Cyprus Golden Visa: How to Get Permanent Residence by Investment
Cyprus is an appealing country for expats as it combines low cost and high quality of living. Its corporate tax is only 12,5%, and it is in the world’s top 20 countries with the highest economic freedom, outpacing such states as Austria, the UAE, and the USA. Foreigners are also drawn to Cyprus due to its warm climate and stunning beaches.
The country has a Golden Visa Program that allows investors and their families to get residence permits with benefits, including the further prospects of Cyprus citizenship. If a person wishes to participate, they need to invest at least €300,000 in real estate, a local company, or securities.
Learn more about the Cyprus Golden Visa: its benefits, requirements, step-by-step obtaining process, and prospects of citizenship.
What is the Cyprus Golden Visa?
The Cyprus Golden Visa is permanent residence by investment. The program was launched in 2013 to stimulate the property market and other economic sectors. Under this program, non-EU nationals investing in the Republic of Cyprus are entitled to become permanent residents in just a few months.
The Cypriot government also used to issue “golden” passports if the investment was over €2,000,000, but the Citizenship by Investment Program was closed in late 2020. However, the Cyprus Golden Visa owners can still apply for citizenship by naturalisation after several years of living in the country.
Advantages of Cyprus residency by investment
Convenient obtaining process. One may become a resident quickly in two months and then live permanently in Cyprus. Plus, the status is granted for life.
The Golden Visa Program works for family members. The investor’s spouse and children, sometimes up to 25 years old, are also eligible for permanent residence.
Cyprus is comfortable to live in. It is a politically stable democracy that respects human rights and provides a safe environment for the residents, with most population speaking English. Cyprus is in the world’s best 30 countries, according to the Human Development Index by the UN.
Easier travel across the EU. Cyprus is a part of the EU but not a part of the Schengen Area. It means Cypriot residents still need to obtain Schengen visas to travel across the EU by applying to the related consulates in Cyprus. However, the procedure is simpler than for third-country nationals. Also, Cypriot residents without citizenship can visit Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania visa-free.
Cyprus’s tax rates are low. Cyprus has the lowest corporate tax rate in the EU, which is 12,5%. There is no inheritance tax.
Local tax residents do not pay taxes on up to €19,500 of their annual global income, while non-residents only pay taxes on incomes received in Cyprus.
Access to high-quality medicine and education. Cyprus offers excellent healthcare facilities for low prices, with state and private clinics all over the Republic.
The country has the finest education of all levels; private schools are directly tied to the UK education system, and English language programs at the local universities.
Prospect to get Cyprus citizenship. An investor that holds the Golden Visa needs to live in the country for 5 years and then can apply for Cyprus citizenship by naturalisation.
Investment options for the Cyprus Golden Visa
There are four investment options in the Cyprus Golden Visa program. All of them demand to spend at least €300,000. The lumpsum payment should come from outside the country. Extra expenses include VAT, several fees, and legal services.
Purchase of residential real estate. It can be one or two properties with a total cost of a minimum of €300,000 plus VAT. The standard VAT rate in Cyprus is 19%, but it reduces to 5% if an investor buys it only for housing and does not plan to rent it.
The property cannot be resale.
Legal services of a local lawyer cost 1% of the transaction amount. The stamp duty is 0,2% of the transaction amount but cannot exceed €20,000.
Purchase of a commercial property. It includes offices, hotels, and stores. Property can be both new or resale, and it can be two properties of one nature.
The total sum should be €300,000 or above plus VAT. In this case, the possibility of paying the reduced VAT is not provided.
Legal services will also cost 1% of the transaction amount. The stamp duty is 0,2% of the transaction amount but cannot exceed €20,000.
Equity investment in a Cypriot company. An investor should buy shares of a local company worth at least €300,000. The company must operate and has its office in the Republic of Cyprus with at least 5 employees.
The confirmation of the transactions costs around €1,000.
The applicant still needs permanent accommodation in Cyprus when choosing this option, but there is no price bar.
Purchase of the Cypriot securities. €300,000 or more should be invested in units of the country’s funds in AIF, AIFNLP, or RAIF. The confirmation of the transactions costs around €1,000, too.
Selecting this choice also requires the candidate to have housing in Cyprus, but there is no limit on the accommodation cost.
Once granted permanent residence, investors must certify that they still own the investment property or shares annually.
If a Cyprus Golden Visa holder decides to revoke the investment, an alternative investment, according to the rules, should be made immediately.
Investors should notify the authorities about the change; otherwise, they and their families will lose residence permits. It is possible to return investments without these consequences after 5 years of living in Cyprus or obtaining citizenship.
Example of a residential property in Cyprus for purchase
Eligibility criteria for the Cyprus Golden Visa in 2023
An investor should have an annual income of at least €50,000. Regarding investment in a residential property, this amount should come from outside the country. It might be salary, pension, rent, share dividends, and deposits. In other cases, income such as dividends from the company invested within the country is allowed.
An investor should possess an excellent reputation, no criminal records and not be under sanctions.
For a spouse, the investor’s total annual income increases by €15,000.
The wife or husband should also confirm that they do not have any criminal records, are not employed in the Republic, and have no such plans except for being an executive in the company of investment.
Children. Additional annual income per child is €10,000. The rules apply to:
children under 18;
children aged 18 to 25 if they are financially dependent on the investor, students of a foreign institution, and not in marriage. They get to keep the residence permit even after they no longer fall under the criteria;
children of any age if they have a mental or physical disability.
Parents. According to the new rules that came into force on May 1st, 2023, parents and parents-in-law are no longer eligible to apply for Cyprus residence permit as investors’ family members.
Obtaining procedure and documents required for the Cyprus Golden Visa
Preparing documents. To start off the process, an investor and their family need to collect the following documents:
Valid passports of all applicants.
Biography of the main applicant.
Confirmation of annual income. It can be a tax declaration or verification of a certified public accountant, and money should come from outside the country.
Proof of permanent address in Cyprus.
A statement of no criminal record of the main applicant and their spouse.
A statement of the absence of employment in Cyprus.
A marriage certificate.
A birth certificate.
Health insurance for all the applicants. It can be a private health insurance policy or a policy of the National Health System of Cyprus.
Depending on the rules of a country of residence, it normally takes up to several weeks.
Investing. Depending on a chosen option, a different set of documents prove the investment.
A title deed or contract of sale is required to purchase real estate, both residential and commercial.
In the case of equity investment in a Cyprus company, an investor needs:
A share sale and purchase agreement.
The company’s business profile.
A certificate of shareholders and certificate of incorporation of the registrar of companies and the official beneficiary.
Confirmation of hired employees of the company issued by the Social Insurance Service.
Finally, if an investor bought securities, then they should provide:
A certificate or other confirmation of the acquired units.
CySEC confirmation of foundation creation.
A memorandum of the fund or investment fund.
The money to invest should be transferred from outside Cyprus. It can come from the applicant’s personal bank account, as well as from the account of the company in which they or their spouse are the sole shareholders.
Investing can also take up to several weeks.
Applying. An applicant can submit all the necessary documents, investment confirmation, and an Application form MIP1 to the Cyprus Migration Services. Consideration of an application takes 2 to 4 months.
Obtaining a residence permit. Within 40 days after the approval, biometrics should be submitted. Within a year, a new resident should become a Cyprus permanent citizen and cannot be absent from the country for more than two years in a row.
After getting the Cyprus Golden Visa. A permanent resident by investment should also submit some documents proving the following:
The investor should confirm the asset every year.
The investor and all family members should yearly confirm their health insurance.
The investor and their spouse should provide a statement of no criminal record both from the countries of residence and origin every three years.
Further opportunities: Cyprus citizenship by investment
As the citizenship by investment program of the Republic is closed, and it is no longer possible to obtain a Cyprus passport by investment, the Golden Visa is an available and suitable option for potential citizenship.
To apply for Cyprus citizenship, a permanent resident should live in the country for 5 years in sum and 365 days in a row prior to the application. They also should pass a special exam in the Migration Service as well as confirm their knowledge of the Greek language and Cypriot culture.
Conclusions and key thoughts
Overall, the Cyprus Golden Visa program offers a great opportunity for non-EU nationals to obtain permanent residency:
Cyprus is politically stable and economically prosperous, with low tax rates and high-quality healthcare and education.
Cyprus citizenship becomes available to permanent residents after five years of living in the country.
The Cyprus Golden Visa program also allows investors to get resident permits for their families.
It has four investment options: residential real estate, commercial real estate, purchase of shares of a local company, and purchase of state securities. The investment should be at least €300,000.
The step-by-step process is easy and predictable: collecting documents, making an investment, and then applying. The investor’s annual income should be €50,000, plus an extra €15,000 for a spouse and €10,000 for a child.
Frequently asked questions
Who can get a Golden Visa in Cyprus?
Investors and their families, specifically spouse and financially dependent children under 25, can obtain Cyprus Golden Visas: they should invest a minimum of €300,000 in real estate or securities.
Applicants must also meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having a clean criminal record and being able to support themselves financially.
How to get permanent residency in Cyprus?
A person can get permanent residency in Cyprus by investing a minimum of €300,000 in residential or commercial real estate, equity investment or securities purchase. Also, they should have an annual income of €50,000 outside the country. The process takes three or more months.
How do I move to Cyprus permanently?
If you strive to move to Cyprus permanently, you can get the Cyprus Golden Visa. To do that, you should invest €300,000 in real estate or securities of the Republic. You also should have €50,000 of an annual income. Once you fit these criteria, you can apply for permanent residence and move to Cyprus.
What amount of investment is needed to obtain a Cyprus Golden Visa?
An applicant should invest €300,000+ in real estate or securities to obtain Cyprus Golden Visa.
An applicant should have €50,000 of an annual income, an additional €15,000 per year for a spouse, and €10,000 for a child.
Can I get residency in Cyprus if I buy a house?
Yes, you can get residency in Cyprus if you buy a house, an apartment, or commercial real estate worth €300,000 plus VAT.
The process should take three or more months, including collecting documents, investing, and applying for a residency. After getting a residency, you are free to live in the country.
Is it possible to buy Cyprus citizenship?
No, it is no longer possible to buy Cyprus citizenship. Although one may get permanent residence by investing in real estate or securities in Cyprus. After 5 years of living in the country, one may apply for Cyprus citizenship.
Did Cyprus suspend citizenship by investment?
Yes, Cyprus closed its citizenship by investment program in 2020. From now on, it is impossible to ‘buy’ a Cyprus passport, but getting the Cyprus Golden Visa is still possible.
The Golden Visa program allows you to obtain residency by investment in the country. You need to invest €300,000 in Cyprus real estate or securities and have an annual income of €50,000 to apply for the Golden Visa.
Are there other Golden Visa Programs in the EU?
Yes, there are such programs in some other European countries, i.e. Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Spain. The minimum required investment sum depends on the country and starts at €30,000.