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Cyprus: Offshore Legal and Tax Regimes

Employment and Residence

The Civil Registry and Migration Department deals mainly with granting entry permits, temporary and permanent residence permits to European Union nationals and aliens. In addition, it is the competent department for determining Cypriot citizenship and conferring the latter either by means of registration or naturalisation.

For people from many countries, including those in the EU, Council of Europe, USA and Commonwealth, no visa is required for entry into Cyprus for short stays of up to 90 days. Those from other countries will require a visa, though one can be bought at the airport or port on arrival.

Immigration, as opposed to occasional or periodic visits, requires a residence permit from the immigration department. These are given fairly freely to foreigners retiring to Cyprus and to senior employees of offshore companies; ther latter need a Temporary Residence Employment (TRE) permit. Other work permits are only issued to foreigners if there are no suitably qualified local staff available.

To acquire property in Cyprus, non-EU foreigners, whether resident or not, require either a temporary or permanent residence permit. Under a July 2000 law, foreigners in Cyprus must either have a five-year work permit, 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.

However, 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 only 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.

For tax purposes, residence is defined as presence in the country for more than 183 days a year.



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