The purpose of the program is to help draw in foreign businesses by providing them with an efficient, one-stop-shop service for business registration in Cyprus. This much-welcome development should make it easier for third-country nationals to start a business in the country. 

Which Companies Are Eligible to Join?

To join the Fast-Track Business Activation mechanism, companies must meet the following criteria:

  • The business must have a genuine physical presence in Cyprus. That includes maintaining offices that are independent and separate from any private residence.
  • Any existing companies (as opposed to newly registered ones) looking to join the scheme must have a minimum annual turnover of €500,000 for three out of the last five years.
  • All new companies should produce a detailed five-year business plan that shows growth potential.

What Does the Fast-Track Business Activation Scheme Entail?

The scheme is run by the Cypriot Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry and offers the following services:

1. Company Registration Services

Eligible businesses can now access all necessary company registration services from a single point of contact, including:

  • Company registration
  • Company name approval
  • Registration with the Social Insurance Registry
  • Registration with the Employers’ Registry
  • Registration with the VAT Registry
  • Income tax registration

2. Overall Guidance and Issuance of Business Permits 

Foreign companies can also use the Fast-Track Business Activation scheme to receive general guidance and helpful information on how to operate a business in Cyprus. The program will also assist them in obtaining any business permits they might need. 

3. Assistance with Residence and Employment Permits

On October 7, 2020, the Council of Ministers revised the procedure for the issuance of residence and employment permits to third-country nationals employed in foreign businesses registered in Cyprus. According to the amended policy, third-country nationals can receive permit facilitation services under the Fast-Track Business Activation scheme. That applies to employees of new as well as existing companies.

Benefits of the Fast-Track Business Activation Program

Thanks to the one-stop-shop business registration service, foreign investors can now set up a company within a week from the day they join the scheme. Their third-country employees can get their residence and employment permits in four to six weeks, depending on the number of permits required.

The Road Ahead

The government hopes that the Fast-Track Business Activation scheme will attract fresh capital and foreign professionals with highly specialized skills, for many of which there is a shortage at the national level. That would be a much-needed boost for Cyprus’s post-COVID economy.

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