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Moving to Cyprus

Moving to Cyprus

Moving to Cyprus from Dubai in 2021 takes careful preparation and attention to details and documentation. We provide everything you need to know before moving from Dubai to Cyprus. Start your move today by obtaining up to 6 competitive moving to Cyprus quotations FREE.

Moving to Cyprus means you get to live in a country where others spend their vacation in. Expats settling in Cyprus can take advantage of the island’s diverse population, rich culture, and pleasant climate. Even if the island is divided into different states, one cannot deny Cyprus’s beauty and people.

Among the many other countries in Europe, Cyprus enjoys the most appealing climates. Until now, the division between the Northern Cyprus’ Turkish Republic and the Republic of Cyprus remained a substantial political issue. But this issue is not stopping foreigners from exploring the country.

In this guide, we will share pertinent and useful information that can help you transition, assimilate, and mesh well with the country and its people. Hopefully, through this guide, we can keep you prepared for the kind of life you will be living in this foreign country and keep you from experiencing culture shock.

Overview

Every ex-pat moving to Cyprus comes to the country with a specific goal or purpose. For those who enjoy the Mediterranean climate, the island will be such a treat. Here, you will surely enjoy hot summers that can go as high as 33 degrees Celsius. The winters here are also mild, so you can say that staying here is a Mediterranean dream that finally came to life. The sea temperature can reach 27 degrees Celsius in summer, making the beach more pleasurable.

Both expats and locals also enjoy the 320 days of sunshine in Cyprus. This made the country the sunniest place throughout the European Union. Unfortunately, if you are into hydro technology or agriculture, you will have a problem with its water supply.

If you did your homework, you already know by now that the country has been divided into two parts since 1974. Fewer ex-pats settle within the Turkish part of the country. This, however, does not mean that the Northern part of the island is devoid of natural charms. Lack of independence and international recognition are the two main reasons why ex-pats prefer to settle in the southern half of the island. 

If you are sure about moving to Cyprus, we will pave the path for you. We will share information about the country’s taboos, customs, practices, and social etiquettes so that you can mingle comfortably with the locals in the city. We will also share more valuable information on the country’s visa application, taxing, banking, educational, and healthcare systems. At the end of this guide, we fervently hope that you are more than ready to live a life on this Mediterranean island.

Living/Lifestyle in Cyprus

The Republic of Cyprus has been on the road to prosperity since it joined the EU in 2004. Though the country’s banking sector suffered greatly due to its exposure to the Greek debt, it has recovered in recent years.

Cyprus is considered a relaxed paradise for the sun-chasers. But the social and economic landscape of the country is important to understand. The local culture, way of life, and other practices and traditions are fascinating. Here are some things you should know about.

Country Facts

Capital City: Nicosia
Population: 1.95 Million
Languages: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
Time: GMT +3
Driving Lane: Left Hand Side
Domain: .cy
Dialing Code: +357

Is Cyprus a safe country?

Cyprus is generally a safe country considering its commendable safety rating and low crime rate. But this does not mean that you will throw caution in the air. You still need to be vigilant with your surroundings, and you also need to look after your personal belongings. Take note that driving standards in the country are abysmal, which means driving around is quite dangerous. If you have to drive, make sure to always do it with extra caution. 

Cyprus received various terrorist threats in the past, with its tourist spots cited as potential terrorism targets. While there is no reason to panic, you need to remain vigilant all the time. It won’t hurt if you become keener of your environment when you’re out in crowded areas.

Moving to Cyprus - A young female traveler watches a beautiful sunset on the rocks and beach, Cape Greco, Cyprus

Is Cyprus similar to Greece?

The Brits and Ottoman Turks contributed mostly to Cyprus’ present-day lifestyle, with the Greeks showing the most influence. The Greeks are known to be responsible for profoundly shaping the current Cypriot culture and language, and such influence started to take root 4,000 years ago. But this doesn’t mean that you should expect Cyprus to be similar to Greece. The peculiarities and differences range from food to music. Cypriot cuisine, for example, includes Halloumi cheese and exquisite wines. On the other hand, Greek food is centered more on wheat, meat, nuts, and spices.

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How is the Cypriot economy doing?

If there’s a word or phrase that can briefly describe the Greek economy, that would be an economy on its way to full recovery. Compared to the other European countries, the island’s GDP per capita is at a lower range. Nicosia, the Cypriot capital, is regarded as the center of business and trade where all economic activities occur.

In previous years, the island suffered from the economic and financial crisis. This caused the country’s skyrocketing unemployment rate. Fortunately, after a few years of fighting it out, the island is steadily recovering. Now, it is finding the means to sustain its recovering economy. Thankfully, the island is an important trade center and strategic outpost. This means that it has the best location, notwithstanding its ongoing territorial dispute with Turkey.

But you see, the quality of your life in the country will not be determined solely by your paycheck. Here, you can enjoy a safe environment, advanced infrastructure, picturesque scenery, the perfect Mediterranean climate, and warmhearted, welcoming culture. If you’re a sun-worshipping fellow, then Cyprus would be like a dreamboat to you. Plus, you can surely benefit from the government’s effort to make the island appealing again.

What Cypriot business etiquette do you need to be aware of?

Age and status are integral parts of social etiquette and everyday life in Cyprus. Frequently, these social practices even extend to the Cypriot workplace. Respecting the company higher-ups and elders is a must.

When you want to schedule a meeting, you have to make sure that you confirm the meeting date in person. This rule applies even if you have already sent a written invite ahead of time. If the person you invite to a meeting comes in late, it doesn’t mean that you need to be lax in the punctuality department. As a way of respecting others’ time, make it a habit to be on time.

And while your achievements and professional skills are essential, it’s still better to have a beneficial and extensive business network. Socialize and get to know your counterparts as these are upheld values in Cyprus.

Cost of Living in Cyprus

The good news for ex-pats thinking about living in Cyprus is the fact that the cost of living there is low, with prices for prime commodities lower by 25% compared to the prices in the northern parts of Europe. Limassol is considered as one of the most affordable cities not only in Cyprus but also within Europe. Since the EU accession, the prices expectedly rose by at least 1.6 percent.

How much would it cost to live a decent life in Cyprus?

For a single person, an average monthly budget of €1,105.47 is enough for him to live a comfortable life in Cyprus. For couples, they would need around €1,657.34 per month. And for those with at least two children, they would need around €2,320.28 per month. A couple living in a purchased home can live comfortably if they have at least €10,251.61 net income per year. These prices are, however, expected to rise very soon.

Moving to Cyprus - Traditional fish meze

Can your monthly budget be any lower?

Though it’s hard to calculate a country’s cost of living, one’s expenditure is mainly dependent on your lifestyle and circumstance. If you want to lower your monthly expense, it is wise to cut down on things that are not necessary. Say, for instance, you can prepare your meal instead of dining out. You can limit your electricity and water usage, too. It’s very similar to how you budget your expenses when you are in your own country. If it’s just near, you can take a walk instead of using public transport. You can even invest in a bike to lower your monthly expenses on fare.

Which areas are the most expensive and the cheapest?

Food costs less in most of the northern European countries. Here, €430 can already feed at least two full-grown adults for a month. You can also include an inexpensive wine with this budget, but of course, not the caviar, fillet steak, and other imported delicacies that go well with it. In Cyprus, local spirits and wines are of excellent value, while eating out is quite affordable. A meal for two persons will only cost you €40. If you are on a tight budget, avoid areas where tourists flock. Here, prices are way higher than average.

How much does education and healthcare cost in Cyprus?

Public primary, secondary, tertiary, and higher education for the Cypriots and EU citizens are all free. Expats and international students from non-EU countries, however, need to pay. 

Then again, even if these non-citizens have to pay, the fees are not that expensive. On average, students are charged around 314 EUR per module or 3,400 to 8,000 EUR per year for tuition fees.

When it comes to healthcare costs in Cyprus, you can say that it’s efficient, accessible, and cheap. For citizens of EU countries, healthcare services are either free or affordable. However, citizens from outside the EU have to pay for medical services, but at a lower price. So either way, it’s a win for the citizens.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the cost of a hospital bed in a primary care center is estimated at 129.10 USD per day. Secondary care is at 168.43 USD per day, while the tertiary level of care is at 230.06 USD per day.

Is it a wise move to invest in a car in Cyprus?

The public transportation system in the country is not as advanced as its healthcare system. Cyprus does not have any railway system, with mass transportation relying solely on buses. Locals and ex-pats residing on the island rely on private transport to get them from one place to another hassle-free. If you want the same convenience, then go ahead and buy a car. Just a word of caution, though. There are many reported crashes and collisions; it won’t hurt if you take extra precautions.

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OF LIVING IN CYPRUS

Excellent schooling and education system
Basic infrastructure by modern-day standards
Easy to open a bank account and buy properties
Unreliable public transportation system
Offers more employment opportunities for skilled workers
FAVOURS EU-citizens in immigration and healthcare
Low cost of living by European standards
Considers homeschooling to be basically illegal
Great beaches, views and picturesque scenery
Economy had not fully recovered prior to Covid-19
Fantastic Mediterranean weather all-year-round
Quite conservative when it comes to hierarchy and order

Moving to Cyprus - Requirements

When you are moving to a different country, chances are, the paperwork and immigration process is the most stressful yet crucial aspect of the move. While the requirements are usually complicated, the official documents you need to fill-up are rife with technical terms. The list of things you need to get also seems endless. It’s easy to get overwhelmed in this case. 

The good news is the immigration process in Cyprus is nothing like this. The legal aspects of Cypriot immigration procedures are pretty straightforward. Meaning to say, you can complete the residency process in no time. Because of this, a new life to Cyprus is relatively easy and stress-free for non-EU and EU citizens. 

Despite this, it would still be beneficial if you are familiar with the immigration rules. If you know these processes, you can save a lot of money and time. Once you’re done with all the processes and obtained your residency, you can now enjoy the country's economic and financial potentials, along with the privileges and legal protection that comes with it.

When moving to Cyprus from Dubai, with Household Goods and Personal Effects, the following documents are required.

  • Copy of passport
  • Original passport
  • Original T2L (page 4) signed by Customs at origin (shipments from European Union (EU) countries, including diplomats)
  • Packing list
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) / express waybill / air waybill (AWB) (must show C status for EU countries)
  • Sale agreement / termination of rental agreement in origin country (non-EU countries) 
  • Copy of ticket / boarding pass of flight to Cyprus (non-EU countries)
  • Utility bills (non-EU countries)
  • Exemption form from the local embassy (diplomats from non-EU countries)
  • Form 1002 signed and stamped by the local embassy
  • Letter of employment (non-EU countries) (diplomats from non-EU countries)
  • Registration of your children at local schools (non-EU countries)
  • Bank statement confirming you have any funds in Cyprus (non-EU countries)

For a more in-depth look at documentation please check the International Association of Movers.

Visas / Legal

Moving and starting a new life abroad is a significant decision for anyone. This is precisely the reason why ex-pats choose to grab every chance to get to know more about their future home country before they move there permanently. Since Cyprus relies mostly on international tourism, acquiring a legal right to visit the country is uncomplicated. 

Being a member state of the EU, EU passport holders can freely enter the island without paying for an additional visa. They can legally stay on the island for a maximum of three months.

What are the requirements to get a Cypriot visa?

You have to understand that the requirements and process for getting a Cypriot visa are different for EU and non-EU citizens. Then again, the process for either nationality is uncomplicated. Here are some of the requirements you need to secure.

  • Photocopy of your passport (first page and page indicating the country of last entry) 
  • Proof of funds or your source of income (bank statements) 
  • Authenticated copy of your employment contract
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable, should come with apostille translation) 
  • Birth certificate of all your children (if applicable, should also come with apostille translation)
  • Four passport-size photos
  • Medical insurance 

EU residents and nationals need to secure the yellow slip or the Registration Certificate for EU Nationals to stay and work on the island legally. Non-EU citizens have to apply for a pink slip or the Temporary Residence Permit. Nationals and foreign citizens have to meet specific legal requirements to be accorded with permanent resident status. Investors and those planning to open businesses on the island can apply for citizenship through its investment program.

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Moving to Cyprus - Immigration

What are the different types of visas and work permits expats can apply for?

You have to understand that the requirements and process for getting a Cypriot visa are different for EU and non-EU citizens. Then again, the process for either nationality is uncomplicated. Here are some of the requirements you need to secure.

  • Photocopy of your passport (first page and page indicating the country of last entry) 
  • Proof of funds or your source of income (bank statements) 
  • Authenticated copy of your employment contract
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable, should come with apostille translation) 
  • Birth certificate of all your children (if applicable, should also come with apostille translation)
  • Four passport-size photos
  • Medical insurance 

EU residents and nationals need to secure the yellow slip or the Registration Certificate for EU Nationals to stay and work on the island legally. Non-EU citizens have to apply for a pink slip or the Temporary Residence Permit. Nationals and foreign citizens have to meet specific legal requirements to be accorded with permanent resident status. Investors and those planning to open businesses on the island can apply for citizenship through its investment program.

Money & Taxes

When moving to a different country, you also need to know how you can secure a local bank account there. You also need to be apprised of the applicable tax rates to avoid any tax bureau issue.

Can a foreign national open a Cypriot bank account, and what are the documentary requirements?

Yes, foreign citizens can easily open a personal account in a Cypriot bank. Though the requirements for each bank may differ, here are some of the most commonly required documents:

  • Copy of your valid passport and other proofs of identity;
  • Utility bill indicating your residence address (the bill should be recent and not older than six months); and 
  • Thoroughly answered application form.

Which Cypriot banks can help expats the most?

Here are the most established Cypriot banks that most ex-pats used:

  1. Alpha bank
  2. Astrobank
  3. Bank of Cyprus
  4. Eurobank 
  5. Hellenic Bank
Moving to Cyprus - Money

Who is considered a taxable resident of Cyprus?

For ex-pats, you can be considered a taxable resident if you satisfy either of these residency criteria:

  • If you lived in the country for 183 days within one taxable year, or
  • If you lived in the country for 280 days with the last two taxable years. 

Foreigners can be considered 'ordinarily resident' or residents of Ireland if they can prove their intent to live in Ireland for at least a year. If you want to be considered an Irish resident immediately, you need to show that you have accepted a job in the country. If you start paying tax in the country, you need to apply for a Personal Public Service (PPS) number.

How can you pay your bills in Cyprus?

When it comes to your electricity bill, the same will arrive by email (upon request) or mail. You can pay the said bill in cash, credit card, check, ATM, or EAC’s online and offline office. If you choose to pay online, you need to register at www.jccsmart.com first before paying your bills. The same payment process applies to water and other utilities.

Climate

The country enjoys a Mediterranean climate -- intense dry and long summers from May to October. It is usually winter in December until February -- with these months separated by short spring and autumn seasons. 

High temperatures and cloudless skies characterize Cypriot summer. The sea breeze also creates a pleasant coastal area atmosphere. In the early afternoons, you can expect isolated thunder showered over the mountains. Cypriot winters are usually characterized by mild snow and rain, especially on Troodos Mountains. 

Earlier, we mentioned that the country is a sun chaser’s paradise. This is mainly because it enjoys abundant sun, even in December and January. On average, they get to enjoy around six hours of vibrant sunshine every day. And during the summer months, the country enjoys about 11.5 hours of sun every day.

spring

mar - may
3

60%

8

Rainy
Days Per
Month
Relative
Humidity
hours of
sunshine
per day
High

28oC/82oF

Low

9oC/48oF

Summer

june - aug

1

55%

11
Rainy
Days Per
Month
Relative
Humidity

hours of
sunshine
per day
High

33oC/91oF

Low
16oC/61oF

AUTUMN

sep - nov
2
65%
9
Rainy
Days Per
 Month
Relative
Humidity

hours of
sunshine
per day
High
31oC/88oF
Low
13oC/55oF

winter

dec - feb
8
70%
7
Rainy
Days Per
Month
Relative
Humidity

hours of
sunshine
per day
High

20oC/68oF

Low

7oC/45oF

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Housing - Rent/Buy

If you are staying in Cyprus temporarily, the best choice is to rent a property. When you rent, expect to pay around 565.89 EUR for a single-bedroom apartment within the city center. For a three-bedroom one, you can expect to pay around 1,028.07 EUR. If you want to spend cheaper rent, choose areas outside the city centers. Here, you are expected to pay 468.64 EUR for a single-room apartment and 804.76 EUR for three-bedroom ones.

Can foreigners buy properties in Cyprus?

The short and direct answer to this question is yes; they definitely can. Aside from buying a home in the country, foreigners are also entitled to a land freehold. The only thing you have to remember is that there is a maximum limit on the extent of land you can hold. Currently, foreigners can only own up to 3 donums or 4,014 square meters. You also need to secure a permit to secure your property from the government through your lawyer.

Moving to Cyprus - Beautiful floral streets and houses of old traditional villages of Cyprus. Lefkara

Healthcare in Cyprus

The country’s health insurance is governed and regulated by the Ministry of Health. The people’s taxes are used to fund the said system. As an ex-pat, you need to register with the Ministry to set their residency application in motion. After this, you have to sign up for state medical insurance. After that, you will then receive a health insurance card. You will fall under any of these categories: 

  • People entitled to free medical and healthcare service
  • People who have to pay a minimal fee 
  • People who have to pay for the full treatment cost 

The said categorization will largely depend on your pre-existing conditions, whether you have kids or not, and on your income.

How does the Cypriot healthcare system work?

Aside from those mentioned above, anyone who works in the country should not worry about their insurance. Their employer must sort insurance matters on their behalf. The country is still in the process of overhauling its health system, and as early as 2001, it has already established the National Health Service supported by the EU and the IMF. The establishment of the said body resulted in substantial system-wide changes.

Under this new system, retirees and wage earners have to pay a certain amount as a compulsory fee to be eligible for healthcare. This system was supposed to be in full force and effect from March 2019. The implementation of this system is expected to be started this year. But even if it will be further delayed, it’s good to know what you have to expect when you decide to move to the country soon.

Also, know that group plans are also expected to see the most changes under this new system. Companies are expected to offer their employees with group plans. The employees, in return, will be forced to pay mandatory contributions. They may also choose to go entirely private, especially if they have already subscribed to such a plan. 

Currently, small changes are already in place in basic medical appointments and procedures. Now, a doctor’s visit can cost around 3 EUR, while prescriptions can go as low as 0.50 EUR. Those who don’t have a health card are charged more - up to 15 EUR for a regular doctor’s check-up. Though not all doctors speak English, you can expect their medical professionalism to be very high. 

If you’re an EU national, you’re lucky because your EHIC card is your free treatment ticket. This card, however, is not a substitute for a comprehensive insurance plan. This card is also not applicable to the Turkish parts of the country.

Moving to Cyprus with Kids

State education in the country is not only well-developed, but it’s also well-regulated. It’s currently under the control of the Cypriot Ministry of Education and Culture. School is compulsory from five to 15 years old. The tuition fee is also free up to the undergraduate level. On the other hand, university and college education is provided via direct funding of the chosen institution. 

After basic secondary school, students are given a choice to continue learning through vocational and technical colleges or Lyceums. Those who wish to pursue vocational education can, later on, attend technical universities. Those who will choose to study at the Lyceum will have the privilege of enrolling in a university after passing the entrance exam.

Higher education in Cyprus

Both private and public Cypriot universities are run by these three models - BA or BSc, MA, and Ph.D. If you get grades that are not acceptable for university-level education, you can go to specialized and academic colleges. State education is conducted in Standard Greek, with the use of the Greek alphabet. This is one of the stumbling blocks experienced by expat children who wished to enter the Cypriot education system.

What about homeschooling in Cyprus?

Some ex-pat families opt for homeschooling. But take note that though this learning method is prevalent, it’s illegal in the country. Ex-pat families caught homeschooling their kids will either be forced to enrol their kids in a Cypriot school or get deported.

Moving to Cyprus - Mother and daughter on yellow background

Final Thoughts

Moving to a different country can be daunting, and if you don’t get on top of things it can become quite stressful. Moving to Cyprus presents its own set of unique challenges, but if you follow the guidelines we have provided, we feel certain you can experience a smooth relocation to Cyprus.

You can start the ball rolling by completing our simple form, allowing international movers to get started on your quotation, today!

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Cyprus and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.

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