According to article 10 of the Aliens and Immigration Law (Chapter 105), no foreign national has an absolute right to enter Cyprus and a ban on entry may be imposed, unless the foreign national holds a valid certificate of permanent residence or, in the case of immigrants, a valid immigration permit or, in the case of temporary residents, holds a valid entry pass. Therefore, if you are not a Cypriot citizen or a citizen of a Member State of the European Union and you wish to enter and stay in Cyprus, you shall first obtain the entry and residence permit depending on the purposes of your stay.
The requirements that need to be fulfilled vary, depending on the entry and residence purposes of each person concerned. However, there are some common and/or general requirements that need to be fulfilled, regardless of the entry and residence purposes.
Residence Permits for unpaid interns, university students, school students and volunteers
The Civil Registry and Migration Department, which is the responsible body for the submission and examination of the relevant applications, facilitates the entry process of foreign nationals that participate in EU programmes enhancing mobility to or within European Union, by giving priority to the examination of their applications.
General Requirements concerning all Categories
Article 18ΜΔ of Aliens and Immigration Law sets the general requirements that need to be fulfilled by the third country national, who wishes to enter and reside in Cyprus either for study purposes, either for unpaid internship, either for volunteering purposes or in the context of exchange programmes for school students.
The person concerned, namely the citizen of a non -EU country, in order to enter and stay in Cyprus, must:
- hold a valid travel document, with duration validity of at least 2 years or with duration validity that covers the total duration of stay;
- hold a medical expenses insurance (all risks coverage);
- not be considered as a threat to public policy, public security or public health;
- pay the fee for the processing of the application; and
- if the person concerned is not yet an adult, a parental permission for the intended stay is also needed.
Special Requirements for University Students
The third country national, who intends to enter and reside in Cyprus for study purposes must also fulfill, apart from the abovementioned requirements [points (a) – (e)], the following. The person concerned must hold:
- admission letter to attend a higher education institution;
- certificate, issued by a banking institution of the country of origin;
- certificate of scholarship grant, if any, issued by the institution that grants it; and iv. proof of payment of registration fees, charged by the higher education institution.
In cases, where registration in a higher education institution offers the student automatically health insurance (all risks coverage), the requirement (c) above can be considered fulfilled. If all the above general and special requirements are met, the persons concerned shall submit an application to obtain permit for entry into Cyprus. Subsequently, within 10 days from their arrival in Cyprus, they shall submit an application to obtain residence permit. Entry Permit or VISA for university students The application in relation to the entry permit or Visa can be submitted either by the person concerned to the Embassy of Cyprus (consular services) in the country of origin or by the employees of the higher education institution to the District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Service of the District, where the higher education institution is.
The application for the issuance of an entry permit or Visa must be accompanied by the following documents and payment of €85, 43 fees:
- certified copy of a valid passport or other travel document with duration covering either the anticipated duration or at least 2 years;
- if the person concerned is not yet an adult, a parental permission for the intended stay is also needed, duly certified and translated by an official body either in Greek or in English;
- duly certified copy of the criminal record certificate, issued by the relevant authorities of the country of origin, accompanied by an official translation;
- medical tests and/or original health certificate, dully certified by the country of origin and with 4 month effect, which indicate that the person concerned is not suffering from hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis. A chest X-ray with 4 month effect is required to indicate that the person concerned is not suffering from tuberculosis;
- proof of enrollment statement in the higher education institution, as well as copy of the programme of studies and its duration;
- dully certified copy of certificate, issued by a bank institution from the country of origin, which shall indicate that the person concerned has the financial ability and/or the resources to cover living expenses, study costs and any expenses that might arise in connection with repatriation, and/or dully certified copy of certification of scholarship, issued by the institution that grants it, if it is in the country of origin;
- proof of payment of the €85,43 fees. If the person concerned, who either already studies in a higher education institution of another EU Member State, or has been admitted to study in a higher education institution of another EU Member State for at least 2 years, wishes to attend in Cyprus a part of the study programme, which has already began, or a complementary part to the study programme, which s/he has completed, then s/he shall be admitted in Cyprus, within a period that shall not cause any problems to the continuance of their studies.
The competent Authorities shall deal with the application of such a person, given that this person meets the abovementioned common/general requirements [points (a) – (e)] and the special requirements [points i. – iv.]. Furthermore, along with the submission of the application, in order to obtain permission to enter Cyprus, the person concerned must produce an academic transcript and evidence that the programme of study that s/he intends to attend in Cyprus, is indeed complementary to that programme that has been already completed. Residence Permit for University Students The citizen of a country that does not participate in the European Union, who has entered Cyprus legitimately for studying purposes, must, within 10 days from the arrival date, submit an application to the Civil Registry and Migration Department, in order to obtain a residence permit. The application must be accompanied with the following documents and payment of €34, 17 fees: (a) certified copy of a valid passport or other travel document with duration covering either the anticipated duration or at least 2 years; (b) medical expenses insurance covering all risks, unless the university student gets insurance automatically with the registration in the higher education institution; (c) medical tests, carried out in Cyprus, and/or original certificate with a 4 month effect, issued in Cyprus (stamped and sealed by a government doctor), indicating that the person concerned is not suffering from hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis. A chest X-ray with 4 month effect is required to indicate that the person concerned is not suffering from tuberculosis; (d) certificate, issued by a banking institution in Cyprus, indicating that foreign exchange has been transferred into her/his personal bank account, of adequate amount for the coverage of living expenses and study costs in relation to the period, for which the permit is requested; (e) bank guarantee, either by the student or by the higher education institution, to cover any expenses that might arise in connection with repatriation; (f) 2 photographs; and (g) proof of payment of the €34, 17 fees. The residence permit is valid for at least 1 year, apart from the cases, where the duration of the programme of study is less than 1 year and, therefore, the residence permit is valid for the duration of the programme of study. The permit mentions the right of the university student to exercise economic activity after 6 months of the arrival date in Cyprus and in one of the sectors and/or occupations that are determined by the Labour and Social Security Minister. The exercise of paid economic activity is not permitted during study time.
For the renewal of the residence permit, the person concerned must still meet the abovementioned general (common) and special requirements and submit the relevant application at least one month before the expiry of the valid residence permit. The university student may change institution or specialization, given that s/he has previously obtained the permission of the Director of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
Revocation or Denial to Renew a Residence Permit
The residence permit may be revoked or not renewed, if the holder:
- does not respect the limits and conditions that have been imposed on him in relation to her/his access to economic activities; or
- leaves his/her studies or does not attend regularly or does not make any progress and, in particular:
- does not successfully complete the preparatory cycle or ii. does not complete the course of study in the prescribed time, increased by 50% of this time. Moreover, the Director of the Civil Registry and Migration Department may revoke or refuse to renew a residence permit, if: (a) it has been fraudulently obtained or (b) it is proved that the holder did not meet or no longer meets the abovementioned general (common) and special requirements or (c) the revocation or denial to renew the residence permit is requested by public policy, public security or public health.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.