A Guide for Retiring to Cyprus
Now eclipsing Spain as the Brit retiree’s new favourite destination, many are flocking to Cyprus. Mediterranean sun, affordability and genuine hospitality saw many older expats upping sticks and jetting to the island which is both Turkish and Greek.
The Cost of Living in Cyprus
Before joining the EU in 2004 and swapping the Cypriot pound for the euro in 2008, the cost of living in Cyprus was much lower than it currently is now. However, compared to the UK, there are still some services, goods and commodities which are still more affordable in comparison. Homegrown fruit and vegetables, local spirits, wine, beer, rent and public transport are up to 50% cheaper in Cyprus. The only thing that can be surprisingly expensive is dairy products as there are very few cattle on the island.
Moving to Cyprus
Expats starting a new life in Cyprus will arrive at one of two international airports on the island; Larnaca (LCA) or Paphos (PFO). Flight times tend to vary between four and five hours. Expats who will need to return home can purchase flights for as little as £50 one way.
Many international removals companies will be able to help Brits moving to Cyprus who wish to take their household belongings with them. However, some simply pack a suitcase and rent semi-furnished or furnished homes as a starting point.
Visas and Permits
Those who currently wish to retire in Cyprus do not need a visa to enter the country. There is speculation that this could change due to Brexit. However, as it stands, this is the case.
Those who intend on living in Cyprus, or visiting for more than three months, will need to apply for a residence permit through their local immigration office. The form expats need to fill in is he MEU1A, for which there is a fee. However, this is a one-off at the permit does not need to be renewed.
After five years of residency, expats can apply for a permanent registration certificate.
Pensions in Cyprus
As it stands, British expats in Cyprus can receive their state pension directly into their bank account and there are no restrictions. Some pensioners also receive other benefits depending upon their personal circumstances, for example, sickness or bereavement allowance.
Buying a Home in Cyprus
You will hear many expats who have bought homes in Cyprus warn others about issues with title deeds. Whilst there are pitfalls when it comes to securing a home on the island (and many happily rent) some retirees wish to make things more permanent by buying a new home.
If you wish to purchase a home in Cyprus always check an estate agent’s registration and harness the professional help of an English or English-speaking solicitor for peace of mind. Everything, even potential property choices, should be cleared by your legal representative and their advice will prove incredibly valuable.
Many Brits also hire a surveyor. This can speed up the overall process of buying a home in Cyprus.
Driving in Cyprus
Many expat retirees in Cyprus do feel a car is helpful when living on the island and it is regarded as the most effective way of getting around. Road signs are usually always in English (as well as Greek) and there is rarely any traffic.
Brits can drive freely on their UK license. Those from the USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia can drive for up to six months. Non-EU expats can drive for up to 30 days and then will have to apply for an international driving license.
Healthcare in Cyprus
Those expats who pay into the Cypriot social security system can receive state healthcare. However, this may also apply if:
- You are in receipt of a UK old age state pension
- You are an early retiree and have been a resident for less than 2 years
- You are a posted worker for a UK company
- You are a dependant of someone who falls into the above categories
- You spend less than 6 months of the year in Cyprus and have a valid EHIC
Failing this, you will need to ensure that you have expat insurance.