Cyprus Immigration Process: The Yellow Slip, Permanent Residency and Citizenship
Dealing with the immigration process and paperwork is one of the most stressful aspects of moving to a foreign country. The requirements tend to be complicated, the official documents are rife with obscure, technical terms, and the list of things you need to get and do seems to have no end. Knowing that there are so many potential mistakes you can make and so many things that can go wrong along the way, there is little wonder why most feel overwhelmed by this process.
Here’s the good news though. The Cyprus immigration process is nothing like that. In fact, the legal aspects of the immigration procedures in Cyprus are straightforward and you can complete the process of obtaining a residency in a short time. Thanks to that, moving to Cyprus is relatively stress-free for both the EU residents and visitors from non-EU countries.
Still, to successfully obtain your residency, you should be familiar with the basics of Cyprus immigration rules. This will help you avoid potential issues and, likely, save you a lot of time and money.
Once you’ve completed the process and obtained your residency, you will be able to make the most of Cyprus’ financial and economic potential as well as enjoy certain legal protections and privileges.
In this chapter, you will learn the most relevant facts about the laws regulating the Cyprus immigration process. Read on to learn what requirements you need to meet and what steps you need to take to live, work, and establish yourself in Cyprus.
Cyprus Immigration Process Explained
First, you should know that the Cyprus immigration process differs for EU residents and non-EU citizens. However, in both cases the procedures are uncomplicated.
- EU nationals/residents need to apply for a Registration Certificate for EU Nationals, commonly known as the yellow slip, to live and work legally in Cyprus
- Non-EU citizens should apply for a Temporary Residence Permit often referred to as the pink slip
- Foreign citizens or nationals who meet specific legal requirements can be granted permanent residency
- Cyprus government also designed a legal framework that allows certain individuals to apply for and obtain Cypriot citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP)
EU Nationals or Residents Moving to Cyprus
All nationals or citizens of the EU member states are allowed to freely enter and stay in Cyprus without a visa for up to three months. Additionally, during this time, visitors from the EU can participate in economic and financial activities with no paperwork required.
The same rules apply for nationals or residents of countries pertaining to the European Economic Area (EEA) - that is, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
On the other hand, if you want to stay longer than three months, you must apply for a Registration Certificate for EU Nationals. This certificate is commonly known as yellow slip because it is written on a yellow paper.
The yellow slip gives you the right to work and reside in Cyprus for more than three months. It also gives you the ability to obtain to the medical card, register your car or enroll your children in a Cyprus school.
It is important to note that a failure to obtain the yellow slip may not only be a significant obstacle to fully the social and economic benefits but also result in costly fines.
How Do I Get the Yellow Slip?
The process of applying for a yellow slip is straightforward. Here, you will find a step-by-step explanation of it along with the list of documents you must submit when applying.
Step 1: Within the first 4 months of your stay, you should apply for the yellow slip. You can submit an application in your local immigration office (these are located in all the districts of Cyprus).
Step 2: You need to book an appointment in one of such immigration offices in advance. A lawyer can book an appointment for you and accompany you to help you apply for this permit. However, you must submit the application personally. We advise you to book an appointment at least 3 to 4 weeks before the 4-month deadline.
Documents You’ll Need Take to the Appointment
At the immigration office, you will have to fill out a copy of the MEU51 form and present the following documents:
- Proof of employment
- Proof of address (e.g. copy of your lease agreement)
- Your valid passport or ID and photocopies
- Two passport-size photographs
- Application fee of €20
- Proof of comprehensive health insurance in the Republic (if asked)
Important Information to Consider
- This certificate does not expire (even if you leave Cyprus for a while) and you will not have to re-apply or renew it
- It is advisable to contact a Cyprus immigration lawyer to assist you throughout the procedure, even if it appears to be a straightforward process. It will help you avoid any inconveniences that might lead to you paying costly fines
Temporary Residency for Non-EU Citizens or Nationals
As a non-EU citizen or national, if you are planning to travel for business or leisure, you need to get a short-stay visa. This visa is valid for 90 days and you can use it to enter Cyprus one or several times during this period.
However, if you decide to stay for more than 90 days, you will have to apply for the pink slip. This permit allows you to reside temporarily on the island. As it is the case with the yellow slip, the pink one received its name due to the colour of the paper it is printed on.
In other words, the pink slip is a temporary residence permit which allows non-EU residents to stay for up to 4 years in Cyprus.
Depending on the purpose of your travel, you will be entitled to one of the following residence permit categories:
- Student Visa
- Employment Visa
- Visitor Visa
Pink Slip for Students
This visa is for students coming from outside of the EU and are enrolled in one of Cyprus universities or any educational institution for long-term studies.
- The students should initiate the application process from their home country through a Cyprus Embassy or Consulate.
Pink Slip for Employees
The employee's visa is meant for workers with specific qualifications and skills that a Cyprus-based company requires. In this case, the employer is the one who needs to submit an application in the District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police or at the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
Yet, the employee should personally register him- or herself with the District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police and complete the appropriate paperwork.
Pink Slip for Visitors
Regarding the visitor’s visa, it applies when a non-EU resident is:
- Married to a Cyprus citizen
- A citizen’s parents-in-law
- A foreign-born child
- A person who does not need a work permit (have enough funds not to work in Cyprus)
Pink Slip: What Documents Do You Need?
- Photocopies of: the first page of your passport and the page showing the last entry stamp
- Bank statements (proof of funds or sources of income)
- Copy of an employment contract
- Marriage certificate with apostille translation
- Children’s birth certificate with apostille translation
- 4 photographs
- Medical insurance
- Application fee of €140
As for those applying for the yellow slip, we strongly recommend consulting a lawyer before applying.
Permanent Residency for Non-EU Citizens or Nationals
A non-EU resident needs to get an Immigration Permit to stay in Cyprus permanently. The foreign migrant can apply for this long-term Immigration Permit if they fall into one of the following categories:
Categories A-D: A non-EU member who plans to work as self-employed in agriculture and related areas, miming enterprises, trade or profession, science.
Category E: a foreigner who “have been offered permanent employment in the Republic, which will not create undue local competition”.
Category F: an individual who can demonstrate that a “secured annual income” to live decently on the island “without having to engage in any business, trade or profession”. The required income mentioned in the Category F should be least €9568.17 for just one applicant and €4613.22 for each that person’s dependants.
To obtain the permit based on one of the above-mentioned categories, you should submit the M.67 permit and the documents required according to your migration circumstances and category.
Permanent Residency by the Length of Stay
Those EU and non-EU residents who have continuously legally resided in Cyprus for 5 years can be granted permanent residency.
Permanent Residency by Investment
An individual who invests €300,000 or more (plus VAT) in buying a new house or apartment from a property developer can be granted permanent residency. However, the applicant should also be able to prove having foreign-based income and deposit €30,000 to a bank account in Cyprus.
Citizenship Through the Cyprus Investment Programme (CIP)
The Cypriot Investment Programme (CIP) gives the opportunity to a foreign investor and their immediate family (parents, spouse, and minor dependent children) to become Cyprus citizens and obtain Cypriot passports.
It is important to highlight that this citizenship is lifelong and the next generations can also take full advantage of it.
The following requirements are necessary when applying for the CIP:
- Be an EU-resident, have a valid Schengen visa or be a non-EU citizen who doesn’t require an entry visa to travel in the EU
- Have no criminal record in the country of origin and/or residence
- Have a valid Cyprus residence permit for at least 6 months
- Haven’t been denied the citizenship of any other EU countries.
- Meet the investment criteria: buying a residential property valued at a minimum of €500,000
- Make the following investments in Cyprus:
- €1.5 million (plus VAT) in residential properties or €2 million (plus VAT) in commercial properties.
- €2 million by purchasing, establishing or participating in Cypriot companies and businesses.
- €2 million Alternative Investment Funds or assets of Cyprus-based companies
- €2 million as a combination of the above.
Recommendation: Always Consult Experts
Although you might find this chapter of our Guide to be detailed and comprehensive, we advise you to always consult an expert who can provide additional and even more in-depth expertise into these sensitive legal matters.
Such a professional will advise you with regards to the best way to apply for any of these permits. He or she will also assist you so that you know what documents you should present, how to do it and when. Legal advice will give you the certainty that you are not making any mistakes and ensure the results you expect.
Contact us if you need our assessment or to schedule a consultation on any of the instances described in this section.