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Moving to Cyprus: 10-Step Guide to a Financially Secure Transition

Whether you dream of picturesque beaches or yearn for a vibrant cultural experience, moving to Cyprus can be the perfect decision. This Mediterranean gem, known for its favorable climate, rich history, and welcoming locals, also presents attractive financial opportunities. Understanding Cyprus’s economy, cost of living, and taxation will be pivotal in ensuring a smooth transition as you plan your move.

If you have any questions or want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use these contact options.

Understanding the Cypriot Economy

When planning to move to Cyprus, you first want to familiarize yourself with the local economy. Despite being a small island, Cyprus boasts a high-income economy that primarily revolves around the services sector, including tourism, shipping, real estate, and financial services.

Key Sectors of the Cyprus Economy

The service sector is a crucial contributor to the Cypriot economy, offering various opportunities for foreigners moving to Cyprus. The thriving tourism industry, buoyed by Cyprus’s strategic location and rich cultural history, provides numerous avenues for self-employment and entrepreneurship. For instance, you might want to open a local café or a souvenir shop catering to the hordes of tourists that Cyprus attracts yearly.

moving to Cyprus
The service sector is a crucial contributor to the Cypriot economy, offering various opportunities for foreigners moving to Cyprus.

Opportunities for Foreigners in the Cyprus Economy

Cyprus’s economy is not just about tourism. Due to its robust regulation and attractive tax regime, the financial services sector is a growing industry with an increasing demand for skilled professionals. Moving to Cyprus can open up many lucrative job opportunities, whether you are a financial analyst or a fintech developer.

Self-Employment and Business Opportunities

Cyprus is known for its entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s a fantastic place for those considering self-employment or starting their own business. The country has a strong culture of innovation and enterprise, making it an ideal location for startups and SMEs. So, if you have an entrepreneurial itch, moving to Cyprus might be the ticket to make your business dreams come true.

Job Opportunities

In addition to self-employment, there are abundant job opportunities for professionals moving to Cyprus, especially in the finance and IT sectors. Companies in these sectors always look for skilled professionals and offer competitive salaries and benefits.

Cost of Living in Cyprus

Taking the first step in your journey of moving to Cyprus involves understanding the overall cost of living. Despite the economic stability, Cyprus generally has a lower cost of living than most Western European countries. It is important to remember that your lifestyle choices and location within Cyprus can significantly impact your living costs.

Housing and Accommodation Costs

A critical expense to consider when moving to Cyprus is housing. Whether you plan on renting or buying a property, costs vary widely depending on the property type and location.

Renting in City Centers versus Outskirts

On average, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can cost you around €500 to €700 per month, while the same outside the city center is relatively cheaper, averaging around €350 to €500. If you’re moving to Cyprus with a family, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center might cost around €900 to €1300, while the cost outside the city center could range from €600 to €900.

Buying Property in Major Cities versus Smaller Towns

Buying property is another option if you’re considering a long-term stay after moving to Cyprus. The price of properties in major cities like Nicosia and Limassol tends to be higher compared to smaller towns. The average price per square meter in the city center can range from €1500 to €3000, while it can fall to around €1000 to €1500 outside the city center.

Cost of Food and Dining

Food and dining costs are another aspect that varies when moving to Cyprus.

Local Groceries versus Imported Goods

While local groceries are typically affordable, you may find that imported goods are more expensive. A monthly estimate for groceries for a single person might range around €200 to €300.

Dining Out

When it comes to dining, traditional Cypriot eateries offer delicious food at reasonable prices, providing a great way to enjoy the local cuisine. However, dining at high-end restaurants, particularly in tourist areas, can add to your monthly expenses.

Transportation Costs

Understanding transportation costs is crucial when moving to Cyprus. While Cyprus offers an efficient public transportation system, including buses and taxis, owning a vehicle may prove costly due to high registration taxes and fuel prices.

Public Transport

Public buses offer a convenient and affordable way to move around, with an average monthly pass costing around €40.

Owning a Vehicle

On the other hand, if you’re considering buying a car after moving to Cyprus, consider the registration tax, fuel prices, and maintenance costs. On average, the price of gasoline is around €1.30 per liter.

Utilities and Other Regular Expenses

Apart from housing, food, and transportation, utilities are important to consider when moving to Cyprus.

Electricity, Water, and Garbage

Basic utilities for an 85m2 apartment can cost around €100 to €150 per month, including electricity, water, and garbage.

Internet and Mobile Plans

Internet and mobile plans are other costs to keep in mind. Basic internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) can cost around €30 to €40 per month.

The Cypriot Taxation System

An important step in financially preparing for moving to Cyprus is getting a good grasp of the Cypriot taxation system. Although seemingly complex for newcomers, the local taxation system is relatively favorable compared to other European countries.

Income Tax

When you’re moving to Cyprus, the income tax becomes a key component to understand. The system in Cyprus employs a progressive tax rate. This means that the tax rate increases as the taxable amount of income rises.

Tax Rates

As of the latest update, the income tax rates in Cyprus range from 0% on the first €19,500 of taxable income to a maximum of 35% on taxable income over €60,000.

moving to Cyprus
Taking the first step in your journey of moving to Cyprus involves understanding the overall cost of living.

Tax Residency

Establishing your tax residency is vital when moving to Cyprus. Cyprus uses a ‘183-day rule’ for determining tax residency. You’re considered a tax resident if you spend more than 183 days in Cyprus in a tax year. As a tax resident, you are taxed on your worldwide income. Non-residents, however, are only taxed on their income derived from Cyprus.

Sales Tax (VAT)

Another significant component of the Cypriot tax system is the Value Added Tax (VAT), also known as sales tax. This tax is applied to most goods and services and is usually included in the final price of the product or service. If you’re moving to Cyprus, it’s worth noting that the standard VAT rate is currently 19%. Reduced 5% and 9% rates apply to certain goods and services, and some items are zero-rated or exempt.

Property Tax

If buying property is part of your plan when moving to Cyprus, be aware that property tax applies to all immovable properties in the country. This tax is based on the property’s market value as of 1st of January 1980. However, recent reforms have seen the abolition of the Immovable Property Tax from 2017 onwards.

Corporate Tax for Business Owners

Lastly, understanding the corporate tax is crucial for those considering starting a business after moving to Cyprus. The corporate tax is charged on the net profits of all companies that are residents of Cyprus, irrespective of whether the income was derived from the country or abroad. Non-resident companies are taxed on income accruing or arising from a business activity carried out through a permanent establishment in Cyprus. The current corporate tax rate is a flat 12.5%.

Opening a Bank Account in Cyprus

As part of your transition, opening a bank account is one of the first few steps you’d want to take when moving to Cyprus. A local bank account will simplify many daily transactions, like receiving your salary or paying your bills.

The Banking System in Cyprus

The banking system in Cyprus is both modern and robust, with several domestic and international banks operating across the country. The two largest banks are the Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Cooperative Bank. These banks offer a wide range of services and have the most extensive network of branches across the country. Other significant players in the market include Hellenic Bank, Alpha Bank Cyprus, Eurobank Cyprus, and RCB Bank. When moving to Cyprus, you should research which bank best meets your needs and preferences. Cypriot banks offer a wide range of services catering to most of your financial needs when moving to Cyprus. This includes everything from basic checking and savings accounts to more complex investment products and loans. They also provide various card services, such as debit and credit cards, making it easier to manage your daily expenses after moving to Cyprus.

Requirements for Opening a Bank Account

When moving to Cyprus and opening a bank account, there are several requirements you will need to meet. You must provide a valid passport, proof of residence (a utility bill or rental agreement will suffice), and a reference letter from your current bank. Some banks may also require proof of employment or income. Contacting the bank directly is always best to get the most accurate information.

Online and Mobile Banking Facilities

With the digital world becoming increasingly essential, Cyprus has offered comprehensive online and mobile banking services. Once you’ve opened a bank account, you can register for online banking, allowing you to manage your finances with just a few clicks. This includes services like transferring money, paying bills, or checking your account balance. Most major banks in Cyprus also offer mobile banking apps, which provide even greater convenience. With your smartphone, you can access your financial information wherever you are, which can be particularly useful when you’re moving to Cyprus.

Investing in Real Estate in Cyprus

Investing in real estate is another aspect you’ll need to consider when moving to Cyprus. Understanding the Cypriot real estate market is crucial whether you’re planning to buy a home or seek investment opportunities.

The Real Estate Market Overview

The real estate market in Cyprus offers various opportunities for those moving to Cyprus. It provides many options, including luxury villas, apartments, or traditional village houses. Areas like Limassol and Paphos are particularly popular among expats due to their stunning sea views and vibrant city life. Recent years have seen steady growth in the Cypriot real estate market. This is partly due to the government’s efforts to attract foreign investments through programs like the “Citizenship by Investment” program. While this program is under suspension, there are still numerous benefits for real estate investors moving to Cyprus.

Legal Aspects of Buying Property in Cyprus

Before making a property purchase when moving to Cyprus, you should familiarize yourself with the legal aspects of buying property in Cyprus.

Required Documentation

When buying property in Cyprus, you’ll need several key documents. These typically include your passport, proof of address, a signed sale agreement, and proof of payment of the agreed price. A local lawyer can guide you through the process and ensure you have all the required documents.

Legal Procedures

The legal procedures of buying property involve several steps. After selecting a property, a sale agreement is prepared and signed. This agreement is then stamped and registered at the Land Registry Office within 180 days from the date of its signing. After completing these steps, you become the legal owner of the property.

Financing Options for Buying Property

For those moving to Cyprus without enough cash to buy a property outright, several financing options are available. Many banks in Cyprus offer home loans to foreigners. You could also consider getting a mortgage loan from your home country. The choice depends on the interest rates, your financial situation, and the regulations in your home country.

moving to Cyprus
When moving to Cyprus and opening a bank account, there are several requirements you will need to meet.

Insurance in Cyprus

Understanding the country’s insurance needs is essential to moving to Cyprus. Whether it’s your health, home, car, or life, you want to ensure protection against unforeseen circumstances.

Health Insurance

When moving to Cyprus, health insurance is a top priority. Cyprus has a robust public healthcare system offering quality services at reasonable costs, but exploring your insurance options is essential. Public healthcare is free for some residents, while others may have to pay a fee, depending on their income, health condition, and age. Private healthcare in Cyprus is also an option. Private insurance providers offer various packages, enabling you to choose the best suits your needs. If you’re moving to Cyprus from a country within the European Union, your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) may cover some of your healthcare needs in the initial stages.

Home and Property Insurance

Owning a home or property when moving to Cyprus comes with responsibilities. One of these is ensuring that your property is adequately insured. Property insurance in Cyprus is essential to protect your property from risks like fires, theft, or natural disasters. Insurance companies in Cyprus offer various home and property insurance policies. You can choose from comprehensive coverage, which includes all possible risks, or specific risk coverage, which only includes selected risks. It’s crucial to consider factors like your property’s location, age, and value when determining your insurance needs.

Car Insurance

For many individuals moving to Cyprus, owning a vehicle is necessary due to the country’s dispersed layout. As is the case in many countries, car insurance is compulsory in Cyprus. Cyprus generally has two types of car insurance options: third-party liability insurance and comprehensive insurance. The former is mandatory and covers damages to other people’s property or injuries to other people caused by your car. The latter, while optional, covers damages to your vehicle and can include benefits like roadside assistance.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is another important consideration when moving to Cyprus. While not mandatory, it provides financial security for your family during your untimely death. Life insurance policies in Cyprus can vary significantly, so choosing one that best meets your needs and those of your dependents is essential.

Retiring in Cyprus

Retirement calls for a peaceful and fulfilling lifestyle. With its pleasant climate, beautiful landscapes, and quality healthcare, Cyprus has become an increasingly popular choice for retirees. Here is what you need to know about retiring and moving to Cyprus.

The Pension System in Cyprus

Understanding the pension system is crucial when you’re considering moving to Cyprus for retirement. Cyprus operates on a three-pillar pension system. The first pillar is a state-funded, pay-as-you-go system. You may be entitled to this state pension if you have worked in Cyprus. The second pillar comprises occupational pension schemes, whereas the third includes individual retirement schemes. If you’re moving to Cyprus from another country, check with your current pension plan provider about the possibility and procedures for transferring your pension.

moving to Cyprus
s is the case in many countries, car insurance is compulsory in Cyprus. Cyprus generally has two types of car insurance options: third-party liability insurance and comprehensive insurance.

Cost and Quality of Living for Retirees

Another essential factor to consider when moving to Cyprus is the cost and quality of living for retirees. Cyprus is generally more affordable than most Western European countries, which can make your retirement savings stretch further. Regarding the quality of life, Cyprus ranks high, particularly for retirees. The laid-back lifestyle, beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and friendly communities make Cyprus a dream retirement destination. You’ll find a range of activities to fill your days after moving to Cyprus, from exploring historical sites to joining local community groups.

Health Services for the Elderly

Health services are a crucial consideration when moving to Cyprus. Fortunately, Cyprus offers high-quality healthcare facilities. The country has both public and private healthcare systems. The public healthcare system is affordable and accessible, with many English-speaking staff. Additionally, if you’re moving to Cyprus from an EU country and receive a state pension, you could be eligible for free healthcare. Consider getting a private health insurance policy for more comprehensive coverage.

Investment Options for Retirees

Lastly, if you’re considering moving to Cyprus, being informed about potential investment options is beneficial. Cyprus’s growing economy offers various opportunities for those who want to invest. Real estate is a popular choice amongst retirees – not only does it provide a tangible asset, but it has also proven to yield substantial returns over the years.

Additionally, Cyprus has a vibrant stock market where you can invest. Alternatively, consider starting a small business, which is quite common among retirees in Cyprus. With this comprehensive 10-step guide, you can make a financially secure transition to Cyprus and embark on an exciting new chapter in your life. Happy moving!

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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