All About Moving to Cyprus for Permanent Residence - answering popular questions

Все о переезде на Кипр на ПМЖ из России – отвечаем на популярные вопросы
17 February 2021 Maria Markovna

If you dream of living in a sunny European country, then Aphrodite Island is an ideal place, regardless of whether you intend to study, work or spend your retirement here. 

Warm, beautiful, safe - these are just a few reasons why Russians are considering moving to Cyprus. After getting to know the island better, many of them seek to buy housing here and put down roots. 

Thanks to the large Russian diaspora in Cyprus, our compatriots do not face problems regarding mentality and language barrier. A huge number of shops, restaurants and various business services are aimed at fruitful work and doing business with Russians. The legislation does not restrict the possibility of employment of foreign citizens. Observing all the bureaucratic procedures, you can safely open your own business and develop on the island.

In addition, the favorable business climate attracts investors from all over the world to the country. The strategic location of the island at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia is an important factor, because of which many leading multinational corporations with a worldwide reputation choose it as their headquarters.

Cyprus is an excellent option for the residence of Russians, both for modern youth and older people.

The mild microclimate of this country has a positive effect on the human body, it is especially useful for those who complain of rheumatic pains and suffer from cardiovascular diseases. By the way, most pensioners mistakenly believe that the payment of their pension will stop after moving to the island, but this is not the case. You just need to write an application for the transfer of deductions in advance and continue to receive your earned money.

As you can see, the country is open to both working-age people and pensioners. You will definitely not stay here without a job and a pension. The country has a high standard of living at low prices, so this island has all the opportunities to increase your capital without limiting yourself in anything and fully enjoying the European standard of living.

The educational system does not lag behind the advanced countries. In addition to a huge number of Greek schools, there are also English-speaking and Russian-language schools. This means that your child is guaranteed to receive a high level of knowledge without infringement and language barrier.

A rapidly developing country creates all modern conditions for a comfortable life, and in combination with ideal nature, this island becomes the best place to live.

But let's talk about all this in more detail!

Comfortable living and recreation conditions and beautiful nature in Cyprus

First of all, it is worth noting the climate – it is warm here all year round. Even in the coldest period, which lasts from December to February, the average daytime temperature is 15-20 degrees. You can swim in the purest sea from April to November, there are many beaches awarded with the Blue Flag.

But Cyprus is not only the sea, but also the mountains. The Troodos mountain range and the highest point of Olympos is a place where, if desired, you can even ski in winter. There are also many picturesque villages, monasteries and waterfalls in these mountains. So those who at some point got tired of the hustle and bustle of the city and the noise of tourists can get out into the mountains at any time.

It is impossible not to mention ecology. There is no heavy industry on the island, at the same time there is a large-scale forest area, as a result, the cleanest air. Of course, this has a positive effect on the well-being and health of those who live in Cyprus. The country's authorities take the environment very seriously and do not allow the slightest air or water pollution.

If we summarize the above, then everyone will really find something for themselves on the island: more than 330 sunny days a year and the possibility of ski holidays for two or three winter months, relaxation on the beach, the sea with crystal clear water, the opportunity to explore untouched nature trails and see many ancient sights.

In other words, foreigners most often move to the island because here:

  1. High level of security and compliance with domestic legislation.
  2. A relatively simplified procedure for obtaining a residence permit, permanent visa and citizenship in the future.
  3. Moderate pricing policy.
  4. Low taxes.
  5. A large number of people who moved from Russia and the former CIS countries.
  6. Affordable and high-quality education for children.

Who chooses Cyprus for life

I divide all Russian speakers into 4 groups:

  1. The first earned good money at home, bought a luxury apartment in Limassol and received a local passport or permanent residence.
  2. The latter significantly worked as lawyers, accountants or travel agents in Moscow, and then one day they received an offer from their boss to move to a new Cyprus office that had just been built in Nicosia.
  3. Another, so far not numerous, but the most promising group is remoters. These same IT specialists, accountants and representatives of a dozen other professions who can work from anywhere in the world. Their salary is usually significantly lower than all the previous ones, so they rent a small apartment in a residential suburb of Paphos.
  4. And finally, do not forget about the thousands of Russian-speaking girls who married Cypriots, saying goodbye to their former lives. There is nothing to add here, except that this is a group for which I have a special respect. But about everything in order.

Reasons for moving

The reason for moving to sunny island may be:

  1. Reuniting with close relatives.
  2. Availability of own residential real estate on the territory of this island state.
  3. Availability of an employment contract with a Cypriot employer.
  4. Marriage with a Cypriot.
  5. The presence of successful business activity in this European state.
  6. Investments in the economy.

The main thing to know is that it is impossible to move to the country unreasonably. 

It is noteworthy that Cyprus willingly accepts refugees. The grounds for sending a request for political asylum in Cyprus for this category of people are:

  1. Military actions on the territory of the applicant's country.
  2. Illegal harassment by law enforcement agencies.
  3. Threat to the applicant's life.

How to join the local community?

Method one. His own among his own

It is very easy for a Russian-speaking person to migrate to the island. Yes, there is nothing impossible in this. You can get a simple residence permit and extend it as many times as you want before obtaining Cypriot citizenship. Or you can fly in for a couple of months on a pro-visa and spend six months a year here, but with breaks. These are legal matters. The Russian community will help in practical matters.

My girlfriend and I flew to the island for the first time as tourists in the winter of 2018. We decided to survive the difficult St. Petersburg winter in a village near Larnaca. We rented a two-room apartment for €350 100 meters from the sea. Russian russians are all around, everyone speaks Russian: the neighbors are Bulgarians, the sellers are Romanians, all questions about life in an unknown country were answered by the Russian owner of the apartment.

We liked the island and decided to try to get a local residence permit, becoming the very third group - remote workers.

Through a Russian realtor, we rented a one-room (room + large studio) apartment for € 300 in Larnaca, in the same village, 100 meters from our old house, with the same neighbors — Russian-speaking Bulgarians and Romanians. Russian Russian made insurance for us, a Russian opened an account in the Bank of Cyprus, Russians were also able to prompt us according to the documents.

Our communication consisted entirely of Russians. Russian Russians, Russians and Russians are the only ones who have gatherings in cafes, trips out of town, evening drinking in bars. There was a feeling that we were not in Cyprus, but in Sochi. We exchanged one Russian city for another.

The second way is a stranger among his own

If you open You Tube or Google in search of information about the move, you will find an interesting pattern. Among the top stories there will be not only stories of a "successful" move to an island with a happy ending in search of yourself and your place in the sun. There are many stories there about why the Russians left Cyprus. To be more precise, they fled.

Yes, Cyprus is a Russian island. The first two months, six months, a year — from whom as.

Until the euphoria of the move passed, until the paradise of Mediterranean life turned into everyday life. And as soon as it turned, the view of the country and its "Russianness" changes quickly. And here the Mediterranean paradise can become a real hell.

This happened to my girlfriend, with whom we tried to leave Russia for many years and settled in Cyprus. The one with whom we traveled so much and tried on life in different countries, whether it was the USA or Greece, where there was no such Russian diaspora.

What happened?

Of course, the bad winter weather, the inability to heat the house, the lack of a car, without which it is not easy to live, the high cost of Cyprus itself after the incredible economical Thessaloniki had a negative impact on the attitude towards Cyprus. But the main thing was that there was simply nothing to do here.

I do not know how many Russian-speakers live in the country. Somewhere they write "10 thousand foreigners from Russia”, somewhere they note "40 thousand speakers of Russian as their native language” (which does not contradict the first one in any way). Yes, even if "ours” will be 100 thousand scattered around the big island. This is negligible.

My girlfriend came from St. Petersburg. There is a lot of life there, millions of people are rushing somewhere every day — to work, to study, to meet friends. Every day there are some events for every taste, any color, any age, any state of intoxication.

Similarly, life is in full swing in New York, in Thessaloniki, anywhere but here. Nothing happens in Cyprus at all!

The situation is complicated by the Russian diaspora, which really helps to settle on the island and love it as a second homeland. Thanks to the diaspora, it is possible not to learn the language, not to get acquainted with local people, with local customs. 

But having exhausted yourself in this diaspora, you suddenly realize that there is nothing else for you. After all, everything that is not Russian Cyprus is alien and completely incomprehensible. There are three choices left: to run, to endure and to be a Cypriot.

The first three groups have this choice. The latter (the spouse of the Cypriots) - there is no choice, they have nowhere to run, it is most difficult for them. For this they have a lot of respect from me.

The third way is your own among strangers

The real Cyprus is inaccessible to a certain part of migrants who have moved from Russia, Europe or Syria. The reason is simple — to become a Cypriot, you need to lose yourself. You need to stop being yourself, the one you know so well. You need to erase a part of yourself and then write it all over again on this white sheet.

And here it turns out that the country is the same real abroad, which is no different from the USA, Greece or Lebanon. Here you also need to learn the language, culture, change the mentality if you want to become part of a new world, if you want to become your own among strangers.

The first task for me was to abandon Russian and English.

You go into a store, you pass by a Romanian saleswoman, and you're looking for Cypriots. You communicate only in Greek, even if this Greek is at the zero level. Yes, at first it's hard, or better to say, it hurts. But nowhere without it. A month later it became easier, a year later - there were no problems in communication anymore.

The second task was to create a new environment, which was to consist of locals, with an extremely small admixture of Russians and other foreigners. Otherwise, there is no way. Yes, at first it was difficult, boring and incomprehensible. But then everything changed quickly. It helped me that I spent a lot of time in Cypriot universities in my specialty and began to communicate with my peers. With them, Cypriotization was in full swing.

A couple of years later, it all led to two results:

  1. First— I began to feel at home.
  2. The second one is my homeland, I don't have another one like that.

Here, on the island, there are pros and cons, but you can't get away from them. But, this is my home, my country, my future. All language, cultural and other barriers suddenly collapsed. I became my own among strangers.

Second— I lost touch with my home and the Russian world. I rarely go there (in Russia, in Russian Cyprus), rather I invite old friends from St. Petersburg to stay. They arrive with pleasure and are very surprised. After all, I have become different, my attitude to life, my lifestyle, my thoughts, everything has changed. Everything is okipriotised. And for my old friends, for my relatives, I became different (this is not good and not bad, but normal). I became a stranger among my own.

How to get permanent residence in Cyprus

Issue a Pink Slip

If you want to live on the island and you have financial means or a permanent source of income, then you can move to Cyprus by obtaining a temporary residence permit from the migration authorities — the so-called visitor pink slip without the right to work on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus.

It should be taken into account that Pink Slip has a number of disadvantages and limitations that are not suitable for everyone. The main ones are the need to renew the residence permit every year and the fact that the applicant cannot be absent from the country for more than three months.

In general, the main point is that the state allows you to move and stay legally on the territory of the country, provided that you will only spend and earn nothing here, thus attracting finance. Therefore, such a visa is designed primarily for people with passive income.

An important nuance for cunning people who want to get a Pink Slip and work in a quiet way: it does not give the right to engage in any activity, even volunteer! Therefore, if you get caught, saying: "yes, I worked for free, I helped" is completely useless. Instant deportation and entry into the stop list is provided.

Apply for a category F visa

An alternative option would be to obtain permanent residence in category F. It is worth noting that this type of permit was originally intended for British citizens who intend to spend their years on the island after retirement, buy real estate here and receive a pension from the UK to a Cyprus bank account.

However, this category applies not only to Britons and not only to pensioners. Category F can be claimed by those who own and have at their disposal a guaranteed annual income sufficient to allow them to lead a decent life without being involved in business, trade or any other professional activity.

In fact, this is a stripped-down version of permanent residence. If certain conditions are met, it operates permanently. There is no need to change or extend it. The main difference from the classic version is that the category F visa does not provide for the right to work and, like Pink Slip, is designed primarily for people with passive income.

The procedure for obtaining such a visa is not much more complicated than the procedure for obtaining a pink slip. Although intermediaries often try to rip off a tidy sum from uninformed foreigners for help in this procedure.

A category F visa entitles you to legally move and reside in the Republic of Cyprus. But it does not give the right to work on the island. You can apply for category F without having any housing in Cyprus at all, except for rented.

Get permanent residence under the accelerated program

Permanent residence is a legal status that allows citizens of non-EU countries to enter and stay in the republic without restrictions. This status does not expire and does not need to be renewed. Five years of residence in this status gives the right to obtain citizenship.

In order to quickly obtain documents, those who have moved from Russia need to invest at least 300 thousand euros in one of the following categories of investments:

  1. Investment in housing: purchase of a house or apartment from a developer, which should include the first sale from a developer company in the amount of at least 300 thousand euros (plus VAT).
  2. Purchase of other types of real estate, such as offices, shops, hotels or similar developments, or a combination of them for a total amount of 300 thousand euros or more. These objects can also be purchased on the secondary market.
  3. Investments in the share capital of a Cyprus company operating and having employees: investments in the amount of 300 thousand euros in the share capital of a company registered in the Republic of Cyprus, based and operating in the country and having a confirmed physical presence and a staff of at least five (5) people.
  4. Investments in shares of the Cyprus Collective Investment Organization (type AIF, AIFLNP, RAIF): investments in the amount of 300 thousand euros in shares of collective investments of the Cyprus Investment Organization. It is understood that any alienation of the holder of an immigration permit from his investments without their immediate replacement by another of the same or greater value, which must comply with the conditions set out in this procedure, will entail the activation of the license cancellation procedure in accordance with the provisions of article 6 of the Rules on Foreigners and Immigration.

Obtaining permanent residence in Cyprus under an accelerated procedure has many advantages:

  1. The issue period is 2 months.
  2. As soon as Cyprus enters the Schengen area, persons with a permanent residence permit will have the right to free movement in this zone.
  3. A residence permit is granted to the applicant's spouse, their minor children, financially dependent adult children under 25 years of age (if they are not married), as well as to the parents of the applicant and the applicant's spouse.
  4. Persons with a permanent residence permit can freely enter and stay in the country without a visa.
  5. Holders of this status are not required to actually move to Cyprus. The only condition is that they need to visit Cyprus at least once every two years.
  6. Persons with a permanent residence permit have a "second home".
  7. The presence of this status in itself does not affect tax liabilities. Actual residence leads to obtaining Cyprus citizenship (currently after 7 years, that is, 2.555 days of residence within 10 calendar years).

How can I get Cyprus citizenship?

Citizenship of an island State is granted in the following cases:

  1. A citizen or a citizen of the Russian Federation has been officially married to a Cypriot for 3 or more years.
  2. The resident has been living in the territory of the State in question for more than 7 years.
  3. The resident has no problems with the law of the citizenship in question.
  4. This citizen knows Greek at least at the level of communication.
  5. The resident is familiar with the local legislation and strictly follows its regulations.
  6. The permanent and official income of this citizen is sufficient for a comfortable stay on the island.

Given the relatively soft migration policy, it is also possible to become citizens of the European state in question on the basis of refugee status. To do this, you need to get an official job, get a residence permit over time and establish yourself as a law-abiding citizen.

Alternative options for moving to Cyprus for permanent residence

In addition to the standard ways of moving to permanent residence in Cyprus, the following alternative options can be distinguished:

  1. Engaging in volunteer activities. Like most European Union countries, the Government of the island State in question encourages volunteers. It is very easy for such people to get a residence permit and move, and then get citizenship in the future.
  2. Greek or Cypriot ethnic origin. There are repatriation programs on the territory of the Republic.
  3. The applicant for citizenship of Cyprus has additional European citizenship.

The last option from the above is the most profitable in the financial sense and in terms of saving time. On the territory of the EU, a simplified procedure for obtaining a second European citizenship is provided. 

Work in Cyprus

You can get a basic impression of what kind of country is waiting for you with the help of numbers. The population of the island is slightly more than 1.2 million people. Most of the IT companies are located in Limassol — its population is about 235 thousand people - or in Nicosia - it is the capital with 330 thousand people.

The island is very compact: its size is only 3.5 times larger than Moscow. Accordingly, it is not so easy to find a job and move.

Therefore, I advise you to first address the issue of employment and only then plan the move. I will not tell you how and where to look for work, there are a lot of special sites and forums. Better let's talk about how the move is going.

The procedure for relocating specialists who have received an offer from a Cyprus company is quite simple. You need to prepare a small package of documents to move to live in Cyprus. Here's what you need to take with you:

  1. A foreign passport valid for at least 2 more years.
  2. Internal passport with a residence permit.
  3. Certificate of no criminal record.
  4. Diploma of higher/ secondary special education.
  5. Resume in English.

Upon arrival on the island, you will need to open a bank account (usually an employer helps to do this) and rent an apartment. The confirmation from the bank and the lease agreement must be attached to the package of documents and submit all this to the migration service.

After that, the applicant will receive a so-called pink slip - this is a work visa that gives the right to work in a particular company. Family members are given non-working visas. The terms of consideration of documents are 1-3 months.

Officially, the European Blue Card program also operates in the country, but in practice the quotas for it are currently zero, so in fact it will not work to move to live in the country in this way. At least until January 1, 2022, as large-scale changes in this area are coming.

In case of termination of the work contract, the employee is given 1 month to leave the republic or find another job — you need to remember this and build a career accordingly.

As a rule, companies hiring foreigners help them to move, take on expenses, purchase insurance, pay for lunches for employees. In some cases, you can even count on temporary housing and car rental for the first time on the island.

In general, Cyprus is a relatively loyal country to visitors. The main unspoken principle of migration policy for Russians is: "if you are ready to pay, then come." However, there are many nuances in the procedure for obtaining a basis for living on the island, which it is better to get acquainted with thoroughly. Otherwise, some scoundrels will charge you 2 or even 5 thousand euros for help with paperwork, despite the fact that almost all procedures can be completed independently and completely free of charge.

The material is written by the author of DOM LiVE, personal life experience.

See also:

  1. Permanent residence in Cyprus - permanent residence permit through real estate investments (link)
  2. Overview of the Paphos real estate rental market (link)
  3. Where is it good for a Russian to live? In Cyprus! (link)
  4. Citizens of which countries dream of getting a Cyprus passport? (link)
  5. How to get a higher education in Cyprus? (link)
Source: DOM LiVE
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