This article provides guidance for UK citizens moving to Cyprus after Brexit, outlining visa and residence permit requirements, property purchase regulations, and working options. The text also covers family reunification policies and information for UK citizens wishing to relocate their business to Cyprus.
Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which ended the free movement of people and goods between the UK and the EU. Effectively, British citizens travelling in the EU face border controls and the same rules as third-country nationals. However, the UK and EU made a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with clear arrangements for issues such as commerce, justice and policing.
At a glance:
- 23 June 2016 – The majority votes to leave the EU in a referendum announced in February of that year.
- 29 June 2016 – The PM formally triggers Article 50 TEU, beginning a 2-year countdown to formal exit.
- 21 March 2019 – Upon request from the UK PM, EU27 leaders grant an extension for Brexit (extension renewed on 10 April 2019 and 31 January 2020).
- 23 January 2020 – The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 receives Royal Assent.
- 31 January 2020 – The UK leaves the EU, entering a transition period.
- 31 December 2020 – Transition period ends.
The UK leaves the single market and customs union.
Source: House of Commons Library, UK.
Visa for Cyprus
The Cyprus visa for UK citizens is the application process followed since Brexit. The applicant needs a visa to stay more than 90 days in any 180 days.
To get the visa, a UK citizen must apply through VFS Global Across the UK because the High Commission of Cyprus in the UK has outsourced the visas.
To get the Cyprus visa for UK citizens, the applicant must:
- Visit the VHF website for the step-by-step process. VHF does not accept postal applications.
- Decide which visa they need and download the application form. The form must be completed and printed.
- Book an appointment with one of the Visa Application Centers of VFS. At the appointment, bring the filled application form and their passport and have their fingerprints and photo taken.
- Pay a fee and wait for the visa application decision.
Apply 1-2 months before the travel date.
Residence Permits in Cyprus after Brexit
There are several available “visas” or residence permits, some permanent:
Category F is popular with pensioners and retirees. Both the investor visa and the Category F permit are permanent.
Application to extend your 90-day stay. The extension's purpose includes visitors, dependent adults, spouses of employees, and digital nomads. Hand the application to the Ministry of the Interior (Civil Registry and Migration department) using the form MVIS4 (PDF, 149 KB).
There are also visas for individuals who enter the Republic to be employed in a company of foreign interests or who are married to or will be married to a Cypriot citizen / EU citizen in Cyprus (form MIVS4 above).
Buying property in Cyprus after Brexit
UK nationals must apply to the Council of Ministers to buy property in Cyprus after Brexit.
Usually, the Council of Ministers will not deny permission to any good-faith applicant.
Application form: http://www.moi.gov.cy/.
How long can you stay in Cyprus if you own property?
For British citizens, proof of frequent visits to Cyprus might give them the right to a Multiple-entry Visa (Category C). Multiple entry visas are granted for up to 5 years. Each visit should not be over 3 months (90 days) in any half year, starting from the date of first entry (source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cyprus).
Note: You do not get this type of visa automatically. You need to apply to the Cyprus High Commission in the UK.
There is no legal right to a visa. Once you get the visa, you cannot enter Cyprus automatically. The entry criteria will be rechecked on entry into the Republic.
Can I work in Cyprus after Brexit?
Yes, there are circumstances under which you can get a permit to work in Cyprus after Brexit.
A Cyprus work and Category F residence permit: your employer will need to get this type of permit for you. Unless your employer meets specific criteria, they must show that they cannot employ a local in your place.
The criteria are that majority of shares of the business are held by third-country nationals or the business has a capital of not less than EUR 200,000.
Category C residence permit: you can apply for a Category C permit if you own a business. Your business must have a capital of about EUR 260,000.
Cyprus startup visa: to apply for a startup visa, you must obtain a certificate of innovative enterprise and have at least EUR 20,000 in funds. You apply to the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy; the scheme is valid until May 2024.
Can I bring family members to Cyprus with me after Brexit?
Yes, depending on the type of residence permit you have.
The Cyprus investor visa covers all family members. Categories C and F allow you to bring your spouse and underage children.
For Category E, work visa and startup visa, your spouse will need to apply for a spouse visa, in which case underage children will be allowed to join.
The startup visa allows for family reunification at the end of the second year, provided the startup is considered successful.
The pink slip does not allow family members; they will need to apply separately.
Relocating your business from the UK to Cyprus
According to the High Commission of Cyprus in the UK, Britain is the second most important partner for Cyprus in all aspects of business. If you wish to relocate your business from the UK to Cyprus, you can either set up a new company or a foreign branch of your UK company. Both types of a company must be registered with the Registrar of Companies in Cyprus.
Note that the rules on residence permits mentioned above apply.
A significant benefit of relocating a business is that Cyprus, apart from being a member of the EU, is a common-law country.
This means that:
- The legal system is the same as that of the UK, and,
- The Cyprus company law (Cap 113) is based on the British Companies Act.
UK citizens who wish to transfer to the Cyprus must, according to the UK government website, use the instructions found here:
You will register your company with the Registrar of Companies and the Civil Registry and Migration Department Registry of Companies of Foreign Interests. To do the registration (or “process of incorporation”), first choose a unique trading name, which the Registrar must approve. Then, file the memorandum and articles of association with the Registrar, and open a bank account for the company. You will register the company for tax, social insurance, pensions and VAT. Once the Registrar issues the registration certificate, the company can start work.
Read more about Cyprus company registration.
Private limited liability companies registered in Cyprus:
- Can have one single director who can also be the only shareholder.
- Must have a company secretary.
- Pay a low amount of tax. At 12,5%, corporate tax in Cyprus is among the lowest in Europe.
Setting up a branch of a foreign business in Cyprus
A branch of a foreign company in Cyprus is a permanent establishment of a company not registered in Cyprus. It has the same name as the parent company and offers the same services. To set up a branch of foreign business in Cyprus from the UK, you must apply to the Registrar of Companies and submit several documents. These include a report with details about the parent company. The parent company must have a representative or agent in Cyprus.
For all the details, see companies.gov.cy/en/business-entities/
A lawyer must sign the whole procedure, whether you are registering a new company or a branch. Therefore, it would be best if you appointed a local lawyer.Our firm can give you expert help and advice.
If you have a residence permit, you can register with the General Health System in Cyprus and receive health care after Brexit.
You will receive healthcare using the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The UK government replaced the European health insurance card (EHIC) with the GHIC.
To get the GHIC apply through the NHS: https://www.gov.uk/global-health-insurance-card.
The GHIC is recognised in Cyprus: (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-in-cyprus; https://faq.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/).
However, you might get a Cypriot EHIC if you live in Cyprus permanently or for long periods.
Following a reciprocal agreement, Cyprus recognises driving licenses from the UK.
After 6 months of living in Cyprus, you will fill out form TOM 7Δ and have your license recognised. You need your residence permit, UK driver’s license, and other documents.
The application and all relevant documents must go to the District Office Driving Examiners. Contact details here: http://www.mcw.gov.cy/.
Note: If you are over 70 years of age, you need a certificate of physical ability to drive.
How to bring your car to Cyprus
You do not have to pay tax to bring your car from the EU or the UK to Cyprus (“zero import duty”).
Retiring (pension, tax, your vote)
You can get your state pension from the UK to Cyprus.
Private UK pension schemes: To find out the arrangements for private pension schemes, contact your pension provider.
UK state pension: There are some steps to follow to receive the UK state pension in Cyprus.
Inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Then, the state pension can be paid into a bank in the country in which you are living. You need IBAN and Bank Identification Code (BIC) numbers if you have an overseas account.
UK law also allows for workplace pensions to be paid abroad.
The local exchange rate will affect pensions (from pound sterling to local currency).
Under the UK/ Cyprus double tax treaty, most pension income is taxable only in Cyprus. Also, pension lump sums are not taxed in Cyprus.
However: UK government service pensions are taxed in the UK, and if you take the entire pension as a lump sum, it will be taxed in the UK.
According to www.gov.uk, there are temporary residence rules if you plan to return to the UK. See https://www.gov.uk/tax-return-uk.
The rules are complex; the UK government advises contacting HMRC or a tax adviser.
UK citizens can keep their UK vote for 15 years while living permanently abroad.
After Brexit, you will not be allowed to vote in local elections.
Retiring or coming to live in Cyprus after Brexit remains a good idea in 2023.
There are several benefits, such as the affordability of life(buying a house is about 65% cheaper than in the UK), having a British ex-pat community, and the availability of cheap fresh food, mild weather and access to the sea.
Cultural events happen throughout the year in Cyprus, where the municipalities can give information.
You can still bring your pets with you after Brexit. Cyprus has numerous excellent vets, and the pet will enjoy nature walks! Dogs and cats can come with a third-country passport, while birds and fish with a UK EHC (Export Health Certificate).