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Cyprus: Country and Foreign Investment

Entry and Residence

The Civil Registry and Migration Department deals mainly with the granting of 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 granting 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 to enter Cyprus. This is true for short stays of up to 90 days. Otherwise, a visa is required, 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. This will be given fairly freely to a foreigner retiring to Cyprus and to senior employees of an offshore company, who need a Temporary Residence Employment (TRE) permit. Other work permits are only issued to foreigners if there are no suitably qualified local staff available.

Non-EU foreigners, whether resident or not, require either a temporary or permanent residence permit to acquire property in Cyprus. 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 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.

The five-year permits would automatically be 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.




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