What are the kinds of Residence Permits for third country nationals?
There are currently six categories of Residence Permits:
- Category A – Self-employed in agriculture and similar;
- Category B – Self-employed in mining enterprises;
- Category C – self-employed traders;
- Category D – self-employed in scientific fields;
- Category E – those who have (subject to competition rules) been offered permanent employment; and
- Category F – individuals who have in their disposal sufficient and free annual income.
An individual, provided they comply with the requirements, may apply for Employment Permit but with limitations that are mainly regulated by the Aliens and Immigration Regulations of 1972 and Cap 105.
What is the most popular Category? Can you explain what this category covers?
Marina Ioannou: At the moment, the most popular category is F, which concerns long term residency in Cyprus. In order for a person to be eligible for this permit type, they need to buy a house in the country that is worth EUR 300,000 + VAT and also be in a position to prove that they have an adequate income from abroad of EUR 30,000 plus per annum. The holders of this category are given the opportunity to live in Cyprus for life, without being employed and also have the ability to come and go without any visa restrictions. The family and dependents are allowed to be added on this permit as well (spouse and children below the age of 18).
How long does it normally take to obtain one or another category type?
M: There are 2 types of Category F – the standard one and the fast track. With the standard one, the applicant receives a reply within 6 – 8 months from the date of submission of the application. The difference with the fast track Category F is that the applicants are required to deposit an additional EUR 30,000 as a fixed long term deposit for 3 years in a Cyprus bank account in their name. As a result, they are guaranteed to have the approval within 2 months from the date of submission of the application.
Is there a legal overview that deals with third country nationals, acquiring land?
Cap 109 (Acquisition of Immovable Property Law) together with the Acquisition of Immovable Property by Aliens (Terms, Conditions, Limitations and criteria for permit granting) sets the boundaries to the rights of a third country national with regards to them acquiring property in the Republic.
The domestic law on immigration, due to the constant development and the European Union continued effect with regards to any amendments and alternations, seeking to improve the implementation of the four freedoms principle, has the effect of continued amendment of the legislation of the Republic. However, the cornerstone for setting boundaries in accepting individuals, based on a potential risk of public interests in the Republic, remains.
What is the difference between residency and citizenship?
M: By acquiring residency, a person is given the right to own property and live in the country for a long period of time, meaning for life.
By citizenship, a person acquires the Cypriot nationality together with their native one. The holder of a Cypriot passport is automatically given the right to own property without restrictions, invest in the country, access to government health care and social system and most importantly, this person has the right to travel, live and do business in Europe without needing a Schengen visa or having any restrictions.
Is it true that criteria to obtain citizenship by exception through investments has recently been reduced?
M: Yes. Due to the current financial crisis and in order to attract foreign investors in the country to assist the economy, the government is giving incentives to business people (third country nationals) to come and invest in the country in exchange for citizenship. The investment could be in either the tourist industry, research and development, government projects and or service industry etc.
Conclusion If you wish to contact Marina directly and ask more questions regarding immigration to Cyprus, please use her contact details:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
- skype: Olie.Serve3 or
- phone: +357 25 316119
She is happy to answer all queries and will help you to choose suitable immigration plan for you. In the mean time you could check our website for more information here.