Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is a Mediterranean island country situated at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean with an area of 9,251 square kilometers.

Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean. With an advanced, high-income economy and a very high Human Development Index, the Republic of Cyprus has been a member of the Commonwealth since 1961 and joined the European Union on 1 May 2004. On 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone.

There are a large number of foreigners living on the island, who at the end of 2011 accounted for 21.4% of the total population. While some European countries are less attractive because of the language barrier, in Cyprus English is widely spoken and therefore you will rarely if ever, face the language barrier in your everyday life - whether this is to request instructions to visit your local supermarket, pay your bills, or enjoy the sun to the beach. In fact, Cyprus has the biggest rise in Europe in residents who have positive image of the European Union.

In addition, the professionals offering their services in the private sector in Cyprus are fluent in English and always keen to assist their customers. Especially if you have recently relocated to Cyprus and you are on the lookout for professional advice or services, the private industry offers a number of experienced and skilled professionals you can choose from for your personal or business affairs, such as lawyers, accountants, auditors, translators, computer technicians and so on. Cyprus being a center of excellence in the provision of professional services brings the competition on a higher level, having as a result higher level of efficiency and productivity of the service provided, to the benefit of the customer.

Cyprus offers more than 340 days of summer, 65 Blue Flag beaches, 1 Blue Flag marina, the Mediterranean lifestyle, gastronomy, culture, archaeological sites, investor and tax incentives and the highest standard of professional services. Due to the Cyprus investment program for obtaining Cyprus passport, the attractive tax system (12,5% corporate tax), the high standard of living and free movement of capital in the EU, housing index in Cyprus increased to 107.78 Index Points in the first quarter of 2019 from 106.95 Index Points in the fourth quarter of 2018. Considerably, housing Index in Cyprus averaged 108.45 Index points from 2005 until 2019, reaching all time high of 130.42. The majority of real estate transactions were recorded in coastal Limassol followed by coastal Paphos (24%).

Foreign citizens relocating to Cyprus are subject to certain requirements, depending on their country of origin. Citizens coming from other EU countries are not required to apply for residence permit when coming to Cyprus, though EU nationals are advised to register with their local immigration office in order to qualify for the National Health System (GESY). Citizens coming from non-EU countries can obtain a temporary or permanent residence permit provided they meet certain requirements. For foreign investors, different advantageous residence schemes are available, with the main requirement being the purchase of a real estate property in Cyprus.

If you are relocating to Europe and considering Cyprus, we undertake the process and preparation of legal documentation on your behalf. Contact us.

The Law in Mediation of Family Disputes - Law Ν62(I)/2019

On the 25th of April 2019, the Law that provides for the proceedings in mediation of family disputes was published on the official gazette of Republic of Cyprus and shall be enforced within 6 months of the date of its publication. The provisions of the Law are applicable to family disputes and every mediation in regards to family disputes shall be exercised according to the provisions of the Law in Mediation of Family Disputes.

The purpose of mediation in family disputes, is for the parties to arrive at joint decisions with the contribution of the mediator for the settlement of their family disputes. The new Law, aims to promote the consensus approach to family disputes that often result to lengthy court proceedings by eliminating the negative impact caused by arguments between parents and to safeguard the interests of the child(ren). With the contribution of the mediator, the family disputes can be resolved within a shorter period of time than what would be expected solely through Court proceedings.

The new law introduces alternative non-judicial means for solving issues in family affairs and the parties can jointly choose their mediator through the Registry of Mediators for Family Disputes, that shall be published on the website of the Ministry of Justice and Public Order of Cyprus.

Stay up to date with the recent developments if you are living in the EU and preparing for Brexit.  According to an update made on 09 August 2019, on the official website of gov.uk, the UK's priority is to protect  the rights of UK nationals living in the rest of the EU, in any Brexit scenario. The UK government by recognizing that this cannot be accomplished unilaterally, but rather with the mutual efforts of the rest of the EU member states, welcomes the commitments made by all Member States to protecting UK nationals in a no deal scenario.

The UK Government is urging Member States to communicate their detailed plans to UK Nationals as soon as possible and emphasizes that  "It remains the government’s preference to leave with a deal".

For previous information and further details concerning residence rights and residence documents in the Republic of Cyprus in a ‘NO-DEAL’ scenario click here.

E-trade is undeniably the backbone of the wide Digital Market. In fact, the increased take up of eCommerce EU-wide is found to affect total factor productivity, through higher efficiency of the production process entailed by firms’ recourse to online sales, and have a price effect due to specificities of online trade. The Information Society Services and eCommerce are evolving rapidly and have become the tool that empowers the innovation of economic growth.

In Cyprus, eCommerce is used for retail products on a large scale. Having an eCommerce business in Cyprus presents a number of benefits, giving your online business the opportunity to grow and expand into new markets.

Online trade is rapidly expanding on the island. The Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus, is expanding eCommerce as an innovative way of doing business. In the framework of eCommerce promotion, the Ministry launched the Programme "Epixihirite Diadiktiaka" (i.e. "Business Online"). As an indication, household internet access in 2018 was 86%, higher than the EU average internet access of 82% and the world average of 56.1%.

The world of retail is drastically changing and in consequence, online shopping has undeniably become the current retail trend worldwide. Consumers prefer to search online for their products and buy them online. Online shopping has become so simple whilst at the same time highly demanding. The consumers have the ability to search worldwide for the products they are interested into, from the comfort of their personal place, seeking interactivity, satisfaction and contributing to the creation of new products and services.

The advantage of eCommerce, is that it provides the online entrepreneur with the opportunity to expand any business and attract customers worldwide. Having an eCommerce business is not without its risks but the potential benefits and the extremely low-start up costs in Cyprus, could outweigh those risks. Cyprus is an attractive destination not only for Cypriot entrepreneurs but also for EU citizens wishing to expand their online presence. Cyprus is a member of the EU since 2004 and constitutes an international centre of excellence in the provision of professional services.

The most important sectors of Cyprus’s economy in 2016 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (26.0 %), public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (20.3 %) and financial and insurance activities (10.8 %).

In Cyprus, the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism is the competent authority for the implementation of the legal framework on Electronic Commerce (L.156(I)2004), based on the EU Directive (2000/31/EC) on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce in the internal market, the national legislation on “Certain Aspects of Information Society Services", in particular Electronic Commerce, and Related Matters (L.156(I)2004 and amendment law L.97(I)2007) which is fully harmonized with the E-commerce directive 2000/31/EC.

For your online business in Cyprus you will need to:

- register a Cyprus company;

- build a website;

- be GDPR compliant; (e.g. Privacy Policy available on your website)

- offer online payment facilities;

If you are seeking to broaden the horizons of your business we promise we can help you. Contact us for your first free consultation here.

Blockchain technology is undeniably one of the most fundamental technological breakthroughs of our modern times. The financial and societal implications of blockchain constitute a milestone to the future of our digital world.

Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin and it is this technology that has led to the next generation Internet. It provides an architecture for so-called trustless trust. It allows us to trust the outputs of the system without trusting any actor within it. Blockchain is a shared, trusted, public ledger of transactions, that everyone can inspect but which no single user controls. It is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of transaction data records, cryptographically secured from tampering and revision.

It is worth mentioning, that the University of Nicosia in Cyprus, not only offers a Masters Degree (MSc) in digital currency but were also awarded for their blockchain achievement as the biggest contributor to the rise of blockchain in 2018, by the Blocks Awards.

In 2018, more than 90% of companies across different industries in the world were investing in blockchain technological projects. Currently in 2019, the pilot techs that were geared by those investments are finally reaching the end users. In fact, major projects of blockchain tech have been released in healthcare, cyber security and agriculture. But what exactly is Blockchain technology and why did the Cyprus Government decided to update legislation in favor of blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology was first introduced in October 2008 as part of a proposal for Bitcoin, with the aim to create P2P money without banks (i.e. person-2-person payments using your smart phone, tablet or computer). All network transactions get stored in the blockchain. The file is not centrally stored, but each node of the network keeps a copy of the blockchain - the distributed ledger recording all transaction history.

Instead of a single third party validating transactions through their servers with authority a peer to peer network of computers running the blockchain protocol validates transactions by consensus.The blockchain protocol, therefore, formalizes pre-defined consensus rules for approving transactions on the P2P network.

Blockchain was initially designed for P2P money only. But the major organizations soon realized that it is trusted to be used for any kind of P2P value transaction on top of the Internet. The Ethereum project thus introduced the idea of decoupling the contract layer from the blockchain layer, where the ledger itself is used by smart contracts that trigger transactions automatically when certain pre-defined conditions are met.

By decoupling the smart contract layer from the blockchain layer, blockchains like Ethereum aim to provide a more flexible development environment than the Bitcoin blockchain. These smart contracts are a piece of code running on top of a blockchain network, where digital assets are controlled by that piece of code implementing arbitrary rules. They have properties of contractual agreements but should not be confused with legal contracts.

If and when all parties to the smart contract fulfill the pre-defined arbitrary rules, the smart contract will auto execute the transaction. These smart contracts aim to provide transaction security superior to traditional contract law and reduce transaction costs of coordination and enforcement. Smart contracts can be used for simple economic transactions like sending money from A to B. They can also be used for registering any kind of ownership and property rights like land registries and intellectual property, or managing smart access control for the sharing economy, just to name a few.

Cyprus Government by recognizing that the digital world is the future and that the major companies, firms and entrepreneurs worldwide set blockchain technology a critical priority for their organizations in 2019, aims to be among the first countries to regulate blockchain technology.

On 18 June 2019, the Council of Ministers of Cyprus, during its session approved  a National Strategy on Decentralized Technologies and Blockchain, encouraging the use of these technologies in both the public and private sectors.

According to the President of Cyprus, the Digital Strategy has been introduced  in Cyprus since  2012, and during its years of action, more than 19 strategic projects and 28 e-governance projects were approved and implemented with the purpose of reforming and modernizing public service.

Some of the projects for digitization are: Health Information System, e-Justice, the new information system of the Tax Department and the Department of the Registrar of Companies.

In A. Dimitriou & Associates LLC we are adherent to the application of the blockchain in the legal sector. With the increase of technology in the redefined legal market we are turning into tech legal professionals and consultants to help you as our customer lead your business.

Announcement of the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) of Cyprus, concerning residence rights and residence documents in the Republic of Cyprus in a ‘NO-DEAL’ scenario

European Commission Notices on the legal and practical implications of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union

The European Commission issues Notices on the legal and practical implications of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. These Notices aim at preparing citizens and stakeholders for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and set out the consequences in a range of policy areas.

The European Commission publishes these Notices at the following website: click here

Implementing the agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community: RESIDENCE RIGHTS AND RESIDENCE DOCUMENTS IN THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS

The paper at the bottom of this page, sets out how Cyprus intends to practically implement the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement concerning residence rights of United Kingdom (UK) nationals and their family members, including family members who are third country nationals, in view of the UK leaving the European Union (EU).

In line with the draft Withdrawal Agreement published in March, its implementation will mean that:

Key issues:

Withdrawal Agreement: The EU has reached an agreement with the UK on citizens’ rights, ahead of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March 2019. This Agreement will become legally binding once it is set into force.

Who it covers: The Withdrawal Agreement will protect those UK nationals and their family members who have already exercised or will exercise their free movement rights in Cyprus before 1 January 2021 (before the end of the transition period).

Transition period: It is the period immediately after the UK leaves the EU, which starts on 30 March 2019 and lasts until 31 December 2020. During this period free movement of UK nationals and their family members will continue.

How it works for UK nationals:

a. UK nationals and their family member who have already exercised or will exercise free movement in Cyprus before 1 January 2021 but, until 31 December 2020 will not have completed continuous residence of five years, will be eligible for residence.

b. Those who will have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus before 31 December 2020 will be eligible to acquire permanent residence.

c. Those who will not have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus, will be able to remain in Cyprus to build-up five years continuous residence. Commencement of this five-year period for both cases starts at the moment of exercising free movement rights, which may be at any time before and during the transition period.

d. UK citizens who want to come to Cyprus after the 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period), will need to meet Cyprus immigration rules.

How it works for UK nationals’ family members:

a. Existing family members of UK nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who are living in a country other than Cyprus on 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period), will be able to reunite in Cyprus with the UK national as a family member at any time in the future. They will then be eligible to qualify for permanent residence after completing five years of continuous residence.

b. Children born or adopted after the transition period by a UK national or their spouse/ partner in a civil union covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will enjoy the same rights as pre-existing family members. Future spouses and partners of UK citizens who want to come to Cyprus after the 31 December 2020 (end of the transition period), will need to meet Cyprus immigration rules.

Resident documents: 

Holders of current resident documents (MEU1, MEU2, MEU3) will be able to continue to use them as means of proof for residence rights in Cyprus. Applications received up until the end of the transition period will be examined on the basis of the current free movement rules, and, if approved, will result to the issuance of the current residence documents. After the end of the transition period, holders of residence documents and eligible persons arriving in Cyprus will have the right, upon application, to receive a new type of residence document, which will include a statement that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.

Key dates:

UK leaving the EU:
29 March 2019

Transition period:
30 March 2019 – 31 December 2020

For further and more detailed information please download the paper at the bottom of this page.

If you are a British National or a family members who has been granted an Immigration Permit in the Republic according to the provisions of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations before Cyprus accession to the European Union, please refer below

Important announcement for British Nationals and their family members who have been granted an Immigration Permit in the Republic according to the provisions of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations before Cyprus accession to the European Union - 30/08/2018 14:44:37

The Civil Registry and Migration Department would like to inform British Nationals and their family members who have been granted Immigration Permits in the Republic, according to the provisions of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations before Cyprus accession to the European Union, the following:

In order to take benefit of the rights provided for in the Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the Right of Citizens of the Union and their Family Members to Move and Reside Freely within the Territory of the Member States, they are advised to replace these permits with the appropriate residence document, according to the provisions of the Right of Union Citizens and their Family Members to Move and Reside Freely within the Territory of the Republic of Cyprus Law of 2007.

Civil Registry and Migration Department

28 August 2018

For further details please visit the website of the Civil Registry and Migration Department at: http://www.moi.gov.cy

On 20th May 2019, the Ministry of Interior announced the Scheme for Providing Financial Assistance for the Housing of Displaced Persons and Patients.

The Ministry of Interior informs the public that the plans have been approved by the Council of Ministers and that the commencement date is set on 1 July 2019.

The purpose of the Schemes is to provide financial support for the acquisition of a private dwelling for permanent homeownership and cover the Mountainous Areas, the Accidental Areas and the Displaced Persons (without a geographical limitation), concerning the construction of a dwelling, the purchase of a new dwelling, the purchase and improvement of an existing dwelling, and acquiring with donation and improvement.

Applications will be accepted from July 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020. Applications may be submitted to District Administration Offices, depending on the region, the Town Planning and Housing Department, and at the headquarters of the Welfare and Rehabilitation Service for Displaced Persons and Patients, for the Scheme for Providing Financial Assistance for the Housing of Displaced Persons and Patients.

Relevant information is available on the website of the Ministry of the Interior (www.moi.gov.cy).

Abolition of Capital Duty (ΚΔΠ 364/2018)

The Council of Ministers abolished the obligation to pay capital duty of 0.6% on the authorised share capital or any increase thereof. As a result, effective as of 18 December 2018, no capital duty shall arise (i) on the initial authorized capital at incorporation of a new company and (ii) on any subsequent increase of the authorized share capital.

Recent Amendments to the Cyprus Companies Law Cap. 113 (Law 149(I)/2018) – modernization of the filing and registration requirements of the Registrar of Companies. 

Administrative Fines for late filings.

-The Registrar of Companies imposes an administrative fine for late filing of the below notifications to the Registrar of Companies. The fine shall amount to €50 plus €1 for every day for which the default continues, such fine not to exceed the amount of €250 for each default - effective as of 18 December 2019:

• the notification in relation to the allotment of shares (Section 51).

• the notification in relation to a change of the registered address (Section 102).

• the notification in relation to a transfer of shares (Section 113A).

• the notification(s) in relation to the particulars contained in the company’s register of directors and secretaries and any changes made thereto (Section 192).

• the notification(s) which must be made by an overseas company to the Registrar in relation to inter-alia, changes made to its directors and secretary, details of authorized representatives and the address of the overseas company’s place of business within the Republic (Section 349).

The Registrar of Companies shall impose an administrative fine for late filing of the annual return. The fine shall amount to €50 plus €1 for every day for which the default continues within the first 6 months plus €2 for every day thereafter for which the default continues, such fine not to exceed the amount of €500 for each default (Section 120) - effective as of 18 December 2019.

Amendment relating to the appointment of a secretary Section 171 of the Law has been amended to explicitly provide that every company shall have one secretary - effective as of 18 December 2018.

 

Amendments relating to the strike-off of a company Members and Creditors protection Section 327(5) - Any member or creditor of a company may object to the striking-off of a company within the period of 3 months from the relevant publication in the Gazette - effective as of 18 December 2018. Court Order to bring the company up to date upon re-instatement Section 327(7)

- The Court is given the power to order (i) that documents and returns be filed to the Registrar of Companies to bring the company’s filing requirements up to date, (ii) that all fees due by the company are paid and (iii) that the Company pays all costs of the Registrar of Companies in relation to the restoration of the company - effective as of 18 December 2018.

 

New power to the Registrar to reinstate struck-off companies (new section 327A)

A member or director can apply to the Registrar of Companies to re-instate a company which was struck-off on the basis that it was not carrying on a business or did not pay the annual levy.

The Registrar of Companies has the power to re-instate the company without the involvement of the Court. Such application must be made within 24 months of the strike-off provided that (i) the relevant company was carrying business at the time of strike-off, (ii) the company is brought up to date with its filing requirements, (iii) the company pays all fees, levies, penalties and fines due to the Registrar of Companies, (iv) the fee of reinstatement is paid and (v) the Registrar of Companies has good reason to believe that the strike-off has caused a disadvantage to the applicant.

 

Filing of pledges over Cyprus companies' shares

On the basis of an opinion issued by the General Attorney of the Republic of Cyprus, the Registrar of Companies no longer accepts applications for registration of share pledges. We expect that the Registrar of Companies will soon clarify that this applies only to pledges over Cyprus shares given that such pledges are exempted from the requirement for registration.

Can Landlord and Tenant freely agree rents in Cyprus? The confusion over the right to increase Rent.

The rental market can be divided into two broad categories: Houses controlled by the Rent Control Law (1983), and the free market. The Rent Control Law and its updated amendments apply to tenancies of residential or business premises which fall within what the law defines as Controlled Areas, i.e., towns, suburbs and rural centers, which were completed before 31 December 1999. However foreigners (except the non-Citizen wife of a citizen of the Republic) and legal entities controlled by non-residents, are not covered by the provision of the law, and do not benefit from Rent Control Law protection.

Zero increase to rents

The Ministry of Justice and public order, issues a decree every two years, enforcing maximum rent increases when a sitting tenant is involved.

A zero increase has been in place for the past six-year period, ending in April 2019.

Based on the above any sitting tenant could have denied paying a rent hike, if requested by the landlord.

If landlords feel that the rent in force is considerably lower than the market average they can go to court and ask for a rent at the level of 90% of the market rent prices.

The owner will have to request an independent valuation and file a case in the rent Control Court.

 

What can I do if I am not protected by the Rent Control Law?

If there is a rental agreement in place, rent increases are set by the clauses of the agreement.

If a verbal or written agreement is reached with the tenant, a new agreement is enforced and the tenancy continues. If an agreement is not reached the owner can lead the dispute to court, requesting the eviction of the tenant.

Usually the court decides for the eviction and orders payment of the market value rent from the date the case was filed until the eviction date.

For any further information please contact us at info@dimlaw.com

Latest Figures: GDP Growth Rate, 1st Quarter 2019 (flash estimate)

According to the Flash Estimate compiled by the Statistical Service, the GDP growth rate in real terms during the first quarter of 2019 is positive and is estimated at +3.4% over the corresponding quarter of 2018. Based on seasonally and working day adjusted data, GDP growth rate in real terms is estimated at +3.5%.

The increase of the GDP growth rate is mainly attributed to the sectors: "Hotels and Restaurants", "Retail and Wholesale Trade", "Construction", "Manufacturing", "Professional, scientific and technical activities" and "Administrative and support service activities". Negative growth rate was recorded by the sector "Financial and Insurance Activities".

Relevant information is available on the website of the Statistical Service 

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