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Moving to Cyprus: What Expats Need to Know

Cyprus, a beautiful island located in the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean, is a little-known destination that many expats consider one of the best-kept secrets in the expat world. Rich with beautiful scenery, unique cultural traditions, and plenty of unique and exciting places to explore, Cyprus reins as one of the best destinations for expats from around the world.

Why Move to Cyprus? Top 10 Reasons

If you’re on the fence about moving to Cyprus, consider the following ten reason to take the plunge.

1. Cyprus offers a slow, laid-back pace of life
If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle that’s so common in other places around the world, Cyprus can offer a welcome reprieve. The people in Cyprus are influenced by the Mediterranean culture of the area, and enjoy taking it easy and capitalizing on plenty of opportunities for relaxation. Shops close early, family time is paramount, and workers will likely be surprised by the insistence on vacation and time off.

2. The residents in Cyprus speak English on a large scale
For expats relocating to a new country, concerns about language barriers are often pronounced. When you move to Cyprus, however, this concern can become a thing of the past. In Cyprus, many people speak English (a fact that owes to Cyprus having been property of the British Empire for nearly 100 years), and the schools here offer some of the best education in the entire E.U.

3. Cyprus offers pleasant weather
What’s not to love about a Mediterranean climate? In Cyprus, the sunny days are frequent, and the summers are long. This means plenty of opportunities to get outside and more than enough sunny days to keep anyone happy.

4. It’s inexpensive to live in Cyprus
Compared to other places throughout the E.U., the cost of living in Cyprus is pretty bare-bones. This means it’s possible for expats to create an excellent life in Cyprus without going broke in the process.

5. Cyprus is a clean, unpolluted place
Expats fleeing pollution and dirty streets will love how pristine Cyprus is. Because Cyprus isn’t home to much heavy industry, the air, water, and land are all free of industrial pollution. Keep in mind, though, that Cyprus does suffer the occasional dust storm.

6. Tax rates in Cyprus are low
Compared to other places throughout the EU., the tax rates in Cyprus are low, and, as such, many international businesses are choosing to set up shop on the island.

7. Cyprus is a very safe place
For people looking to enjoy a safe, beautiful location that’s nearly free of crime, Cyprus is it. With one of the lowest crime rates in all of Europe, Cyprus has become a popular place for young families and professionals alike.

8. Cyprus offers fantastic schools
As if the natural beauty, cheap living, and great views weren’t enough – Cyprus also provides incredible schools. While the tuition isn’t always cheap, the high educational standard is something to look forward to.

9. Cyprus is sparsely populated
Nobody wants to be overcrowded or live elbow-to-elbow with neighbors. Luckily, Cyprus is a sparsely populated island, with just about 600,000 residents spread out across the island’s five main areas.

10. Cyprus has a rich mythical history
According to local lore, Cyprus is the home island of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, who is rumored to have been born in the foam off of what is now known as Aphrodite’s Beach.

Moving to Cyprus: Getting Your Paperwork in Order

As goes with all places, Cyprus’s immigration laws will depend largely on where you’re coming from and what you’re hoping to achieve in the country. If you’re currently a citizen of the E.U., your immigration process will be much easier, since Cyprus is a Schengen country. This means that residents of E.U. countries are allowed to live and work freely in Cyprus. If you’re not an E.U. citizen, however, moving to Cyprus and securing a visa may be a bit more challenging. While requirements will vary depending on what type of visa you’re applying for, you will generally need a few predictable things to ask for a visa in Cyprus. These things include a current passport, two passport-sized photos, a notarized copy of your U.S. visa or residence card, a letter stating your reasons for coming to Cyprus, copies of your bank statements, copies of your proof of insurance, and a payment method for your application fee. To ensure that you have all needed documents before completing your application, check with the Cyprus Embassy website early in your application process.

Finding Housing in Cyprus

Finding housing in Cyprus can be a bit of a challenge, and people who decide to move to the country generally opt to rent when they first arrive. In addition to the fact that rentals are somewhat more prevalent than homes for sale, there’s also the fact that short- and medium-term rentals are common on the island and ideal for expats who are just moving to the country and getting to work establishing a life for themselves. Even though the process of actually finding a home can be complicated, the venues by which you can search are varied. Many people choose to look through local property guides and newspapers (many of which will be in English), while others decide to hire a Cyprus-based real estate agent to assist in the housing search.

The 5 Best Places to Live in Cyprus

Regardless of what you’re looking to find in Cyprus, these five promising cities just might have it:

1. Nicosia
Nicosia is the financial and population hub of Cyprus, and as such is the place many expats choose to live when they move to the island. Rich with Greek and Turkish heritage, Nicosia is a popular business destination for both residents and visitors in Cyprus. Don’t let its professional nature fool, you, though: the city also has plenty to do, see, and explore during time off. Centrally located, Nicosia’s location makes it easy to travel around the island. Bear in mind that the UN’s Green Line runs through Nicosia, and this city separates the North of Cyprus from the South.

2. Limassol
If you’re looking for something a bit more beach-centric than Nicosia, Limassol might be the perfect option. A city that truly exemplifies the Mediterranean lifestyle, Limassol is rich in hospitality and tourism jobs and offers plenty of beautiful destinations to explore when you’re not working. In addition, Limassol is also the island’s single largest port, which makes it a hub for shipping commerce and activity.

3. Paphos
The tourism center of Cyprus, Paphos is rich in things like ancient ruins and archaeological sites, ancient baths, and catacombs. Ideal for anyone who wants to live in the center of all of Cyprus’s history and culture, this unique Mediterranean city offers plenty to do, see, and explore – plus a wide selection of all-day English bars that serve breakfast.

4. Kyrenia
Kyrenia is a city that lives and breathes according to the sea. A natural harbor, this town has a long history of being used as a major port that built empires. Today, Kyrenia is a quiet town where residents enjoy strolling along the seaside or taking early-morning cruises around the bay. Like Paphos, this city also offers plenty of its own historic attractions, including a Byzantine castle and the unique appeal of Old Town. Ideal for anyone who wants to live in a picturesque, appealing city with deeply rooted history, Kyrenia is just the place

5. Morphou
Located in the northwestern part of the island, Morphou is a small town that’s famous mainly for its market and annual Orange festival. While this city doesn’t offer the same attractions and culture as some of Cyprus’s larger hubs, it’s the perfect place for the quiet expat to settle into a laid-back Cyprus lifestyle.

The Pros and Cons of Moving to Cyprus

Cyprus, while beautiful, has its pros and cons. Learn more about them to make an informed decision.

Pros

Cons

The Case for Moving to Cyprus

While Cyprus offers its fair share of financial and employment hurdles, it’s a beautiful place to live with plenty to see, do, and explore. Residents of the area report enjoying the natural attractions and culture of Cyprus, while the environment and climate are enough to win virtually anyone over. If you plan to move to Cyprus, it’s important to consider all of the benefits and drawbacks beforehand. While housing is available, jobs may not be, and expats who commit to a move before finding gainful employment may find themselves in a difficult circumstance. With this in mind, explore all of your options before moving to Cyprus and take the time to ensure the island is the right match for you. While Cyprus doesn’t work for everyone, the expats that find themselves in this beautiful area will enjoy plenty of sunny beach days, delicious food, friendly locals, and a whole host of new history, culture, and traditions to explore. While it may not be the most abundant or wealthy place in the world, Cyprus offers a high quality of life that makes up for many of its relative shortcomings in the eyes of many expats.