Direct flights from Russia to Cyprus have been closed since March 1, 2022, but it is still possible to reach the island with layovers. The most popular options are Tel Aviv, Belgrade, and Dubai. You can fly to Tel Aviv from Moscow and Sochi airports, and from there, not only to Larnaca but also to Paphos. Dubai is a major international hub, and flights to Cyprus are operated there on a daily basis - you can even purchase unified tickets. If you need to save money, consider flights from Belgrade - the low-cost carrier Wizz Air flies from there to Cyprus. Flights from Finland and the Baltic States have been unavailable since September 2022.
Types of visas
For entry into Cyprus, a short-term visa issued by the diplomatic missions of the Republic is required. However, this type of visa is not suitable for relocation, so it is necessary to apply for a long-term visa: work visa, study visa, or Digital Nomad Visa. These visas allow for a long-term stay on the island and provide access to the country's opportunities, including a favorable tax system. To apply for a visa, you need to gather a package of documents, correctly prepare the application, and pay the fee. In case of refusal, the process will need to be repeated, so it is better to entrust it to specialists.
Types of residence permits (Visa Category)
Obtaining a residence permit (Visa Category) allows individuals to work, conduct business, and officially reside in Cyprus. For digital nomads or other professionals earning income from abroad, a Category E residence permit is granted, which does not provide the right to work in the country. Category F residence permits are issued when purchasing real estate. This visa is for those who have sufficient confirmed income from abroad, as it does not grant the right to local employment. It is possible to have your own business in Cyprus with any type of residence permit. Employees can obtain a residence permit through a work visa, and the specific type depends on the employer.
Obtaining self-employed status
Self-employed individuals can continue their activities even while abroad. For professionals working in the IT field, Cyprus offers the opportunity for relocation with the Digital Nomad Visa. This visa allows individuals to live on the island for one year and can be extended for an additional two years. Additionally, Cyprus provides a mechanism for family reunification, allowing the spouse and children of an IT professional to relocate with them. However, it is important to obtain self-employed status in Russia as well, as proof of income from remote work is required for the issuance of the Digital Nomad Visa.
If it is possible to prove Cypriot roots, relocation to Cyprus is possible through the repatriation program. Consular scrutiny in this case is conducted very strictly and involves gathering a large package of documents, including birth and death certificates of close relatives such as parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. Having contacts with relatives living within Cyprus is considered a significant advantage. After studying the family's genealogy and archives, a decision will be made regarding eligibility for a repatriate visa. The assistance of specialists can simplify the procedure.
Obtaining residency through investment
Since 2021, residency permits in Cyprus can be obtained not only through investments in residential properties (apartments and houses) but also through the purchase of commercial properties and investments in investment funds. To obtain residency in 2023, one must purchase property worth at least 300,000 euros, of which 200,000 euros must be paid upfront, even if the house is still under construction. The same amount is required for the purchase of commercial property, although it is permissible to acquire two different premises for business purposes. 300,000 euros is also the minimum investment amount for investing in shares of investment funds.
Spouses and minor children of professionals who have moved to Cyprus can obtain a residence permit based on their spouse's work or digital nomad visa. Importantly, this does not impose any obligation on the spouse or partner to find employment in order to continue living on the island. However, in order to utilize the family reunification mechanisms, it is necessary to demonstrate a monthly income. The income threshold increases by 20% when including a spouse/partner in the visa application and an additional 15% when including children. The Digital Nomad Visa, issued to digital nomads, is particularly convenient for relocation purposes.
Business in Cyprus
Starting a business in Cyprus involves preparing the necessary documents, registering the company with local authorities, opening bank accounts, and undergoing registration with the migration service to obtain quotas for hiring employees. Without the assistance of specialists and knowledge of Cyprus's legal framework, this process can be time-consuming and result in financial losses. This is especially true when transferring employees, as each of them also requires a documentation process. However, the mere act of opening a business in Cyprus will subsequently allow for the prioritized acquisition of a residence permit.
Marriage in Cyprus
One of the ways to obtain a residence permit or permanent residency in Cyprus is through marriage to a foreigner. However, in order to verify that the marriage is not fictitious, the government allows the submission of passport application documents only after 3 years of marriage. The couple is also required to provide evidence that they have resided in Cyprus for at least 2 years, and border crossing records will be examined for verification. However, the spouse of a Cypriot citizen is granted a one-year residence permit with the right of further extension. Failure to do so may result in difficulties in obtaining citizenship in the future, similar to those faced after committing offenses.