Updated: February 28, 2024
Relocation, business and investment, and retirement are three common reasons to want to live in Cyprus. Cyprus permanent residence permits and the Cyprus citizenship have similarities but also important differences. We will explain the similarities and differences and discuss how to choose between them.
Cyprus operates a scheme whereby permanent residence is granted to third-country nationals (TCNs) who can invest in the Republic. This is the so-called “golden visa”. It is not Cyprus citizenship, but it gives you the right to apply for citizenship after five years of lawful residence in the Republic.
The requirements are:
You will have to verify some of these criteria occasionally:
To get a permanent residence permit, an investor must:
Once you get the permanent residence by investment permit, you must come to Cyprus within a year. Also, you must not be absent from Cyprus for more than two years. In both cases (failing to come to Cyprus within a year and more than two years of absence), you will lose the permanent residence permit.
Cyprus permanent residency involves numerous benefits, including:
This is a permanent visitor category, where you have a secure and regular annual income for a decent living in the Republic. This income is calculated to be EUR 9.568,17 annually, with an additional EUR 4.613,22 for each dependent. It is called the Category F permit.
More ways to get permanent residence are related to business and (self) employment. Your activities must fall into one of the following categories:
You can apply personally or by authorised representative. The location is the offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia. For the issuance of the residence permit, you must give biometric data in person.
You can get Cypriot citizenship through:
If you become a Cypriot citizen, your children under 18 can also get Cyprus citizenship.
Highly-skilled workers of foreign companies can apply for citizenship after 4 or 5 years of residence if they pass a Greek language test. Level A2 (use Greek in simple situations and limited communication skills) gives a right to apply after five years of lawful residence. Level B2 (use Greek and handle everyday communications) gives a right to apply after four years.
The Cypriot passport ranks 12th globally and gives you visa-free travel to 181 countries (as of January 2024), including all the EU member states. Cyprus allows dual citizenship, meaning you can keep your other passport(s). As a citizen of the EU, you enjoy all human rights and basic freedoms of the Union and the ability to move and live in any part of the Union.
|Open bank account
|Register a company
|Yes, but whether you can work in it depends on the type of permit.
|Buy real estate
|Permission from the Council of Ministers
|Rent real estate to third parties
|Depends on the terms of the permission.
|Depends on the type of permit.
|Make a contract
|Yes, except for some contracts, like employment (depending on the permit).
|Education and healthcare
|Everyday transactions and activities, marriage
|Travel to all EU member states
|No. Only Bulgaria and Croatia.
|Live and work in other EU member states
|Travel and return to Cyprus with no formalities
|Duty not to leave Cyprus for more than two years
There are seven ways to get permanent residence in Cyprus and three ways to get citizenship. You will choose depending on your circumstances and aims. Both permanent residence and citizenship give you the right to live in an EU member state and enjoy numerous benefits, rights and freedoms.
Is a Cyprus permanent residency the same as Cyprus citizenship?
No, they are not the same, but they share similarities. Both grant the right to live, register a business, access education and healthcare, and provide protection under human rights and non-discrimination laws. Permanent residency allows, with some limitations and exceptions, the purchase of land and employment in the Republic.
Is it better to be a permanent resident or a citizen of Cyprus?
The decision between permanent residency and citizenship in Cyprus depends on individual circumstances, lifestyle, goals, and needs. Permanent residence can lead to citizenship after five years. Furthermore, Cyprus permits dual citizenship, so acquiring Cyprus citizenship does not necessitate relinquishing other passports.
What are the Cyprus permanent residency benefits?
Cyprus is a preferred residence destination due to its excellent climate, business-friendly environment, and rising real estate value. It offers investment and business opportunities within the EU, a tax-friendly system, a vibrant expat community, access to healthcare, and a high-quality family life. Permanent residents enjoy most citizenship benefits, including equality, respect, and non-discrimination rights.
What are the benefits of Cyprus citizenship?
Cyprus citizenship allows unrestricted living, working, and business operations in Cyprus. As an EU member state, it grants EU citizenship, entitling one to the Union's protection and rights. It offers free movement, residence, and employment across the EU, benefits for underage children, a tax-favourable regime, and a high quality of life in the EU.
Is it allowed to travel to Europe with a Cyprus residence permit?
With a Cyprus residence permit, you can travel visa-free to Bulgaria and Romania within the European Union. For other EU member states and European countries, you must adhere to their specific regulations for third-country nationals (TCNs).
How do I become a citizen of Cyprus?
There are three main paths to Cyprus citizenship: marriage to a Cypriot citizen for at least 3 years; having Cyprus roots; or living in Cyprus for 7 years (2555 days) with a temporary residence permit, or 5 years (1825 days) as a permanent resident. The application form is the M127, submitted along with relevant documentation to the Civil Registry and Migration Department or District Administrations.
How do I get Cyprus citizenship after permanent residence?
To obtain Cyprus citizenship after permanent residence, you must have resided legally in Cyprus for five years within the seven years immediately preceding the application period.
Is shifting from a Cyprus permanent residency to citizenship an automatic process?
No, transitioning from permanent residency to citizenship in Cyprus is not automatic. You must apply for it. See previous questions for more details.
After how many years of legal residency am I eligible for citizenship?
Eligibility for Cyprus citizenship requires seven years of legal residency with a temporary residence permit or five years as a permanent resident.
How do I get a permanent resident permit in Cyprus?
To obtain a permanent residence permit in Cyprus, you must have a clean criminal record and meet the criteria for one of the residence categories. Apply with the necessary documents to the Civil Registry and Migration Department. If your application is rejected, you will be informed of the reasons.
Is Cyprus residence by investment still possible to obtain?
Yes, it is still possible to obtain Cyprus residence by investment. The requirements include an investment of EUR 300,000 in Cyprus property or shares, a secure annual income of EUR 50,000 (increased by EUR 15,000 for spouses and EUR 10,000 for each dependent child), and a clean criminal record.
Can foreigners obtain Cyprus citizenship by investment?
No, the Cyprus citizenship by investment programme was closed in 2020. However, foreigners can still obtain permanent residence by investment.
Can a student get permanent residence in Cyprus?
No, students cannot obtain permanent residence in Cyprus during their studies. They may apply for it after completing their studies, provided they meet the necessary criteria. More information is available in the main section on permanent residence categories.
What is the difference between permanent residency in Cyprus for non-EU and EU citizens?
EU citizens are not required to apply for permanent residence in Cyprus. They simply register after three months to receive a registration certificate. In contrast, non-EU citizens with permanent residency cannot travel visa-free to the entire EU, except to Bulgaria and Croatia, nor to the Schengen area. Also, Cyprus permanent residency does not grant the right to live and work in other EU countries.
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