Moving to Cyprus from UK after Brexit or before?

moving to cyprus from uk after or before brexit

Are you a retiree, entrepreneur, digital nomad or business owner contemplating moving to Cyprus from the UK after Brexit or before? Cyprus is one of the EU countries welcoming British expats!

Are you worried about relocation if the United Kingdom is no longer part of the EU? This week’s article by Immigration Explorer, your expert for residency and citizenship by investment, reveals the advantages of living in Cyprus. Plus, the pros and cons of moving to Cyprus from the UK after Brexit or before.

8 Reasons for Living in Cyprus

Did you know that approximately 70,000 British expats live in Cyprus? This also includes many Brits who only live on the island for some time during the year.

Meet the “Jewel of the Mediterranean”! Besides its great location at the crossroads of three continents, the island’s exciting history will fascinate you. And there’s mythology too! Cyprus is also known as the island of the goddess of love, Aphrodite or Venus.

If you enjoy going to the beach and sunny weather, Cyprus is the right place for you! The Mediterranean climate is always welcoming. And if you prefer hiking, Cyprus also has impressive mountains and forests.

Did you know that Cyprus offers exceptional healthcare services with international standards? The quality of medical treatments is so good that medical tourism in Cyprus is growing. 

In June 2019, an upgraded National Healthcare System “NHS” was launched. Healthcare recipients – citizens and tax residents – will be able to get primary care services free of charge. This new system will be fully rolled out in June 2020.

Moreover, the relaxed lifestyle and the clean air make Cyprus one of the healthiest and most easy-going countries to live in. The delicious food and the affordable cost of living make the island a favorite for retirees, business owners, and expats. Did you know that the cost of living in Cyprus is around 25% cheaper compared to the European average? 

And finally, Cyprus is one of the safest countries in Europe. Additionally, favorable tax and financial regulations are particularly valued by entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and business owners. Read more about the advantages of moving to Cyprus and live the Mediterranean lifestyle!

Deal or no deal?

Following a June 2016 referendum, the UK government formally announced the country’s withdrawal from the European Union – the so-called Brexit.

  • Deal Brexit
    • If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, traveling to the EU will remain unchanged until the end of the implementation period (end of 2020)
    • You won’t have to apply for a visa for traveling, living, and working in the EU during this time.
  • No-deal Brexit
    • If the UK leaves without a deal, the rules for traveling and working in Europe will change.
    • The European Commission proposed that British citizens would not need a visa for short stays in the EU, including Cyprus. You would be able to stay in Cyprus for up to 90 days in any 180 days. If you stay in Cyprus for more than 90 days in a 180-day period, visitors would become tax residents. 

Moving to Cyprus from the UK after Brexit or before?

According to the official information from the Cyprus Civil Registry and Migrant Department

  • UK nationals and their family members who exercised their right to free movement to Cyprus before 1 January 2021 and who have not completed continuous residence of five years, will be eligible for a residence permit (MEU1).
  • British expats who have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus before 31 December 2020 will be eligible to acquire permanent residence (MEU3).
  • The UK citizens who will not have completed five years of continuous residence in Cyprus will be able to remain in Cyprus to build-up five years of continuous residence. 
  • British nationals who want to come to Cyprus post Brexit – after 31 December 2020 and the end of the transition or grace period – have to meet the Cyprus immigration rules.
  • Note that residents who have lived in Cyprus for more than 7 years can apply for citizenship.

All British nationals who live in Cyprus should apply for a MEU1 or MEU3 to make sure that they are lawfully resident and that their rights continue to be protected post-Brexit.

Currently, most non-EU country nationals require a visa for Cyprus. However, Cyprus grants non-EU nationals, who do not require a visa, a 90 day stay in the country. Note, that this does not entitle you to work. If you plan to stay in Cyprus for more than 90 days, you may need to get a visa before you travel.

What to do before Brexit?

British citizens should take these steps before Brexit:

  1. Register as a resident in Cyprus
    1. You have to register as a Cypriot resident if you stay in Cyprus for more than 3 months. You can obtain a registration certificate from the Ministry of the Interior, Civil Registry, and Migration Department.
    2. After you live in Cyprus for more than 5 years, you can apply for permanent residence (MEU3).
  2. Make sure that your passport is valid
    1. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in Cyprus. If you are traveling to the north of Cyprus, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry to the north.
  3. Transfer your UK driving license into a Cypriot driving license
    1. In practice, this law is not strongly enforced.

If you are not a UK citizen, find out more about the Cyprus citizenship by investment program, permanent residency, and getting an EU passport on our website.

Healthcare in Cyprus

At present, British expats are eligible for state healthcare. Even if they do not contribute to the Cyprus social security system, as long as they meet specific criteria, for example, if they are eligible for a UK-issued S1 form (retirement, pension) or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Read more on the official UK government site.

This NHS guideline has all the criteria for accessing healthcare in Cyprus and how to register. Read more about the new Cypriot state healthcare system GESY on their website and your eligibility. In case you are not eligible for state healthcare, private health insurance is highly advisable.

  • If there is a deal, your present rights to healthcare in Cyprus stay the same until the end of the implementation period (end of 2020), as long as you remain a resident in Cyprus.
  • But if there is no deal, access to healthcare for British nationals traveling or living in the EU is likely to change. Access to healthcare in Cyprus will depend on your residency status.

If you live in Cyprus and receive a transferable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare by the UK. In this case, you will need an S1 certificate.

Working in Cyprus after Brexit

If there is a deal, your right to work will stay the same until the end of the implementation period (end of 2020). Make sure to apply for a residence permit, permanent residency or citizenship status depending on your eligibility before 31 December 2020. The citizenship status will allow you to continue to work.

If you have a residence permit or permanent residency, you are not allowed to work for an employer. But you can have shares in a company and receive dividends. So, if you have entrepreneurial skills, you may want to consider starting your own business.

The Takeaway

Now you read about the pros and cons of moving to Cyprus from the UK after Brexit or before. Including deal- and no-deal scenarios, healthcare, and working in Cyprus.

Immigration Explorer is your trusted partner for everything around living in Cyprus. We are also happy to help you with setting up your business in Cyprus. Contact us now for your personalized offer. We make moving to Cyprus easy and fun!

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