Start a business in Cyprus

businesses in Cyprus
Updated 2019-02-25 12:32

Every year, Cyprus attracts many expats looking to start their venture. The reasons for that are many: from the fact that the process of establishing a company is relatively simple, to the fact that corporate tax in Cyprus is one of the lowest in all of EU, Cyprus has a pro-business approach that benefits new business owners. If you are one of them, however, you should be aware that the process of starting your own business on the island may take more or less time, based on whether or not you are an EU/EFTA/UK national.

If you are an EU/EFTA/UK national

If you are a national of the EU/EFTA, a UK citizen or a holder of a Schengen area passport (Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), you can start the process of establishing your own company right away. After three months in Cyprus, you should apply for a Registration Certificate for EU Nationals, colloquially called, 'the yellow slip'.

If you are a third-country national

If you are not an EU/EFTA citizen, a UK citizen or a citizen of one of the sixty countries Cyprus has a visa exemptions agreement with, you can still start your own business in Cyprus. But it will take some more time, as you will need a visa to enter Cyprus (for business purposes, you can apply for a multiple-entry visa which will be valid for one but can be extended up to five years).

Good to know:

If you want to make an investment in Cyprus which will surpass five million euros, you can become a part of the Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception which will grant you Cypriot citizenship.

The logistics of starting a business in Cyprus

In the past few years, after recuperating from the financial crisis, Cyprus has positioned itself as an upcoming, international business hub. To facilitate growth, the country has lowered the corporate tax rate to 12.5%, which is one of the lowest rates in all of the European Union. Furthermore, Cyprus has double tax treaties with more than 40 countries (which means foreign companies don't have to pay taxes twice) and has removed any restrictions on the nationalities of potential shareholders or directors of companies. Which means: regardless of your nationality, you can start your own business in Cyprus (as long as you sort out any necessary visas or permits). The fact that there is no minimum capital necessary in order to register a company is also helpful for new business owners.

Good to know:

There are several different company types in Cyprus, the most common being the Private Limited Company (LTD). To set up an LTD, all you require is a director/sole shareholder (although you can have up to 50 shareholders). The director can be of any nationality, but in order to take advantage of lower tax rates, many opt to have a director who is a resident of Cyprus.

To set up your company, you should first have its name approved by the Registrar of Companies by hand, physical mail or online using the Registrar's "Electronic Filing System", after having registered with the "ARIADNI" Government Gateway Portal. Once you have name approval, you should proceed with submitting the necessary documentation through ARIADNI (or in person), which will need to be certified by a registered advocate/lawyer in Cyprus.

Peruse the list of documentation needed, here.

Useful links:

Registration of an Entity - Republic of Cyprus
Starting a Business - Web Portal of Republic of Cyprus

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