Retiring to Cyprus
There are plenty of arguments for choosing Cyprus as a retirement destination. The value for money in bricks and mortar is one of the most compelling, as is the island’s warm climate, genuine hospitality, rich culture and history.
Occupying a strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is where east meets west. The island can be considered the easternmost point of Europe. It can certainly claim to be the most easterly member of the EU.
Cyprus has straddled one of the major geographical, cultural and commercial divides between Europe and the Middle East since the first settlers arrived from Asia Minor during the Stone Age.
As the mythological birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love, there is no little irony in the fact that ‘Aphrodite’s Isle’ has subsequently seen more than its fair share of enmity and strife – not least in the ongoing partition of the island following the Turkish invasion in 1974.
Throughout its history it has seen a succession of invaders, including the British, who occupied the island between 1878 and 1960 – a prosperous period for both nations. The occupation didn’t end peacefully, but Anglo-Cypriot relations have remained largely positive ever since.
English is the semi-official language spoken by more than three-quarters of the 1.18 million population, the Cypriot legal system is based on English law, the island’s banking system is modelled on the UK’s, and Britons comprise more than half the annual two million tourists. They also represent the largest expatriate community – estimated to be more than 65,000 permanent residents.
Both geographically and geopolitically, Cyprus is a divided country. Two mountain ranges, the Troodos in the southwest and the Kyrenia in the north, dominate their respective landscapes. They are separated by the Mesaoria plain, extending from the westerly Morphou Bay to Famagusta in the east.
In its centre is the island’s capital, Nicosia, which is separated into Greek and Turkish enclaves courtesy of the ‘Green Line’ buffer zone policed by the UN. The line stretches for 180km from Paralimni to Kato Pyrgos, but it is at its most conspicuous in the capital.
This is also an island where you can go from ski slopes – those in the Troodos Mountain Resort are high enough to host international ski competitions – to beach in less than an hour.
The cost of living in Cyprus is not as low as it used to be before Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 and replaced the Cypriot pound with the euro in 2008. However, there are still some goods, services and commodities that are noticeably less expensive than in the UK.
These include fruit and vegetables, beer, wine and local spirits, utilities, rent (excluding holiday lets), and public transport and taxis, which can be less than half the cost in the UK. Inevitably there will be surprising vagaries, including the high cost of dairy products, due to the lack of cattle on the island.
According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Cyprus is around 24% lower than in the UK (excluding rent). Rent in Cyprus is 61% lower than in the UK. Property prices are up to 65% cheaper.
If you are a British citizen, you currently do not need a visa to enter the Republic of Cyprus. If you intend to stay for more than three months, you must apply for a residence permit through your local immigration office, using form MEU1A. There is a fee, but the permit does not need to be renewed. After five consecutive years of residence, you can apply for a permanent registration certificate.
A UK state pension can be paid directly to a British expat in Cyprus. There may be further entitlement to benefits, including sickness and bereavement allowance, depending on individual circumstances.
See our ‘Brexit Update’ pages for how your retirement to Cyprus may be affected as the UK leaves the EU.
‘Retiring to Europe‘ provides you with the key information you need to consider when planning your retirement to any of the most popular countries in Europe. The following subjects are comprehensively covered for each destination:
Cost of Living
Retiring to Europe
Europe remains a popular retirement destination for Britons. But where best to retire in Europe? The full-colour, 264-page book ‘Retiring to Europe’ considers the pros and cons of the popular options. It examines in detail climate, lifestyle, language, travel connections, the affordability of property, access to healthcare and the tax and other financial implications of residency in ten European countries.
It focuses on the areas of Mediterranean Europe that Britons prefer to retire to: France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. It also looks at the UK as a retirement option.