In 2016, the Cypriot government revised the laws governing the Golden Visa Program, i.e., a governmental program that allows non-EU citizens who invest in the country to obtain permanent residence in Cyprus. The program aims to attract wealthy foreign citizens to the third most populous island in the Mediterranean.
If the program application is approved, permanent residence is granted not only to the applicant, but also to his/her spouse and children under the age of 18. Applicant’s dependent children above the age of 18 might also qualify for a Golden Visa if they (1) meet certain requirements (e.g., the child is financially dependent on the parent and still studies in an institution of tertiary education) and (2) pay additional fees.
To obtain permanent residence, the applicants must meet all of the below-mentioned financial and qualitative criteria. The rules of the program do not require applicants to conduct business activities or have employment in Cyprus.
- The applicant must deposit a minimum capital of EUR 30.000 in a Cypriot financial institution (e.g., a bank) for a period of at least 3 years. The capital should originate from abroad.
- The applicant should provide the Cypriot immigration authorities with a proof that his/her annual income derived from abroad is at least EUR 30.000. If the applicant has dependent persons (e.g., children or a spouse), the threshold of the annual income is increased by EUR 5.000 for every dependant and EUR 8.000 for a dependent parent or parent in law. Such income may include salaries, pensions, dividends, rental income, and interest from fixed deposits. For the purpose of calculating applicant’s annual income, the income of the applicant and his/her spouse can be accumulated.
- The applicant alone or/and applicant’s spouse should own residential property having a total market value of at least EUR 300.000, excluding VAT. The payment of EUR 200.000 for the residential property has to be done before applying for a permanent residence. Moreover, the applicant has to present a proof that the funds for such a payment originate from abroad. The official purchase contract should be registered at Cyprus Department of Lands and Surveys. The purchase of a residential property can also be made through an European Economic Area (EEA) entity, provided that the applicant and/or the spouse are the owners of the entity. The rules of the program stipulate that the applicant may purchase two properties which cumulatively meet the threshold of EUR 300.000 if such properties constitute:
- Two new residential properties bought from the same developer;
- One residential property and a shop having a surface of up to 100 sq. meters;
- One residential property and an office having a surface of up to 250 sq. meters.
- The applicants are required to present a clean criminal record from their country of residence. Moreover, they should not be included in the list of people who threaten the public security of Cyprus.
- The applicant and the applying spouse should officially state that they would not undertake any employment in Cyprus. Such statements do not apply to income derived by means of dividends from a Cyprus-registered company.
- The applicant must start residing/visit Cyprus within a time period of one year commencing on the date of the acquisition of a Permanent Residence Certificate. Furthermore, in order to keep his/her permanent residence, the applicant must visit Cyprus once every 2 years.
To apply for the program, a non-EU citizen or his/her authorized representative is required to fill out an application form and send it to the immigration authorities of Cyprus and, more particularly, the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD). The application has to be accompanied by documents proving the compliance with the financial and qualitative criteria. The documents should be translated into Greek or English languages and duly certified. In addition, an application fee of EUR 500 should be paid at the time of submission of the documents.
The examination procedure is carried out by the Cypriot Ministry of Interior. If the two criteria are met, the Permanent Residence Permit approval letter is usually issued within a time period of 2 months commencing on the application date. For the issue of the permanent residence permit, the personal visit of the applicant and family member is required to CRMD for the provision of biometric data within 1 year from the day of approval.
For more information about the Golden Visa Program in Cyprus, please do not hesitate to contact us.