The pandemic has taught businesses of all sizes that remote work works. As a result, the governments around the world have created schemes to welcome in their countries digital nomads. Digital nomad can be any one, even self-employed, who is willing to work remotely in a country other than the country where his business and/or his clients are located. By this way, digital nomads enjoy both the financial benefits and the natural benefits of exploring and working in a particular country.

Hence, the Council of Ministers in the Republic of Cyprus has recently introduced a new strategy for attracting businesses and talents from abroad. One of the main incentives of the new strategy is the Digital Nomad Visa Scheme, which -in an attempt to adapt to the new era- enables a third country national to apply for a residence permit which will enable him to also work remotely.

Who can apply?

Any non-European Union or non-European Economic Area nationals who satisfy the below elements:

  • They can work remotely using telecommunications technology, and
  • They are employed in a company registered outside of the Republic of Cyprus, for which they can work remotely, or are self – employed providing services remotely for customers located outside of the Republic of Cyprus, and
  • They can prove that they have sufficient and stable monthly net income of at least €3500 in order to finance their living in the Republic of Cyprus.  It must be noted that the latter amount is increased by 20% for the spouse or partner and by 15% for each child.

Procedure to be followed

Applicants who meet the above requirements and wish to apply for the Digital Nomad visa have to take all appropriate steps for receiving an entry permit and/or visa in order to be able to enter the Republic of Cyprus and, then, proceed with the submission of their Application before the expiration of their entry permit / visa. In case that the applicant already lives legally in Cyprus, he has the right to submit application for the Digital Nomad visa in order to change his status.

Benefits to third country nationals holding Digital Nomad visa

Individuals that are granted with a Digital Nomad visa will gain the following benefits:

  • They will have right of residence for one (1) year in the Republic of Cyprus with a possibility of renewal for further two (2) years.
  • They have the right for family reunification, which means that spouses and minor children of the digital nomad have right of receiving a residence permit to legally reside in the Republic of Cyprus for the same duration as the main applicant. However, the family members of the digital nomad will not have the right to be employed or to perform any economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus.
  • If they reside in the Republic of Cyprus for one of more periods that in total exceed 183 days within the same tax year, then they are going to be considered as Cyprus tax residents, as long as they are not tax residents in any other country. This means that the digital nomad will have tax benefits due to their status as non-domiciled in Cyprus.

Conclusion To sum up, the Digital Nomad visa scheme introduces a new category of residence and work permit, which creates an opportunity for digital nomads to reside in the Republic of Cyprus and work remotely from here as well as to enjoy the benefits that the Republic of Cyprus offers. However, it is important to note that, in an attempt to limit the rampant use of the Digital Nomad Visa Scheme, a limit in the number of digital nomad visa that can be issued has been introduced; the number of such visas is limited to 500. This means that only 500 applicants can successfully submit their applications. It must be noted that the examination procedure duration by competent department is between 5 to 7 weeks, which is quite fast

The Minister of Interior, by its decision taken on March 2021, revised the existing framework relating to the (fast track) Investors Immigration Permit (Permanent Residence) in the Republic of Cyprus (the “Revised PR Policy”).

In the Revised PR Policy, the INVESTMENT CRITERIA have been changed; in particular, retrieving from the provisions of the Revised PR Policy, the investment amount must be at least €300.000,00 (Euro Three Hundred Thousand) while must be investment in any of the following:

  1. Investment in a house/apartment by purchasing a NEW (first installation) house or apartment from a land development company of at least €300.000 (plus VAT); the funds to be used must be derived from sources outside the Republic of Cyprus.
  2. Investment in real estate (excluding houses/apartments) by purchasing of other kind of immovable properties (new or second-hand) such as offices, shops, hotels or similar developments (or a combination) with a total value of at least €300.000,00; all or part of the funds to be used must be derived from sources inside or outside the Republic of Cyprus.
  3. Investment of at least €300.000,00 in the share capital of a company incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Cyprus, which (company) had its headquarters and operated in the Republic of Cyprus, has (proven) physical presence in Cyprus and employs at least five (5) employees; all or part of the funds to be used must be derived from sources inside or outside the Republic of Cyprus.
  4. Investment of at least €300.000,00 in securities of Cyprus Collective Investment Funds (eg AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF); all or part of the funds to be used must be derived from sources inside or outside the Republic of Cyprus.

!!IMPORTANT NOTE: In case of alienation and/or disposal of the whole or part of the investment, if not immediately replaced by an equal or higher qualified investment (which investment must meet the conditions set out in the present procedure), the mechanism for the cancellation of the Permanent Residence Permit shall be triggered (pursuant to the provisions of Regulation 6 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations).

The applicant must, in addition to the investment (explained above), be able to prove that he/she has at his disposal an secured annual income of at least €30.000,00 (Euro Thirty Thousand) and not to deposit and pledge this amount at the Bank – we have confirmed with the Migration Office that it is not a pre-requisite that the applicant maintains a bank account in the Republic of Cyprus (however, in case he/she maintains a bank account, it would be good to present a statement of the said bank account). The required amount of the annual income increases by €5.000,00 (Euro Five Thousand) for each dependent family member and by €8.000,00 (Euro Eight Thousand) for each dependent parent (of the applicant and/or his/her spouse). As a side note, please note that such annual income may come from salaries, pensions, dividends on shares, permanent deposits, rents, etc. coming from abroad for the cases that the applicant chooses to invest as in Category (A). In calculating the total income, the income of the applicant’s spouse can also be taken into account.

For the purposes of obtaining a permanent residence permit, the following standard / basic documents must be filed in support to the Application of the main applicant – investor:

  1. Copy of valid passport of the Applicant and his/her dependants. Brief Curriculum Vitae – CV (including copies of academic qualifications and or relevant professional experience of at least one year).
  2. Original Certificate of Criminal Record from the country of origin (if the applicant resides in a country other than the country of origin, the certificate should be issued from the country of residence) accompanied by official translation thereof in the Greek / English language.
  3. Statement(s) for non Employment in the Republic (only for investment types A, B and D)
  4. Marriage certificate (if applicable) accompanied by official translation thereof in the Greek / English language.
  5. Children’s Birth certificates (if applicable) accompanied by official translation thereof in the Greek / English language.
  6. Supporting documents evidencing the secured annual income (original documents and affidavit / declaration).
  7. Supporting documents evidencing the source of the investment funds.
  8. Further documents depending on the type of investment (see below).

In light of the above, it is worth noting that the additional documentation to be requested to be filed in support to each application shall be determined in accordance to the investment type as well as the particulars of each applicant and his family members.

Furthermore, the Permanent Residence Permit will be issued in the name of the main applicant and will includes the applicant’s dependents (namely his/her spouse and their minor children up to the age of 18 years). In this regard, it is noted that unmarried children between the ages of 18 and 25 can only apply for a separate Permanent Residence Permit in case they can prove that they are studying at a higher education institute abroad and that they are financially dependent on the applicant (different rules apply for adult children of the applicant studying in Cyprus). In such a case the applicant and/or his/her spouce must present an additional secured annual income of €5.000,00 (Euro Five Thousand) for each such dependent adult child.

A Permanent Residence Permit may also be granted to an adult child of the applicant who is not financially dependent on a higher value investment; in such a case, the market value of the investment, namely €300.000,00 (Euro Three Hundred Thousand), should be multiplied by the number of adult children, who will invoke the same investment for the purpose of obtaining a Permanent Residence Permit. It is understood that, in such a case, each adult child shall be obliged to prove that he/she has at his/her disposal a secured annual income of at least €30.000,00 (Euro Thirty Thousand).

Lastly, as regards the time frame for the examination of an application under the Revised PR Policy may take approximately two (2) months from the date of submission. In this regards, it is of utmost importance to note that once the application is approved, the applicant and his/her family must acquire permanent residency in the Republic of Cyprus within one (1) year; it is made clear that in case any of the applicant and/or his/her family members remain out of the Republic of Cyprus for more than two (2) years, the mechanism for the cancellation of the Permanent Residence Permit shall be triggered (pursuant to the provisions of Regulation 6 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations).

A scenic journey to the beauty of Cyprus!

Cyprus: an island ‘blessed’ with sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, magnificent beaches and golden sunsets! A piece of paradise that everyone can enjoy, while tasting its Mediterranean cuisine full of flavors! By visiting the island, you can discover even more idyllic scenes which you and your loved ones can explore. There are numerous fascinating journeys across the country with breathtaking green landscapes, picturesque vineyards and multiple winegrowing areas which you can discover either you live here or you came for holidays.

Cyprus is an ideal place for both adventure lovers and families who seek for unique experiences and views of nature’s best palette. Travel through charming little villages, winding roads and rugged coastlines and enjoy the scent of fresh air and bloomed flowers. The list below provides information of some of the greatest routes and outdoor spots of Cyprus, where you can uncover the beauty of its nature.

Cedar Valley, Paphos forest

Cedar Valley is a truly visual treat. Surrounded by lofty mountains and pine trees, the valley is the perfect location to enjoy tranquility, magnificent landscapes, wildlife and panoramic views. Located in Paphos district, the valley can serve a perfect spot for a quick picnic with friends or family, while its rich and unique beauty can complement your photo album of beautiful places across the world.

Avakas Gorge, Akamas district

One of the island’s most spectacular spots is Avakas Gorge! Located in Akamas breathtaking nature area, Avakas Gorge is a nature’s masterpiece which was created thousands of years ago by a river close to the area. It is nearly a 3-km gorge, covered out of limestone rocks up to 30-meters height and sheer rocks. If you are lucky enough, you may also have the chance to discover the in-danger-of-extinction plant, known as ‘centauria akamantis’, which can be found only in this area. The area is not only a wonder of natural architecture, but also a place rich in wildlife. At Akamas district you can come across many reptiles, hawks, rabbits, owls and foxes.

A note to remember: When visiting, assure you wear suitable shoes. The rocks can be very slippery!

 Winegrowing villages, Limassol-Paphos district

A trip to winegrowing villages of Cyprus can promises to be a gastronomic experience for every wine lover. In stone-wall architecture and picturesque streets in Limassol and Paphos you can find multiple villages where locals are practicing the art of wine tasting and production. Such villages are Vouni, Lofou, Omodos and Koilani, all gorgeous, sun-kissed and full of traditional flavors. 

Tzelefos Bridge, Paphos district

Tzelefos Bridge is a beautiful and captivating Venetian masterpiece located in Paphos district. Dressed in glorious nature, the bridge is the largest stone-bridge ever built in Cyprus which goes over river Diarizos. It stands as one of the most photographed attractions for both tourists and locals. Its rare beauty can magnetize each and every one. Make sure you visit the place at least once and you will fall in love!

Caledonia Falls, Troodos district

Last but not least, Caledonia Falls is a must-seen attraction in Cyprus. If you are attracted from beautiful waterfalls, this place will definitely steal your heart. It is located in the middle of the Caledonia nature trail, next to the village of Platres and Troodos square. When visiting the falls, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a truly dreamy nature scenery, accompanied with the sound of running water and nature’s wildlife. Once been there, take the chance to relax and enjoy a nice picnic.

If you are dreaming of such an ideal place to live, you can always contact our Immigration Department and learn everything you need to know for living in Cyprus. Here, at A. Karitzis & Associates, we can help you if you are interested either in migrating to Cyprus by means of acquiring the permanent residency status, and/or investors taking an interest in the Cyprus Citizenship Programme. Contact us for more

The principle of the freedom of movement of workers within the territory of the EU established by virtue of Article 45 TFEU now forms part of the Cyprus legal order following the enactment -for the purposes of harmonization with EU Directive 2004/38/EC- of Law L.7(I)/2007 (hereinafter ‘the Law’).

Pursuant to the provisions of the Law, European Union Citizens and their family members have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Republic of Cyprus (hereinafter “Republic”). The maximum period that a Union Citizen employed in Cyprus can reside in the Republic, without being registered, is three (3) months. European citizens who are employed in the Republic can stay in Cyprus therein for a period exceeding three (3) months provided they are registered with the Immigration Department within a further period of one (1) month from the expiration of the said three-month period.

For the issue of a Registration Certificate the European Union Citizen must submit the following documents: 

–          Application MEU1 fully completed and signed by the Applicant

–          Valid passports or identity cards for the applicant, his/her spouse and children (if any);

–          Two passport-sized photos for the applicant, his/her spouse and children (if any);

–          Recent Statement from the Social Insurance for the applicant (showing the name the respective employer and the salary);

–          Employment Contract of the applicant.

–          Recent letter from the Employer of the applicant confirming the employment and the salary;

–          An Employer’s Declaration (part of the Application) must be completed and signed by the Employer;

–          Marriage / Divorce Certificate (duly certified, apostilled and translated into Greek / English);

–          Birth Certificate of the children, if any (duly certified, apostilled and translated into Greek / English);

–          Duly certified and stamped Rental Agreement.

–          Bank statements showing that the applicant and his family have income in Cyprus.

In case the applicant is not employed in the Republic of Cyprus, kindly find below the list of documents required: 

–          Application MEU1 fully completed and signed by the Applicant

–          Valid passports or identity cards for the applicant, his/her spouse and children (if any);

–          Two passport-sized photos for the applicant, his/her spouse and children (if any);

–          Documents evidencing fixed or adequate income from employment outside the Republic or other legal sources;

–          Documents evidencing adequate deposits in Bank (bank statements for at least 3 months and abroad);

–          Certificate of comprehensive health insurance in the Republic.

–          Marriage / Divorce Certificate (duly certified, apostilled and translated into Greek / English);

–          Birth Certificate of the children, if any (duly certified, apostilled and translated into Greek / English);

–          Duly certified and stamped (at the Tax Department) valid Sales Agreement or Rental Agreement for the House.

–          Certificate of Custody (in case of divorce).

The Immigration Department of our law firm provides immigration services and undertakes the entire procedure for any application. Please feel free to contact us should you require any clarification and/or further information.

By virtue of the Decision of the Council of Ministers dated 15/02/2017 it is now permitted to founders, managers and employees of innovative startup businesses from third countries to enter, reside and work in the Republic of Cyprus without the need to follow the process of a temporary residence and employment permit as it is required under the provisions of the Aliens and Immigration Law (Cap. 105).

More specifically, the Startup Visa Scheme for Foreign Nationals of Non-EU Countries (hereinafter “the Scheme”), aims to attract and facilitate foreign investments to the sector of research and innovation by providing benefits such as the right to exercise economic activity and reside in the Republic of Cyprus for 1 year, with the possibility of renewal for at least another year and the right to self-employment or right to paid employment in the startup business within the Republic. In general, the Scheme grants permission to entrepreneurs (non-EU nationals and non-EEA nationals), to enter, reside and work in Cyprus in order to establish or operate or develop a startup with a high growth potential.

The benefits and the rights conferred upon the investors are related with the operating performance of the business and therefore upon successful performance of the business operations the founders, managers and employers are conferred the right of residence in the Republic without any maximum time restrictions as well as the right of enjoyment of family reunification.

The application period for the Scheme has been extended for two years. The revised Scheme is valid as from March 2019 to March 2021 and during this period, a maximum of 150 visas can be issued.

The procedural requirements that need to be followed and the criteria that need to be met by both businesses, founders and employees, who can apply either as individuals (Individual Scheme) or as a group (Team Scheme) are set below in details.

(A) REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BUSINESS

The Startup Visa Scheme is designed in order to facilitate investment in the sector of research and innovation. Therefore, the core requirement for the Scheme to be applied is for the business to be classified as innovative. A business will be considered as innovative if at least 10% of its operating costs, as certified by an external auditor, in at least one of the three years preceding the submission of the scheme application, is contributed towards research and development. In cases where the application concerns a newly founded business without any financial history, the evaluation will be made based on its Business Plan as submitted by the applicant;

The business’s head offices and tax domicile must be established in the Republic of Cyprus or its Business Plan must provide them to be established in the Republic of

Cyprus. The head offices may be common co-working spaces (e.g. business accelerators, incubators, digital hubs etc) or a co-location with other enterprises.

(B) INDIVIDUAL STARTUP SCHEME – REQUIREMENTS FOR FOUNDERS

The applicant must be a Non-EU or Non-EEA national and the only founder of the business with access to a capital fund of at least €20.000, including venture capital funding crowdfunding or any other source of funding;

He must be a holder of an undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification and he must have a good knowledge of the Greek and/or English language.

(C) TEAM STARTUP SCHEME – REQUIREMENTS FOR FOUNDERS

The team of applicants must consist of the founders of the business which can be of a maximum number of five (5) individuals OR of at least one founder and other senior executive(s), the number of which can be of a maximum of five (5) individuals. In the second case, the senior executive must be either a manager or a C-level employee and must have the right to a stock option in the business;

The aforesaid applicants must possess in total more than 50% of the company’s shares;

The founder must have access to a capital of €10.000 and in case of two or more founders the total capital must be €20.000, which may include venture capital funding, crowd funding or other sources of financing;

At least one of the team members must hold an undergraduate or an equivalent professional qualification and all team members must have a very good knowledge of Greek and/or English language.

 Application Procedure:

Step 1: Submission

-The application may be submitted either whilst applicant is abroad or while staying legally in the Republic.

-All documents submitted should be in English.

-A business plan must accompany the application, which must include the location/s where the enterprise is planning to operate in Cyprus and the number of employees the enterprise intends to recruit.

-CV

-Proof of knowledge of Greek or English language.

-Copy of valid passport or other travel document of the applicant, with a validity covering at least two (2) years, at the time of submission of the application.

-Bank Account Statements.

-If the application concerns an existing enterprise, recent audited accounts need to be submitted.

Step 2: Evaluation

The evaluation of the business plan is based on five (5) criteria, which are given points from 0-3 and at least 11/15 is required for approval.

-Significant international market with upward trends

-High-growth business with an innovative and expandable business model

-A clear and sustainable competitive advantage

-Management Team

-Intellectual Property Protection

Upon a positive evaluation result, a Notification of Initial Approval is given to the applicant. The Initial Approval grants the applicant with the right of exercising the business activity for two (2) years from the date the Notification is issued.

It is important to be mentioned that the application’s approval does not automatically guarantee a right of entry, residence or employment in the Republic to all applicants.

 Step 3: Application for a Visa or Entry Permit

Within six (6) months from receipt of the Notification of Initial Approval as above, the applicant, if abroad, must submit an application for a visa from the Consular Authorities of Cyprus or at the Migration Department in Cyprus to secure an entry permit or residence permit.

In the case of an entry permit application, the applicant must state if he or she intends to enter and reside in Cyprus for self or paid employment in his or her enterprise in Cyprus. In the case of paid employment, the company must already be registered with the Cyprus Registrar of Companies and an employment contract must be in place, with a monthly gross salary of at least €850.00. If the applicant is self-employed then proof of access to €10.000 per year for living expenses is needed.

If approved, the applicant should arrange the applicant’s entry into Cyprus within the validity period of the permit.

Step 4: Application for a Work and Residence permit

If the applicant is in Cyprus at the time of receiving the Notification of Initial Approval, within one (1) month the applicant must submit an application to the Migration Department to register and obtain a residence permit for the establishment/operation/development of a startup.

In the case of the applicant being a paid employee, the company (employer) must be registered at the Cyprus Registrar of Companies.

At the time of submission of this application and its supporting documents, the biometric data (photograph and fingerprints) as well as the signature of the applicant will be taken.

If approved, a residence permit will be issued, with a validity period of one (1) year commencing from the date of the Notification of Initial Approval.

Step 5: Application for the Renewal of a Residence Permit in Cyprus

The application for renewal should be filed at least one (1) month before the residence permit expires.

The supporting documents for renewal are amongst others proof of settlement of taxes (if any), social insurance contributions. Biometric data will be taken at the Migration Department as well as the signature of the applicant.

If approved the validity period will be for one (1) year.

Recruitment of Foreign Personnel

It is possible to transfer to the Team Scheme, provided that the requirements for that Scheme are met.

If the Team Scheme requirements cannot be met and/or the founder wishes to recruit in the enterprise additional foreign personnel, then the existing procedures for recruiting foreign personnel should be followed by obtaining the approval of the Labour Department. It is clarified that the Labour Department will approve additional recruitment of foreign personnel in the cases where the total number of foreign workers in the enterprise does not exceed 30% of the total staff.

For the purpose of employment at an innovative startup business, third country nationals can enter the Republic of Cyprus by obtaining an entry permit from the Civil Registry and Migration Department or a visa from the Consular Authorities of the Republic abroad. Then, within 7 days from their arrival in the Republic, the third country national must apply to the Civil Registry and Migration Department to be registered in the Aliens’ Registry. Moreover, he must apply within the aforesaid period to the Department for a temporary residence and employment permit. The validity of the permit depends on the duration of the employment contract and can be up to 1 year, with the right of renewal, provided that the business holds a valid Notification of Initial Approval or a Valid Notification of Intermediate Approval or a Notification of Final Approval issued by the Ministry of Finance.

What happens once the renewed residence permit expires?

Two (2) months before the expiration date of the renewed residence permit, the founder must submit a new application to the Competent Authority. The Competent Authority will evaluate whether the startup is successful by presenting sufficient

development (scale up) or has failed or despite not presenting sufficient development, has a positive potential of success.

The Competent Authority during its assessment will take into account the number of jobs created, the taxes paid by the enterprise, the enterprise’s exports, the enterprise’s revenue and any additional investments made within the enterprise.

The Competent Authority will take one of the following decisions:

a) The company is scaling up:

If the evaluation shows that the startup has achieved sufficient development (scale up), then the applicant will receive a relevant Notification of Final Approval, which will state the following:

i. In cases where there is a registered company with tax domicile in the Republic:

The personnel working in the company at the time that the Notification of FinalApproval is issued will be ensured the right of residence and employment in Cyprus, at the relevant company, with no time limit. For paid employees there will be a potential of a two-year issuance/renewal of residence permits and for the self-employed one year, by paying the corresponding fees. These persons will be able to directly exercise the right to family reunification, in accordance to immigration laws.

The company will be able to recruit additional foreign personnel, not exceeding three (3) individuals, without the prior approval of the Labour Department, provided that the latter will receive a gross monthly salary of at least €1,500. Such personnel shall be entitled to reside and be employed in the Republic, in the relevant company, with no maximum duration and if the provisions of the immigration law are met, be able to exercise the right to family reunification.

The company will be able to recruit additional foreign personnel following the established procedures relating to residence and employment of third country nationals, subject to the prior approval of the Labour Department. The General Employment Policy will be applied in the case of this personnel.

ii. In cases where there is no registered company with tax domicile in the Republic:

Self-employed persons in the enterprise at the time of the Notification of Final Approval will be ensured the right of residence and employment in the Republic, in the specific enterprise, with no time limit, with one-year renewal, and by paying the corresponding fees. They will be able to directly exercise the right to family reunification in accordance to the immigration laws.

The enterprise will be able to recruit additional foreign personnel but not exceeding three (3) individuals, without the prior approval of the Labour Department, provided that the latter will receive a monthly gross salary of at least €1,500. Such personnel shall be entitled to reside and be employed in the Republic, in the specific company, with no time limit and if the provisions of the immigration law are met, be able to exercise the right to family reunification.

The business will be able to recruit additional foreign personnel apart from the above, following the established procedures relating to residence and employment of third country nationals, subject to the approval of the Labour Department. For this kind of personnel, the policy governing General Employment will be applied. The self-employed founder with the larger number of shares in the enterprise will be considered as the employer. In the case of a partnership, shareholding is not taken into account. Each partner in a partnership pays social insurance fees as an independent self-employed person.

b) The enterprise has failed:

If the application’s evaluation is negative, the applicant will receive a notice by the Competent Authority, which will be notified also to the Department of Civil Registry and Migration and will state the need for the applicant to arrange to stay under a different migration status or depart from the Republic, as appropriate.

If the applicant was on a self-employed basis and wishes to continue to reside in the Republic for the purpose of paid employment, the applicant must depart from the Republic and follow the existing procedures providing approval from both the prospective employer and the applicant, from the Labour Department.

c) The enterprise, despite not presenting scale up, has a positive outlook for success:

If the assessment of the application by the Competent Authority considers that the startup, despite not presenting sufficient development, has a positive outlook for success, then the applicant will receive a Notification of Intermediate Approval.

Upon receipt of the Notification of Intermediate Approval, the applicant should immediately and before the expiration date of the residence permit held, apply to the Department of Civil Registry and Migration for renewal of his residence permit, by paying the corresponding fee, and submitting the required documents and biometric data.

In case of approval, the residence permit will be valid for one (1) year from the date of the Notification on Intermediate Approval and the applicant is notified accordingly.

Two (2) months before the expiration date of the renewed residence permit, the founder will have to re-apply to the Competent Authority for final evaluation of whether the startup has succeeded or has failed.

The regulatory framework with regards to the hiring of third country nationals for exchanges, career development, internships or other non-economic purposes that has only recently been re-formed by the adoption of the Law on Aliens and Immigration (Prerequisites for entrance and residence of Third Country nationals for the purpose of research, studies, training, voluntary work, exchange of pupils or education program) (Law 7(I)/2019), was adopted to align with the Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing.

According to the aforesaid newly introduced legislation, entrance visas and residence permits are granted to third country nationals purporting to enter the Republic of Cyprus and temporarily reside thereat for the purpose of research, studies, training, voluntary work, educational projects or in the course of exchange of pupils programs. In this respect, it is worth to mention that it is up to the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cyprus to determine the volumes of admission of third-country nationals (except so far as students are related), considering and/or relying on the proposal of the Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance and following consultation with the involved social partners.

In particular and subject to the specific rules and regulation governing each of the qualifying categories, the right to apply for such a permit is vested to persons falling under any of the following categories:

(a)    researchers holding a doctoral degree or a similar qualification are entitled to be granted access to doctoral programmes and/or research organizations for the purpose of conducting research activity associated with the researcher’s degree or title, for a period of at least 1 year (with a right to renew) or for the duration of the research, if shorter; in this regards, it should be stressed that researchers covered by community or multilateral programs containing mobility measures may be entitled to a longer permit.

 (b)   students admitted to a full-time academic course (researcher’s main activity) leading to a higher education qualification (duly recognized in the Republic of Cyprus), including any academic foundation programme and/or training course, are entitled to a permit for a period of at least 1 year (with a right to renew) or for the duration of the research, if shorter; in this regards, it should be stressed that students covered by community or multilateral programs containing mobility measures or by agreements concluded between higher education institutes may be entitled to a longer permit.

 (c)    pupils admitted to a state or regional programme of secondary education (duly recognized by the Republic of Cyprus) in the course of a recognized pupil exchange scheme or educational project are entitled to a permit for the duration of the program they attend or for a year at maximum (with a right to renew once for such additional period as required for the completion of the relevant program);

 (d)   trainees, holding a higher education degree or attending an academic course in a third country leading to a higher education qualification (duly recognized in the Republic of Cyprus), who aim to attend a training program and/or course for the purpose of gaining knowledge, practice and experience in a professional field are entitled to a permit for a year or for the duration of the training if shorter or for a period equal to the relevant agreement for training (with a right to renew once); and

 (e)   volunteers purporting to participate to a voluntary service program and/or scheme in the Republic of Cyprus, is entitled to a permit for the period of the relevant agreement.

In light of the above and in so far as the family members of third country nationals admitted to the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of engaging in non-economic purposes are concerned, it is of utmost importance to clarify that, subject to the satisfaction of the criteria and/or exceptions set out in the Cyprus law, only researches holding a valid permit are entitled to apply for family reunification in order for their family members (irrespective of whether the family relations have been established prior or after the date the third country national entered the Republic) to enter and reside in the Republic of Cyprus. In case of approval of such an application, a residency permit is granted to the applicant’s family members for a period of a year with the right for such residence period to be renewed provided that its duration shall not exceed the expiry date of the applicant’s residence permit.

Subject to the specific provisions of the respective legislation, the notion of ‘family members’ includes the researcher’s spouse as well as his minor, unmarried and financially dependent children. In this regards, it is underlined that in order for the partner of such a third country national to be qualified as a family member of the latter, he/she must be married to the said third country national either by religious marriage or by way of a civil marriage or civil union, which -subject to the provisions of the Cyprus laws- are considered as legal marriages. Although the religious and civil marriage are only available to heterosexual couples, the civil union arrangement is available for homosexual couples as well; however, in so far as the notion of ‘family members’ is concerned, it should be stressed that the civil union arrangement does not give the spouses any of the rights granted under the Law on Adoption (Law 19(I)/1995) or the Law on the Application of Medically Assisted Human Reproduction (Law 69(I)/2015), the scope of which is in fact limited to heterosexual couples who have committed a legal marriage or the like or they are in a stable and lasting relationship.