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Moving to Cyprus

Originally known for its troubled political history or as a tourist magnet, moving to Cyprus has recently become very popular among expats. Our InterNations expat guide explains why and offers information on your upcoming move to the Mediterranean island.
Welcome to the EU's outpost in the Mediterranean Sea.

At a Glance:

  • Cyprus boasts one of the most appealing climates in Europe.
  • The division between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus remains a major political issue.
  • The cities of Nicosia and Limassol offer a very enriching cultural experience.
  • Registering for a residence and work permit involves numerous steps for non-EU citizens, however the process is significantly easier for citizens of EU-member states.

Welcome to the European Union’s ‘outpost’ in the southeast! Expats moving to the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea are in for a real treat, at least as far as the location is concerned. The incredible weather and cultural heritage have definitely had their part in making moving to Cyprus so popular with expats.

The Sun-Chasers Paradise

There are many reasons for moving to Cyprus.  Expats and locals get to enjoy the Mediterranean climate on the island. Hot summers with temperatures reaching up to 33°C, contrasted by mild winters, sound like a Mediterranean dream come true. Even better, the sea temperature can be as high as 27°C at the height of summer, which makes a stay at the beach or a swim in the sea all the more enjoyable. 

In fact, locals and expats enjoy the warmest climate in the entire European Union in one of the sunniest places around, with over 320 days of sunshine per year. Cyprus is also ranked among the regions with the healthiest climates worldwide. Unfortunately, the island suffers from a near-constant freshwater shortage. However, if you are not moving to Cyprus to work in the agricultural sector or in hydro technology, this will most probably not influence your everyday life.

Decades of Division

If you have already done your homework before you decided to move to Cyprus, you will be well aware that since 1974, the island has been divided into two parts: the sovereign state of the Republic of Cyprus, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a self-declared state.

The division is still in force today, with a UN-controlled buffer zone separating the two parts. Turkey remains the only country in the world to acknowledge the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a fact which has caused the northern part of the island — about 40% of the total area — to be heavily dependent on aid from the Turkish mainland.

In general, expats opt against settling in the Turkish part of the island. This is, of course, not to say that Northern Cyprusis devoid of a charm of its own. However, its lack of international recognition and its dependence on Turkey are the main reasons why foreign residents prefer moving to  the island’s southern half.

The Republic of Cyprus, however, continued its road to prosperity, joining the EU in 2004 as a divided country. Currently, Cyprus is recovering from the economic and financial crisis of previous years. Especially Cyprus’ banking sector has suffered from its exposure to Greek debt.

For all intents and purposes of this article series on the island, we will only focus on moving to Cyprus’ southern part, the Republic of Cyprus. The same applies to the articles on living and working in Cyprus.

Security Advice for Cyprus

Generally speaking, Cyprus is a safe country with a low crime rate and a high safety rate.  Nevertheless, you should always be aware and precautious of your surroundings and personal belongings. Unfortunately, driving standards in Cyprus are poor and driving can be dangerous. In 2015, there were 57 road deaths, so always remember to drive with caution. There is currently a heightened terrorist threat in much of Europe, including Cyprus, with tourist spots being potential targets. However, there is no need to panic but just to remain vigilant.

Also, you should never try to cross the border between the two parts of the island at any other point than the few designated border crossings, for example in Nicosia at the Ledra Palace and Ledra Street checkpoints, and absolutely never take pictures of any official or military institutions or personnel. While signs to this effect exist, they might not be everywhere, and it is wisest not to take any photos when in doubt, or your move to Cyprus may take a rather unpleasant turn.

We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Fjodor Andersen

"I can't wait for Cyprus expat events to take off in the InterNations Community! "

Therese Yeboah

"I was happy to meet a couple of fellow Africans in the Cyprus expat community. "

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