The prospect of living in Cyprus, with its hot summers, welcoming locals to its historical sites, and slower pace of life, presents various benefits to foreign nationals considering moving to a European country. Many expats who visit Cyprus are swooned by its charm and relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries.
As most locals speak English, Cyprus has become a popular destination for English-speaking expats.
Keep reading as we delve deeper into the unique aspects of Cypriot daily life, exploring its best cities to live, vibrant local communities, and how you can gain residency and enjoy its many benefits.
Eight Reasons Why Living in Cyprus is Rewarding
Year-round sunny weather
Cyprus boasts a typically Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot and dry summers and mild, wetter winters. Although beach sunbathing might not be the norm during Cypriot winters, the lowest average temperature remains mild at 17°C (62°F), providing a comfortable and relatively temperate climate throughout the coldest months.
This consistent climate creates an ideal environment for outdoor activities, exploration of historical sites, and embracing the vibrant local culture throughout the entire year.
Low cost of living
The cost of living in Cyprus is lower than in the United States and most European countries. According to Numbeo, the average monthly rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment is €860 compared to €1,500 in the United States, and a three-bedroom apartment in Cyprus would cost €1,600 compared to a comparable apartment in the US costing €2,500, on average.
The average cost of living in Cyprus extends to living expenses, with the average monthly budget without rent for a single person coming in at €850.
Cyprus is an EU country
As part of the European Union, Cyprus benefits from entry into a single market and freedom of movement for its citizens, opening the door to numerous business, investment, and job opportunities. A Cyprus residency permit grants visa free entry to other EU countries. After a seven-year naturalization period, foreign residents can apply for Cyprus citizenship, gaining the right to move freely to any European country within the Union.
A large expat community
Many expats live in Cyprus, creating a large expat community in the country’s most popular cities. An atmosphere of inclusion characterizes this diverse and cosmopolitan society.
Within the large expat community, there are ample opportunities for socializing, networking, and establishing connections with individuals with similar experiences living in Cyprus. Furthermore, expats can provide invaluable assistance in navigating bureaucratic processes and share insights into the rich history and cultural nuances that characterize the country.
Plenty of investment opportunities
Cyprus is a favorable destination for investment through its EU membership, stable economy, and strategic location to mainland Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As a member of the European Union, the country provides investors access to a stable and transparent regulatory framework, ensuring confidence in a secure business environment.
Maintain residency by owning property
Owning property in Cyprus is a means to obtain a residence permit, presenting a multifaceted benefit for those seeking to live there. The Cyprus Permanent Residence Program allows third-country nationals to secure residency by investing €300,000 in real estate, offering a pathway to enjoy the country’s high quality of life, optimal climate, and numerous archaeological sites.
This residency by investment program not only provides a practical solution for obtaining legal residence in the country but serves as a tangible investment in a property market that has shown resilience and potential for appreciation. Moreover, owning property in Cyprus offers a sense of stability and belonging, as residents can establish a permanent residence and fully immerse themselves in the local community.
Favorable tax environment
Residents in Cyprus enjoy a range of tax advantages, such as a notably low corporate income tax rate of 12.5 percent, among the lowest in Europe. Personal income tax in Cyprus falls within the range of 20 to 35; however, residents are tax-exempt if their annual taxable income is below €19,500. Additionally, Cyprus employs a residency-based tax system, and non-domiciled Cypriot residents avoid taxation on worldwide income.
Property buyers intending to use the property as their primary residence can take advantage of a VAT deduction. When acquiring property, the standard VAT rate stands at 19 percent, which can be reduced to five percent applicable for those purchasing for primary residence purposes. Additionally, there is no annual property tax; owners only incur a municipal tax ranging from €60 to €150, depending on the property’s value.
English is widely spoken
While Greek and Turkish are Cyprus’ official languages, the legacy of former British rule has meant that there are no language barriers for English-speaking expats, with at least 70 percent of Cypriots able to speak English. This language advantage significantly eases communication for numerous expats living in Cyprus, simplifying daily life, engaging with the local community, and accessing services effortlessly.
Are there negatives to life in Cyprus?
Although Cypriot life is mostly positive, there are negatives of living there as an expat.
Jobs are limited
Cyprus is a small country with a relatively small economy. While job opportunities are present in sectors such as finance and information technology, expats looking for employment in Cyprus might encounter challenges due to potential limitations in the job market.
Historically, political tensions have arisen between the Southern and Northern Cyprus. Northern Cyprus is currently populated by Turkish Cypriots and controlled by an unrecognized territory known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The country has the only divided capital city in the world, with a UN peacekeeping force known as the ‘Green Line’ maintaining separation between the Turkish Republic in north Cyprus and the Greeks in south Cyprus.
Despite this, there has been a period of relative stability between both the north and south Cyprus regions. However, the delicate nature of the relationship means the situation is subject to potential changes.
Underdevelopment and traffic congestion
In contrast to many other European countries, Cyprus’ public transportation system could be more developed, and urban areas, particularly during regular business hours, may face traffic congestion, impacting daily commuting and travel within the country.
Water scarcity poses a significant challenge for those living in Cyprus as the island nation grapples with limited water resources. Despite being the Mediterranean’s third largest island, Cyprus is characterized by the Mediterranean climate of hot and dry summers, making water conservation crucial.
With relatively low annual rainfall and increasing demand due to population growth and tourism, freshwater availability becomes a concern, with conservation efforts in place to combat the problem. Residents of Cyprus should be cautious about their water consumption, particularly during periods of low rainfall.
Best Cities for Expats to Live in Cyprus
With a wealth of captivating locations designed to suit expats’ preferences, Cyprus features four major cities that distinguish themselves with unique attractions and amenities.
Limassol is Cyprus’ second-largest city with a growing expat community and tourism industry. Foreign nationals living in Limassol enjoy an active social scene with numerous entertainment choices. The city presents an enticing collection of options for nightlife, dining out, and cultural events.
Limassol holds the country’s largest parade, the Limassol Carnival Festival, attracting scores of Cypriots, expats, and foreign visitors. These elements reinforce the city’s dynamic culture. Besides cultural events, the city boasts a number of private schools, contributing to a large community of expat families.
Nicosia is the country’s partitioned capital city, with Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus and the Greek region of south Cyprus. Even amidst the political tension with the Turkish Republic, Turkish Cypriots, and Greek Cypriots cohabit, forming a distinctive cultural uniqueness that defines a lively and diverse community.
Nicosia has several universities, including the University of Nicosia, the University of Cyprus, and the European University of Cyprus. With abundant education institutions, the city’s young population maintains a vibrant energy, particularly on weekends. Alongside public schools, the district is home to numerous international schools, including the American Academy of Nicosia and the American International School of Cyprus.
Larnaca International Airport receives tens of thousands of tourists drawn to the 6,000-year-old city. Larnaca proves to be an ideal option for history enthusiasts and individuals interested in making real estate investments in Cyprus.
Nestled along the southern coast close to Ayia Napa in south Cyprus, the city is adorned with some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Larnaca has become a preferred home for numerous expats, enticed not just by the breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea but the city’s historical allure, lively ambiance, and diverse community.
One of the best cities to live in Cyprus, Paphos has earned its reputation for an exceptional quality of life due to its unique blend of historical significance, scenic coastal beauty, and a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. The district is one of the most historical European cities and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting several archaeological sites, such as the Rock of Aphrodite, the birthday place of the Greek goddess, Aphrodite.
Paphos showcases an extensive array of impeccably preserved landmarks, distinctive architecture, and a vibrant resort atmosphere seamlessly intertwined with ancient ruins. The city is a major tourist attraction and is well connected to Europe and other destinations through Paphos International Airport.
Rental prices in the best cities to live in Cyprus
Living in Cyprus as an EU national
Living in Cyprus as an EU citizen provides some perks in the initial stages of moving. Cyprus is an EU member state, and through freedom of movement granted within the European Union, EU nationals need only to declare their desire to stay in Cyprus beyond 90 days by registering at the Civil Registry and Migration Department and obtaining a Registration Certificate for EU nationals, commonly known as the Yellow Slip (MEU1).
Living in Cyprus as a non-EU National
Third-country nationals (non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss) must hold a valid residence permit to live in Cyprus. Gaining a residence permit first requires obtaining a long-stay visa (Category D). Long-stay visas can be acquired for work, study, or if you have a family member who is a Cypriot citizen or an EU or third-county national living in Cyprus.
The Cyprus Permanent Residence Program is an investment visa program available to third-country nationals. It provides the added benefit of a Category F visa, granting permanent residency in Cyprus in exchange for foreign investment.
Ways to Get Residency in Cyprus
To live in Cyprus as a third-country national, you can either obtain a:
- Category D visa for temporary residency
- Category F visa for permanent residency
Gain permanent residency by investing in Cyprus
The Cyprus Permanent Residence Program, formally known as the Cyprus Golden Visa, is a residency by investment program granting permanent residency in Cyprus to investors who contribute to its economy.
The program attracts third-country nationals interested in investments in the country and settling there long-term. One of three investments and a €300,000 minimum investment determine eligibility for a Cyprus investor visa. These include:
- Purchasing real estate in Cyprus
- Purchasing shares of a company located in Cyprus with at least five local employees
- Purchasing units of a Cyprus-registered investment fund or funds
For eligibility, investors must demonstrate an annual income of €30,000 or higher and uphold a minimum bank account deposit of €30,000 in a Cypriot financial institution for at least three years. A bonus of the Cyprus Permanent Residence Program is family members can be included in the application. Cypriot permanent visas by investment remain valid if investors maintain their investments for at least five years.
Other Cyprus visa options
The following visas are available to third-country nationals:
- Cyprus Family Reunification Visa
- Cyprus Work Visa
- Cyprus Self-Employment Visa
- Cyprus Student Visa
- Cyprus Retirement Visa
- Cyprus Digital Nomad Visa
Family reunion visa: A family reunion visa is a temporary visa option for the family members of Cypriot nationals or foreign citizens who have lived in Cyprus for at least two years and have a minimum of one year left on their residence visa. Eligible relatives for family reunification in Cyprus include a spouse and unmarried children under 18.
Work visa: Cypris work visas in Cyprus are available to fill employment gaps in the country. Eligibility involves an employer proving that a Cypriot cannot meet employment needs, which must be done by obtaining authorization from the Cyprus Department of Labor. After approval, applicants can apply for a temporary work visa at the nearest Cypriot Consulate in their country.
Student visa: Foreign students with a letter of acceptance from a Cyprus university can apply for a student visa. Student visas are valid for one year. They can be renewed for the duration of the studies.
Retirement visa: Cyprus retirement visas grant permanent residency to retirees. Applicants are required to provide evidence of an annual pension income of €50,000, with an additional amount of €15,000 for a dependent spouse.
Digital nomad visa: The Cyprus digital nomad visa allows remote workers with a stable source of income from freelance work, remote employment, or other digital endeavors connected to foreign entities to obtain temporary residency. Monthly earnings must meet or exceed €3,500 after deducting taxes.
Self-employment visa: Self-employment can provide temporary or permanent residency eligibility in Cyprus, depending on the industry and nature of work. A self-employment visa in Cyprus falls under Category D or F or one of three additional categories: A, B, AND E. A Self-employment visa is available to those working in fields such as mining, agriculture, and other professional trades, provided they have a sizeable amount of disposable capital.
Applying for the Cyprus Permanent Residence Program
The Cyprus permanent residence program application process takes three to six months. Successful applicants can apply for Cyprus citizenship by naturalization after seven years of residency, provided they meet the minimum residency requirement.
- Make the qualifying investment: The primary requirement is a €300,000 investment in real estate, with the investment amount confirmed by a qualified appraisal.
- Submit your application: After making the required investment, applicants must submit their visa application, proof of purchase, and other required documents, including evidence of a €30,000 bank deposit, to the Cyprus Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD). The government fee must also be paid.
- Review and approval: The CRMD will review the application and supporting documents. If the application meets the criteria, approval for permanent residency is granted.
- Residence permit issuance: Upon approval, the applicant and any dependents in their application can travel to Cyprus and obtain their Cyprus residence permit through relevant local authorities.
- Maintaining residency: Maintaining permanent residency requires an investor to keep the required deposit in the bank for at least three years and real estate investment for five years.
Obtaining Cyprus Citizenship
Foreign expats living in Cypriot can apply for Cyprus citizenship after seven years. The candidate must have physically lived in Cyprus for a minimum of four years within the seven-year naturalization period. They must also have lived in Cyprus for the year before applying.
While it’s possible to obtain second citizenship and a Cyprus passport, the requirements are a more selective process than in many other countries in EU countries.
Frequently Asked Questions about Living in Cyprus
Is Cyprus a good place to live?
Living in Cyprus can be an enriching experience; however, whether it’s a good place to live depends on personal preferences and goals. The rich history of the Mediterranean island, numerous blue flag beaches, large community of expats, and membership in the European Union make it one of the best places to live for most expats.
Can Americans live in Cypress?
Americans can legally live in Cyprus, provided they qualify for one of the country’s residence visas. Available paths to residency for Americans include the Cyprus Permanent Residence Program, an investor immigration program granting permanent residency to foreign nationals who invest at least €300,000 in the Cypriot economy through one of three investments, including real estate purchases.
Can you live in Cyprus and only speak English?
While English isn’t the official language in Cyprus, English is widely spoken and understood throughout the country. The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, but English is commonly used in business, education, and daily life. Most Cypriots in north and south Cyprus are fluent in English, making it easier for American and British expats to adapt to Cypriot life.
How long can you stay in Cyprus if you own a property?
Purchasing property in Cyprus does not automatically grant residency; however, a purchase above €300,000 to qualify for the Cyprus Permanent Residence Program offers permanent residency in Cyprus, provided the property owner holds their investment for at least five years.
Can I move to Cyprus permanently?
You can move to Cyprus permanently by obtaining the necessary residence visa and living there for at least five years to apply for permanent residency. The Cyprus Permanent Residence Program is also an option, providing a fast-track route for obtaining permanent residency. This investment program involves significant financial investments in Cyprus, including purchasing real estate or investing in a Cypriot company.
How safe is Cyprus to live?
Cyprus is generally considered a safe country to live in. While it doesn’t rank among the safest countries on the Global Peace Index, it ranks ahead of other EU countries like France and Serbia. The country boasts a low crime rate and is one of the safest destinations in the Mediterranean region.
What are the tax incentives for living in Cyprus?
Tax benefits and incentives for living in Cyprus include:
- Income tax-free amount of €19,500
- Income tax rebate of 50 percent for third-country nationals with professional job offers worth at least €55,000 annually
- Tax exemption for those who spend more than 90 days outside Cyprus and earn income from foreign employment