What made Khaled and Mariam think of moving to Europe
Khaled and Mariam are a married couple from the West Bank, Palestine. Khaled was 67 years old, and Mariam was 65. They both retired and transferred their business management to their successors.
The couple’s state of health required regular treatment at thermal resorts. Mariam was prescribed physiotherapy and regular visits to springs to rehabilitate after a lumbar region injury and rib fracture. Khaled was also recommended to have hydrotherapeutic procedures because of problems with the spine. Mariam and Khaled needed specific types of springs, and their doctor recommended them to a resort in Archena, Spain.
So, Khaled and Mariam went for therapy in Spain for two years. They visited the country three to four times a year, thus spending several months a year there. And their medical condition did not allow these trips to cease.
The financial aspect didn’t bother the couple: they were financially solvent and could afford to travel to Europe. Though, they had other things to worry about: how to get visas on time and not overstay them. The EU Visa Code and migration services requirements state that Khaled and Mariam were allowed to stay in the Schengen Area for no more than 90 days every half a year.
We had to count the number of days spent in Spain, which was really inconvenient. We couldn’t relax. If we overstayed our visas, we might not have been able to obtain them again. And we couldn’t let that happen. Our treatment was scheduled, and we had to be sure we could get it on time.
Retirees, former entrepreneurs and shareholders of the agricultural company
The necessity to reapply for visas was also bothersome for our clients. The couple faced an unscheduled delay during the last attempt to obtain their Schengen visas. The thermal therapy was about to begin; the accommodation and therapeutic programs had already been paid for. Still, Migration services dragged out the issuance of their documents without any explanations. As a result, Khaled and Mariam failed to depart for Spain as planned.
This incident was the last straw. The couple decided to change the situation:
- Get permission for an unlimited stay in the country where they can be treated and stop keeping track of the terms of their stay.
- Relocate to that country, so they didn’t have to take regular flights back and forth as it was very tiresome at their age.
- Stop depending on the migration services issuing visas to the Schengen Area.
On the advice of friends, Khaled and Mariam turned to Immigrant Invest for consultation.
Why the couple got residency in Cyprus and not in Spain
We explained to Khaled and Mariam that they need to get residence permits for a long-term stay in the EU. As the couple was eager to immigrate, they needed a place to live in a new country. That’s why we offered them to obtain residency by real estate investment.
Initially, the spouses, who received treatment in Spain, reasonably tended to obtain residence permits there. However, the Spanish residence by investment program requires purchasing real estate for at least €500,000. Khaled and Mariam were not ready to spend such funds: they set the budget for €350,000.
Spain was off the table, and we needed to find another way out.
We told the spouses about which other European countries issue residence permits in exchange for purchasing properties. Those were Portugal, Greece, Malta and Cyprus. The two latter were preferable for Khaled and Mariam because they offered permanent resident status.
The couple reviewed Maltese and Cypriot thermal resorts and consulted their physician. It turned out that the composition of springs in Ayii Anargyri Natural Healing Spa Resort in Cyprus fully met the recommendations. And Cypriot residence can be obtained by buying a property for €300,000, which fits Khaled and Mariam’s financial strictures.
Head of the Sales Department
Beyond the financial aspect, the Cyprus investment program outperforms the Spanish one in other terms, too.
Status. Spain issues investors temporary residence permits. The first is valid for two years, the subsequent ones for five years. To renew a residence permit, its holder must resubmit the documents and biometric data. A permanent residence permit can be obtained after five years of living in Spain.
Cyprus grants participants of its investment program permanent residence permits right away. This status is lifelong.
Citizenship prospect. Spain allows its permanent residents to apply for citizenship after ten years of living in the country, while Cyprus, after five years. What is more, in Cyprus, it’s permitted to have dual citizenship, whereas, in Spain, it’s banned. It means you must renounce your first citizenship when obtaining a Spanish passport.
The term comparison of the Cyprus and Spain Golden Visa Programs
|The minimum amount of the property investment||€500,000||€300,000|
|Status, granted for investments||A temporary residence permit||A permanent residence permit|
|Validity of the status||2 years, then must be renewed||Termless|
|Citizenship prospect||After 10 years of living in the country||After 5 years of living in the country|
|Will it be possible to retain first citizenship?||No||Yes|
For the next scheduled treatment, Khaled and Mariam went to Cyprus to make sure the proposed resort was suitable. In a short time, bathing in the thermal waters and taking mud baths benefited their health. Besides, the spouses shortly got accustomed to the Cypriot climate. Not waiting for the end of their trip, the couple agreed to take part in the Cyprus Golden Visa Program.
As Khaled and Mariam were in Cyprus, they had a good chance to select a property they were going to buy as an investment. The spouses wanted to live in a coastal city not far away from the thermal resort, so our Real Estate Department offered them properties in Paphos and Limassol to choose from.
Khaled and Mariam opted for Limassol: Paphos is closer to the resort, but Limassol is larger and has a more advanced health care system. Eventually, the couple chose to buy a two-bedroom apartment with a veranda in a gated residential complex, €315,000 worth.
How Khaled and Mariam got Cyprus permanent residence: step-by-step procedure
Participation in the Cyprus residence by investment program consists of six stages. Most of them can be passed remotely, and relocation to Cyprus is voluntary. Applicants must visit Cyprus only to give their biometric data and revisit it once in two years to maintain the status.
1. Preliminary Due Diligence. This check was run on Khaled and Mariam when they first consulted Immigrant Invest. To conduct it, our Compliance Anti Money Laundering Officer needed only the spouses’ passports. Before the check, we concluded a confidentiality agreement.
Due Diligence showed that Khaled and Mariam had clean records and could participate in any residence or citizenship by investment programs. When they decided on the program, we signed a contract on providing services.
2. Purchase of a property. As Khaled and Mariam had already selected an investment property during their trip to Cyprus, we started preparing the deal. Immigrant Invest lawyers applied to the Department of Lands and Surveys of Cyprus to reduce the value-added tax rate.
According to the terms of the Cyprus Golden Visa Program, a residential investment property must be new and bought directly from the developer. When an investor makes a purchase, they are also to pay VAT. The standard VAT rate is 19% of the property price. Yet, if this real estate is the only housing and will not be rented out, the VAT rate can be reduced to 5%.
Head of the Legal Department, lawyer, Candidate of Juridical Sciences
When we got approval for the tax reduction, Khaled transferred the money, and a sale and purchase contract was signed. The complex described below is similar to the spouses’ new place of residence.
The complex has an abundance of greenery and is well-equipped with solar photovoltaic panels that produce most of the energy used in common areas. In this residential estate, there are gardens on the roof of each building, pools, basketball and tennis courts, gym, supermarket, business centre, and a restaurant.
The location is convenient: there is City of Dreams Casino Resort, Limassol Marina, a golf course, a beach, a shopping mall and a water park nearby. The airport is 59 km away.
For sale, there are one-bedroom apartments worth €267,000, two-bedroom apartments worth €365,000 and three-bedroom ones worth €489,000.
3. Preparation of documents and submission of an application. When applying, investors should support their application with a package of documents that prove they meet the conditions of the Cypriot investment program. Requirements for applicants are the following:
- be over 18 years old;
- not be under sanctions;
- have no criminal record and convictions;
- have no restrictions or bans on entry to the EU countries;
- have impeccable personal and business reputation;
- fulfil the investment;
- have a residential address in Cyprus;
- earn at least €30,000 per year outside Cyprus.
The income requirement is increased by €5,000 if a spouse is included. Salaries, wages, pensions, dividends from shares, fixed deposits and rents are considered. The spouse’s income may also be taken into account.
We helped Khaled and Mariam prepare the following set of papers:
- A completed application form MIP1 for permanent residence.
- Copies of their Palestine passports.
- A copy of their Marriage Certificate.
- Criminal Record Certificates from Palestine.
- Declaration of a secured annual income from abroad of €35.000 at least.
- Official Statements that they do not intend to undertake any sort of employment in Cyprus.
- The bank transfer, proving that the capital used for the investment has been transferred to Cyprus from abroad.
- Title of ownership of the property of a minimum market value of €300,000.
- Authorization of the representative in Cyprus.
The documents were duly certified and officially translated into Greek.
4. Processing of the application and getting approval. The application was filed in the Civil Registry and Migration Department of Cyprus. Khaled and Mariam did not have to come to Cyprus to do this: Immigrant Invest lawyers applied on their behalf by proxy.
The application was considered for 2 months. Then, the spouses received a letter of approval.
5. Fingerprinting. For residence cards to be issued, Khaled and Mariam came to Cyprus and had their biometric data taken. This procedure must be performed within a year after getting approval.
6. Receiving residence cards. Waiting for their permanent residence permits, the couple stayed in Cyprus on the grounds of their Shengen visas. It took 40 days to issue the cards.
In total, Khaled and Mariam spent 4.5 months obtaining Cyprus permanent residence.
4.5 months and €335,198 the spouses spent on getting a Cyprus Golden Visa
Khaled and Mariam’s life with Cyprus permanent residency
The spouses live in Cyprus. They no longer need to keep track of the dates of their entries and exits to and from the EU. Their health-improving treatment is administered on a scheduled basis, and nothing can prevent it.
The couple is planning to open their bank accounts in Cyprus, and we will gladly help them.
Opportunities for the spouses before and after obtaining permanent residence in Cyprus
|❌ Visa required to travel for treatment||✅ Visa-free travel to the needed thermal resort|
|❌ It took about a day to get to the resort from home||✅ It takes about 1.5 hours to get to the resort by car|
|❌ Right to live only in a home country||✅ Right to choose where to live: in the country of citizenship or Cyprus|
|❌ Schengen visa issued for the planned trip||✅ Schengen visa valid 5 years|
After five years of living in Cyprus, the couple can get the country’s citizenship, which provides more benefits. Cypriot citizens travel visa-free to more than 170 countries. It will also allow Khaled and Mariam to return the investment if they want to. Yet, they would have to denounce Palestine citizenship as their home country prohibits holding dual nationality. Cyprus permits it.
Khaled and Mariam’s children visit their parents on vacations. They have also been weighing the possibility of obtaining European residence permits but have not decided on the country yet.