Companies of Foreign Interests and the ‘Business Facilitation Unit’

The “Business Facilitation Unit (BFU)” was established in January 2022, within the framework of the government’s new strategy to attract companies to operate and/or expand their activities in Cyprus.

Companies who based on the following criteria can be registered under the ‘Foreign Interest Companies’ are eligible to enter the ‘Business Facilitation Unit’ and:

  • Enjoy one of the lowest corporate taxes of 12.5%.
  • Obtain a work permit for the Non-EU National employees allowing them and their families to live and work in Cyprus.
  • Their foreign shareholders can benefit from the 0% Dividends tax.

 

Criteria:

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

2. In case that, the percentage, of the company’s shares, owned by a third-country national is equal or less than 50%, the company is eligible if that foreign participation has a value of at least €200.000.

In both cases above (1&2), the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) must deposit an amount of €200,000 in an account held by the company in a credit institution licensed by the Central Bank (payment institutions are not included). 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.).

If more UBOs exist, then this amount can be deposited or invested by a single UBO or collectively.

3. Public companies registered on any recognised stock exchange.

4. Companies of international activities (formerly off-shore), which operated before the change of regime, whose data are held by the Central Bank.

5. Cypriot shipping companies.

6. Cypriot high-tech/innovation companies*.

7. Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or Cypriot companies active in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology.

8. 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.

9. Cypriot Private Institutes of Tertiary (Higher) Education licensed by the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth.

For cases 3-9, the investment criterion is also applicable and the company’s initial investment in the Republic of at least €200,000, must be proven by presenting the appropriate certificates (e.g. bank statement at the time of deposit of the amount or proof of investment (purchase of office space and/or office equipment)).

 

* An enterprise qualifies as ‘High Technology Company’ if:

(a) it is already established and has a presence in the market, and

(b) it has a high level or experimental R&D intensity, and

(c) it developed product/s that fall into one of the following categories: products related to aviation and space industry, computers, information and telecommunication technology (ICT), pharmaceuticals, biomedical, research and development equipment, electrical machinery, chemicals, non-electrical machinery.

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