Establishing foreign Businesses and Talent in Cyprus

The Government of Cyprus has launched a new Strategy for Attracting Investments, aimed at drawing foreign direct investments, creating jobs, and aligning the Cypriot economy with the demands of sustainable development in a global competitive environment. Several high-value-added companies have already chosen Cyprus as their operational base, recognizing its strategic advantages as a residence and employment destination.


Key Sectors Targeted:

– Shipping

– High Tech

– Innovation

– Research and Development

– Biogenetics and Biotechnology


The highlights of the investment program:

Business Facilitation Unit

  • Evolution of the existing Fast Track Activation Mechanism for International Companies.
  • All business registration processes can be completed at the One-Stop Shop Section.

Services include:

  • Company incorporation and name approval.
  • Registration with Social Insurance, VAT, and Income Tax.
  • Guidance on obtaining necessary licenses for specific activities.
  • Acceleration of residence and employment permit issuance and renewal.
  • Introduction of a central business contact point with digitalized procedures and an online platform.


Eligibility Criteria for businesses

  • The majority of the company’s shares are owned by third- country nationals.
  • In case that the percentage of the foreign participation in the share capital of the company is equal to or below 50% of the total share capital, the company is eligible when this percentage of the share capital represents an amount equal or greater than the amount of EUR 200,000.
  • Public companies registered on any recognized stock exchange.
  • Companies of International activities (formely off-shore) which operated before the change of regime whose data are held by the Central Bank.
  • Cypriot shipping companies.
  • Cypriot High-Tech/innovation companies.
  • Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or Cypriot active in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology.
  • Companies of whom the majority of the total share capital is owned by persons who have acquired Cypriot citizenship by naturalization based on economic criteria, provided that they prove the conditions under which they were naturalized continue to be met.

In both cases above (a & b), the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) must deposit an amount of €200,000 in an account held by the company in a credit institution licensed by the Central Bank (payment institutions are not included). Alternatively, the company can submit evidence of an investment amounting to €200,000, for the purposes of operating its business in Cyprus (e.g. office purchase, office equipment purchase, etc.).

If more UBOs exist, then this amount can be deposited or invested by a single UBO or collectively.

For cases c-h, the investment criterion is also applicable and the company’s initial investment in the Republic of at least €200,000, must be proven by presenting the appropriate certificates (e.g. bank statement at the time of deposit of the amount or proof of investment (purchase of office space and/or office equipment)).

High Technology Company Criteria:

  • It is already established and has a presence in the market, and
  • It has a high level or experimental R&D intensity and
  • It developed products that fall into one of the following categories: products related to aviation and space industry, computes, electronic and telecommunication products, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, research and development equipment, electrical machinery, chemicals, non-electrical machinery.


New Policy for Employment of Third-Country Nationals:

Employment Permits

  • Minimum gross salary of EUR 2,500.
  • Relevant university diploma or equivalent qualifications.
  • Employment contract of at least two years.
  • Permits issued within one month for up to three years.

Support Staff Employment:

  • Up to 30% of total support staff can be third-country nationals.
  • Employment contracts must be duly stamped.
  • Permits for up to three years.

Family Reunification:

  • Spouses of employees with gross salaries of at least EUR 2,500 can access the labor market directly.


Simplified and Accelerated Employment Permit Process:

  • For long-term residence permits (Category E).


Social Insurance Agreements

  • Efforts to execute bilateral contracts to ensure third-country nationals can transfer their social insurance contributions.


Introduction of Digital Nomad Visa:

  • For third-country nationals working remotely.
  • Right to stay in Cyprus for up to one year, renewable for two more years.
  • Tax residency status for stays not exceeding 183 days in a tax year.
  • Monthly income requirement of EUR 3,500 plus increments for dependents.
  • Healthcare coverage and clean criminal record required.


Tax Incentives:

  • 50% tax exemption for new residents earning over EUR 55,000.
  • Extended benefits for employees earning over EUR 100,000.
  • Extension of tax exemptions for investments in innovation businesses.
  • Increased tax deductions for R&D expenses.


Right of submission of application for citizenship:

  • An adult foreigner who, on the day of application submission and on the day of examination of application, is employed in a company that meets the following conditions and whose employment was high-skilled according to the following criteria can apply for Cypriot citizenship by naturalization if they cumulatively meet the following qualifications:
    • (a) Legal and continuous residence for 12 months immediately before the date of application submission. Periods of absence not exceeding a total of 90 days do not interrupt the mentioned time period.
    • (b) During the immediately preceding 10 years from the 12-month period, the applicant must have legal residence for cumulative periods not less than 4 years or 3 years depending on their level of Greek language proficiency, i.e., A2 or B1 respectively. Periods of absence not exceeding a total of 90 days annually are not considered absences.
    • (c) Good character.
    • (d) Sufficient knowledge of the Greek language at level A2 or B1, as applicable.
    • (e) Sufficient knowledge of basic elements of the contemporary political and social reality of Cyprus.
    • (f) Suitable accommodation and stable and regular financial resources sufficient for the maintenance of themselves and their family members.

Interested to relocate your business in Cyprus? Contact us at [email protected] or at[email protected] Our Business Immigration team is ready to assist you.

Christiana Antoniou
Partner - Corporate, Real Estate, Business Immigration
Christiana Antoniou is a Partner Solicitor at Spencer West. She specialises in Merger and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Commercial Agreements, Fiduciary Services, Non-contentious work on real estate projects (including but not limited to commercial and residential property acquisitions), Headquartering and Relocation.