Updated: February 21, 2024
For many reasons, Cyprus is a favourite destination for business, leisure and retirement. It has a warm climate, fantastic beaches and an easy-going way of life. At the same time, it is a commercial centre with work opportunities and a thriving business community. As a member of the European Union (EU) and close to the Middle East, Cyprus belongs to a complex network of financial relationships and activities.
If you are a third-country national (TCN) considering moving to Cyprus and wondering how easy it is or how it can be done, this guide is for you. You will find information about:
This guide is for information only, however. For personalised advice and applying for a permit, buying a house or renting property, you are strongly recommended to seek the services of a local lawyer and real estate agent.
There are several ways a foreigner may come and stay in Cyprus in 2024, which can be summarised as follows:
A permanent residence permit is available for TCNs in the following categories:
Category C. Working as self-employed. You may register a business organisation, such as a limited liability company or a partnership, or work as a sole trader.
Category D. Working as self-employed in a profession or science. You need due qualifications and sufficient funds.
Category E. You were offered permanent employment in the Republic.
Category F. You have a secure and regular annual income, enough to provide a decent living in the Republic.
Investors’ visa (new criteria). This requires an investment of € 300,000 in property or shares and a minimum annual income of € 50,000. For all the details, see our office guide: Cyprus residency by investment.
The application form is the same for all categories (MIP1), though supporting documentation and fees vary. You can bring your spouse and underage children, though some details differ from one category to another. The application is submitted to the Central Offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department in Nicosia.
See the relevant government website for application forms and more information:
The temporary residence permit is renewed annually and does not give you the right to work. Therefore, you should only apply if you have a stable and adequate source of income from abroad, for example, a pension. The fee is € 70 for each family member (spouse and underage children). The temporary residence permit is also called the “pink slip”.
The registration certificate is given to European (EU and EEA) citizens who wish to reside long-term in Cyprus. It is also called yellow slip because it is printed on yellow paper. You apply for a registration certificate within four months of entry to the Republic; you will hand the application to the relevant (district) immigration unity of the Civil Registry and Migration Department. The registration certificate does not expire.
Moving to Cyprus for EU citizens is straightforward as they can work in the Republic and own property without restrictions.
You can receive a work permit to work in a Cyprus company within the following framework:
The company/ employer applies to the District Labour Offices of the Department of Labour, Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance.
The company/ employer must show that the work position cannot be filled by a member of the local labour force. They will do this by showing that they have advertised the position in the daily newspapers for two weeks but could not find a suitable candidate. This is called the “labour market test”, the central condition for granting a work permit to a TCN.
The company employs 3 Cypriot or EU nationals for 1 TCN.
The work permit is granted for at least one year and a maximum of four.
Exceptions under the Business Facilitation Unit (BFU)
Under the Ministry of Finance BFU, foreign companies can avoid the labour market test for work permits for TCNs who will be employed as key personnel. Under the BFU, the TCN employee will be issued a Cyprus temporary employment and residence permit (BCS).
The company must offer a minimum salary of € 2,500. (For existing key personnel, the minimum wage can be € 2,000 until 31 December 2026).
Key personnel are qualified personnel with a university degree or diploma or relevant work experience of at least two years.
Each company has until 31 December 2026 to employ at least 30% Cypriot workers.
The duration of the permit depends on the duration of the employment contract (which has a minimum duration of two years). See http://www.moi.gov.cy/moi/CRMD/.
A “foreign” company is defined as:
OR the company fulfils the following criteria:
The company must establish and operate independent offices in Cyprus. The premises must be suitable and separate from private housing or other offices.
Proof of frequent visits to Cyprus might give you 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 that you do not get this type of visa automatically. You need to apply to the Cyprus consul or Embassy in your country.
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 territory of the Republic of Cyprus. For example, you may be asked to present evidence or documents, like a bank guarantee, proof of employment, or financial means.
A TCN can rent a property. As you are unlikely to know the market well, you should contact a real estate agent. They are registered, know the market and will find the most appropriate property for your budget and needs.
To buy Cyprus property, on the other hand, you need to apply to and get permission from the Council of Ministers. The procedure is relatively simple. However, there are restrictions to the extent of the property to be purchased. You can buy one house, one flat, or a plot of land not larger than 4014 sq m. Exceptions apply to buying land for business, such as building a hotel.
TCNs can simply register a business in Cyprus by visiting the island for a few days. To go on running your business, however, you are advised to apply for one of the following:
The main types of business forms in Cyprus are the following:
Under Cyprus law, there are two types of partnerships to choose from.
In a general partnership, there is no limited liability for debts. Each partner is jointly and severally liable for the debts of the partnership. This means creditors can sue all or any partners and hold them personally responsible for the debts.
One general partner is personally responsible for the debts in a limited partnership. The other partners are limited and are given limited liability for the debts.
After deciding whether to have a general or limited partnership, you apply to the Registrar of Companies to get approval for the name. When the name gets approved, you register the partnership online, by hand or by post at the Registrar of Companies. You will need a solemn declaration of signature witness (a formal written statement signed by all the partners containing specific information about the partnership, for example, the sum each partner contributes) and a fee of € 120. The Registrar will issue a certificate of incorporation. Within 60 days, register the partnership at the Tax Department and Social Insurance Services. Each partner pays personal income tax for their profits.
The Registrar of Companies has useful information and the details for registration of partnerships.
Registering a business or trading name by application to the Registrar of Companies while acting as a sole trader is possible.
To start a limited liability company in Cyprus, register it with the Registrar of Companies.
Then, you must also register with the Civil Registry and Migration Department Registry of Companies of Foreign Interests, done now through the Business Facilitation Unit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The details for this procedure are found at:
The Cyprus Companies Law (Cap 113) is the legislation concerning limited liability companies.
If you are a third-country national, and your company will have at least € 200,000 in share capital, you can benefit from the Business Facilitation Unit (BFU) scheme. This scheme makes registration and formalities easier.
One sole director can also be the sole shareholder. This means that one person can be the single director and shareholder of the company.
The corporate tax rate is low in Cyprus, at 12,5%. It is among the lowest in Europe. There is no tax on the payment of dividends.
A private limited company in Cyprus must have a company secretary.
The fee payable at the Registrar of Companies is € 165 plus € 100 fast track (source - companies.gov.cy).
You must translate certain documents, such as the memorandum and articles of association if they are in a language other than Greek. The Registrar can do this for you for a fee of € 160. This is called “creating a file of translations”.
You can find information and forms at companies.gov.cy.
To register the company with the Cyprus Registrar of Companies, you should do the following:
Choose a unique trading name, which the Registrar must approve. You will mention at least three names in case another business already takes and uses your first choice.
Once the name is approved, draft the Memorandum and Articles of Association (M&A). These must be filed with the Registrar. The Registrar of Companies offers help with the M&A at:
Find the list of documents for Applying to incorporate a Company, Business Entities, Company, Company`s Lifecycle, Starting a Company, Guidance, Incorporating a Company | Companies Section, Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property at the Registrar’s official website at companies.gov.cy
Register the company for tax, VAT, social insurance and pensions. Once done, Inland Revenue will give you a unique tax identification number.
The business license will be issued for the company. Now the company can start work.
To get a student visa for Cyprus, you must be a full-time student at a recognised institution of higher education. Before coming to Cyprus, you will send the institution several certified documents. These are:
There is a revised student visa procedure, effective 12 June 2023, as follows:
The additional documents are:
You will give the rest of the documents to Migration yourself, together with biometric data.
The institution will apply to the Civil Registry and Migration Department to get you an entry permit. An application will also be sent to the Ministry of Education. If approved, you will be sent the entry permit. Then, the institution will issue you a temporary residence permit (student visa).
The student visa is valid for a year and renewable.
In June 2023, the Civil Registry and Migration Department effected a revised procedure for issuing entry and residence permits for the educational sector, including researchers and students.
The details can be found by following this link: moi.gov.cy.
The contact email address for students is email@example.com.
You email them to book an appointment.
As explained above, there are several working visas to choose from.
Apart from applying for the visa or permit that best suits your circumstances, relocation to Cyprus involves the following:
People in Cyprus speak English, while a large international community lives on the island. At the same time, you may learn the language in one of the many tutorial centres that specialise in language teaching for adults. Regarding your children, they can attend one of the certified, high-quality international schools that operate in Cyprus. You can have a look at the list here: internationalschoolsearch.com.
Air and shipping costs will depend on the company and how much luggage and belongings you carry to Cyprus. You should also allow a few days' stay in a hotel before settling in your new property.
Whether you rent or buy, the price will depend on location, property condition (new, resale, in need of repair), number of bedrooms and available amenities.
Reportedly, the cheapest area is Paphos, and Limassol is the most expensive.
Some indicative average prices (in Euro) are the following:
Concerning health, it is advisable to have health insurance. The figure will vary according to company and type of plan. There are offers for ex-pats, so it is a good idea to search and compare prices. Note, however, that once you have a valid residence permit, you are entitled to register with GeSy (the general health system) and receive healthcare at minimal prices.
The prices for food and drink remain low compared to other parts of Europe. The Consumer Protection Service publishes a price list of the major consumer products. The list is updated monthly and can be accessed at consumer.gov.cy/.
The latest data (November 2023) for basic goods show milk (full fat, 2 L) at € 2,88 on average, sliced white bread 900-1000gr at € 1,80, and 12 eggs at € 3,31. Bottled water (12x500 ml) is € 2,92 on average. A meal for two at a restaurant costs about € 60.
Supermarket shopping may come to about € 800 monthly for a family of two.
The price of petrol is reported on average by the Consumer Protection Service at eforms.eservices.cyprus.gov.cy.
In January 2024, for example, Unleaded 95 was € 1,342 on average per litre. Diesel was € 1,461 on average.
Water costs € 1,35 for domestic use per cu m. for the first 45 cu m.
Electricity for household use is € 0,335 per kWh.
All major clothing lines have stores in Cyprus, so you should expect to find reasonably priced clothing in all seasons.
Vary from about € 6,200 to about € 9,000 yearly for high school. The junior school is lower.
Most types of leisure, such as cafes and restaurants, sports clubs, football and cinema, are reasonably priced.
For each and any of the visas and residence permits, you will need several documents, including a valid passport, a clean criminal record and proof of a stable and regular income from abroad or an employment contract in the Republic (as the case may be).
The list of documents is long and may vary depending on the visa or permit you are applying for.
You can find them in these government site links.
Opening a bank account in any bank operating in Cyprus is possible. The Cyprus banking system is highly regulated and efficient, operating under the aegis of the European Central Bank.
The Central Bank of Cyprus maintains a list of the authorised credit institutions at centralbank.cy.
To open a bank account, you will need a passport, proof of address, proof of income and other documents. Our office has a short guide on opening a bank account in Cyprus, which includes a list of required documents.
There are types of residence permits and visas to cover a wide variety of situations and lifestyles. Moving to Cyprus is quickly done using the services of a lawyer and real estate agent. The cost of living is lower than in other EU member states and the UK, while there are many opportunities for business, investment and family life. Contact us for more information, expert guidance, and advice on relocating to and residing in Cyprus.
How much money do you need to move to Cyprus?
There is no way to tell you exactly how much money you need. We can, however, advise on how to plan your budget. A lot will depend on the size of your family and the volume of the goods you will take with you (how much you bring). Your budget must include plane tickets, travel costs, visa and other legal fees, the international mover, customs (used household goods enter duty-free), temporary and permanent accommodation, childcare and schools, healthcare, a driver’s license, new furniture, and a new wardrobe because the temperatures in Cyprus may differ from those in your home country. Concerning the international mover, we advise you to find a licensed and registered one. The cost of moving will depend on many factors, the most important being the distance of your country to Cyprus and the move size.
Is it cheaper to live in Cyprus than in the UK?
Yes. Though the cost of living in Cyprus is rising, living there is still cheaper than living in the UK. According to the World Population Review, the cost of living monthly for one person in the UK for 2023 is US$ 1,929, while in Cyprus, it is US$ 1,266.
Where is the cheapest place to live in Cyprus?
According to a recent Philenews survey, the cheapest place to live in Cyprus is Paphos. Other sources point towards Larnaca, however. It is safe to say that the two largest cities, Nicosia and Limassol, are more expensive than the two smaller ones, Larnaca and Paphos.
How do you move to Cyprus from the UK?
Visiting Cyprus for up to 90 days for reasons other than work, such as tourism or seeing friends, is possible. (We suggest you do that to contact local professionals and visit areas where you might wish to find a home). However, you need a visa for a stay longer than 90 days. You should contact the Cyprus High Commission in London and apply through their partner, VFS Global Across the UK. This is the link: https://cyprusinuk.com/visa-information/. After getting a visa, depending on your circumstances, consider applying for a permanent or temporary residence permit. Such permits exist, among others, for work, study, creating a business, investing, or living in Cyprus through independent means. You can plan your move using the advice in the first question in the FAQs.
What are the requirements for those moving to Cyprus from the UK?
After Brexit, you are considered a third-country national (TCN) in Cyprus. The requirements for moving to Cyprus vary according to your circumstances. You can enter Cyprus without a visa for up to 90 days, but for more, you will need a visa and or a residence permit. Residence permits can be temporary or permanent, including permits for study and work. You can find all the necessary information at the Cyprus Civil Registry and Migration Department here: Civil Registry and Migration Department.
How do you immigrate to Cyprus as an EU and non-EU citizen?
As an EU citizen, you can stay in Cyprus for up to three months; then, you need to apply for a Registration Certificate. To get this, you must have work or be self-employed and have sufficient means to support yourself and your family. You will apply to the central offices of the Civil Registry and Migration Department if you are a resident of the Nicosia district or to the relevant Police Aliens and Immigration Unit if you are a resident of any other district. Here is the link for the application and documents: Civil Registry and Migration Department. Non-EU citizens can enter Cyprus for up to 90 days without a visa. The stay must not involve work, paid or unpaid. After that, you need a visa or a residence permit. See the previous question. Citizens of some countries require a visa for entry. The list is here: Countries whose nationals are required to hold a visa to enter the Republic of Cyprus - MFA. If your country is on the list, you must get a visa from a Cyprus embassy or consulate office before travelling to Cyprus.
How can I live permanently in Cyprus?
Cyprus has several permanent residence categories for which you must satisfy specific criteria. The categories, with minimum income in euros requirements in parentheses, are: self-employed in agriculture or farming (€ 430,000), self-employed in mining (€ 350,000), self-employed in trade or profession (€ 260,000), self-employed in occupation or science (sufficient funds), permanent employment in the Republic (satisfy labour market test, with some exceptions), secured annual income (at least € 9,568 annually, plus € 4,613 annually for each dependent), permanent residence for investors (€ 300,000 investment in real property, € 50,000 secure annual income plus an annual of € 15,000 for spouse and an annual of € 10,000 for each dependent child). You need a clean criminal record and supporting documentation, such as a contract of employment or a contract of sale for the property. Read more about permanent residency in Cyprus.
When can I get citizenship in Cyprus?
To get Cyprus citizenship, you need seven or five years of legal residence, depending on the case. You need seven years of stay out of seven years if you hold a residence permit as a student, visitor, self-employed, athlete, coach, sports technician, domestic helper, nurse, or employee of a Cypriot/ foreign/ offshore company. The last twelve months preceding the application are included in the seven years. Holders of any other residence permit may apply for citizenship after five years of legal stay in the seven years from the twelve-month period that precedes the application. The details can be seen here: Cyprus citizenship by naturalization. Concerning highly-skilled employees of foreign companies, they can apply for citizenship after five or four years if they pass a Greek language examination (Levels A2 and B1, respectively).
How much does it cost to ship a container to Cyprus?
We can only give you an indicative price because a lot depends on the size of your shipment, whether you ship by sea or air, the international mover and the distance of your country to Cyprus. For example, some companies have a calculator. Others estimate the cost to be anywhere between US$ 1,500 and 12,000. A British company mentions UK pounds 1,343 to move a one-bedroom flat and 3,500 to move a three-bedroom house, sending the load by ship, excluding packing and VAT, including pickup and delivery to port, and unwrapping and removing packing material. Delivery assumes good access, and the place is not above the first floor.
How much money do you need in the bank when moving to Cyprus?
Though there is no minimum amount necessary for opening a bank account, some residence permits have minimum amount requirements: see the FAQ about living permanently in Cyprus above. Moreover, you should calculate about € 150 daily for accommodation, transport, and food (more if you have dependents). You will need to find somewhere to stay. In case you buy a property, include lawyer’s fees.
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