+35725368683
EN

Moving to Cyprus after Brexit – your concise guide

By Marios Konstantinou

Updated: April 23, 2024

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.

The takeaway

After Brexit, British citizens do not have the same freedom of movement within the European Union (EU). However, British citizens can stay in Cyprus visa-free for 90 days out of 180. Moreover, British citizens can still move and live in Cyprus after Brexit, provided they get a visa or a residence permit. The residence permit can be temporary, such as a student permit, or permanent, such as an immigration permit for investors.

Briefly

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.

Brexit timeline

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.

Requirements

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.

Processing time

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).

Other categories:

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 automatically get this type of visa. 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 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 the majority of shares of the business are held by third-country nationals or that the business has a capital of at least EUR 200,000.

Category C residence permit: you can apply for a Category C permit if you own a business with 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 31, 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 and Categories C and F allow you to bring your spouse and underage children.

For Category E, work visa and startup visa, your spouse must 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 Cyprus's second most important partner 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 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/

Tip!

A lawyer must sign the whole procedure, whether you are registering a new company or a branch. Therefore, it would be best to hire a local lawyer. Our firm can provide expert help and advice.

Healthcare

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.

The GHIC is recognised in Cyprus (see also https://faq.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/).

However, you might get a Cypriot EHIC if you live in Cyprus permanently or for long periods.

Driving

Following a reciprocal agreement, Cyprus recognises driving licenses from the UK.

After 6 months of living in Cyprus, you will complete 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)

Pension

You can get your state pension from the UK to Cyprus.

Private UK pension schemes: Contact your pension provider to find out the arrangements for private pension schemes.

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).

Tax matters

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.

Your vote

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.

Lifestyle

Retiring or coming to live in Cyprus after Brexit remains a good idea in 2024.

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, and the municipalities can provide 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).

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a visa for Cyprus from the UK after Brexit?

If you were a resident of Cyprus before Brexit, you can continue to stay without a visa. For those coming from the UK to Cyprus now, a visa-free stay of up to 90 days is allowed, but without the right to work. Before the 90 days expire, you may apply for a residence permit, which can be either temporary or permanent, depending on your circumstances.

How long can a British citizen stay in Cyprus?

If you had been living in Cyprus as an EU national before Brexit, you would continue to live here as before. If you consider coming to Cyprus now, you can live visa-free for 90 days. If you plan to stay longer, you may apply for an extension or consider applying for a temporary or permanent residence permit. It is a good idea to consult a local lawyer.

What is the procedure for UK citizens to retire to Cyprus after Brexit?

You may come to Cyprus visa-free for 90 days and apply for a permanent residence permit. Category F might be best because it is a type of permanent residence permit for people with an independent annual income of at least EUR 9,568 and at least EUR 4,613 for every dependent person (your spouse and dependent children may join you). Professionals you need are a local lawyer for the permits and paperwork and a real estate agent to buy or rent a property. Several international movers’ companies can move your property at a reasonable cost. Importantly, your pension can be paid from the UK to Cyprus: you only need an account, joint or in your name, and to contact the International Pension Centre of the UK government (details here: https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-if-you-retire-abroad). You can easily open a basic account with a Cyprus bank to receive your pension there. Note that under UK government rules, you cannot receive part of your pension in one country and part in another. You must choose which country your pension will be paid in.

How much money do UK citizens need in the bank to move to Cyprus after Brexit?

There is no minimum or maximum amount per se, but you must show an independent income to get a residence permit. The lowest is that of the Category F permanent residence permit, which is at least EUR 9,568 and at least EUR 4,613 for every dependent person. Moreover, the amount must show that you can sustain a decent level of living on the island. So count a larger amount than the total mentioned above.

 

How We Can Help?

We have been serving clients since 1983 with measurable success.
Follow us
Members of:
Cyprus Bar Association The Legal 500