Travel to Cyprus is back and it’s time to get excited again about buying property there. But since we could last easily buy in Cyprus, the Brexit transition period has been and gone. So, what has changed regarding visas and healthcare? We asked two experts your top questions, as sent in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I’m looking to move to Cyprus permanently. What are my residency options?
Since leaving the European Union, UK citizens are now classed as third-country nationals in Cyprus. This essentially means that without a visa, you can only stay for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period.
The good news? It’s relatively easy to obtain a visa to stay in Cyprus for longer. So, what are your options?
Temporary Residency Permit
While you search for properties and get a feel for the country, you can apply for a Temporary Residency Permit, also known as the Pink Slip, which allows you to extend your stay for more than 90 days. You can include your spouse and any dependents under 18 in this permit.
This permit is only valid for one year but can be renewed on an annual basis. It allows you to live in Cyprus but does not give you the right to work. You also cannot stay out of Cyprus for more than three consecutive months – if you do, the permit will be cancelled.
To apply, you will need an adequate income from overseas to cover your living expenses in Cyprus. As a ballpark figure, you would need around €15,000-€20,000 a year for a three-person family.
Permanent Residency Permit
Once you’ve purchased a property in Cyprus, you can apply for permanent residency (category F) – it is estimated that around 90% of British expats living in Cyprus have done this.
You will need an annual income of at least €10,000, plus an additional €5,000 for every dependent up to age of 18 and your spouse. Note that if you are retired, you can prove this income through bank statements.
The application process usually takes around 12-18 months, but there is a fast track option if you want/need your permanent residency sooner.
If you invest in property costing more than €300,000 then the permanent residency permit is processed a lot quicker, usually in around two months.
I want to start a business in Cyprus. Do I need a visa for this?
As UK citizens are now considered third-country nationals, you no longer have the opportunity to work in Cyprus without a work or permanent residency visa. However, one way to get around this is to register a Cypriot company, become a shareholder and then appoint a local person e.g. lawyer or accountant as the director. You can then run a business in Cyprus, employ others and receive profits. Put simply, you just cannot be an employee yourself.
Note that those who obtained their rights before 31st December 2020 can keep on working in Cyprus without a visa.
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Do I need to open a Cypriot bank account and deposit money before getting residency?
Yes, it is advisable as it will help your residency application.
When should I start applying for residency – in the UK or in Cyprus?
It is up to you. If you apply while in the UK, you can appoint a lawyer in Cyprus by issuing power of attorney. They can then organise the whole application for you.
Can I work for a UK company and live in Cyprus?
Yes. Many British expats are working remotely from Cyprus.
What taxes will I pay when I buy a property in Cyprus?
This depends if the property is new or old, but generally you will pay around 1.5% of the total value of the property.
Is my EHIC card still valid?
Your EHIC is valid until it expires. After this, you will need to apply for the GHIC instead.
However, if you want to live in Cyprus permanently, it is advised to get a proper international healthcare policy as the GHIC does not cover you for everything.
How can I get access to public-funded healthcare in Cyprus?
You must have a residency permit, so it is advisable to register as a resident and sign up for state medical insurance as soon as possible.
Is public-funded healthcare free in Cyprus?
No, state-funded healthcare in Cyprus, known as the General Healthcare System (GHS), is not free. Once you have registered for healthcare, you will then be put into one of the following categories:
- Entitled to free healthcare
- Need to pay a small fee
- Must pay the full cost of treatment
Unless you are on a very low income, you will be required to contribute to the country’s healthcare system via co-payments. Examples of payments are €1 for a prescription and €10 to go to A&E.
Should I take out private healthcare in Cyprus?
Many expats opt to take out a private healthcare policy to access a wider variety of hospitals and facilities. It would also enable you to visit private doctors and specialists without the need for a GP referral.
What would be the ballpark cost for private healthcare for a 60-year-old individual in Cyprus?
It is hard to say as it depends on your excess and what you want to be included in your policy. But as an estimate, I would say between £250-£600 a year.
Are pre-existing conditions covered?
Not always. When it comes to international healthcare policies there are three ways to join:
- Moratorium: any conditions you’ve had in last 5 years are not covered for the first 2 years
- Full medical underwriting: you answer a list of around 20 questions. If you say yes to any, a provider may impose an exclusion on that policy
- Switch UK policy into an international policy: e.g. AXA, Bupa etc. This may be the best route if you have a pre-existing condition.
Are dentists covered?
Most policies do cover dentists but they are an optional extra.
Are prescriptions covered?
Prescriptions are similar to dentists in that they can be added to the policy as an optional extra.
Do you have a recommended provider for Cyprus?
All international providers cover Cyprus, however, I do particularly like Cigna International. They offer a ‘close care’ policy which covers you for both Cyprus and the UK when you return for temporary visits.