Moving to Cyprus

Emigrating to a new country is not an easy decision. There are many things to consider to make sure you end up with the right decision. While considering a move to Cyprus – permanent or temporary – it is hard to find updated information online. This is why this page exist: To guide you through all processes and make your relocation to Cyprus as smooth as possible.

From an EU/EEA countryFrom outside EU/EEA

Immigrating to and receiving citizenship in Cyprus

Depending on your existing citizenship and from where in the world you are moving to Cyprus, there will be different rules and regulations to consider. The key aspect is whether you currently have a citizenship in a country within EU, the EEA zone or Switzerland.

Emigrating to Cyprus when you already hold a citizenship in a EU member state is a lot simpler than if you are from pretty much anywhere else in the world. Read more below here.

Citizens from EU and EEA countries

Countries that are members of EU or EEA

These countries are either EU member states or EEA member states. If you live in one of these countries, you are free to move to Cyprus.

Cyprus is a full member of EU. If you are a citizen in another member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are free to move to Cyprus. You will also enjoy the same rights as Cypriot citizens. This includes engaging in economic activities such working and operating companies.

If you will spend more than three months in Cyprus, you need to apply for a Registration Certificate for EU Nationals. This is also commonly referred to as a “yellow slip” and you must submit your application for the yellow slip within four months of entering Cyprus. The same is required by any family members, who are moving to Cyprus with you.

If you are moving to Cyprus from the UK the same procedures apply.

Read full details of how and where to apply for a yellow slip as a citizen in a EA or EEA country here.

Non EU citizens

Strict regulations apply if you are not an EU citizen or a citizen in any of the EEA countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) or Switzerland. If you live in any of those countries, please read more here.

As a non EU citizen wishing to take permanent residence in Cyprus you can take advantage of the Scheme for Naturalization of Investors in Cyprus by exception. This provides you with the option of receiving a Cypriot citizenship providing that you meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Investment in Cyprus totalling at least €5.0 million
  2. If your salary generates at least €100,000 in taxes in Cyprus over a three year period

Besides you will need to own a permanent residence in Cyprus with a purchase price exceeding €500,000.

Read more about the requirements in details and how to apply for a Cypriot citizenship here.

Pros and cons of living in Cyprus

There are pros and cons about living in any country and it is the same about Cyprus. It is also to a large extent a personal perspective based on your own expectations and plans for life. Some of the pros and cons will not be visible immediately when you arrive. Maybe not even within the first year. But sooner or later everyone will start making their own list called: Pros and cons of living in Cyprus. If you are considering moving to Cyprus you will of course not have that luxury. So here is a list of pros and cons about living in Cyprus, which are based on my perspective and input from other expats (of varying nationality) living in Cyprus.

Pros of living in Cyprus

Here are some of the major pros about living in Cyprus:

Low crime – It is safe

– Cyprus has a very low crime rate and you will generally always feel safe.

The weather

– The weather is very stable in Cyprus and the summers always seem to last forever. Read more about the weather here.

The tax system

– The taxation in Cyprus is low compared to most countries and there’s a high threshold before you start paying income tax.

Pace of life

– The pace of life in Cyprus is exactly how you want it to be and that flexibility is a big positive. If you prefer it slow, go with the flow – few people are ever very busy. If you like a more fast paced style of life – no matter whether that is partying, professional or outdoors –  there is nothing stopping you.

Almost everyone speaks English

– If you don’t speak Greek, it is a big advantage that most people speak English. Almost everywhere you go, you will be able to easily get by with English. There is also more and more people that speaks Russian, which will be very helpful if you also speak Russian.

The beaches

– The beaches in Cyprus almost deserves a section of their own. They are consistently voted amongst the best beaches in Europe. With the long summer in mind, what more can you ask for?

Rentals are cheap

– As mentioned elsewhere on this site, renting properties in Cyprus is cost efficient and helps keep your living costs low

The expat communities

– Cyprus is a very popular destination amongst English expats and there are plenty of expat communities that will enable you to settle right in. If you are not from the UK, there are also plenty of communities with expats  a variety of European countries, Russia and asia.

Cyprus is a part of the European Union

– While everyone will have an opinion on the success of the European Union, it has made it a lot easier to trade, travel, work and move freely within the member states. As a citizen in a EU member state you enjoy the same rights as Cypriots. If you are not a permanent citizenship in Cyprus offers you access to all EU member states and benefits on equal foot with Cypriots.

Halloumi

– The bacon of cheeses. The salty goat cheese is a real treat and is a part of the Cypriot way of life. And Cyprus is where it originates. Some might say you haven’t lived until you’ve had grilled halloumi for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Try it.

UK pensions are payable in Cyprus

– We only have solid information about UK included so far. It is relatively simple to have most parts of your UK pension paid to you if you live in Cyprus. More information about opportunities if you receive or qualify for pensions in the UK can be found here (new window).
If you have information about pensions from other countries, please leave a comment or contact Cyprus Ninja, and we’ll update this section to reflect it.

Cons of living in Cyprus

There are some downsides to life in Cyprus, which are mentioned here:

Salaries are relatively low

It is closely related to the low living costs (or vice versa), but the salaries for many jobs in Cyprus are relatively low. You will be able to get by just fine though – mainly because of the low living costs and the taxation rates where personal income tax is not paid of the first €19.500/year.

Lack of shopping options

It is a market that is increasing with more and more opportunities, but there is still a significant difference between the shopping options in Cyprus and most other place. Luckily, there is always the option of purchasing online.

Changes in activity from summer to winter

Tourism is a major driver of the economy in Cyprus. Because tourism is heavily focused on the summer season, the popular tourist destinations almost comes to a complete halt during off season. The winter slowdown might be a positive for you, but there is a significant difference in the opportunities between summer and winter.
Off season tourism is picking up though, and the new plans for a casino of international quality and new golf courses, off season tourism is bound to pick up.

Limited direct flights to other European countries (except UK)

Because of the difference in inbound tourism to Cyprus between summer to winter, there is a lack of opportunities when it comes to direct flight options to pretty much any European country except Greece and UK. This is mostly a challenge during the winter season.

Welfare benefits are low

This is probably not one of the reasons that you are considering a move to Cyprus, but it is still worth considering before you decide to move to Cyprus. The social welfare benefits are not high and it takes a few years before you will qualify for any.

Finding a place to live

Semidetached property for sale in Cyprus

Moving to Cyprus also means opening up for a variety of living arrangements no matter whether you’ll be renting or buying.

It is quite simple to find a new home in Cyprus as there are many options available. To find the best option for your new home, you will need to consider some requirements for your future home in Cyprus.

How to find your new home

The very first step to take is to define the requirements you have for your new home. After that you will need define your budget for either monthly rent or for buying a property in Cyprus. Only then will it make sense to make a final decision about where in Cyprus you would like to live.

Of course all of the above steps will influence each other and you might have to go back a step to match your requirements and budget with the part of the city you want to live in.

Step 1 – Home requirements

Here is a short checklist of what you should consider for the first step:

  • How many rooms do you require?
  • How big should the house/apartment be?
  • Would you like access to your own or a community pool?
  • Do you require a balcony? If yes, how big?
  • Do you want a garden?
  • Is sea or mountain view a must?
  • Should it be furnished or unfurnished?

Once you have figured the requirements for step 1, it is time for

Step 2 – Budget

Rent in Cyprus might be cheap compared to other European countries, but nothing is free. So you will have to consider what your budget is and how much you can or are willing to set aside for home costs such as rent, water and electricity.

If you are looking to buy, it is obviously a different expense, but nevertheless a predefined budget will make it a lot easier for you (and your agent) to quickly find the house that you will love.

To get an idea of what different budgets will get you, you can check using our property search engine here. Don’t forget to take expenses for water and electricity into consideration.

Once you are settled on a rough budget you are ready for step 3.

Step 3 – Settling on a location

As with any other city in this world, you will find pros and cons for moving to all cities in Cyprus. You can research and read a lot about the cities, but at the end of the day, the best way to settle on a final location is to visit Cyprus before you make your decision. This visit will give you a feel for the area that no one can provide through writing, reviews, images and video.

However, if visiting Cyprus beforehand is not an option, you can base it on where you think you will spend most time such as close to a work place and you can read our guide to the cities and areas here:

  • Limassol
  • Larnaca
  • Nicosia
  • Paphos
  • Famagusta

If you have decided on a fairly precise location makes it a lot easier for you (and your agent) to find the right place for you to live.

Buying or renting property?

There is no definitive answer to this and there are a lot of variables that should influence this decision. Here are a short list of benefits for each option:

Benefits of buying property

  • It’s yours – for as long as you want
  • If you are not a citizen in an EEA country or Switzerland, you will need to purchase a permanent residence for a minimum of €500,000 to receive a Cypriot citizenship.
  • The investment is also included in the required investment of more than €5.0 million to receive a cypriot citizenship
  • It’s an investment. As the property market increases in value you will reap the increase of your property value

 

Benefits of renting property

  • The rental costs are low compared to many other European countries
  • You do not have to worry about maintenance
  • Renting is a flexible solution

What to consider when you are ready to move in

There are a variety of things to remember when you move into a new place. It is mostly the same as in any other country but it still has to be done.

The list includes connecting to the electricity grid, water, setting up trash collection, internet connection and many other things.

See a full list of what you need to do and where you need to do it here.

Living costs in Cyprus

Living costs in Cyprus are significantly lower than in many other European countries. The prices are generally between 20 and 50% lower than in the UK. Major posts in the budget such as expenses for buying and renting property are significantly lower in Cyprus than in the UK and other Northern European countries. Local fruit and vegetables are also available extremely cheap.

The only costs you will experience as slightly more expensive in Cyprus are milk, white bread and fitness memberships, whereas internet connections is the only living cost that is significantly more expensive than in other European countries.

Read much more about the living costs in Cyprus here.

Bringing your kids to Cyprus? No problem

If you are considering moving to Cyprus and have kids that should not stop you. Whenever you go out to eat, shop or similar, you will experience Cyprus as a very child friendly place. And everywhere across the country you will find plenty of kindergartens and schools of a high quality and in multiple languages.

You will struggle to find a kindergarten in a local language such as Swedish, Italian, Spanish, Hungarian or similar. But there are plenty of great English or Russian speaking options for your kids with native speaking teachers. As Greek is the official language in Cyprus, most options will also to some extent include learning Greek.

In Cyprus children start school or preschool around the age of five and you will find plenty of private English, American or Russian schooling options. The private schools are also used by some locals and they do generally have a reputation of a much higher quality than the public schools.

Transportation and cars?

A car is pretty much a necessity in Cyprus for two reasons:

  • The public transportation is mediocre at best.
  • Summers are very hot – If you doubt us, check the weather in Cyprus. It is too hot to walk during the hottest months.

Which is why our recommendation is that you rent/purchase a car as soon as possible after your arrival. Luckily cars are quite cheap and the supply is plenty and you don’t need a local license. But bring an international license to avoid confusion unless your drivers license is issued within the EU.

Just note that in Cyprus we drive in the left hand side of the road. To prepare yourself for this and the local traffic, please read our guide to driving in Cyprus.

Renting a car

Renting a car can be a good option for the first few weeks if you are not bringing your own car. Unless you already have your eye set on a specific car, a rental car will give you some flexibility to find the right car at the right price for you.

Buying a car

There are a huge number of cars for sale in Cyprus and it is currently (March 2015) a buyers market. You will be able to find any type of car you want and relatively cheap on top of that.

Check our cars for sale section to get a nice overview over the options and price levels.

Car insurance and other costs

Car insurance is fairly cheap depending on what kind of coverage you want. Other car related costs include:

  • Bi yearly check up of your car (MOT)
  • Yearly road tax payments. The road tax is primarily calculated based on engine size and age of the car.
  • Gas at an affordable rate compared to UK prizes.

Getting a local phone number and internet connection

When you are moving to Cyprus you should also look into getting a local phone number and set up an internet connection.

How to get a Cypriot phone number

There are no challenges in getting a phone number whether it is a landline or mobile phone number, but if you are not a Cypriot or own property in Cyprus, you might experience some difficulties getting a subscription. In that case our advice is to get a prepaid number, which you can get at almost any kiosk.

You can read more about getting a Cypriot phone number here.

Getting an internet connection in Cyprus

Google also exist in CyprusYou will of course also need an internet connection. You will want to get the process started quickly as there sometimes is waiting time before your chosen supplier is able to get you connected to the world wide web.

Internet access in Cyprus is expensive compared to wherever you are moving to Cyprus from and the options are limited. This means that you will have to choose between quality and cost – at the moment there is no way for you to get a high bandwidth connection cheap. But internet connections are available from €15 a month and upwards.

Click and read more about your options for internet in Cyprus. Getting a mobile internet connection is also worth considering, as the providers have started rolling out their 4G mobile network. Click to read more about mobile internet in Cyprus.

If you decide not to get an internet connection for your home you will have to rely on wifi access at bars, cafes and restaurants. While that will no doubt be good for your social life it will also include some costs for a coffee here or a drink or beer there.

Taxes in Cyprus

The tax rates in Cyprus are pretty low, but obviously not compared to the tax rates of European tax havens such as Monaco and Andorra. Here is a short explanation of the tax system in Cyprus:

Personal income tax

There is no income tax of the first €19,500 personal income on a yearly basis, which means that a significant part of the Cypriot population does not pay personal income tax. The rates for personal tax is as follows:

Personal income Income tax
€0 – €19,500 0 %
€19,501 – €28,000 20 %
€28,001 – €36,300 25 %
€36,301 – 60,000 30%
60,000 + 35%

Social tax

On all personal income there is a 6-7% income tax, which is paid by the employee. The company also adds to the social insurance tax.

Other taxes and tax benefits

There are also other minor taxes, company taxes, taxes on dividends plus some tax benefits for new comers that are relevant to look at. You can read more in our article with a detailed explanation of the tax system and benefits in Cyprus.

You can read much more about taxes in Cyprus here.

The language

The official language in Cyprus is Greek, but if you don’t speak Greek, there is no need to worry. You can get along just fine without speaking Greek and instead speaking English (and Russian to some extent).

Tourism (particularly from Russia and UK) is a huge part of the Cypriot economy, so most places are able to accommodate English and Russian. WIth Cyprus’ history as an English crown colony until the middle of the 20th century, English is of course also still spoken by most Cypriots.

If you want to learn Greek, you will also be able to do that by attending either free or paid Greek classes.

All ready to relocate to Cyprus?

This is the situation this article aims to put you in: Ready to move to Cyprus and just having to finalize the last details. If you are all ready to go, it is about time to prepare yourself to relocate all your belongings.

You will find plenty of companies that specialises in moving abroad and the prices will vary depending on the service, speed and how much you will be bringing with you.

 

We really hope that this article has helped you to make the decision to move to Cyprus. It is a great place to live.

If you think that some parts are missing or could use more elaboration in this guide, please let us know, and we will look into improving the guide about moving to Cyprus.

You can do so by contacting us through one of these social media channels (And we don’t mind a follow too 😉 ):

Morten Madsen

Morten Madsen

Founder & master ninja, Cyprus Ninja

Morten Madsen is the founder of Cyprus Ninja. He has lived and worked in Cyprus since April 2012.