Complete guide to applying for a Cyprus work permit and visa
If you want to work in Cyprus, you must obtain a Cyprus work permit – unless you are a citizen of an EU member state.
Cyprus is one of Europe’s fastest growing economies, and living and working there comes with a host of benefits. You would enjoy an international working environment and one of the lowest tax rates in the EU. The pleasant year-round warm climate and the cultural background of the Mediterrenean island are just bonuses.
If you want to relocate and work in Cyprus, you will need:
- A Cyprus Work Permit, which your employer has to apply for in Cyprus while you’re still in your country of residence (authorization to work in Cyprus)
- A Cyprus Work Visa, which allows you to enter Cyprus with the purpose of long-term residence and employment (authorization to enter Cyprus)
- A Cyprus Residence Permit, which you must get after you travel to Cyprus if you want to be legally live in Cyprus for over 90 days.
This article is a guide to the Cyprus work permit and work visa, including who needs it, how to apply for it, and other relevant questions.
Who Needs a Cyprus Work Permit?
All foreign nationals who want to take up paid employment in Cyprus are subject to a Cyprus work permit, except:
- Citizens of other European Union member states
- Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland (EFTA)
Cyprus has been a member state of the EU since 2014. This means that all other EU nationals enjoy the freedom to move, live and work in Cyprus. The same applies to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, which, despite not being in the EU, enjoy the same rights as EU nationals in terms of freedom of movement.
Who is Eligible for a Cyprus Work Permit?
You can only get a Cyprus work permit if your employer can prove that the position could not have been otherwise filled by a Cypriout or other EU/EFTA national.
Most non-EU workers who come to work in Cyprus find it easier to get employer in a foreign company operating in Cyprus.
The positions which are eligible for a Cyprus work permit are:
- As an Executive Director with an annual minimum salary of around €41,000. Companies can only hire a maximum of five foreign executive directors.
- Middle Management Staff, or otherwise staff with mid-level qualifications, such as directors or mid-level managers or technical and clerical staff. The annual salary should be between €21,000 and €40,000.
- Supporting Staff, which includes categories of workers who do not fall under one of the two previous categories, but only if there were no EU nationals suited for the position.
How to Get a Cyprus Work Permit?
In order to obtain a Cyprus work permit, you must first have a work contract with a Cypriot company. It is your employer who is in charge of obtaining a work permit on your behalf.
The process of getting a Cyprus work permit is:
- Receiving approval from the Cyprus Department of Labour
- Applying for the Cyprus work permit at the Civil Registry and Migration Department
Receiving approval from the Cyprus Department of Labour
Once you have found an employer in Cyprus and signed a work contract with them, your employer has to apply for approval from the Cyprus Department of Labour.
If approved, the Department of Labour will give your employer a Letter of Recommendation, which they must use to apply for your work permit.
Applying for the Cyprus work permit at the Civil Registry and Migration Department
After the Department of Labour has issued your employer the Recommendation Letter, they must lodge an application for your Cyprus work permit from the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
How long does it take to get a Cyprus work permit?
The processing time for a Cyprus is between 4-6 weeks from the time the Migration Department receives all your documents. However, in some cases, it can take longer – up to six months.
Requirements for a Cyprus Work Permit
When requesting approval for the Cyprus work permit, you and your employer need to get the following documents:
- Application forms, signed and stamped by the employer.
- From M58: application for issuing entrance to Cyprus
- From M64: application for issuing work authorization
- Photocopies of your passport’s relevant pages: personal information, issue/expiry date, previous visas. Your passport must be valid for at least as long as your employment contract.
- Your original employment contract
- Certificate of police clearance (original), issued from police authorities in your country within the past six months.
- Medical certificate (original) showing results for Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS and syphilis, issued within the past 4 months.
- Your hiring company’s Tax Clearance Certificate
- The existing staff on your employer’s company, as well as new applications.
- Bank Guarantee Letter, proving your employer (host) has paid the guarantee for you (€350-850 depending on your country). The guarantee has to be valid for a minimum of 12 months from the start of your employment.
- Proof of health insurance. You need to get travel health insurance when you apply for the Cyprus work visa and after arriving in Cyprus, get health insurance there as well to cover the duration of your stay.
- Cyprus work permit/visa application fee.
Applying for a Cyprus Work Cisa
After obtaining a work permit, only then you should apply for a Cyprus work visa. The Cyprus work visa is simply an entry visa – it allows you to travel to Cyprus with the purpose of employment and long-term stay. You cannot get a work visa if you do not have a work permit.
To get a Cyprus work visa, you must:
- Find the Cyprus embassy or consulate responsible for your region (in your country or one nearest to you)
- Contact them to make an appointment and inquire about their specific requirements
- Have the following documents:
- Your valid passport
- Completed and signed visa application form
- Certificate of medical clearance
- Certificate of police clearance
- Proof of sufficient financial means to cover your stay
- Travel health insurance
- Your work contract with the seal of the Department of Labour
- Any other documents that support your application or that the Cyprus diplomatic mission asks you to submit
- Wait for the visa to be processed, which can take from 5-10 working days or longer depending on where you’re applying from.
Once you get the visa, you are free to travel to Cyprus where you can then get a residence permit.
After arriving in Cyprus: Getting a Cyprus Residence Permit
Within seven days of arriving to Cyprus, you should register with the local District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police Department, or the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia and get your Cyprus Residence Permit.
When you apply, the Cyprus authorities will take your biometrics and signature.
The Cyprus work visa is simply an entrance authorization. If you want to actually live in Cyprus, you must obtain a residence permit.
How Long is a Cyprus Work Residence Permit Valid For?
A Cyprus work residence permit is usually valid for a maximum of 4 years, other than for the agriculture, livestock, and farming sectors, for which the duration is 6 years.
However, if you have a Cyprus work permit for one of the following categories, you won’t be subject to time limitations:
- As a highly skilled worker in a company with a high income (over a million or hundreds of thousands euros) which is beneficial to the economic development of Cyprus
- As a religious icon painter (you may remain until the project is finished)
- As a journalist or correspondent
- As an athlete or athletic coach
How to Renew a Cyprus Residence Permit for Employement?
You have to apply to renew your Cyprus residence permit for employment at least 1 month before it is due to expire. You must apply for renewal at the same place you received your residence permit the first time.
Other Categories of Working in Cyprus as a Foreign National
You can also work in Cyprus if you fall under one of the following Immigration Permit categories:
- Category A: You are a foreign national who will be self-employed in the agriculture, cattle/bird breeding or fish culture sectors in Cyprus, and who has land or the means to get land in Cyprus and whose activities do not negatively affect the Cyprus economy.
- Category B: You are a foreign national who will be self-employed in the mining sector in Cyprus, who has sufficient financial means and a relative permit, and whose activities do not negatively affect the Cyprus economy.
- Category C: You are a foreign national who will be self-employed in a profession or trade, who has sufficient financial means and a relative permit, and whose activities do not negatively affect the Cyprus economy.
- Category D: You are a foreign national who will be self-employed in a scientific field or a profession which is in demand in Cyprus and who has the necessary academic or professional qualifications as well as sufficient financial means.
- Category E: You are a foreign national who have been offered a permanent work position in Cyprus and whose presence does not cause unnecessary local competition.
You can also get an Immigration Permit if you are a foreign national who has an independent annual income, which is enough to provide for a comfortable living in Cyprus without having to work (eg. you are retired). This is Category F.
You can only receive an Immigration Permit in one of the above-mentioned categories if the Immigration Control Committee recommends to the Minister of Interior that you meet the requirements of one of those categories.
To apply for a Cyprus Immigration Permit, you have to apply directly to the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Cyprus or through an Aliens and Immigration Branch of the Police, even if you are abroad.