Retiring to Cyprus

by Jose Marc Castro on August 6, 2009

cyprusIMAGE200Cyprus is the mythical birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. It is one of the three largest islands in the Mediterranean, and is visited by almost 2.5 million tourists each year.

The island is the third largest in the Mediterranean and has become a popular tourist destination. The current political stalemate has lead to the establishment of separate political entities.

Retiring to a New Life in Cyprus

Weather in Cyprus

Bad weather may not seem to exist in Cyprus. It is best known as a beautiful and historic island of flowers and sunshine. However, winter comes in January and February, the most uncomfortable months weather wise, when heavy rain showers can keep you indoors. March is however already spring and by April and May, the days are warm and nights are cool. The whole landscape turns green and dotted by wild flowers.  Summer is from June to August. You need only light clothing and the weather is perfect for swimming and other water sports. You may need air conditioning if you tend to wilt with heat. It is still warm during November but you might need some heavier clothing at night. It rains occasionally in December, but days are still sunny and you can still enjoy the Cyprian outdoors.

Government in Cyprus

In 1925, Cyprus was annexed as a colony by Great Britain. The people of Cyprus fought for self-determination and union with Greece, which they considered as their mother country. However in 1958, Archbishop Makarios, a Greek Cypriot, dropped the demand for union with Greece and called for the independence of Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriots, on the other hand, called for a partitioning of the island into separate areas for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

In 1974, Cyprus became a republic. Unfortunately during the same year it was invaded by Turkey, fragmenting it into Northern Cyprus, inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and Southern Cyprus, inhabited by Greek Cypriots.  United Nations peacekeeping troops maintain a buffer zone between the two parts of Cyprus. Despite intervention by the UN, Turkish and Greek Cypriots failed to agree on a peace plan by 2003. By 2004 the fragmented Cyprus became a member of the European Union. The UN recognizes the Republic of Cyprus as the legitimate government of the whole Cyprus but in reality, there is a separate government for Turkish Cypriots (TRNC) and a separate government for Greek Cypriots, each with its own Prime Minister and elected parliament. The country utilizes a presidential republican form with the head of state, elected by the process of universal suffrage for a five-year term.

Tax System in Cyprus

If you are a pensioner from a country that has a tax treaty with Cyprus, you can avoid double taxation. The US, USA, Canada and many other countries have already concluded tax treaties with Cyprus. If in addition, the pensioner’s regular income is more than CYP 2000 s/he will not have to pay taxes except for a 5% tax on their pension income, which is extremely low. In Northern Cyprus, tax exemptions are so large that they enable retirees to live tax free, legally and totally.

The current tax system was reflected in a post at the Cyprus Expat Forum last October 10, 2009:

The threshold for tax is 19,000 and the social insurance depends on what sort of work you do. For example solicitors and doctors etc are in a high band and pay very high social insurances. Anyone in the property business also comes under a high band and it dosnt matter whether you actually earn a lot or not, the band is set and even if you have a very bad year you still pay the high amount.

So whatever you do make sure that you get an accountant to register you under a low band.

Medical Care in Cyprus

Most call Cyprus one of the healthiest Mediterranean countries – well known for its quality health care, well trained doctors, its priority on preventative medicine, and a network of both public and private medical facilities. Government supports public health services through social security which is available to all residents, whether citizens or not. However foreign visitors or tourists do not receive the full extent of medical services and must avail of private health insurance if they want full coverage. Plus facilities are limited when it comes to long-term care for the elderly and for the terminally ill such as hospices.

If you are from a European Union member state, you have the right to enjoy the same medical and health care as Cyprus citizens. However you must have the appropriate E-Form or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by your own country of origin. The E-Forms and EHIC can apply to temporary visitors, pensioners who will live permanently in Cyprus, a worker from a EU member state who will work in Cyprus for a specific time period, a student, etc. The Forms/EHIC entitle you to all medical treatment necessary while you are in Cyprus.  You have to register with the Cyprus Health Ministry.

Real Estate in Cyprus

Real estate property is expensive in tourist and employment centers but more affordable in less crowded areas.  There are a great variety of properties to choose from and there is great demand for villas, condominiums and the like. There are long-term and short-term rentals. You can find long-term rentals easily in main urban areas and resorts.  You can also rent the furniture that you need. There are also many short-term rentals but they are usually expensive in resort and holiday places. Short-term rentals are better priced in off-season months.

Residential property prices in the country have fallen by more than 10% with the real estate downturn that is spreading beyond the prime tourist areas.

Shopping in Cyprus

Markets are still a part of daily life in Cyprus.  Since 2008, the official the currency of Cyprus is the euro. Farmers bring their produce to town on certain days of the week, and you can buy fresh meat, fish, cheese, sausages, fruit, spices, clothing, bags and handicrafts such as woven rugs and home made jams. You can haggle if you know how. In North Cyprus, gold and jewellery are priced within your reach and you can even have some pieces made just for you.  The outdoor market in Nicosia offers fashionable but cheap clothing, lace and beautiful textiles.  You can also have clothing custom made. There are supermarket chains for your regular shopping in North Cyprus – Lemar, Tempo and Astro. Imported items are expensive but local produce is cheap, cheap, cheap.

Cost of Living in Cyprus

Your lifestyle will determine your expenses in Cyprus. You can live cheaply if you buy from local individual vendors and weekly markets. Eating out can also be inexpensive if you don’t patronize trendy restaurants. Buy and live like a Cypriot – that’s the way to go. Actually the cost of living in Northern Cyprus is the lowest in the Mediterranean. Local produce is not only cheap but also organic, and so healthy for you.  There are cheap local beers and other alcoholic drinks.

In addition, there is very little crime and both cities and villages are usually safe especially for women and children. People are friendly; the climate is fine; and the island is beautiful. What more could you ask for?

Living in the country has described in a post at the Cyprus Expat Forum last October 29, 2009:

Hi, we are a couple hoping to relocate to Cyprus in early 2010 as soon as one of us manages to get a job (Teacher and Accountant)… We are a little confused by some of the advice online and wonder if anyone can help :

Car – the general advice seems to be buy there as its too expensive to ship over, but then buying there seems expensive as well … is there anyway round this, we only want a cheap runabout but ideally would like to bring our old (but trusty )Toyota Estima over with us ??

House Rental – we would like a longterm rent on a 2/3 bed property with a pool in a village location – I have seen similiar advertised for 600 euros per month, is this feasable?

Cost of Living- we may have to exist on one wage when we first get there, we do not intend to eat out a lot but would hope to run 2 cars .. I know prices have gone up but is it still cheapish to live – food/petrol etc

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Demetris July 9, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Cyprus di not become a republic in 1974. It became a republic in 1960. Get your facts straight


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