We all have this period of time when we wish to change something in our lives and sometimes we think about moving to another country to start over, live near mountains or near the sea. Nowadays it doesn’t have to be just a dream, but you can actually make it real. In this article we would like to talk more about immigration opportunities and the most popular island in Mediterranean. Moreover we will try to give you an overview about immigration by using the immigration law of Cyprus. 

Recently we conducted an interview with our Immigration guru and expert of Cyprus immigration Marina. Marina Ioannou has around 4 years of experience. Marina added: “It was not my original professional field – immigration chose me. I am a people’s person, a problem solver and like to assist where I can. I started working in immigration field in order to help a friend and started to like it. It is an area where you need to be a diplomat, have excellent people’s skills and lots of patience”. 

What do you think about Immigrating to Cyprus these days?

Marina: Cyprus as a country offers a steady and secure environment in which to move to or set up your own business. The location of the island is ideal as it is a short distance from both the Middle East and European countries and can also provide a passage for Asian countries to Europe. It can be said that it is a crossroad to Europe for all and this is true. With the unsteady political situation in the Middle East these days, Cyprus is a safe and secure destination for many Arab speaking nationalities. It is a hospitable country that welcomes all nationalities and gives the opportunity to all to make a fresh start. The political situation in Cyprus is stable, the economy is slowly but steadily coming to a balance and as it is predicted, in a couple of years the country will have put behind the financial crisis that it has suffered back at the beginning of 2013. At the moment, there are many opportunities for investing in Cyprus – either in the real estate sector, in the tourist or service industry or in the research and development industry. 

Why is it a popular destination?

M: The reason the country has many devoted admires is the various advantages and the natural beauties that can be found here. Excellent weather conditions all year round, good education system, low tax rates, stress free lifestyle and amazing landscapes. Cyprus has a unique beauty – it is one of the few islands that combine mountains, forests and beaches. The distances between the cities are very small. The longest distance between 2 cities, in the Republic of Cyprus, is about 1.5 hours. The locals are very friendly and hospitable. 

What is the main legislation?

А. For EU Citizens: Following the islands’ accession in the European Union, Cyprus has adopted Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004 that provides for the freedom of movements for European Union citizens and their family members throughout territories of the Member States, through Law 7(I) of 2007.  

B. For non-EU citizens: The law that currently governs the issue of immigration in relation to third-country citizens is the Aliens and Immigration Law (CAP 105) and complimenting legislation.

What do you believe is the political view on immigrating to Cyprus?

M: The Cyprus government has always welcomed new immigrants to Cyprus, whether it was investors, financiers or just families wishing to relocate to a new country. At the moment, due to the financial crisis in the country, the government has given incentives to business people and investors to invest in the country and in exchange to receive either a citizenship or a long term residency in the country. 

What does the Law for European Union citizens coming in Cyprus provide?

One of the fundamental freedoms safeguarded by all Member States is the freedom of movement for persons. For this Law 7(I) of 2007 was adopted, which provides general conditions that set boundaries and order to the exercise of this right with regards to entry, and/or permanent or periodic residence and/or employment. Such general boundaries are set on certain principles of public interest (i.e. security, health, policy). 

A1. Right to enter a Member State: The right of entry in a Member State for a European Union citizen the minimum requirement is that the said citizen holds a valid identity card or passport and for their family members that are non-nationals of a Member State, a valid passport, and an entry visa, based on Regulation 539/2001.

A2. Right of Residence: The right of residence, based on Law 7(I) of 2007, s.8(1), allows a European Union citizen the right to reside in the Republic of Cyprus for the duration of three months, not having any other requirement than to hold a valid passport or identity card. It is furthermore provided in Law 7(I) s.10 (1) that in the event the said citizen exceeds the allowed three month period, they and their family members that are located in the Republic of Cyprus, will be expected to undergo registration through the Migration department during a four month period, starting  from the date of their arrival, failure of which shall constitute a violation and they shall be subject to a set fine.

Are there any exceptions?

The only exceptions that can be found Law 7(I) of 2007, s9(1) is when the citizen in question that exceeds the permitted three months is:

  1. workers/self-employed in Cyprus;
  2. have a financial good standing so as to be considered as a financial burden for the Republic social assistance system;
  3. are members of a private/public body that is financed by the Republic based on legislative or administrative practice that aims at education/vocational training/have sickness insurance cover proof of which is submitted to the relevant authorities in the Republic; or
  4. are members of a citizen that fulfils any/all of the aforementioned criteria.

It is important to state that family members of the European Union citizen must hold an issued residence card that is up to six months old from the date of application for a right of residence. Such residence card, based on the provisions in section 12 (1) of the law shall be valid for five years/period of residence of the European Union citizen, starting from the date of its issue.

A3. Right of permanent residence: The European Union citizen, who has managed to legally reside for the continued period of five years, has automatically received the right of permanent residence, a right that extends to their family members that may not be nationals of a Member State, yet have resided together with the aforesaid citizen for the aforesaid duration. 

However the right of permanent residence can also be obtained if:

  1. the said individual is a worker/self-employed who has reached the age of retirement and therefore is entitled to pension based on the national legislation or where such individual falls within the group of allegeable for early pension (this is only applicable only when the residence lasted for a continued period of three years, and the citizen in question has been working in the Republic for the last twelve months);
  2. for a citizen who was a worker/self-employed and has thereby resided for a continuous period of over two years and any cease of employment occurred only on the grounds of permanent incapacity, a limitation which if the incapacity was a result of a working accident, the limitation of two years does not apply;
  3. a citizen who being a worker/self-employed has after three continuous years of residing and working in the Republic has started to work in another Member State, but has maintained their permanent residence in the Republic to which they must visit at least once a week.

We are going to post more information about immigration next week. You will find out more about procedures, types of residence permits and many more. So stay tuned and visit our website in the mean time here.