The Cyprus Startup Visa Scheme

The Republic of Cyprus offers the “Cyprus Visa Startup Scheme” allowing non- EU startup founders to obtain residence and work permits in Cyprus

The program was introduced on a pivotal scheme on February 2017 for two years and was later extended for another two years which covers the period from March 2019 to March 2021. During this period 150 new visas will be issued.

The scheme allows of at least one (1) founder and other senior executives that their total does not exceed five (5) individuals holding more than 50% of the startup shares to be granted the startup visa. The senior management must have the rights to stock option. The scheme offers various interesting benefits such as residence and permit for one year with the possibility of extension to a second year. Whilst successful startups will be rewarded with a Cyprus permanent residence, allowing to bring over family. Requirement of the scheme are the following:

(1) Applicable to non- EU nationals

(2) The founder has access to € 20,000. If the founders are more than two (2) the total capital must be €50.000 which the source may include venture capital funding, crowd funding or other sources of financing.

(3)The head office and the tax residence of the startup must be in Cyprus.

(4) Good knowledge of Greek or English

(5) At least one of the team member must possess a university degree or another equivalent professional degree.

(6) The enterprise must be innovative. For the enterprise to be considered as innovative its research and development costs must represent at least 10% of its operating costs, in at least one of the three years preceding the submission of the application, as certified by an external auditor, on the basis of international accounting standards. If it’s a new enterprise without any financial history, the Business Plan submitted by the applicant will be the base for the evaluation.

The Startup scene in Cyprus is developing. There are many grants and funds available such as the funds provided by the Cyprus government, funds provided by banks and other organisations like the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Fund (CYPEF) and others, and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program where innovative small businesses can apply for grants of up to 2,5M Euros for research and development projects. New initiatives introduced, as such RISE (“the Research Centre of Excellence in Cyprus” focusing on Interactive media, Smart systems and Emerging technologies aiming to empower knowledge and technology transfer in the region), are growing in number. All these positive developments help Cyprus to get step closer to becoming a new innovation hub in the Mediterranean.

For further information regarding the Startup Visa Cyprus Scheme, the criteria and the application procedure, contact us now at