Cyprus has developed into a destination of choice both for doing business and living, offering international investors and domestic businesses confidence to invest, grow and prosper. With 2017 marking a new era for Cyprus, with a host of opportunities and potential, Invest Cyprus is intensifying its efforts of promoting the island abroad as an ideal investment destination in a variety of sectors, amongst them real estate.
Real estate has traditionally been a key driving force of the island’s economy. Acquiring property in Cyprus, either as an investment or as a second home, has always been a popular choice among foreign investors. A combination of high quality of life, year-round sunshine and natural beauty, ease of doing business and investment incentives offer investors an attractive experience in terms of both living and doing business.
Living in Cyprus
Cyprus’ strategic location, natural beauty and wealth of resources have led to the repeated conquest of the island by various powers throughout the ages. Cyprus’ famous beaches have been awarded with 57 Blue Flags in 2015, ranking the island 1st in the EU for the 10th consecutive year, including three records:
- most Blue Flags per capita in the world • most dense concentration of Blue Flag Beaches • most Blue Flag beaches per coastline The rich cultural landscape is reflected in the hundreds of archaeological sites and monuments located across the island, representing the numerous different historical periods in Cyprus’s evolution. A large number of museums in the towns and villages of Cyprus showcase a broad array of archaeological collections and cultural treasures from different time periods. Cypriots are known worldwide for their genuine and sincere hospitality and friendliness, but also for the famous Cypriot cuisine, based on the healthy Mediterranean diet. Recipes dating back hundreds of years offer delicious gastronomical experiences, particularly the “Cyprus Meze” which consists of a large number of different cold and hot “hors d’oeuvres” such as assorted dips, salads, meats, vegetables, as well as various fresh fish delicacies. High quality of life is without a doubt one of Cyprus’ most attractive attributes.
Indicatively, the island was ranked as the 5th best relocation destination worldwide by a recent Knight Frank Global Lifestyle Review. Acknowledging the island’s safety and security standards, ValuePenguin has ranked Cyprus 5th worldwide and 1st among smaller Countries in its Safest Countries in the World study for 2015.
The country offers excellent multilingual educational institutions, where courses are taught in English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Armenian and other languages.
Doing Business in Cyprus
Cyprus has long established itself as a thriving business hub, with a vast array of investment opportunities in key growth sectors of the economy. The island’s ideal strategic location, advanced infrastructure and high quality of life do not only represent key reasons to relocate and live on the island, but are also at the heart of an investor’s choice to invest in Cyprus.
The island is an ideal investment gateway to the European Union, as well as a portal for investment outside the EU, particularly into the Middle East, India and China. As a member of the wider EU and Eurozone community, Cyprus ensures safety and stability for investors,
The local infrastructure is ideally suited for business people who need to get things done. Thanks to its modern road network, extensive port facilities and two new international airports, travel and transport in and beyond Cyprus is fast, efficient and cost-effective.
Cyprus, indeed, has all the right ingredients to maintain a strong and resilient economy, due to its small size, productive labour force, business friendly and flexible government. Cyprus offers an attractive and transparent tax regime, fully compliant with EU, OECD and international laws and regulations. Providing access to an extensive network of 60 Double Tax Treaties, maintaining a corporate tax rate of 12.5%, one of the lowest in the EU.
Naturalisation and Immigration Permit by Investment
In line with the government’s policy for the attraction of foreign direct investment, the Cyprus government has also introduced two schemes for granting foreign investors Cypriot Citizenship and Immigration Permit to Cyprus by exception. Financial Criteria:
Eligible persons who meet one of the following financial criteria may apply for the acquisition of the Cypriot Citizenship: • Investment in real estate, land development and infrastructure projects of at least €2m
- Investment in financial assets of Cypriot companies or organisations of at least €2m • Investment in Alternative Investment Funds or financial assets of Cypriot companies/ organisations that are licenced by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission of at least €2m
- Combination of the above criteria, which can also include investment in government bonds of up to €500.000 Family Members: • Spouse/ partner: The investor’s spouse or partner may acquire the Cypriot citizenship. Their application may be filed simultaneously
- Minor children: Dependent children up to the age of 18 may apply, after the investor acquires the Cypriot citizenship and provided that the other parent consents to the grant of the citizenship • Adult financially dependent children: the right to apply for citizenship is also granted to the financially dependent adult children of the investor belonging to one of the following two categories:
- students up to the age of 28 ·children with severe physical/ mental disability that prohibits employment • Parents: The investor’s parents may also apply for citizenship after the investor has acquired his/ her citizenship, provided that they are owners of a private residence of at least €500.000 (+VAT). The investor and his/ her parents may collectively acquire one residential property of a total value of at least €1m (+VAT)
Acquiring Immigration Permit by Investment Financial Criteria: A non-Cypriot citizen, who meets the following criteria may apply for the acquisition of an Immigration Permit: • Deposit minimum capital of €30.000 into a bank account in Cyprus, which will be pledged for a period of at least three years • Provide evidence of a secure annual income of at least €30.000 (+€5.000 for every dependent person – spouse and children – and +€8.000 for every dependent parent or parent-in-law) • Purchase residential real estate of total market value of at least €300.000 (+VAT). Payment receipts submitted with the application should amount to at least €200.000 (+VAT)
- Spouse and financially dependent children: Immigration Permits are also issued for the investor’s spouse and all financially dependent children (up to 18 years old – or between 18 and 25, provided that they are unmarried, students), upon payment of the relevant fee
- Parents/ Parents in Law: The applicant’s parents may also be granted an Immigration Permit with the submission of an application and payment of the relevant fee • Non-financially dependent children: An Immigration Permit may also be granted to non-financially dependent children of the applicant over the age of 18, provided that the market value of the acquired real estate attributed to each child is at least €300.000 (+VAT)
For more information on the schemes, please visit the website of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, at www.moi.gov.cy
LPS: Which advice would you give to Chinese buyers who are investing for the first time in Cyprus real estate? Invest Cyprus is at the disposal of any interested investor to provide all information and assistance required in all stages from conceptualizing to implementing an investment decision. Moreover, we urge all potential investors to visit our country and experience first-hand what it has to offer. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Businesses and individuals considering investment into Cyprus have a partner on the ground at all stages of the investment cycle. Invest Cyprus is a non- profit national body and the government’s dedicated partner responsible for the facilitation of investments into Cyprus. In close collaboration with all government authorities, public institutions as well as the private sector and international experts, Invest Cyprus is the investor’s first point of contact.
LPS: Why did you choose to exhibit at LPS?
Invest Cyprus takes great caution in examining and choosing the most worthwhile events in which to participate. We have been participating at LPS Exhibition for years now, acknowledging and having experienced first-hand the high value-added offered by events of this calibre. In terms of quality of exhibitors, abundance of high calibre visitors from one of the most important markets worldwide in the field of real estate, but also in regards to the remarkable organisation and offering, LPS definitely ranks high in all parameters considered.