If you’ve never thought of retiring to Cyprus, well, why not? The country is an attractive prospect for retirees in more ways than one. As well as year-round sunshine, Cyprus has all the things that are so important when you retire: excellent healthcare, a relatively low cost of living, a laid-back lifestyle, plenty of leisure activities and, perhaps most important of all, for your difficulty. earned pension – there is a very low tax rate for retirees.
Perhaps you are a few years away from retirement and are beginning to plan for the future. If you are still active, your retirement in Cyprus could be the beginning of a whole new life for you. Retirement in Cyprus allows you to enjoy your new life and the pleasures of a beautiful Mediterranean island, safe in the knowledge that, along with all that sunshine, all the necessary things in life are taken care of.
Properties in Cyprus
Of course, you will need a place to live, but try not to rush into buying property in Cyprus; after all it is a very important decision. However, if you already know Cyprus well, perhaps you have spent many happy holidays there, you may already know where you want to buy a property to live in retirement. If you don’t, it’s a good idea to rent a property first so you can get to know an area before committing. There is a fantastic selection of reasonably priced property in Cyprus, whether to rent or buy.
You can choose between traditional Cypriot village houses in the hinterland or a spectacular coastal property with fabulous ocean views. There are plenty of apartments, townhouses or villas in Cyprus, but remember that access is very important, especially if you are retired. That beautiful wrought-iron staircase or that whimsical old house may be tempting now, but will they be practical when you can’t move? It is also important to consider how close the property is to local facilities. You may not always want or be able to drive, so it is a good idea to choose a property in Cyprus that has easy access to shops, restaurants and medical facilities.
The main areas of Cyprus to consider are Larnaca, which is close to the international airport and has a great selection of properties both on the coast and inland. 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 areas around Protaras and the beautiful city of Paralimni are also favorites with retirees. By far the most popular option for those buying holiday or retirement homes is Paphos. It has its own international airport and properties of all kinds can be found either near Paphos city or in any of the many surrounding towns and villages. There is also a large support network available for retirees, particularly those in the UK.
Low rate tax for retirees in Cyprus
If you are starting to think that retiring in Cyprus might be a good idea, the fact that retirees pay such low taxes in Cyprus may be the factor that strengthens your decision. If you receive a foreign pension in Cyprus it may be paid directly into your bank account and depending on your country of origin it may be indexed, such as UK pensions. If you are a UK resident planning to retire in Cyprus, you can obtain further information on the status of your personal pension from the Department for Work and Pensions, who can be contacted on (0044) 191 218 7777. If you are considering permanently retire to 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 between two tax systems:
The first 2,000 CYP (£2,700/EUR 3,400 approx.) are tax free and then taxed at 5% or;
The first 10,000 CYP (£13,500/approx. EUR 17,000) is tax free, then standard rates (20-30%) apply.
healthcare in cyprus
Another thing that can affect your decision to retire in Cyprus is the level of healthcare, which is a top priority no matter how old you are. Public and private sector healthcare facilities in Cyprus are of a high standard and as the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU, retirees from other EU states are entitled to free or low-cost healthcare at the public sector. Retirees must obtain the E121 form from their home country and in the UK, which is the Department for Work and Pensions (see contact details above). When you arrive in Cyprus, you should take your E121 to your health center or public hospital where you will be given a medical card. There are two types of medical card, one for free treatment and one for reduced price treatment. The type of card you are issued will depend on your annual income (including pensions) and your personal circumstances. More information is available on the Cyprus Ministry of Health website.
Cost of living in Cyprus
The cost of living is another important factor if you are considering retiring in Cyprus. Although prices have gone up in recent years, prices in Cyprus are still relatively low, especially when you compare them to other popular retirement locations. Fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables can be bought cheap in season and meals in local tavernas cost, on average, around EUR16 per person, including wine.
Leisure Activities and Golf in Cyprus
If you’re wondering what to do with all that free time, Cyprus offers plenty of leisure activities to keep you busy and active. There’s walking and cycling along some of the beautiful nature trails of the spectacular Akamas Peninsula, horse riding, a whole range of water sports or skiing in the Troodos Mountains in winter. These are just a small selection of ways to enjoy that wonderful outdoor lifestyle in Cyprus. There is also plenty of golf, a very popular pastime among 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 is committed to a total of 14 golf courses on the island over the next few years and some renowned golfers such as Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are lending their names to the development of golf courses. The latest course under construction is on the outskirts of Larnaca, in the town of Tersefanou, scheduled for completion in 2010.
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 permission if you are an EU citizen or a citizen of other countries, including the US (the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs). You will need to apply for an Immigration Permit (Category F) through the District Aliens and Immigration Department or the Immigration Department of your local police station. There is a department in each of the main towns. Your application (on form M.67) must be submitted along with evidence that you have sufficient annual income to support yourself. The current minimum amount is CYP 5,600 (£7,600/EUR9,600 approx), although each case is considered separately on its merits. The amount is per person and there is an additional amount of 2700 CYP (3700 £/4600 EUR approx.) for each dependent. Residence permits are issued for five years and are usually automatically renewed upon request.
So, go ahead and enjoy your well-deserved retirement by relaxing on the beautiful island of Cyprus.