Updated: March 20, 2023
The Cyprus Business Facilitation Unit (BFU) is part of the Cyprus “Strategy for Attracting Businesses for Activities or/and Expansion of their Activities in Cyprus”. The Council approved the Strategy of Ministers on 15 October 2021, and the BFU took effect on 1 January 2022. As the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) explains, it replaced the existing policy on employees in companies of foreign interest.
The aim of the BFU, according to the Ministry of Finance, is to gather international investments and talent and strengthen the position of Cyprus as a business center.
On January 2, 2022 Fast-track business activation mechanism turned into a Business Facilitation Unit.
The new strategy offers facilities for foreign companies that wish to employ high-skilled non-EU nationals.
Application is made by email and letter of expression of interest to the BFU.
The letter should contain the following information:
A number of services facilitate the working of a business under the BFU.
Briefly, the BFU:
*The necessary registrations are:
The licenses are issued within 1 month for a period of up to 3 years.
In Cyprus, companies eligible for the BFU facilities are:
For categories 1 and 2, the company must show an investment of EUR 200,000 in the Republic, or the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) must deposit EUR 200,000 in an account held by the company in a credit institution licensed by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
For categories 3-8, the EUR 200,000 investment criterion applies. The company must be able to prove the investment by showing an appropriate certificate(s).
The maximum number of foreign nationals employed by the company must be 70%.
The salary of the support staff may be determined by current national legislation (laws and rules).
* A high technology company is a company that:
The Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy has published a practical guide on such companies at: High Tech Enterprise Certificate - Practical guide (PDF).
Are companies already registered in the Civil registry and migration department eligible?
Yes. They do not have to register with the BFU. The BFU policy applies automatically to all companies already registered as companies of foreign participation.
Are small companies, family offices and sole proprietorships eligible?
To get the working visa/ permit under the BFU, third-country nationals must satisfy the following criteria:
I have current key personnel whose salary satisfied the previous threshold, which was EUR 2,000. Is it necessary to raise it to EUR 2,500 immediately in order to renew their licenses?
No. You have a 5-year grace period (until 31 December 2026) to raise the salaries of current key personnel.
What else gets covered by this 5-year grace period?
Existing companies have until the 31st of December 2026 to secure at least 30% of key personnel from EU countries.
There is a family reunification process for family members of third-country national key personnel.
The third-country national employee (the “sponsor”) must follow the procedure for family reunification and apply to the Civil registry and migration department.
The eligible family members (that is, the family members that can join the sponsor) are spouses, children and other children in the custody of the sponsor. The marriage must have taken place at least one year before the submission of the application.
If a family member does not qualify for family reunification (for example, a spouse of less than a year) they can apply for the temporary residence permit of a dependent visitor.
Employees with a gross salary of less than EUR 2,500.
Support staff is allowed provided, first, there is a duly stamped and validated employment agreement and, second, third-country national support personnel does not exceed 30% of the whole support personnel. The work permits are granted for up to 3 years.
Some important benefits for high-skilled, third-country nationals, are:
* The market test requirement is the stamped employment contract from the department of labor. The department “stamps” a contract when the employer shows that they are hiring a third-country national because they have not been able to find a local employee. The employer must first publish the vacant posts in the local press and get no positive response (copies of the announcement need to be handed in with the application). This requirement will no longer apply to key personnel and their spouses.
The scheme of tax incentives was updated on 20 July 2022. The updates are part of the Cyprus Long Term Vision 2035, as outlined by Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides in Dubai on 24 February 2022.
This last exemption was introduced in July 2022 and incorporated into the Cyprus Income Tax Law (ITL) Article 9(1)(d). It applies to:
Persons carrying on any business.
The R&D exemption to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The SMEs are as defined by Article 9A ITL. They must not be SMEs of foreign interest.
Research and development must be within the types recognised by international accounting standards. ACCA (the association of chartered certified accountants) defines research as original and planned investigation, undertaken with the prospect of gaining new scientific/ technical knowledge and understanding. Development is the application of research findings/ knowledge to a plan or design to produce new or improved materials, products, systems and so on.
See all the tax incentives in detail here:
Under the BFU, there is a right to apply for naturalization for third-country national employees. They can apply for and receive Cypriot nationality after 5 years, or 4 with success in Greek language examinations.
The point of contact for interested companies is the BFU. It acts as a single point of contact for foreign companies.
The point of single contact will process requests from foreign companies to establish a company in Cyprus or to expand the activities of existing companies.
Application is done by letter or email to the BFU (see above).
The applicant receives written confirmation of approval and is told what documents to submit to the BFU. The company is registered with the Registrar of Companies within 7 working days from the submission of the documents.
Using the confirmation, the company must contact the CRMD about the residence and employment of third-country national personnel.
To see all the easements and facilities available, go to: BFU - Business In Cyprus
Business Facilitation Unit (BFU)
Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry
Trade Service Building (3rd floor)
10 Andrea Araouzou street
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