Cyprus: Country and Foreign Investment
Entry and Residence
The Civil Registry and Migration Department deals mainly with the granting of Entry Permits and also Temporary and Permanent Residence Permits to European Union nationals and aliens. Moreover it is the competent Department for determining the Cypriot Citizenship and granting the Cypriot Citizenship either by Registration or by Naturalisation.
For most nationalities, including the EU, the Council of Europe, the USA and the Commonwealth, no visa is required for entry into Cyprus. In a few cases a visa is required but can be bought at the airport or port on arrival.
Immigration as distinct from occasional or periodic visiting requires a residence permit from the immigration department, which is given fairly freely to a foreigner retiring to Cyprus, and to the senior employees of an offshore company, for whom it is called a Temporary Residence Employment (TRE) permit. Other work permits are issued to foreigners only if there are no suitably qualified local staff available.
Non-EU foreigners, whether or not resident, require permits to acquire real estate in Cyprus, which should normally be for temporary or permanent residence.
Under a law implemented in July 2000, foreigners in Cyprus must either have a five-year work permit or have worked on the island for five years or have a combination of worked time and work permit totalling a minimum of five years before their spouses can join them.
But in November 2000, the Cyprus government introduced new regulations designed to make it easier for some foreigners to have their loved ones live with them. However, this solely applied to those EU nationals and non-Cypriots who work in certain sectors: offshore workers, reporters, foreign correspondents, accountants with big firms, lecturers, teachers and those who have invested a designated amount in local businesses.
The five-year permits would be automatically granted to new foreign entrants into these sectors and those renewing permits would be given extensions long enough to enable them to meet the 'five years in total' clause, the government revealed.
For tax purposes, residence is defined as presence in the country for more than six months of a year.