Cyprus long-term resident status after five years

By Marios Konstantinou

Updated: February 20, 2024

Long-term resident status in Cyprus and throughout the EU is granted to promote stability and fundamental rights. With long-term resident status, non-EU nationals enjoy access to work, social services and educational opportunities. At the same time, they hold uniform rights and are treated with equality and non-discrimination. In this guide, you will find all the necessary information concerning the long-term residence permit for the Republic of Cyprus.

Key Takeaways

  • Long-term resident status in Cyprus is conferred for five years. Afterwards, it can be regained or renewed. In some limited circumstances, the long-term residence permit may be withdrawn.
  • The long-term residence permit applies to third-country nationals (“TCNs”), persons who are not citizens of the European Union (“EU”).
  • The law applicable in Cyprus is based on the Aliens and Immigration Law (Cap. 40) and Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (“the Directive”). A new Directive on the matter has been proposed by the European Union and is expected to pass in the next few years.
  • The applicant needs to pass a Greek language test (A2 level). The examination centre is the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth (“the Ministry of Education”).

What is a long-term resident in Cyprus?

A long-term resident is any TCN with long-term resident status: a TCN who has resided legally and continuously in the Republic of Cyprus for five years before applying. “Legally” means with a valid residence permit.

According to the Directive, a TCN is any person who is not a citizen of the Union.

European Union citizenship is defined in Article 20 of TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). According to Article 20, “every person holding the nationality of a Member State is a citizen of the Union”. Citizenship of the Union is additional to national citizenship. It does not replace it.

Therefore, any person not holding the nationality of a Member State is a TCN.

What conditions must I fulfil to get long-term residence in Cyprus?

If you are a TCN applying for long-term residence status in Cyprus, you must have lived legally and continuously in the Republic for five years before submitting your application. Periods of absence of less than six consecutive months and less than ten months before applying are not considered.

You must have a stable and regular source of income, health insurance and a clean criminal record.

The application (form MLT1) must be accompanied by specific documents. These documents should either be in Greek, or English or officially translated. A translation is official if it is done in Cyprus by certified (sworn) translators or your government authorities.;

All public authority documents from your country must be apostilled. Suppose your country still needs to sign the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention. In that case, the documents must be certified by your Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the consular authority of Cyprus in your country. Note that the Cyprus Republic exempts public documents from Russia or Serbia. They do not need other certifications if they are correctly signed and sealed.

Biometric data (photographs and fingerprints) and signatures need to be taken. You will give biometric data to the Civil Registry and Migration Department or the closest police station.

You will pay a fee of EUR 30.

There is a list of documents to accompany your application, proving that you satisfy all the criteria and have a regular and stable source of income. You can access the list at http://www.moi.gov.cy/.

The waiting period is 6-12 months, and the long-term residence permit lasts five years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the five years of previous legal stay cover everyone living in Cyprus?

No. There are categories of people who may reside legally in the Republic for five years, yet that period of residence will not be considered. These categories are:

  • Students or persons residing in the Republic for vocational training;
  • Persons permitted to reside in the Republic on the grounds of protection other than international protection or have applied for such permission;
  • Asylum seekers;
  • Persons residing in the Republic solely on temporary grounds;
  • Persons whose legal status is governed by conventions on diplomatic relations.

Can I lose long-term residence?

Yes. The long-term residence permit can be withdrawn for reasons such as fraudulent acquisition, deportation, threat to public order and safety, absence from EU territory for 12 consecutive months, absence from the Republic for six cumulative years, or obtaining long-term residence status in another EU Member State.

Can I renew my long-term residence?

Yes. You must apply three months before the expiry of the previous residence permit using the form MLT1. The fee is EUR 30, and the waiting period is 3 months. The re-issued residence permit is unlimited, though the card mentions a 10-year expiry date. More information can be found at this link.

Is it possible to regain long-term residence?

Yes. Submit form MLT1 with relevant documents. The fee is EUR 30, and the waiting period is 6-12 months. Details can be found on www.moi.gov.cy.

Does the permanent residence permit cover family members?

It covers spouses and children based on the principle of family reunification.

Can I come to Cyprus with a long-term residence permit from another EU member state?

Yes, for employment, studies, or other purposes. Apply within three months of arrival in Cyprus or before leaving the first member state using form MLT1. The fee is EUR 30, and the waiting period is about four months. More details on www.moi.gov.cy.

Taking the Greek language test

To get long-term residence, it is necessary to pass a Greek language test. This test is called Examinations for the Verification of the Greek Language (Εξετάσεις Πιστοποίησης Ελληνομάθειας, in Greek). The necessary level is A2 (basic knowledge). A2 roughly corresponds to the English Lower Intermediate Level.

The examination is taken at the Ministry of Education in Nicosia. The paper is set by the Greek Government, specifically the Centre for the Greek Language in Greece (“Centre for Greek Language”, in Greek called Κέντρο Ελληνικής Γλώσσας της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας, ΚΕΓ).

Location and contact details of the examination

The Ministry of Education is acting as Examination Centre No. 35703. The address is 23 Megaron Street, Strovolos 2032, Nicosia, the contact phone numbers are 00357 22582900 /05 00357 22582926 /29, and the contact person is Mr Stavros Aroditis.

Find the link on https://www.greek-language.gr/.

Dates, applications and procedure

The examination and registration dates for each level are set by the Centre for the Greek Language, and they can be found on their website.

The examinations are held once annually, each May, usually mid-May. They are common to all examination centres worldwide. Dates for the examination and submission of applications (registration) are announced to the examination centres at the beginning of each academic year (September). Therefore, the Ministry of Education should have the May examination dates each September.

Applications and payments for fees are carried out locally at the Ministry of Education.

Structure of the test

The test is divided into four parts, reading, listening, writing and speaking.

The test details are as follows: reading for 30 minutes; listening for 25 minutes; writing for 45 minutes; speaking for 12 minutes. They take 25 marks each.

Reading comprises true or false; connecting sentences; multiple choice from a 120-word text; and filling in the gaps.

Listening asks the candidate to match image to description; answer multiple choice questions from a dialogue; answer true or false from a monologue; and take notes from a dialogue.

For Writing, there is an informal text and a formal one. The informal text will be a letter written for a friend or a description. The formal or less formal text will ask you to write to someone you don’t know to tell them about something or ask something. Both texts should be about 80-100 words.

Speaking is divided into three parts and is carried out by two examiners. Note that two candidates will be interviewed together for the third and final Speaking part.

In the first part, the examiners will ask simple questions like name, school, and family. The second involves some more complicated questions, like travelling and festivals. Then the candidate is shown four images and is asked questions about each. There is one minute per picture to prepare before the questions begin.

The third part of listening is a role-play between two candidates. The candidates are asked to discuss something from everyday life, like arranging a summer holiday. They are given two minutes to prepare themselves.

There is no textbook but test papers and CDs for previous years may be obtained from the Centre for the Greek Language.

You can find sample papers at https://www.greek-language.gr/.

The bottom line

Acquiring a long-term residence is a straightforward procedure that allows TCNs to integrate into the society where they live. The aim is to guarantee equal access to employment and education opportunities on the one hand and equal protection of human and social rights on the other. In Cyprus, TCNs must pass a Greek language test and submit several documents supporting their application. The long-term residence permit can be renewed and, in some limited circumstances, withdrawn. Once a long-term residence permit is renewed, it remains valid for an unlimited time.

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