Moving to Cyprus: How to Emigrate With Zero Headaches in 2024

moving to cyprus

Looking to relocate to somewhere sunny in Europe?

Then why not consider the island nation of Cyprus?

In this moving to Cyprus guide, we’ll walk you through all the essentials for a smooth move.

Cyprus in Brief

Official NameRepublic of Cyprus
LocationEastern Mediterranean, on the island of Cyprus
CapitalNicosia (Lefkosia)
Official LanguagesGreek and Turkish
PopulationApproximately 1.2 million
CurrencyEuro (€)
Time ZoneEastern European Time (EET)
ClimateMediterranean with hot, dry summers and mild winters
Major CitiesLimassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta (in the Turkish-controlled northern part)
GovernmentRepublic with a presidential system (Greek Cypriot-controlled south)
De facto separate administrations in the north and south
ReligionPredominantly Greek Orthodox Christianity in the south; Islam in the north

Why Cyprus?

With its Mediterranean climate, low cost of living, and laidback lifestyle, Cyprus offers you an easy transition and high quality of life.

You can expect over 300 days of sunshine per year, stunning beaches, a rich cultural heritage, and scenic landscapes that combine sea, mountains, and countryside.

Cyprus also has a thriving tourism industry and a growing international business presence.

As a member of the EU, Cyprus also provides a pathway to EU citizenship for those looking for the benefits and ease of movement within Europe.

Moving to Cyprus: Visas and Residency

Do you need a visa to move to Cyprus?

That all depends on your country of citizenship – namely whether you’re already an EU citizen.

For EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Citizens of the 27 EU member states, the European economic area countries (Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland), and Switzerland, can move freely to Cyprus without any visa. All you need is a valid passport.

Once you arrive in Cyprus, you can stay for up to 90 days without doing anything.

After 90 days, you’ll need to declare your presence in Cyprus to the immigration authorities.

That means you must register your stay at your nearest Civil Registry and Migration Department and get your Registration Certificate (or “Yellow Slip”).

Please note, this is just a formality. As an EU/EEA/Swiss citizen, you have the right to live anywhere in the zone.

For non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you’re a citizen of any other country (including the United Kingdom post-Brexit), then you’ll need to apply for a residence visa to move to Cyprus.

As a non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, you’ll need to choose one of the following routes to support your application for a Cyprus residence visa:

  • Work
  • Study
  • Investment
  • Independent Means (Category F)
  • Digital Nomad Visa

The application is a two-step process. First, you’ll need to apply for an entry visa (national long-stay visa) at your closest Cypriot Embassy in your country of citizenship (or permanent residence, if different).

Once your visa is granted, you can travel to Cyprus and complete the second stage. Within seven days of arriving, you must apply for a temporary residence permit.

As part of the process, you must also register your presence with the local District Office of the Aliens and Immigration Unit of the Police Department, or the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia. 

After holding your temporary residence permit for five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

Let’s now find out what’s required for the different residency visa routes

Moving to Cyprus for Work

To get residency in Cyprus for work purposes, you first need to find an employer in the country.

They must then apply for a work permit for you. After that’s done, you can go to your local Cypriot embassy or consulate and apply for a work visa to enter the country.

Within seven days of arriving, you must apply for a temporary residence permit.

Note: This isn’t an easy way to move to Cyprus.

Moving to Cyprus for Study

To get residency in Cyprus for the purposes of study, you’ll first need to get accepted onto a recognized education program, such as a university course.

Once you’ve been accepted, the educational institution will apply for a study visa on your behalf.

Within seven days of arriving in Cyprus, you must apply for a temporary residence permit. T

his is valid for one year. You can renew it every year for the duration of your education program.

Moving to Cyprus for Investment

You can also establish residency in Cyprus by making an investment in the country.

This works in a similar way to other “Golden Visa” programs across the EU, such as in Greece or Portugal. 

With Cyprus residency by investment, successful applicants can get a permanent residence card after just two months.

This fast tracks you to citizenship eligibility after just five years of living in Cyprus with this residence permit. 

This timeline puts Cyprus on a level with other European residency by investment programs, such as those of Portugal or Ireland.

With just one visit to Cyprus every two years, the Cyprus residency by investment program allows the holder to access state healthcare.

You can also spend as much time in Cyprus as you want, with the same benefits available for your spouse, children, and parents. 

Residency by Investment Routes in Cyprus:

  1. Residential Real Estate Route – Purchase of a brand-new house or apartment for at least €300,000. This can be split across multiple properties and includes off-plan.
  2. Commercial Real Estate Route – Purchase of commercial real estate, including shops, hotels, or offices or a mix of any of those. The minimum threshold is also €300,000.
  3. Investing in Companies Route – Either buying shares in an existing Cyprus company or setting up a new one in the country, with at least five employees. Investment in share capital must be a minimum of €300,000.
  4. Investment Funds Route – Invest a minimum of €300,000 in an approved investment fund in Cyprus. Under Cyprus law, there are two distinct types of investments funds: Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) and Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities (UCITS). (Source: Chambers and Partners)

Moving to Cyprus with Independent Means (Category F)

If you have passive income from your home country, you can also explore a path to residence called Category F.

This is designed for those who have independent means to support them during their time in Cyprus

The minimum annual income requirement is €9,568.17 for a single applicant.

If you have any dependents to bring with you, then you’ll need to show proof of an additional €4613.22 in annual income for each one. 

According to the government website, this should be “a secured annual income, high enough to give a decent living in Cyprus, without having to engage in any business, trade or profession.” 

(Source: Cyprus Civil Registry and Migration Department)

Moving to Cyprus as a Digital Nomad

In 2021, Cyprus joined a growing trend across Europe and launched its own digital nomad visa.

To be eligible, you must have an employer outside of Cyprus and a minimum net salary of €3,500.

Initially, the permit is valid for one year, but you can renew it for a further two.

At present, it’s unclear whether the Cyprus digital nomad visa can function as a viable pathway to citizenship.

Permanent Residence in Cyprus

Once you’ve held temporary residency in Cyprus for five years, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.

This only needs to be renewed every five years, so you’ll have less bureaucracy to deal with.

To be eligible for permanent residence status, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid Cyprus temporary residence card
  • Have “legally and continuously in Cyprus” for the entire five years before applying

You can also get permanent residence through investment, through any of the routes described in the previous section “Moving to Cyprus for Investment.”

Getting Citizenship

You can apply for citizenship of Cyprus after living there for a minimum of seven years (including one continuous year directly before applying).

Citizenship of Cyprus is a perfect way to access all the benefits of being an EU citizen.

Unlike most European countries, Cyprus doesn’t require you to pass a language exam for citizenship. It’s enough just to speak English.

It also allows dual citizenship, so you can keep your original passport (as long as your original country of citizenship allows it).

To be eligible, you must also be over 21 years of age and have a clean criminal record – both in Cyprus and in your country of origin.

Pros and Cons of Moving to Cyprus

Low Cost of Living: Cyprus offers a comparatively low cost of living. Accommodation, education, healthcare, and utilities are affordable while maintaining good quality. Typical living costs for one person (excluding rent) are approximately €768.Political Division and Complex Issues: The island’s political division between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus can lead to complex political and administrative challenges.
Mediterranean Climate with Abundant Sunshine: Cyprus enjoys a Mediterranean climate with more than 300 days of sunshine annually. This provides an excellent environment for outdoor activities and a laid-back lifestyle.Limited Public Transport and Need for a Car: Public transportation options are limited, especially outside major cities. Owning a car may be necessary for convenient mobility.
Stunning Natural Landscapes and Outdoor Opportunities: Cyprus boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, including pristine beaches, mountains, and picturesque villages. This offers numerous opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.Elevated Property Prices in Desirable Areas: The real estate market in Cyprus is highly competitive, resulting in elevated property prices, especially in sought-after coastal locations.
Rich Cultural Heritage and Historical Sites: Cyprus has a rich cultural heritage with historical sites, ancient ruins, and museums. These provide valuable insights into the island’s long history and diverse cultural influences.Bureaucratic Challenges: Expats may encounter bureaucratic complexities and administrative hurdles when dealing with various official processes in Cyprus.
English Widely Spoken: English is widely spoken, particularly in urban areas, facilitating communication and daily life for expats.Persistent Water Scarcity and Rationing: Cyprus faces persistent water scarcity issues, leading to water rationing during dry periods, which can impact daily life.
High-Quality Education: Cyprus features reputable universities and schools, including international institutions, offering high-quality education options for families.Limited International Flight Options: Cyprus is quite isolated in terms of international travel. Limited direct flight options to some destinations may affect your future travel plans.
High Quality Healthcare: Cyprus has a well-developed healthcare system with modern facilities and trained medical professionals, ensuring access to quality healthcare services.Economic Dependence on Tourism and Real Estate: The Cypriot economy heavily relies on sectors like tourism and real estate, which can be vulnerable to economic fluctuations, affecting job opportunities and stability.
Low Crime Rates and High Safety: Cyprus is widely recognized as a safe place to live with exceptionally low crime rates, providing residents with a high level of security.Traffic Congestion: Major cities in Cyprus, like Nicosia and Limassol, often face traffic congestion, especially during peak hours. This can lead to longer commute times and frustration for residents who rely on public transportation or personal vehicles for daily travel.
Tax Benefits for Expats: Cyprus provides several tax incentives for retirees and expats, such as a low income tax rate and tax treaties with many countries.Limited Job Opportunities: Cyprus, while offering a relatively low cost of living, may have limited job opportunities, particularly in specific industries. The job market can be competitive, and finding employment that matches your qualifications and career goals may require persistence and flexibility.

Where to Live in Cyprus

Researching the vibe and lifestyle of each area can help you choose the best spot for your needs as an expat in Cyprus.

I highly recommend making a scouting trip to the island ahead of your move, as nothing beats personal experience of a place.

Here are some of the most popular cities and towns in Cyprus:

  • Paphos: A coastal city with a mild climate, rich history, and lively expat community. It’s popular with retirees and families.
  • Limassol: The largest city with an energetic urban lifestyle and cosmopolitan vibe. Home to many expats working in business or at the universities.
  • Larnaca: A laidback seaside city with ancient sites, beaches, and palm-tree promenades. Many British expats are drawn to its calm pace.
  • Nicosia: The island’s capital and cultural hub, located in the center. Offers plenty of urban amenities and proximity to the business districts.
  • Ayia Napa: A resort town known for its beaches, nightlife, and water sports scene. Popular with younger expats and travelers.
  • Polis: A small town on the northwest coast with outdoor recreation and a close-knit community. Appealing for nature-loving retirees.
  • Protaras: A quieter beach area near Ayia Napa that still offers restaurants and amenities. Ideal for families.

Shipping Your Belongings to Cyprus

When preparing to move to Cyprus, you’ll need to plan how to get your personal belongings, household items, and pets to the island.

One option is using an international shipping company that specializes in overseas moves.

First, gather quotes from different movers to compare costs.

Then choose between sea freight or air freight – air is faster but more expensive.

The shipment time can range from 1-2 months by sea or 1-2 weeks by air.

Pack and label your boxes clearly and remove any restricted items.

Your mover will handle customs clearance and delivery to your new home in Cyprus.

Alternatively, you can opt to bring essentials in your flight luggage and ship the rest separately.

Proper planning and working with a reputable international moving company will ensure a smooth transition of your belongings to your new home in Cyprus.

Customs and duty

You’ll also need to be aware of customs regulations ahead of your move to Cyprus.

As a resident legally establishing domicile, you can qualify for transfer of residence status.

This enables you to ship household items duty-free to Cyprus within 12 months of moving.

To qualify, you must provide suitable documentation like your residency permit, lease agreement or utility bills to prove that you live in Cyprus.

You’ll also need to be present for customs inspection upon arrival.

Any vehicles shipped will be subject to taxes and duties. There are restrictions on certain items, including electronics over a certain quantity, tobacco, and alcohol.

Pornographic materials, plus drugs and narcotics are forbidden.

Your shipping company can advise you on the precise customs requirements.

With the proper paperwork and inspection, shipping your household goods and personal effects to Cyprus should be a fairly straightforward process as a new resident.

Bringing your pets

If you have pets, you’ll need to plan their transport carefully.

The main options are bringing them in the cabin, putting them in the cargo hold of a flight, or carrying them by road or sea travel if coming from elsewhere in Europe.

Be sure to check with airlines about pet policies and any size or breed restrictions.

Legal requirements include microchipping your pet, ensuring they are up-to-date on vaccines, and getting a Pet Passport or health certificate from your vet no more than 10 days before travel.

This records proof of rabies vaccination and any other required treatments.

Complete the necessary forms for your pet upon arrival in Cyprus.

Dogs, cats, and most common household pets are allowed, including the following:

  • Ferrets
  • Invertebrates (except bees, bumble bees, molluscs and crustaceans)
  • Ornamental aquatic animals
  • Amphibia
  • Reptiles
  • Birds (except poultry)
  • Rodents
  • Domestic rabbits

(Source: Cyprus Embassy in USA)

Cyprus has banned the following dog breeds:

  • Pit Bull Terrier or American Pit Bull
  • Japanese Tosa or Tosa Inu
  • Dogo Argentino or Argentinian Mastiff
  • Fila Brasileiro or Brazilian Mastiff

Reptiles, arachnids, chimpanzees and other exotic animals may also face import restrictions.

Final Thoughts

With its sunny Mediterranean climate, favorable tax rates, and welcoming locals, Cyprus offers an accessible island lifestyle for foreigners looking to relocate.

The low cost of living and real estate makes Cyprus especially appealing to retirees, families, and remote workers who are ready for an overseas adventure.

With no language requirements and a 7 year residency timeline, Cyprus is a promising place to launch an EU second citizenship mission.

The island provides the perfect combination of modern conveniences, rich culture, and outdoor beauty.

If you seek an affordable European lifestyle and community abroad, then Cyprus is a top destination for your next move overseas.

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