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Special Permits and Licenses in Cyprus

Special Permits and Licenses in Cyprus

Cyprus is one of the easiest countries to do business in Europe and it attracts thousands of foreign investors every year. Those who come here with the purpose of starting a business must comply with the same regulations as local businessmen which is an important aspect to consider.

The Company Law provides for the requirements related to registering a company in Cyprus, however, once a business is incorporated, the owner will be required to obtain special licenses and permits which will enable him or her to start one or more activities in a specific field.

Below, our Cypriot lawyers explain the requirements which need to be respected when applying for special licenses and permits for businesses. Foreign investors can rely on our law firm for assistance in registering a business and applying for licenses and permits which will allow them a fast start on the Cypriot market.

The licensing phase when opening a company in Cyprus

Setting up a business in Cyprus implies completing several steps, and licensing is among the final ones. What should be noted when opening a company is that it will obtain the general business permit which is issued by the Trade Register, while any other special licenses must be obtained separately from authorities that regulate the industry the entity will operate in.

With respect to the special licenses and permits that need to be obtained in Cyprus it must also be said that the documents and timeframes are different from case to case. However, if you want to open a business and need consultancy on how to apply for various licenses.

Business licensing in Cyprus

When opening a business in Cyprus, depending on the type of activity to be carried out certain business licenses must be obtained with the relevant authorities. However, certain types of companies such as those operating in the financial sector will be subject to stricter conditions and will require special licenses before commencing. Obtaining special permits or license also include some costs that will mainly depend on the authority releasing them.

In order to find out what license requirements are for different types of activities, foreign investors are advised to ask for the services of a Cypriot law firm.

What types of businesses requires special permits or licenses in Cyprus?

Depending on the type of activity, companies may require one or more special permits in Cyprus. Hotels will usually require a special license issued by the Cyprus Tourism Organization, restaurants will require two special permits, one issued by the local authorities and a Health Ministry Certificate, private schools require a special license issued by the Education Ministry, while financial institutions in Cyprus will require a special permit issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Retailers are also required to obtain special licenses for selling alcohol and tobacco, but a sales special permit issued by the local authorities is also required. Other permits are required for catering businesses for serving food. Companies involved in trading activities must obtain a special export/import license from the Department of Customs and Excise in Cyprus. Banks and insurance companies will require special permits issued by the Central Bank.

You can rely on our attorneys in Cyprus for detailed information on the business permits needed to apply for based on the industry you plan on operating in.

Special licenses for the retail sector in Cyprus

Retail is one of the most important economic sectors in Cyprus, many stores being owned by foreign entrepreneurs. However, retail is made of many subsectors, which is why the special licenses and permits for selling goods and services depends on the types of products sold.

The following licenses are available when starting an FMCG company in Cyprus:

  • the sales license is the most important one as it allows the business to sell goods on the premises;
  • the tobacco permit is a special license which needs to be obtained when selling cigarettes in Cyprus;
  • the food service license must be obtained when selling any type of food product on the premises of a shop;
  • the alcohol license enables a company to sell various types of alcoholic beverages in Cyprus.

A special type of license for the retail industry in Cyprus is the street vending permit which is issued by the municipality of the city in which the person will sell his or her products. It should be noted that the street vending permit is often required in important touristic cities in Cyprus.

Our law firm in Cyprus can help foreign investors who want to set up companies in the retail sector in this country. We can also handle the registration of any type of company remotely if you want to grant us a power of attorney.

Obtaining a special construction permit in Cyprus

Cypriot companies conducting construction business will require a special permit issued by the local authority in the area where the construction site will be. The procedure for obtaining the permit is quite strict and the company must submit a copy of the blueprints, an application for a town planning license and a building permit. Special licenses for sewage, electricity. and water must also be obtained.

Requirements when applying for special licenses and permits in Cyprus

Most of the times, the special permits and licenses available when starting a business in Cyprus must be obtained by the business owner, by one of the managers or, in certain cases, by a specific person designated to complete the application procedure. This is usually the case of travel agencies which must appoint a person who has completed certain training and has a travel agent certification.

Other requirements which need to be respected when applying for special licenses and permits in Cyprus are:

  • the company will need to undergo inspections from the municipality in the city it will operate in;
  • in the case of companies selling food products, an inspection from the Department of Medical and Public Health Services will be completed;
  • most companies must also pass the inspection of the Department of Electrical and Mechanical Services in Cyprus;
  • companies involved in the transport of goods and persons must also pass the inspection of the Department of Road Transport.

These are also the authorities which will grant certain authorizations if the case requires.

It is also important to know that all companies in Cyprus must comply with the environmental protection requirements and in some industries, a special license in this sense could be needed.

With a vast experience in corporate matters, our law firm in Cyprus can explain the requirements related to applying for specific licenses and permits based on the industry the company will activate in.

Fees when applying for business permits in Cyprus

An important aspect to integrate into the business start-up costs of a Cypriot business are the fees related to obtaining the special licenses and permits to start the operations. These fees usually depend on the industry and the authority issuing the license, as each authority will impose its own fee.

The fees will be paid with the authority in charge of issuing the special business permit upon the submission of the application file. Generally, these fees are not high.

What are the most sought business licenses in Cyprus?

Cyprus is a prolific country with relies on the development and performance of several economic sectors. However, tourism and the financial industry represent two of the most important. Also, considering that the country represents and important connection point between Europe, Africa and Asia, trading is also one of the major industries to contribute to the wellbeing of the country.

Setting up a business in any of these sectors require special licenses issued by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism in the case of travel agencies and/or hotels, the Ministry for Finance for most financial companies, and the Customs Authority in the case of trading businesses.

Each license that needs to be obtained by these companies will imply different procedures and documents, while the special permit will be issued in a specific timeframe as established by the authority in charge.

Foreign companies setting up operation and their licensing in Cyprus

When discussing entrepreneurship, not only single investors are attracted by what Cyprus has to offer, as foreign companies can also set up operations in the sectors they want to operate in the insular state. These can set up branch offices or subsidiaries which must undergo the same business licensing requirements as natural persons starting their own companies.

When opening a branch office in Cyprus, the most important thing to consider is that it will complete the same activities as the parent company in its home country, however, the license to be obtained, including any special business permits must comply with the Cypriot regulations. Moreover, the parent company will need to submit all relevant documents for the license to be issued.

In the case of subsidiary companies, things are a little different, as these are regarded as domestic businesses and will be treated as such from a licensing point of view. It is safe to say that the once established by the parent company and the general business permit is obtained, the subsidiary will apply for any special license it might need to operate.

No matter the type of company you want to establish, if you need guidance, our lawyers in Cyprus can offer the necessary assistance in obtaining the required business licenses.

Cyprus’ economy in the near future

According to a report issued by the European Commission:

  • in 2021, Cyprus is expected to make a mild economic recovery with an increase of 3.1%;
  • in 2022, the economy is predicted to grow to 3.8%;
  • unemployment is also expected to slightly decrease to 7.5% in 2021, respectively 7.2% in the following year.

If you want to open a business and need guidance, our law firm in Cyprus is at your service. We also invite you to watch our video below:

FAQ on business licenses and permit in Cyprus

Here are the answers to some of the most asked questions on starting a business and obtaining special licenses and permits in Cyprus:

1.Are there any special requirements to be met by foreign investors when applying for a special license?

No, in terms of business licenses, the requirements in terms of documentation are the same no matter the country of origin of the applicant.

2.How long does the licensing procedure take?

There is no specific timeframe for obtaining a special license, as some businesses might require inspections that can lead to a longer timeframe, while others do not need such inspections. However, we recommend you carefully consider the entire business registration procedure if you need special licenses.

3.Are business licenses expensive?

Business licensing can be subject to certain fees, however, these are usually low. Some of them need renewal (usually on an annual basis), which is why you can consult with us on such aspects.

4.What happens to the license if I close the company?

Once a company is liquidated, the license is also suspended. In certain cases, some procedure might be required, but these depend on a case-to-case basis. 

For detailed information about all special licenses and permits required when opening a company, you can contact our lawyers in Cyprus.