Looking for a way to secure EU permanent residency for you and your family (without waiting for months on end)?
Then the Cyprus Golden Visa program might be exactly what you need.
With its fast processing time and flexible requirements, this program has become increasingly popular among applicants from all over the world.
For an investment of just €300,000 in Cypriot real estate or local business, you can access all the benefits of becoming permanently resident in the EU, including the freedom to travel and study in the region.
Here, I’ll go over everything you need to know about the Cyprus Golden Visa scheme, including its pros and cons, investment options, eligibility criteria, and the application process itself.
What is the Cyprus Golden Visa?
The Cyprus Golden Visa is a residency-by-investment program that provides a fast and efficient way for non-European nationals to obtain permanent residency in Cyprus.
By investing a minimum of €300,000 in real estate in Cyprus, applicants can obtain a residency permit for themselves, their spouse and children under 18 years old, and enjoy the benefits of living in Cyprus – one of the most beautiful and welcoming countries in Europe.
While the Cyprus Golden Visa provides permanent residency in a European country, it doesn’t provide automatic citizenship.
However, it does offer many benefits, including visa-free travel within the European Union, access to excellent healthcare and education systems, attractive tax incentives, and a safe and stable environment for families.
Cyprus Golden Visa changes (May 2023)
On May 1, 2023, the government of Cyprus announced extensive changes to its Golden Visa program, aimed to tighten up the program and lower the risk of its ‘exploitation’.
These changes went into effect on May 2, 2023.
Here’s an overview of the changes and how they will affect new applicants to the program.
#1. Parents no longer eligible to apply as dependents
Previously, the main applicant could bring their parents and the parents of their spouse as dependents on the Cyprus Golden Visa. As of May 3, 2023, this is no longer the case. Now, only the spouse and children can be included.
#2. Higher minimum income requirement for main applicant
The main applicant’s minimum income requirement has been increased from €30,000 a year to €50,000 a year.
What’s more, the additional income needed for each dependent has increased.
You’ll now need to have €15,000 per year extra for your spouse, and €10,000 extra for each child.
#3. Must prove same income and investment every year
Cyprus has also tightened up its Golden Visa renewal requirements.
You now need to prove every year that you’ve maintained the same income level and the same minimum investment level.
If you don’t do so, you risk losing your permanent residency status.
Golden Visa pros and cons
- Short processing time – only 3 months
- Affordable – only €300,000 (which includes your family members)
- You can apply without being physically present in Cyprus
- Unlimited – no need to renew the permit once granted
- A good fit for nationals of countries that don’t recognize dual citizenship
- Appealing tax rates for businesses, e.g. corporation tax of just 12.5%, plus no tax on inheritance, global income, or property
- The Cyprus Golden Visa only grants you the immediate right to permanent residency in Cyprus, not citizenship (but you can still apply for the latter)
- You won’t have the freedom to live, work, or retire in other EU/EEA countries (this requires citizenship of any EU country)
- You can’t vote or run for office in Cyprus or the European Parliament
5 investment options for the Cyprus Golden Visa
One of the main eligibility requirements for the program is to invest a minimum of €300,000 in Cyprus.
There are five types of investments to choose from, each with its own benefits and characteristics.
#1: New residential properties
Investing in a new residential property in Cyprus is a popular choice for many applicants.
Not only do you get to choose from a range of high-quality properties, but you can also expect a good return on your investment.
#2: Commercial properties
Investing in a commercial property in Cyprus can be a lucrative opportunity, with rental income and potential capital gains.
The types of commercial properties available include shops, offices, warehouses, and self-storage units.
#3: Land development
For those interested in property development, investing in land in Cyprus is a great option. With a minimum investment of €300,000, you can purchase land and develop it based on your own preferences.
#4. Shares in local companies
Another route to the Cyprus Golden Visa is by investing the same minimum amount of €300,000 in shares in local companies.
#5: Alternative investment funds
The Cyprus Golden Visa program also allows for investments in alternative investment funds that invest in real estate in the country.
This option provides flexibility and a hands-off approach for investors looking for a more passive investment strategy than direct real estate.
Cyprus Golden Visa requirements
To be eligible for the Golden Visa, you’ll have to undergo a due diligence process to adhere to international anti-money laundering requirements.
This requires a number of documents, including proof of your source of funds.
Here are the key requirements for the main applicant:
- Aged 18 years or over at the time of application
- Holding citizenship from a non-EU/non-EEA country (and not Switzerland)
- Proof of an annual income of at least €50,000
- Additional income of €15,000 for your spouse and €10,000 for each child (parents are no longer included)
- Proof of a clean criminal record in your home country
Which family members can be included?
Since the May 2023 changes to the Cyprus Golden Visa program, you can now only include your spouse and dependent children in your application.
What documents do I need to apply?
Here’s a list of documents required to apply for the Cyprus Golden Visa:
- Application form: A completed application form for the Cyprus Permanent Residency Permit.
- Passport: A clear, colored copy of the applicant’s and dependents’ passports, including all pages with stamps and visas.
- Proof of investment funds: Documents that demonstrate the source of funds for the investment, such as bank statements, tax returns, or proof of income.
- Investment documents: Proof of your investment in Cyprus, such as a property sales agreement, title deeds, or other documents confirming the investment option chosen.
- Clean criminal record certificate: A police clearance certificate for the applicant and any dependents over 16 years old, issued by the authorities of the applicant’s country of origin or residence.
- Marriage certificate: An official copy of the marriage certificate (if applicable) for the applicant and their spouse.
- Birth certificates: Official copies of birth certificates for the applicant’s dependent children (if applicable).
- Health insurance: Proof of comprehensive health insurance coverage for the applicant and dependents, issued by a Cypriot or an international insurance company.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV): A detailed CV for the main applicant.
- Bank statements: Recent bank statements demonstrating sufficient funds to maintain the family without the need for employment in Cyprus.
- Passport-sized photos: Recent passport-sized photographs of the applicant and dependents.
- Residency confirmation: A document confirming the applicant’s and dependents’ residential address in their home country, such as a utility bill or rental agreement.
Please note – all documents not in English or Greek must be translated by a certified translator and be accompanied by an apostille (if the country of origin is part of the Hague Convention) or be legalized by the relevant authorities (if the country of origin isn’t part of the Hague Convention).
Keep in mind that specific requirements may vary depending on individual circumstances, so you should always consult with a local immigration expert for the most up-to-date information and guidance.
Does the Cyprus Golden Visa lead to citizenship?
The Cyprus Golden Visa can lead to citizenship, but only after five years of residency (and subject to meeting other requirements).
But the government changed the rules three years ago, so you can now only qualify for permanent residency by investment.
Permanent residency doesn’t give you the right to freedom of movement across all EU and EEA countries, or Switzerland.
Nevertheless, the Cyprus Golden Visa still provides a viable pathway to citizenship after a number of years.
In that sense, it’s similar to the Golden Visa offerings in Portugal, Spain, and Greece.
Bear in mind though, that you’ll have to apply for citizenship (which could be accepted or rejected), and meet various other requirements for language skills and civic knowledge.
The application process
Step 1: Research and determine your eligibility
Before you begin, ensure that you meet the basic eligibility requirements for the Cyprus Golden Visa.
You must be a non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizen with a clean criminal record and no history of being denied entry into the EU.
Step 2: Choose your investment route
Select one of the qualifying investment options, which include real estate, company shares or investment funds.
Step 3: Gather documents
Prepare all the necessary documents for your application, including passport copies, proof of investment funds, marriage certificate (if applicable), birth certificates for dependents, and a clean criminal record certificate.
Step 4: Engage a local lawyer
Hire a local lawyer to guide you through the application process and help with legal matters related to the investment.
Step 5: Open a bank account in Cyprus
In order to make your investment, you’ll need to open a bank account in Cyprus. Your local lawyer can help you with this process as well.
Step 6: Make the investment
Transfer the required funds to your Cypriot bank account and complete the investment as per the chosen option. You’ll need to obtain proof of investment for your application.
Step 7: Obtain health insurance
Secure comprehensive health insurance coverage for you and your family from a Cypriot or an international insurance company.
Step 8: Submit your application
Once all the documentation is ready, your lawyer will submit your application to the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Cyprus. The application fees should be paid at this stage.
Step 9: Wait for the decision
It typically takes around two to three months for the Cypriot authorities to process your application and make a decision. During this time, you may be asked to provide additional information or clarify any discrepancies.
Step 10: Obtain your residency permit
If your application is approved, you and your family members will be issued with a Cyprus Permanent Residency Permit. The permit will need to be renewed every five years.
Step 11: Maintain your investment
To keep your Cyprus Golden Visa, you must maintain the investment for a minimum of five years. After five years, you can choose to sell your investment without losing your residency status.
Step 12: Consider applying for citizenship
After seven years of residency, you may be eligible to apply for Cypriot citizenship by naturalization, provided you meet the residency and other requirements.
FAQs: Cyprus Golden Visa program 2023
How much is the Cyprus Golden Visa?
The Cyprus Golden Visa program requires a minimum investment of €300,000 in Cypriot real estate, local business shares, or investment funds.
Can I get residency in Cyprus if I buy a house?
Yes, it’s possible to get permanent residency in Cyprus through real estate investment, as long as the investment is at least €300,000, and you meet other requirements for the Golden Visa program.
How much does it cost to become a permanent resident in Cyprus?
You can get immediate permanent residency in Cyprus via the Golden Visa program, for a minimum investment of €300,000.
Do you pay tax on property in Cyprus?
No, there is currently no tax on property in Cyprus. The country abolished its Immoveable Property Tax (IPT) requirement in 2017. However, you’ll need to pay council tax to whatever municipality your property is located in.
Is Cyprus a tax haven?
No, Cyprus is not a tax haven. The country recently increased its corporation tax rates to 12.5%, partly to combat this perception.
Before you go…
The Cyprus Golden Visa offers a remarkable opportunity for non-EU/EEA citizens and their families to embrace a new life in Europe.
This residency-by-investment program not only provides a gateway to a higher quality of life but is also the first step in opening doors to the European Union, ensuring greater mobility and access to world-class education, healthcare, and business prospects.