CEO of Cyprus Sotheby's International Realty Anastasia Yianni: 7 main reasons to relocate to Cyprus
The easy and fast programme for obtaining a permanent residence permit in Cyprus in exchange for a property investment encourages a lot of people to make a decision to relocate to Cyprus. Moving to a new place is a big step even for one person, let alone an entire family. But there are many who decide to take a plunge. Managing Director of Cyprus Sotheby's International Realty Anastasia Yianni explains why and reveals 7 main reasons in favour of relocation to Cyprus for families and businesses.
Talking about the reasons that make people move to the island I will not dwell on the atmosphere of Cyprus or on emotional side but will talk more about practical view.
1. First, it is the friendly environment. In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons that is fundamentally important for those who move: to feel at home. This means that if you are considering physically relocating with your family, you have the opportunity to adjust fairly quickly without feeling the discomfort of being in a foreign country. This is because Cyprus is home to a lot of foreigners, and Cyprus' history has contributed to a tolerant multicultural environment.
2. Developed infrastructure. In the past 10 years, Cyprus has made great progress in creating the necessary living conditions for people who are used to the comforts of metropolitan life. This includes new roads, sports, educational and healthcare facilities, which are being built and upgraded all over the island.
3. Education. For families coming to Cyprus with children, one of the crucial points is giving them a good education. In Cyprus, parents have many options to choose from - both private and public education.
4. Taxes. Cyprus has a clear jurisdiction and is part of the European Union. Comfortable taxation in Cyprus works for both individuals and businesses.
5. Business opportunities. Cyprus authorities focus on actively attracting international business and foreign investment, so the island has additional tax incentives for both the relocation of existing companies and the establishment of new ones. We are now seeing more and more companies moving their employees here.
6. The current residence permit programme in exchange for investment. The program is simple and straightforward, provided that you understand the whole procedure, the requirements, as well as your guarantees.
7. Cyprus Laws. The legal system of Cyprus is based on British law, so they are understandable to a foreigner and allow you to feel secure in any real estate transaction here.
What makes Cyprus property attractive
There are 4 main drivers of investor interest: lifestyle, investment, immigration and residency opportunities and tax optimisation.
Lifestyle is dictated by the advantages of living in Cyprus. First and foremost is Cyprus' climate: the island has 340 sunny days a year. Cyprus is one of the warmest regions of Europe, which is why it is quite warm even in winter. The average temperature is +30 Celsius in summer and +15 Celsius in winter.
There is no industry in Cyprus, therefore the environment is good and clean. Cyprus is also very friendly -
Cypriots are known to be very hospitable to foreigners. There is also a good network of flights connecting the country to the rest of the world: although you're on the island you don't feel isolated. Cyprus is also one of the safest countries in the EU.
Cyprus has 0% tax on passive income for non-domiciled individuals, 0% property tax, 0% inheritance tax, 5% pension tax, and 12.5% corporation tax.
There are 2 options in Cyprus for obtaining healthcare services. If you have a permanent residence permit, you have access to the national insurance system called GESY. This system means that you have a family doctor who refers you to the right specialists or prescribes tests and medicines. An appointment under this system is only €6. If you do not have a permanent residence permit, a consultation with a doctor in a private hospital will cost you about €35-€50.
Education in Cyprus public schools is free for everyone but the teaching language would be Greek. In addition, parents can choose from public schools which have classes in English, French or German. Tuition fees vary from school to school but the average cost for primary school is €3,000 - €6,000. Apart from basic education there is a wide range of additional activities: tennis, football, dancing, music and painting. There are colleges and universities in Cyprus which are actively developing and aiming for European and world rankings.
The ease of obtaining a permanent residence permit
Apart from permanent residency in Cyprus, it is also possible to obtain a temporary residence permit, as well as the so-called category F long term residence permit, which takes up to 16-18 months to obtain. Currently, more and more people and families planning to move in Cyprus choose to apply through the fast track procedure by investing in real estate.
1. Cyprus is the only country that offers permanent residency, not temporary.
2. The low investment threshold for permanent residence status: investing €300 000+VAT is sufficient.
3. No need to renew the status. Furthermore the investor, his/her spouse plus two more generations receive the residency status: the children (if dependent) and the parents of the investor or the investor's spouse.
4. The applicants don’t need to have an interview, a language test or a medical examination.
5. The minimum requirement for keeping the Permanent Residence Permit is to visit the island for 1 day every 2 years in case you are not planning to physically live in the country.
6. There are no tax consequences.
7. Fast processing of application. The time needed to obtain the Permanent Residence Permit is around 4-5 months from submitting the application.
All of the above applies to individuals. Let’s say, you want to move your business. Today's reality is that more and more businesses are relocating to Cyprus. Here it is important to note that the Cypriot government sees the repatriation of businesses from all over the world as part of a larger programme to attract investment to the island. Cyprus has even set up a separate authority to deal with fast-track applications to open companies where the main beneficiary is a foreigner.
Why are more and more companies choosing to relocate to Cyprus?
Most of the time the choice is for purposes of tax optimization, opening an account with European banks, officially conducting business in the European Union and operating a business in Europe to preserve, protect and enhance the assets, obtaining Cyprus tax residency status and being able to move employees and their family members to Cyprus.