The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus approved the Cyprus Start Visa for non-EU citizens aiming at promoting investments in Cyprus in the fields of innovation and, research and development (R&D). Mr Constantinos Petrides, Undersecretary to the President, underlined that this scheme concerns individual investors and groups of investors who will be in a position to establish a startup in Cyprus. In addition, Mr Petrides mentioned that a total of two-year 150 licenses will be given to startups. The Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry emphasised that the startup visa scheme gives incentives to non-EU entrepreneurs and investors to settle in Cyprus and develop their innovative ideas.
- Non-EU nationals;
- In the case of the individual startup visa scheme: The founder of the startup.
- In the case of the team startup visa scheme: at least 1 founder and 5 top managers with more than 50% of the shares;
- Capital: €50000 (either through venture capital funding, crowdfunding platforms or other funding sources);
- The company must set up its headquarters and its tax residency in Cyprus;
- Undergraduate degree or equivalent professional title;
- Excellent knowledge of Greek and/or English;
- Businesses must be certified startups;
- Innovative business. The enterprise will be considered as innovative if its Research and Development (R&D) expenses represent at least 10% of its operating costs, in at least one of the three years before the submission of the application, as certified by an external auditor. In the case of a new startup, without any financial history, then the Business Plan must include a detailed explanation of the innovative elements of the company.
Necessary Documentation: All the necessary documents need to be submitted in English.
The application form accompanied by the following documents:
- A detailed Business Plan, which must state that the Company's headquarters and tax domicile will be established in Cyprus. The headquarters of the Company can be common co-working spaces, such as business accelerators, incubators, digital hubs, etc.) or co-location with other companies. Furthermore, the Business Plan must clarify that the effective management of the company will be held in Cyprus. For more information, please contact one of our lawyers. Our team may assist you to prepare a well-structured Business Plan.
- A brief CV of all team members;
- An undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional title of at least one team member, duly translated and certified;
- Proof of a very good knowledge of the Greek or English language;
- A copy of a valid passport or other travel document of all team members, with a validity covering at least two years before the date of application;
- Bank account statements proving that at least two founders have access to €50000;
- In the case of an existing company, recent audited accounts;
- Submit the application form together with all the necessary documents to the competent authority via email. The competent authority in Cyprus is the Ministry of Finance.
- The Competent Authority will evaluate the application and the business plan. The evaluation process will be completed within 5 weeks. In the case of a positive evaluation, the contact person will receive a ''Notification of Initial Approval'', which grants the right of business activity for two years from the date of issue. The ''Notification of Initial Approval'' will clearly indicate the names of all team members and their status.
- Apply for an entry visa to the Consular Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus or to the Department of Civil Registry and Migration to secure entry/ registration/ residence permit, as appropriate. The applicants must also pay the corresponding fees. The application will be reviewed within three weeks following its complete submission.
- Submit an application for work and residence permit to the Department of Civil Registry. The application must include all the necessary documents and the biometric data of all applicants (photograph and fingerprints). The applicants should pay the relevant fees.
Benefits for the founder:
- Right to economic activity and residency in Cyprus for one year, with the possibility of renewal for at least another year;
- Right to self-employment or right to paid employment in his/her registered company within the Republic of Cyprus;
- Prospective residence in Cyprus without any maximum time restrictions, provided that the enterprise succeeds;
- Right to family reunification, provided that the enterprise succeeds;
- Possibility to recruit a specific number of non-EU citizens without prior approval of the Department of Labour, provided that the enterprise succeeds;
The success or failure of the startup will be assessed at the end of the second year.
Benefits for the Cyprus Economy:
- Economic development;
- Promotion of innovation and R&D;
- Job creation;
- Development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem;
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.