Moving to Cyprus

Lots of people seem to think about moving to Cyprus at some point in their lives. It appears to be a dream destination, at the cross-roads of Europe and Asia, with easy travel to many countries, and European facilities with a Mediterranean, relaxed lifestyle. However it’s not necessarily as easy a move as you might expect.

Unless you are a Cypriot or other EU citizen, you need a visa to stay in Cyprus for more than three months, and a work permit if you want to do paid work in Cyprus. If you have been offered a job, your future employer should be able to deal with this, or at least give you help, appropriate documents, and perhaps someone to arrange this. Finding a job after you arrive may be difficult unless you are highly qualified, and fluent in Greek as well as English.

When anyone who is not a Cypriot plans to stay for more than a holiday, it’s important to register as an alien; this is true even for other EU citizens. Your Alien Registration Card (ARC) is used as a means of identity, allowing you – for instance – to own a car, or join a library.

The alternative to a work permit for non-EU citizens is to have sufficient income from elsewhere. For instance, if you are retired, or work as a writer or artist, or own a good business, or have property that you rent out, and can prove that you have a regular income from outside Cyprus, then you may be able to get a visa on these grounds, although not a work permit. You will probably have to re-apply annually, each time ensuring that you have a significant amount of money in a local (euro) bank account, and bank statements showing regular income from abroad. If you are in this category, you may have to continue paying tax in your home country, and it will be illegal for you to do any paid work actually in Cyprus (unless you are a European citizen). For more details, see the Cyprus government FAQ page.

Housing

Finding property to rent for a year or two is fairly easy, and considerably less expensive than in most of Europe. Property in Cyprus is still sometimes owned by women, and passed down to daughters as dowry; hence there are plenty of houses and flats waiting for young girls to claim their inheritance. Prices vary depending on area as well as kind of house, and also depending on who you know. It is sometimes best, on arriving, to take a short-term rental while looking out for something more suitable, and getting to know the local estate agents, who may then find you a better deal.

Buying property is possible, although you may need written permission to do so; however this is generally granted without problems. Some people buy land and then have a house built to their specifications; this may be the most inexpensive and satisfying solution, but be prepared for a long wait, since time schedules in Cyprus can be more Middle Eastern than European!

See more at the page about housing in Cyprus.

For some ideas of prices in various places around the island, there are several relevant pages
listed at the Cyprus Real Estate directory.