If your vision of an excellent retirement destination includes criteria such as beautiful weather, excellent infrastructure, high safety, low-cost quality healthcare, and low cost of living, you may wish to consider the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus.
The island of Cyprus is comprised of two countries.
The southern portion is the Republic of Cyprus, also referred to as South(ern) Cyprus or Greek Cyprus. The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union but not the Schengen Area. Its currency is the Euro. Greek is the official language, although English is spoken by approximately 80% of the population.
The northern portion is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), also referred to as North(ern) Cyprus or Turkish Cyprus. TRNC is considered by the international community as a de facto state (accepted as a state in every sense, without official and formal recognition as such). Its currency is the Turkish Lyra. Turkish is the official language, although English is spoken by approximately 80% of the population.
Great weather. The island enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate with long, warm, and dry summers from mid-May to mid-October. The winters are mild and sometimes rainy, lasting from December to February.
Low crime. Cyprus has been rated the fifth safest country in the world.
Affordable. Prices are about 20% lower than average US prices, according to Numbeo. Of course, prices vary widely across the US, so prices relative to your locale may vary. Cost of living is lower in North Cyprus. Homegrown fruit and vegetables, local spirits, wine, beer, rent, and public transportation are up to 50% cheaper. The only thing that can be surprisingly expensive is dairy products, as there are very few cattle on the island.
English spoken. As mentioned above, since the island was under British control until 1960, English spoken by 80% of the population. Driving is on the left.
Beautiful beaches and crystal-clear water. You won’t spend every day at the beach, but you’ll never be too far from one.
Before you move to any foreign country, you should learn all you can about the country’s history, culture, government, economy, and current events. Northern and Southern Cyprus are no exceptions.
Before you move, you should take extended visits at different times throughout the year. Try to experience living in the country as the locals do, rather than visiting all the tourist spots. Renting before you buy is always a good idea.
As with any island destination, you should consider what amenities are available on the island with regard to the activities and the lifestyle you wish to enjoy during your retirement. Will the island be big enough for you?
Where to Live
While there are many good choice throughout the island, these cities are frequently mentioned as good choices for retirees:
Paphos, South Cyprus – Ranked as the best city to live in Cyprus for seven years in a row. Large expat community, especially British. Over 50% of expats live in Paphos, Cyprus’s fourth largest city. In 2007 it won the title of City of Culture in Europe. Especially safe.
Limassol, South Cyprus – Business capital, second largest city. Home to many historical and architectural sites. Good public transportation.
Larnaca, South Cyprus – Wine capital of Cyprus, excellent food. Popular with retirees. Third largest city.
Kyrenia (Girne), North Cyprus – Strong Turkish influence, lower cost.
Of particular interest in North Cyprus, Stone Arch Retirement Villages are a series of five planned eco-friendly retirement communities offering an impressive array of features and amenities. They will be continuing care communities, meaning that you can live independently now and have assisted living available to you later if needed.
The first village will open for occupancy in October, 2023, with the remaining four opening at a rate of one per year through 2027. For more information, visit stonearchvillage.com.
This unofficial, high-level information is provided for your convenience. Always refer to official government websites for current immigration requirements. You can find plenty of information on various expat and foreign living websites, but they are not official sources, and laws may have changed since they were written. Hiring a reputable immigration attorney or firm to assist you with the residency application process is highly recommended.
Retirement Visa in the Republic of Cyprus (South)
The Republic of Cyprus offers a Retirement Visa, known as a Category F form of residency. This temporary residency is available to non-EU citizens who have sufficient income or capital to provide a decent living in Cyprus without having to work. Generally, this means a minimum annual income of €9,570 for a single applicant and €4,613 for every additional dependent. Pensions, rental income, investment income, or any combination of these qualify as appropriate income sources. EU citizens are entitled to live there without a visa.
The process of obtaining a retirement permit in Cyprus will take around 5-12 months.
You may read articles elsewhere which state that Cyprus has a “Golden Visa,” or citizenship-by-investment program. However, Cyprus has terminated this program as of November, 2020.
Permanent Residence Permit in Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (North)
You can apply for Residency once you have a contract of sale or title deed in North Cyprus. If you are buying a home in the TRNC, just speak to your lawyer during the property purchase process about submitting your application for Residency.
To apply for a permanent residence permit in North Cyprus, you need to prove that you own a property in North Cyprus, you have a sufficient income, and you are retired.
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