property and a shop (warehouse) with an area of up to 100 sq.m.
- Residential property and office premises with an area of up to 250 sq.m.
Total value of the both properties shall be at least €300.000 (not to include VAT).
The properties could be separate (not connected/joined) from each other. They should be purchased from the same developer. This is a compulsory condition.
Note 2. PR Permit for Two (Several) Families
Suppose an applicant who has adult financially independent children over 25 years old wishes to obtain permanent residence permit not only for his/her family but also for the families of his/her adult children. In case the applicant has one adult child he/she shall purchase property amounting to at least €600.000 (net of VAT). Property value rises to €900.000 for two children. Each family shall deposit €30.000 and state annual income of at least €30.000 (plus €5.000/8.000 per each dependent family member).
Permanent Residence Permit. Normal Procedure of Obtaining
Suppose you are not entitled to obtaining permanent residence permit according to simplified procedure. For example:
- You have purchased property the value of which is below €300.000
- You have purchased resale property
- Two families (yours and your adult child’s over 25 years old) purchased new property the value of which is over €300.000 but below €600.000. Respectively only one family may enjoy the simplified procedure but not the both
In those cases one can resort to the standard procedure of obtaining permanent residence permit. Besides documents for property, you have to prove sources of income outside of Cyprus and availability of funds in a Cyprus bank. The law does not stipulate precise figures of income and cash assets. Allegedly they should be sufficient for applicant’s normal living in Cyprus. A Cyprus lawyer who will help you to prepare documents will advise you approximate figures in your specific case.
The time frame for processing your application for permanent residence permit is again not stipulated. In practice it usually comprises 1 year. During that period you should have status of temporary resident of Cyprus (more information related to it is available in the next section).
Temporary Residence Permit
Perhaps you do not wish or cannot claim the status of a permanent resident of Cyprus but at the same time you have to stay in Cyprus for the most part of your time.
In this case you can achieve a status of a temporary resident for the period of one year, so-called Pink Slip. This immigration status assumes stay in the country up to 365 days a year.
Pink Slip may be extended for an unlimited number of times. To accomplish this one should submit documents for extension one month prior to the expiration of the current Pink Slip validity. Your application may be considered for 1-3 months. Over this period you will be staying in the country on a legal basis. If for some reason or other you have to leave the country after expiration of current Pink Slip validity but before obtaining a new one you will have to obtain a single visa or to use a multiple visa obtained earlier to be able to enter Cyprus again.
Temporary residence permit has two drawbacks as compared to permanent one.
- Firstly it should be extended on a yearly basis (that however is not a complicated procedure if assisted by a Cyprus lawyer)
- Secondly you cannot be absent from Cyprus for over three months. In case you leave the country and do not return (do not cross the border) within three months time then your Pink Slip becomes invalid. Subsequently you will have to enter the country on a visa and then to apply for a new Pink Slip all over again
If you have purchased a property in Cyprus for the purpose of holiday making there is no need to apply for a residence permit. The visa granted on the grounds of property ownership will allow you to stay in the Republic of Cyprus altogether 180 days a year, 90 days every six months.
Requirements for Applicant
In order to obtain Pink Slip one should submit the following documents to the Immigration Office:
- Property documents (Purchase Contract, Ownership Certificate or Rental agreement)
- Abstract of account at a Cyprus Bank showing transactions and current balance of cash assets. Transactions will show that your source of income is abroad while expenditures of money are made within the area of Cyprus. As to your account balance it is desirable to amount to approximately €15.000 per adult family member and €10.000 per minor (under 18) family member. Such balance shall be only at the time of bank statement. Subsequently you can dispose of that money at your discretion.
- Income statement
- Bank guarantee for at least 1 year. Issued by a bank after depositing €512 on an account (per person)
- Certificate from school stating that a child attends it for school-age children (if it is so)
- Medical insurance
Comparing Residence Permit and Citizenship
Residence permit allows his holder all opportunities for accommodation, leisure, education in Cyprus. And yet permanent residence permit has several drawbacks as compared to citizenship. Suppose you are a resident and not a citizen of Cyprus.
- Firstly you have no right to participate in elections of government authorities in Cyprus.
- Secondly you will need a visa to travel to other European countries. Though Cyprus is soon expected to join Schengen zone. Right after that you will be able to travel to Schengen countries without any restrictions.
- And finally the status of a permanent resident obtained as a result of purchasing property does not entitle you to work in Cyprus.
For more about obtaining Cypriot citizenship: Please visit the page Citizenship.