Golden Visa in Cyprus

Cyprus enables expats to become EU residents quickly, with minimum effort and with modest expenses. The Cyprus Golden Visa program is remarkably lucrative. This Mediterranean island state is renowned for its mild weather and stable economy. People from various regions of the planet appreciate its developed infrastructure and decent quality of life. Foreigners eagerly relocate to this welcoming territory. Otherwise, they just get local residency and enjoy all the perks that it involves. In this overview, we'll concentrate on the specifics of applying for the Cyprian Golden Visa. It will be a smart investment in your family's future and well-being.

Requirements to the Applicant and the Property

It's crucial to tick these boxes:

  • Have citizenship of a country outside the EU / EFTA

  • Come of age

  • Have never been involved in illegal activities

  • Be not subject to EU sanctions

  • Earn a minimum of €30,000 per year

  • Have medical coverage

It's necessary to transfer €30,000 to a local banking institution from abroad. Expats can withdraw this sum in 36 months.

You have a right to include your sons or daughters in your application if they meet three criteria. First, they should be aged 25 or younger. Second, they shouldn't have tied the knot yet. Third, they shouldn't earn their daily bread by themselves and should keep on studying.

The more family members apply together with you, the higher the threshold of your financial sustainability. Add €5,000 for each kid and the spouse. For other dependents, add €8,000 per individual.

Feel free to choose between two options:

  • Purchase 1 or 2 commercial properties

  • Get a residential one and a commercial one

The second variant is optimal for those who're planning to rent out what they own.

The vital prerequisite is that all the properties should be recently constructed. Second-hand buildings fail to qualify. It's important to sign the contract directly with the developer, without intermediaries.

You may become the sole owner of your Cyprian real estate. Otherwise, your better half may become the co-owner. If you run a business together with your lifetime partner, your company can sign the contract as a business entity.

Most expats opt for residential properties. When applying for residency, you'll need to show you have somewhere to live. Owners of commercial properties need to sign housing rental contracts. This incurs extra expenses.

Difference Between Visa of D and F Varieties

In this overview, we're focused on the type F visa. Its target audience is well-off individuals who won't be looking for job offers on the island.

The type D visa allows expats to stay in Cyprus for a long time. But they will be making money here, either as employed or self-employed professionals. Such specialists provide diplomas and certificates to prove that they have sufficient expertise and skills for the position.

Cost of a Golden Visa in Cyprus

It's enough to spend as little as €300,000 on the deal. Please don't forget to add VAT to this sum. Scroll down a bit to discover detailed information about taxation.

Authorities of other states of the region might require you to invest at least half a million euros in housing or commercial buildings. In Cyprus, you may either invest 100% of this sum in one property or split it between two deals.

Attention: if you split, make sure both properties were built by the same developer.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Resident

The process might take you around 4 months. Be ready to wait longer if the authorities have to handle a large number of applications. The more family members apply with you, the longer it will take the officials to review their documents.

Arguments in favor of Investing

Expats opt in favor of this island because they get a chance to:

  • Live, get an education and land a job anywhere in the EU

  • Rent out the house, apartment or commercial property that they purchase

  • Transfer payments through a foundation or a business that they owe or are somehow involved in

It's not necessary to pass a language proficiency test to become a local resident. Previously, Cyprus used to be a UK colony. Over ⅘ of its population speaks fluent English.

Around ⅕ of the island residents are foreigners. Many of them originate from Turkey, Armenia, Greece and other Mediterranean countries. In the past few decades, thousands of workers have relocated to the island from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. You'll be surrounded by tolerant and hospitable people who're ready to embrace new trends. Your kids will grow up in a multicultural environment.

Cyprus is a democratic state. You can be sure your human rights will be protected. The local legal framework is very strong. It's based on the British right.

This island is one of the safest places on the planet. It can boast the lowest crime rate on the continent.

Its climate is warm and mild. You'll feel comfortable here all year round.

It will be easy for you to travel to European, Asian and African destinations. The local transport infrastructure is of exceptionally high quality. Both the national government and the EU invest large sums in its development. The motorway network is safe and extensive. International airports have been recently refurbished and keep on expanding. The already existing marinas are comfortable and visually pleasing. Many more will be built soon.

You'll appreciate the quality of local healthcare and education. There are many international schools and universities here. The medical staff is incredibly helpful and highly qualified. You'll be able to choose from public or private establishments.

If you're planning to run a business here, you'll appreciate the impressive opportunities:

  • Local taxes are very affordable. There is no wealth tax.

  • Double tax treaties have been signed with over 60 states, including China and Russia.

  • It will be easy for you to invest in tourism, corporate services, shipping, energy and other sectors. Tourism keeps on steadily evolving in all niches: family trips, eco hotels, all-inclusive and so on. Huge funds will be soon invested in gas fields that were recently discovered here.

  • Local businesses can trade freely with over 500 million EU citizens.

  • Large corporations open their branches in Cyprus. The type F visa doesn't allow you to work. But your kids will enjoy excellent employment opportunities.

In general, the local business environment is highly secure.

Those who have never lived on a relatively small island often ask about telecommunications. Cyprus has access to major regional satellite systems. It relies on an extensive submarine fiber optic cable network. Your Internet connection will be fast and stable. You'll be able to run a digital business, organize video conferences and download large amounts of data.

More and more professionals from the technical industry relocate to Cyprus. Dozens of technological businesses open here every year. Foreign companies transfer their operations to this territory. You'll never feel isolated from civilization.

The prices for consumer goods are affordable. The food is superb. The landscapes are breathtaking. If you love watching sights and visiting museums, you'll fall in love with Cyprus. It's a wonderful place to retire or live permanently regardless of your age.

It's a top-notch location for those who're tired of the hustle and bustle of big cities. In Cyprus, you'll forget about stress, headaches and insomnia. The air is fresh. The pace of life is relaxed even in urban areas. On the flip side, the entertainment opportunities might be a bit limited. But you may jump on a plane at any moment and fly to continental Europe. You won't need to get a visa or another kind of permission for that. You'll be able to enjoy diverse cultural life and come back to the island once the weekend is over. Flight prices are cheap and the schedule is incredibly convenient.

No wonder people from all regions of the planet are dreaming of getting the island's residency. Top properties find new owners very quickly. When you come across an option that you like, try to close the deal before anyone else gets it.

Step-By-Step Process

Once you've signed the contract with the developer, it's time to stick to this algorithm:

  • Pass the preliminary due diligence

  • Collect the necessary papers

  • Double-check whether you comply with the investment conditions

  • Apply for permanent residence

  • Get the confirmation of your residency

The national authorities don't send the confirmation of residency by mail or in digital format. Remote services are not available. You and all the other applicants will have to visit Cyprus in person to submit biometrics.

If you lack time to submit biometrics immediately, don't worry. The law gives you 12 months to plan your trip.

Paperwork

To become a proud real estate owner on this island state, collect these papers:

  • Documents that prove the fact of purchasing a property

  • Paper that will convince the local authorities of the legal origin of your savings

  • CV that features the milestones of your career

  • Certificates of your marriage and your kids' birth

  • Passport copies (please certify them)

  • Passport-style photos

  • Paper that explains that you've never been involved in criminal activities

  • Proof of the fact that your kids still depend on you financially

  • Statement that reveals your and your husband's or wife's intention of avoiding any type of local employment

The local authorities have a right to ask you to provide additional papers.

You won't be allowed to land a job locally but you may launch your own business on the island.

Cyprus vs Portugal Investment Programs

Expats who're planning to obtain a Golden Visa in Cyprus often consider an identical program in Portugal as an alternative. Both states are located in the welcoming Mediterranean region. Both are renowned for their hospitality and feature an extensive range of properties to select from. Nevertheless, they practice a different approach to granting Golden Visas to foreigners.

The Portuguese real estate investment program for expats used to be lucrative a decade ago. By now, its conditions have been considerably modified. The program doesn't apply anymore to the capital and other regions with a high population density. The government strives to attract funds to lesser-popular areas. The primary focus is territories that meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Are rich in cultural heritage

  • Can boast high environmental or social value

  • Have undergone urban requalification

  • Require a boost in job production

The most budget-friendly way of obtaining a local residency is to invest in a plot of rural land that is worth at least €280,000. This might look like a very tempting offer at first sight. Yet in fact, most of such land plots are situated in areas with poorly developed infrastructure. You shouldn't expect to find decent opportunities for running a business or having fun there. Most probably, your plot will be located close to the Spanish border, which can be characterized as "in the middle of nowhere". Such territories might attract rural hotel owners but hardly anyone else.

The second option for those whose budget is limited is renovation projects worth a minimum of €350,000. They should be built at least three decades ago and be situated in an urban rehabilitation area. Don't worry, you won't need to renovate them yourself. Moreover, it would be unreasonable to try to do so for three reasons:

  • Prices for construction materials are projected to grow significantly in the next few years

  • If you lack experience in renovations, you'll have high odds of losing too much money

  • Portuguese bureaucracy might be notoriously slow in providing the necessary approvals

The smartest way out is to purchase a part of the property that an established developer will renovate. You and other investors will get a share of their profit. It's a popular way of attracting funds in Cyprus. The most challenging aspect is to pick a reliable renovation company.

If you can afford to spend half a million euros on the purchase, feel free to select any object in any area where the investment program is active. To become a local resident, you should tick only two boxes:

  • Avoid reselling your purchase for 5 years

  • Spend the minimum required number of days per year in Portugal

During the first two years, you'll be asked to spend a minimum of 2 weeks in this country. Then, you'll renew your permit for 3 years and will need to spend at least 3 weeks here. In other words, it's essential to come to Portugal for at least 1 week per year.

In our overview, we won't scrutinize the specifics of paperwork for Portugal. It's more or less identical to the list of documents in Cyprus.

The fees that the program involves are rather high:

  • €5,325 for every applicant. Portugal doesn't offer discounts for spouses and kids. Only when you'll be renewing your permit, you'll benefit from a 50% discount.

  • €533 is the processing fee for the primary applicant. For each of the additional family members, it's €83. It's not enough to pay these fees once — each renewal of the application involves a recurring transaction.

  • Lawyer fees — up to €5,000.

  • Taxes, stamp duty and other expenses — up to 1/10 of the property's price.

The primary candidate is allowed to include their husband or wife in the application. Plus, you may include those children who haven't tied the knot yet, keep on studying and don't earn their daily bread themselves. Retired parents can be included in the application too.

To sum it up, the Portuguese Golden Visa might be a nice way of obtaining European residency. However, the terms of this program are less appealing than those of its Cyprian counterpart. Cyprus enables expats to include those kids in the application who are aged 25 or younger. Foreigners can pick a property in any province of the island. They won't need to spend at least one week per year on the island.

Most importantly, the pricing policy in Cyprus is more affordable.

Specifics of the Local Real Estate Market

In 2022, the average prices of houses and apartments on this island state have increased by over 10%. The market is rapidly recovering from the downfall that took place in 2021. The number of contracts signed has reached a 14-years peak. The demand for premium housing and plots of land is growing at an especially fast pace.

The island consists of 6 provinces. The one that surrounds the capital generates the highest demand among expats. The prices in the Western provinces are higher than in the Eastern:

Name of the province

Price per 1 square meter

Most popular type of property

Famagusta

From €622

Agricultural plots

Larnaca

From €1040

Agricultural plots and plots for construction

Kyrenia

From €1153

Private secluded villas and apartments

Pathos

From €1325

Villas and other varieties of residential property

Nicosia

From €1510

Agricultural plots and apartments

Limassol

From €1950

Plots of land and apartments

It's true that real estate prices have been increasing on this island. But their growth rate is lower, compared to many other European territories. Besides, the current prices are more affordable, compared to the situation of 2007-2012. This is why now, it seems to be a perfect moment for investments.

Taxation

Expats pay taxes for the facts of buying, owning and selling real estate.

Taxation for buyers involves:

  • Stamp duty (up to 0.2% of the property's price as indicated in the contract)

  • Transfer fee (up to 8% — the cheaper the purchase, the less you pay)

  • VAT (if you pay it, you might be exempt from the transfer fee)

The standard percentage of VAT is 19%. It's relevant only to recently built properties that no one owned before. If you're planning to live there most of the time and you lack alternatives where to stay, this tax might be reduced by nearly 4 times. To further minimize the expenses, it would be wise to buy the property together with your spouse or another family member. VAT will be split between both of you. Each co-owner will benefit from a 50% discount.

The communal taxes are established by local authorities. Be ready to pay several hundred euros per year to get your refuse collected, to use street lighting and other benefits.

The law doesn't force expats to insure their properties. Yet the rules of owning apartments or houses in selected complexes might involve mandatory insurance. Please glance through these rules before signing the deal.

And now, the greatest piece of news! There is no tax for the simple fact of owning the property or passing it over to an heir.

The percentage of the capital gains tax reaches 20%. It's paid for transferring the ownership right to a third party. Nevertheless, you can benefit from an allowance that is worth slightly over €17,000. Each individual receives it once per lifetime.

The previous owner is supposed to collect the documents for the new owner. Factor in an extra couple of hundred euros.

It would be reasonable to rely on the assistance of a local lawyer. Alternatively, consider using the services of an agency that specializes in immigration. This might be an excellent way of optimizing your budget and accelerating all the processes.

Can an Expat Get Permanent Residence in Cyprus by Buying Property?

This island state used to grant citizenship to expats who become real estate owners. Until 2020, foreigners who invested at least €2 million could get a local passport in half a year. That was an extremely generous proposal. Its critics called it a "loophole" for bypassing European laws. Hundreds of individuals gladly jumped at this opportunity. It used to be very popular among citizens of states with so-called "weak passports". A passport is dubbed as "weak" if its holders have to get a visa to travel to most countries in the world.

However, this opportunity is not relevant anymore. Now, foreigners can only obtain Cyprus permanent residence by investment — but they won't get a passport. So far, it's tricky to predict whether the situation will change in the foreseeable future or not. The program was not canceled. It was suspended. This term gives hope to expats. Maybe, one day the program will be resumed.

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