Foreign Interest Entity-Cyprus Company to employ third country nationals

In order for a Cyprus company to be able to employ third country nationals, such company must be registered as a Foreign Interest Company.

Since 1 January 2022 the Business Facilitation Unit (BFU)has been the single point of contact for foreign companies for a fast and efficient processing of requests received from foreign companies.

What is a Company of Foreign Interest?

A Foreign Interest Company is an international company registered in the Republic of Cyprus, which, subject to meeting specific criteria, can receive a license to employ third country national employees in Cyprus.

Eligibility Criteria for registering as a Foreign Interest Company

1. The majority of the company’s shares are owned by third-country nationals;

It is noted that in the event that the percentage of the foreign participation in the share capital of the Company is equal or below 50% of the total share capital, the Company will be eligible only when this percentage of the share capital represents an amount equal to or greater than the amount of €200,000. Alternatively, the Company can submit evidence of an investment amounting to €200,000, for the purposes of operating its business in Cyprus (e.g. office purchase, office equipment purchase, etc.)

2. Public companies registered on any recognized stock exchange;
3. Companies of international activities (formerly off-shore), which operated before the change of regime, whose data are held by the Central Bank;
4. Cypriot shipping companies;
5. Cypriot high-tech/innovation companies;
6. Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or Cypriot companies active in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology;
7. Companies of whom the majority of the total share capital is owned by persons who have acquired Cypriot citizenship by naturalization based on economic criteria, provided that they prove that the conditions under which they were naturalized continue to be met;
Broadening Incentives
  • Tax exemption of 50% to new non domicile employees with employment remuneration of €55,000 and above – period of 10 years;
  • Tax exemption of 50% for existing non domicile employees with employment remuneration of €100,000 and above – extended period 17 years;
  • Tax exemption of 50% for existing non domicile employees with employment remuneration between 55,000 & 100,000 – period 10 years.
  • Extend by 31/12/2023 the existing regime of 50% exemption for investments in an approved innovative company by an individual directly or through an investment fund or through an alternative trading platform. The existing regime was terminated on 30/6/2021.   Examination of the possibility to expand further the tax exemption to corporate investors.
  • Granting an increased discount on research and development expenditure (e.g. by 20%). Eligible research and development expenses will be deducted from taxable income at 120% of actual expenses.
  • Securing the right to a pension through the Social Insurance Fund by intensifying the efforts for concluding Bilateral Agreements with third countries by the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, so that when a third-country national who has paid social security contributions in Cyprus returns for permanent residence in his/her country, he/she will be able to transfer the contributions paid, on the condition that with these contributions he/she did not acquire any right to an old age pension, disability etc.
  • Right for Family reunification of third-country nationals working for companies joining the Business Facilitation Unit. That means immediate and free access to the labour market, with remunerated employment for spouses whose family member has obtained a residence and work permit in the Republic, and who receive a minimum gross monthly salary of € 2,500 (excluding support staff).
Right to apply for naturalization
  • After 5 years of residence and work in the Republic, instead of 7 that was valid previously.
  • Further reduction to 4 years if the criterion of holding a recognized certificate of very good knowledge of the Greek language is met.
  • Within one month from submitting the application
Submission of Application

As of 17/11/2023 the application procedure changed and submission of applications for entering the Foreign Interest Companies’ Register – kept at the BFU – and/or provision of facilities by the BFU, are performed solely online through the electronic form which can be found in the BFU’s website.

Please feel free to contact our Team directly for more information or assistance you may need.