Retiring to Cyprus
Retiring to Cyprus is extremely popular with UK, Russian and Scandinavian expats as well as other European retirees. This is due to many reasons, including the healthcare system, Mediterranean climate, and tax benefits, among other reasons. Furthermore, as the English-language is widely spoken, most expatriates find it relatively easy to adjust.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of retiring to Cyprus, details of the healthcare system and permits, and why it could be the right move for you.
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The Healthcare System
Recently the healthcare system in Cyprus has undergone a significant transformation. This has made the system even more attractive than it previously was. The new healthcare system, also known as GESY, offers full-coverage for all citizens in Cyprus. The mission was to provide equal and unhindered access to high-quality healthcare services for each citizen of Cyprus.
As we mentioned, it is a recent transformation for the country, only coming into practice on 1st June 2019. GESY provides citizens with a choice of their preferred physician or healthcare professional in both the private and public sectors. People do have to contribute a small percentage of their monthly income to fund the system; Employees pay 2.65%, and employers pay 2.9% whilst the state pays 4.7%.
In order to receive the benefits of GESY, you need to enroll in the GHS Beneficiary Record online or by visiting your doctor. You will need to be registered in the Civil Registry or Registry of the Migration Department as well as the Social Insurance Services Registry. For more information on the GESY system, you can visit the website.
Retirement Visa and Permits
Suppose you are a non-EU resident planning on retiring to Cyprus. In that case, you will need to apply for a Category F form of residency as per Regulation 5 of the Aliens and Immigration Regulations. This temporary residency is offered if you have enough accessible income or capital to live comfortably in the country without having to work overseas. Each case is assessed separately but the government suggest the average minimum annual income is around €9,570 for one applicant with €4,620 for every dependent.
Receiving the retirement permit for Cyprus usually takes 5-12 months however, there is an option to have it fast-tracked. In order to proceed with the fast-tracked option, you will need to purchase a property in Cyprus for at least €300,000.
If you are an EU national then you do not need to apply for a visa to retire in Cyprus. Instead, you will need to apply for a residence permit known as a MEU1A. This is a one-off permit that does not need to be renewed but there is a small fee.
Lastly, once you have your visa or permit you to benefit from low-income tax on pensions. Furthermore, Cyprus has double-taxation treaties with many countries therefore, annuities are not subject to withholding tax at source. UK retirees can also access their state pension to remain index-linked when residing in Cyprus.
Retiring to Cyprus: Where to Live
Retiring to Cyprus means you will need to research which area of the island suits you best. Luckily, the island has a place for everyone. So, let’s talk about the main cities.
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus; however, it is not a popular choice for retiring expats. If you are interested in the capital you will find many places to shop including Ledra Street, the Mall of Cyprus and Nicosia Malls. Ledra Street is arguably the most picturesque location for shopping in Cyprus as it is filled with independent or family-owned stores, small restaurants, and peaceful coffee shops. It is not the most popular location with retirees; however, the outskirts of the city have some beautiful properties with stunning views.
The second-largest city in Cyprus, Limassol was named by TripAdvisor as the 3rd most up and coming city in the world back in 2014 and it really earned this title. Although it is much like Nicosia in terms of attractiveness for retirees, the island’s cosmopolitan hub is excellent for luxury living or even a luxury day out. Limassol has a beautiful marina lined with restaurants, bars and coffee houses that offer great views of the seafront.
A more popular destination of retirees and expats is Larnaca. It is the third-largest city in Cyprus and many people who are retiring to Cyprus pick the outskirts of this city. Larnaca is located on the south coast of the island and home to the main airport, so chances are when you move here you will fly to Larnaca International Airport. This also means it is easy for your friends and family to get flights straight to you; no long airport transfers are needed. The villages on the outskirts of Larnaca including Oroklini and Pervolia have large retirees’ communities so you will find it easy to settle after arriving here. And, they have many forms of entertainment, including golf clubs and bingo set up already.
Finally, the most popular location when people are retiring to Cyprus is Paphos. This city is a calm coastal destination that has a large community of British expats. So, if you are a British expat is may be perfect for you. It is also home to the second, smaller airport in Cyprus, so easy to get flights and transfers if you choose this destination. Many citizens of Cyprus holiday in Paphos due to it being so beautiful and relaxing. Furthermore, it is close to the extensive golf courses in Cyprus, located between Paphos and Limassol.
As you can see, there are many advantages to retiring to Cyprus. These benefits include the taxation system as well as an excellent and newly reformed healthcare system that is available to all citizens of Cyprus. There are also many locations to pick from depending on what you want from your retirement.
For more information on relocating to Cyprus check out are article: Relocating to Cyprus? What You Need to Know