Cyprus – A New Life in the Sun

If you have never thought of retiring to Cyprus, why not? The country is an attractive prospect for pensioners in several ways. Aside from year-round sunshine, Cyprus has all the things that are so important when you retire: excellent healthcare, a relatively low cost of living, a relaxed lifestyle, many leisure activities and – perhaps most importantly for you – earned retirement – there is a very low tax rate for pensioners.

Perhaps you are a few years away from your retirement and you start making plans for the future. If you are still active, your retirement in Cyprus can be the start of a whole new life for you. Retiring in Cyprus you can enjoy your new life and the joys of a beautiful Mediterranean island, safe in the knowledge that, together with all that sun, all the necessary things in life are taken care of.

Property in Cyprus

Of course, you will need a place to live, but try not to rush to buy property in Cyprus; after all, it is a very important decision. However, if you already know Cyprus well – perhaps you’ve spent many happy holidays there – you may already know where you want to buy a property to live in during your retirement. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to rent a property first so you can get to know an area before you commit. There is a fantastic choice of reasonably priced properties in Cyprus, whether you choose to rent or buy.

You can choose between traditional inland Cypriot village houses or a spectacular coastal property with breathtaking views of the ocean. There are many apartments, townhouses or villas in Cyprus, but remember that access is essential, especially if you are retired. This beautiful wrought iron staircase or this quirky old house may be tempting now, but will it come in handy when you are less able to get around? It is also important to consider the proximity of the property to local facilities. You may not always want or be able to drive, so it’s a good idea to choose a property in Cyprus that has easy access to shops, restaurants, and medical facilities.

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The main areas of Cyprus to consider are Larnaca, which is close to the international airport and has a large selection of coastal and inland properties. Limassol is a lively seaside town with easy access to the Troodos Mountains if you prefer a property in a traditional Cypriot village. Famagusta and the regions around Protaras and the beautiful city of Paralimni are also the two favourites of retirees. Paphos is by far the most popular choice for those who purchase a vacation or retirement homes. It has its own international airport and properties of all types can be found, close to the city of Paphos or in one of the many surrounding towns and villages. There is also an excellent support network for retirees, especially those from the UK.

Low-rate tax for Retirees in Cyprus

If you start to think that retiring to Cyprus may be a good idea, the fact that pensioners pay such a low tax in Cyprus may be the factor that determines your decision. If you receive a foreign pension in Cyprus, it can be deposited directly into your bank account and, depending on your country of origin, it can be indexed, such as UK pensions. If you live in the UK and are considering retiring to Cyprus, you can get more information about your personal retirement status from the Ministry of Work and Pensions. You can contact us on (0044) 191 218 7777. If you are permanently withdrawing from Cyprus, it is a good idea to consult an independent financial adviser before making any decisions. If you become a permanent resident of Cyprus with retirement status, your worldwide income will be taxed there and you can choose from two tax systems.

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Healthcare in Cyprus

Another thing that can affect your decision to retire to Cyprus is the standard of care, which is an important priority regardless of your age. The health facilities of both the public and private sectors in Cyprus are of a high level and, since the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU, pensioners from other EU countries are entitled to free or cheap health care in the public sector. Pensioners must obtain Form E121 from their home country and in the UK, which is the Department of Work and Pensions (see contact details above). When you arrive in Cyprus, you must take your E121 to your health centre or government hospital where you will receive a medical card. There are two types of medical cards, one for free treatment and one for treatment at low costs. The type of card you receive depends on your annual income (including pensions) and personal circumstances. More information is available on the website of the Ministry of Health of Cyprus.

Cost of Living in Cyprus

The cost of living is another important factor if you plan to retire in Cyprus. Although prices have increased in recent years, prices in Cyprus are still relatively low, especially when you compare them with other popular retirement places. Fruits and vegetables, locally grown, can be bought cheaply in season and meals in local taverns cost on average EUR 16 per person, wine included.

Leisure Activities and Golf in Cyprus

If you are wondering what you will do with all this free time, Cyprus offers endless leisure activities to keep you busy and active. There are hiking and biking along some of the beautiful nature trails in the spectacular Akamas Peninsula, horse riding, a range of water sports or skiing in the Troodos Mountains in winter. These are just a small selection of ways to enjoy this wonderful outdoor lifestyle in Cyprus. There is also a lot of golf – a very popular pastime for retirees in Cyprus. For those who love the game, Cyprus already has three championship golf courses near Paphos and one near Limassol. The Cyprus Tourism Organization has committed to a total of 14 golf courses on the island over the next few years and some great golfers such as Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus lend their names to golf course developments. The last course under construction is located just outside Larnaca, in the village of Tersefanou, which should be completed in 2010.

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Residence Permits in Cyprus

So, if you have decided that Cyprus is the place for your retirement, all you need to know now is how to apply for a residence permit. You can stay in Cyprus for up to 90 days without a permit if you are an EU citizen or a citizen of a number of other countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia (a full list of eligible countries is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus). You will need to apply for an immigration permit (category F) through the District Department of Aliens and Immigration or the Immigration Department of your local police station. There is a department in each of the main cities. Your request (on Form M.67) must be submitted with proof that you have sufficient annual income to support yourself. The current minimum amount is CYP 5,600 (£ 7,600 / approximately EUR 9,600), although each case will be considered on its own merits. The amount is per person and there is an additional amount of CYP 2,700 (£ 3,700 / approximately EUR 4,600) for each dependent. Residence permits are issued for five years and are generally renewed automatically upon request.