By Stefanos Kelelis
The pandemic has taught businesses of all sizes that remote work works. As a result, governments around the world have created schemes to welcome in their countries digital nomads. A digital nomad can be anyone, even self-employed, who is willing to work remotely in a country other than the country where his business and/or his clients are located. In this way, digital nomads enjoy both the financial benefits and the natural benefits of exploring and working in a particular country.
Hence, the Council of Ministers in the Republic of Cyprus has recently introduced a new strategy for attracting businesses and talents from abroad. One of the main incentives of the new strategy is the Digital Nomad Visa Scheme, which – in an attempt to adapt to the new era – enables a third country national to apply for a residence permit which will enable him to also work remotely.
Who can apply?
Any non-European Union or non-European Economic Area nationals who satisfy the below elements:
• They can work remotely using telecommunications technology, and
• They are employed in a company registered outside of the Republic of Cyprus, for which they can work remotely, or are self–employed providing services remotely for customers located outside of the Republic of Cyprus, and
• They can prove that they have sufficient and stable monthly net income of at least €3500 in order to finance their living in the Republic of Cyprus. It must be noted that the latter amount is increased by 20% for the spouse or partner and by 15% for each child.
Procedure to be followed
Applicants who meet the above requirements and wish to apply for the Digital Nomad visa have to take all appropriate steps for receiving an entry permit and/or visa in order to be able to enter the Republic of Cyprus and, then, proceed with the submission of their application before the expiration of their entry permit/visa. In case the applicant already lives legally in Cyprus, he has the right to submit an application for the Digital Nomad visa in order to change his status.
Benefits to third country nationals holding Digital Nomad visa
Individuals that are granted with a Digital Nomad visa will gain the following benefits:
• They will have right of residence for one (1) year in the Republic of Cyprus with a possibility of renewal for a further two (2) years.
• They have the right for family reunification, which means that spouses and minor children of the digital nomad have right of receiving a residence permit to legally reside in the Republic of Cyprus for the same duration as the main applicant. However, the family members of the digital nomad will not have the right to be employed or to perform any economic activity in the Republic of Cyprus.
• If they reside in the Republic of Cyprus for one or more periods that in total exceed 183 days within the same tax year, then they are going to be considered Cyprus tax residents, as long as they are not tax residents in any other country. This means that the digital nomad will have tax benefits due to their status as non-domiciled in Cyprus.
To sum up, the Digital Nomad visa scheme introduces a new category of residence and work permit, which creates an opportunity for digital nomads to reside in the Republic of Cyprus and work remotely from here as well as to enjoy the benefits that the Republic of Cyprus offers.
However, it is important to note that, in an attempt to limit the rampant use of the Digital Nomad Visa Scheme, a limit in the number of digital nomad visas that can be issued has been introduced; the number of such visas is limited to 500. This means that only 500 applicants can successfully submit their applications.
It must be noted that the examination procedure duration by the competent department is between 5 to 7 weeks, which is quite fast.
Stefanos Kelelis – Associate Lawyer at A. Karitzis & Associates L.L.C.