In line with the Cyprus government’s objective to increase foreign investment, it recently expanded the types of qualifying investments for non-EU nationals to obtain a Permanent Resident Permit (PRP) – also know as a ‘Golden Visa’ – under the ‘fast-track’ route from residential real estate to include commercial real estate, Cyprus company shares and Cyprus funds.
As of 24 March 2021, an applicant is required to invest €300,000 (excluding VAT) from funds received from sources outside Cyprus in one of four options:
- New residential real estate – Up to two units of residential property (apartments or houses) that are being sold by a developer for the first time (or resale if the purchase of the dwellings took place before 7 May 2013);
- Non-residential real estate – including offices, shops and hotels, or a combination of these;
- Shares of a Cypriot company – Must have operations in Cyprus and a minimum of five employees; or
- Qualifying Cypriot Investment Funds – Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs), AIFs with Limited Number of Persons (AIFLNPs) and Registered Alternative Investment Funds (RAIFS).
PRP status gives the applicant and his/her dependent spouse, dependent minor children and unmarried children in tertiary education or parents/in-laws the right to reside in Cyprus. The previous requirement for an applicant to leave a deposit of €30,000 in a Cypriot bank account for three years has been removed.
An applicant must provide evidence that they have an annual income from abroad in the form of wages, pensions, dividends or rents of at least €30,000 per year if they opt for the residential real estate investment option. In all other cases income can be generated in Cyprus. Additional funds need to be demonstrated for dependents included on the application – €5,000 per year for a dependent spouse or child and €8,000 per year for a parent or an in-law.
The maximum period for granting PRP under the simplified procedure is two months. PRP status does not impose any restrictions to the period of stay in Cyprus. The only exception is that a holder must visit Cyprus at least once every two years to maintain PRP status. PRP holders are free to enter and live in Cyprus without the need to obtain a visa.
An applicant and his/her spouse are required to certify that they did not intend to work in Cyprus and must submit a clean criminal record certificate issued by the police authority of their country of residence. Actual residence in Cyprus may lead to eligibility for Cyprus citizenship by naturalisation, currently after seven years of staying in Cyprus within 10 calendar years.
Additional PRPs may also be granted to non-financially dependent children of the applicant over the age of 18, but this will require the applicant to invest an additional amount of €300,000 (+VAT) per child.
If the main applicant of the PRP dies, his/her spouse and dependent children can apply to acquire the main applicant’s PRP without additional investment. Any individuals who acquired PRP status without having to invest are not then entitled to include their own spouses, children or parents.
Sovereign Trust (Cyprus) can assist with all aspects of making a PRP application. Cyprus has been a full member of the European Union since 2004 and adopted the euro as its currency in 2008. This small but dynamic country has a modern, free-market, service-based economy with an effective and transparent regulatory and legal framework, a highly competitive tax system bolstered by an extensive network of over 60 double tax treaties in force worldwide.
A business friendly environment and advanced infrastructure, combined with a high quality of life, allows investors and their families to enjoy the best of both worlds. Ease of doing business, safety, stability, year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and mountain scenery, as well as an array of historical and cultural attractions, all combine to make Cyprus one of the most attractive destinations in the EU for both living and doing business.