Cyprus Has Approved Only 4 of 51 Startup Visa Applications

The Cypriot Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digital Policy has disclosed that the government has approved only four of the 51 applications it received last year for its Startup Visa, indicating an approval rate of about 8%. The government projects the SUV to run until May 2024, with a potential approval capacity of 150 applications. 

The Cyprus Startup Visa, introduced in its current form in June 2022, allows “talented entrepreneurs from third countries, individuals or a team, to enter, reside, and work in Cyprus in order to establish/operate /develop a Startup with a high growth potential.” The scheme is set to expire in May this year and can issue a maximum of 150 visas.

The program comes in two forms: The Individual Startup Visa Scheme and the Team Startup Visa Scheme. The individual scheme is open to sole founders of an innovative startup, while the team scheme is open to teams of up to individuals, which can include founders and senior executives, who must together hold a controlling stake in the company.

Approved applicants gain a two-year (renewable) residence permit, which they can convert to long-term residence in Cyprus by the end of the second year if the startup proves successful. Approved applicants may also bring their immediate family members to Cyprus.

Applications, which must include a refined business plan, are subject to detailed and stringent evaluation criteria, which may explain the low approval rate.

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Minister Nicodemos Damianou recognized the low application volume and emphasized the need to develop these initiatives continually. He also highlighted that the government needs to transition Cyprus’ startup environment from a “growing stage to a more mature one.”

“Startups are a multidimensional issue involving policy measures and strategic planning,” he pointed out while stressing the Cypriot government’s dedication to becoming an innovative technological hub based on solid, streamlined government policies.

As the Cypriot government continues to develop its SUV, it can learn from other examples worldwide. Canada’s SUV, for instance, experienced rapid application volume growth that expanded 600% last year but now faces a considerable backlog.

Cyprus’ proactive approach to attracting capital and talent

Damianou’s assurance to continue developing the SUV comes as the Cypriot government continues reorganizing parts of its immigration framework.

The Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee is currently evaluating a proposal to introduce a new €250,000 residency by investment program for financially independent people. Earlier this year, the government also introduced a new three-year fast-track to citizenship based on physical residence, language proficiency, cultural integration, and income criteria. 

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Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

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