Exploring The Cyprus Start-up Programme

Exploring The Cyprus Start-up Programme

If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur eyeing opportunities in Europe, the Cyprus Startup Visa program deserves your attention. CX Financia is here to provide you with valuable insights into this initiative. We’ll focus on the latest updates and benefits, offering a straightforward perspective.

The Cyprus Startup Visa program attracts talented entrepreneurs from third countries, providing them with a unique gateway to Europe. In a previous article, we explored its inception and mission: empowering non-EU entrepreneurs for growth and innovation.

Now, we return to give you an updated view of why the Cyprus Startup Visa remains relevant and indispensable for visionary business leaders. Our goal is simple: to inform and empower. Staying current with immigration and business trends is vital. We’re excited to share the most recent developments in the Cyprus Startup Visa program, opening doors to entrepreneurial opportunities in Cyprus and beyond.

Overview

The Cyprus Startup Visa program aims to attract talented entrepreneurs, either as individuals or within a team of up to five individuals, from Third Countries. It was introduced as part of the broader National Policy Statement on Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, involving all actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This initiative aims to enhance business potential, eliminate barriers, and cultivate a growth-oriented entrepreneurial culture in Cyprus.

The scheme enables entrepreneurs or teams from non-EU/EEA countries to enter Cyprus, establishing high-growth potential Startups. It aims to create jobs, foster innovation, and contribute to the country’s economic development, supporting both new and relocated innovative Startups.

As part of the broader Policy Statement, the “Cyprus Startup Visa” is valid until May 2024, with a cap of up to 150 visas that can be issued under the scheme

Highlights

  • Right to economic activity and residence for two years*, Renewable for one year;
  • Long-term residence can be permitted if the enterprise succeeds;
  • Can hire foreign personnel without obtaining permission from the Department of Labour for successful enterprises – the only condition is that in five years the ratio of foreign workers to local should be 70:30
  • 50% tax exemption to investors subject to conditions
  • 50% income tax exemption for new non-domicile employees with a minimum annual income of €55,000 for ten years
  • Employees Entitlement to family reunification (should the enterprise be successful*)
  • Eligibility to obtain a “Certificate of Innovative Company.”

Eligibility

For Individual Startup Visa Scheme

  • Non-EU/EEA founder who will act as the sole founder of an innovative Startup
  • The startup should be innovative in nature and a detailed business plan is required
  • Research and development expenses should not exceed 10% of the operating costs.
  • Has at least €20,000 of funds available to invest in the enterprise (funds may include own funding, venture capital funding, crowdfunding or other sources of financing);
  • Has good knowledge of Greek and/or English;
  • Has an undergraduate degree or an equivalent professional qualification;
  • Meets the requirements of the enterprise.

For Team Startup Visa Scheme

  • Maximum five (5) non-EU/EEA founders;
  • The team should consist solely of the founders of an innovative Startup or at least one founder and other senior executives.
  • The team of applicants should own, in total, more than 50% of the company’s shares;
  • The startup should be innovative in nature.
  • Research and development expenses should not exceed 10% of the operating costs.
  • A detailed business plan is required, including information about the company’s headquarters and tax domicile within Cyprus.
  • The founder should have at least €20,000 of funds available to invest in the enterprise. In case the team consists of more than 1 founder, each founder should have at least €10,000 funds available(funds may include own funding, venture capital funding, crowdfunding or other sources of financing);
  • All team members should have very good knowledge of Greek and/or the English language.

Renewal-key Criteria

  • In addition to a 2-year visa permit, the Cyprus government provides renewal of visa on a temporary basis for an additional year if the business is successful.
  • To qualify as a successful business must fulfill one of the following criteria:
  • The company has proved to be viable and is scaling up– This shall be proved by the company’s previous year’s audited Financial Statements that show an increase of at least 15% growth over the two years.
  • Applicants should be committed to developing their startup in Cyprus. This includes establishing and growing their business within the country’s borders, the creation of new jobs, the promotion of innovation and research; and the development of the local business ecosystem.
  • If the company is deemed successful, applicants would have the prospect of long-term residence in the Republic.*

Process and Timeline

  • Applicants can submit their applications while abroad or within Cyprus, following specific documentation requirements in English. Valid passports or travel documents with a minimum validity of two years are required.
  • Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy shall approve/reject the application within 5 weeks of receiving application. However, initial approval doesn’t guarantee permit for visa.
  • Once approved, Applicant will receive a notification of initial approval. Applicant must submit within 6 months an application for visa to the Consular Authorities of the Republic or to the Department of Civil Registry and Migration to secure entry/registration/residence permit.
  • Application will be reviewed within 3 weeks from receipt.

Choosing CX Financia as your trusted partner

At CX Financia, we help clients adopt strategies that position them for success.

By applying our extensive experience in the industry, we work shoulder to shoulder with our clients to register a Cyprus company, acquire work permit visas for third-country nationals, provide corporate support services, and advise them on accounting and legal matters.

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