On the 17th of February 2017, the House of Parliament has approved the so-called Start-Up Visa 2017-2019, for third country nationals. The scheme aims to attract third country nationals, who wish to reside and work in Cyprus in order to establish / develop / operate an innovative business in the Republic with high growth potential.
The application period for the scheme has been extended for a period of two years, 2019-2021 and will now be further extended for the years 2021-2023.
The scheme allows for two type of investors;
- individuals and
- groups (or team) of investors
The procedural requirements that need to be followed and the criteria 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:
- Definition of innovative business: A business is 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 based on the company’s Business Plan submitted upon application
- The business must be domiciled in Cyprus with actual legal substance. (office space, employees etc.)
- Applicants must be Non-EU nationals.
- The investors, be it individuals or group of investors must have a start-up capital of at least EUR 20.000 which may also include venture capital funding, crowdfunding or other funding.
- Applicant must hold an undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification.
- Fluent either in Greek or English.
- In case of group start-up visa scheme, the maximum number of five persons (at least one founder and other senior executives with the right to stock option) are eligible to apply for a Cyprus Start-up visa.
- Successful applicants of innovative businesses established in the Republic may be eligible of EUR500.000 state funding
Advantages of the Cyprus Start-up Visa
The approved investors will benefit from the following:
- Residence and work permit in Cyprus for one year, with renewal rights for at least another year.
- Right to be employed by their own company in Cyprus.
- Possibility to receive permanent residence permit in Cyprus in case the business succeeds.
- Ability to hire a specific number of staff from non-EU countries without prior approval of the Department of Labour, in case of success of the business.
- Family reunification, if the business succeeds.
- The evaluation of the success or failure of the business will be assessed by the Ministry of Finance or by the relevant authorities at the end of the second year by taking into consideration the number of employees, taxes paid in Cyprus, exports and the extent to which the company promotes research and innovation.
- The Cyprus Start-up Visa is an excellent opportunity for talented entrepreneurs and their executives from third countries to move to the 5th safest country in the world and to establish their own innovative start-up companies in the European Union.
- Cyprus is the best place to do business within the EU, apart from the tax advantages it offers many more advantages for entrepreneurs and for their businesses. You may read more about Cyprus and its advantages on our website here.
- Excellent Tax Optimization Benefits via the IP Box taxation of Cyprus (more info)
- Strong technological understanding and advisory on legal tech matters
- Extensive experience in previous start-ups and innovative businesses
- Strong Portfolio of IP holding companies in Cyprus
- Collaboration with local start-up supports and Research and Development Centers.
- You may also check out our Startup and E-Commerce services