If you've never thought about retiring to Cyprus, well, why not? The country is an attractive prospect for retirees in more ways than one. Apart from year-round sunshine, Cyprus has all the things that are so important when you retire: excellent health care, a relatively low cost of living, a relaxed lifestyle, plenty of leisure activities and – perhaps most important of all for your hard- earned pension – there's a very low tax rate for retirees.
Maybe you're a few years away from retirement and are starting to make plans for the future. If you're still active, your retirement in Cyprus could be the start of a whole new life for you. Retirement in Cyprus allows you to enjoy your new life and the delights 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.
Property in Cyprus
Of course, you'll need somewhere to live, but try not to rush into buying a property in Cyprus; after all it is a very important decision. However, if you already know Cyprus well – perhaps you've spent many a happy holiday 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 that you can get to know an area before you commit yourself. There's a fantastic choice of reasonably-priced property in Cyprus, whether to choose to rent or buy.
You can choose from traditional Cypriot village houses inland or a spectacular coastal property with fabulous views across the ocean. There are plenty of apartments, townhouses or villas in Cyprus, but remember that access is all important, especially if you're retired. That beautiful wrought-iron staircase or quirky old house may be tempting now, but will it be practical when you're less able to get around? It's also important to consider how close the property is 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.
The main areas of Cyprus to consider are Larnaca, which is close to the international airport and has a great selection of both coastal and inland property. Limassol is a buzzing seaside town with easy access to the Troodos mountains if you prefer property in a traditional Cypriot village. Famagusta and the areas around Protaras and the beautiful town of Paralimni are also both favorites with retirees. By far the most popular choice for those buying holiday or retirement homes is Paphos. It has its own international airport and property of all types can be found, either close to Paphos town or in any of the numerous surrounding towns and villages. There is also a great support network available for retirees, especially those from the UK.
Low-rate tax for Retirees in Cyprus
If you are starting to think that retiring to Cyprus might be a good idea, the fact that retirees pay such low tax in Cyprus may be the factor that clinches your decision. If you're receiving a foreign pension in Cyprus, it can be paid directly into your bank account and, depending on your country of origin, it may be index-linked, like for example, UK pensions. If you're a UK resident and are thinking of retiring to Cyprus, you can get more information about your personal pension status from the Department of Work and Pensions who can be contacted on (0044) 191 218 7777. If you're thinking of retiring permanently to Cyprus, it's a good idea to consult an independent financial adviser before you make any decisions. If you become a permanent resident of Cyprus with retirement status, your worldwide income will be taxed there and will have a choice of two taxation systems:
· The first CYP2,000 (£ 2,700 / EUR3,400 approx.) Is tax free and then you're taxed at 5% or;
· The first CYP10,000 (£ 13,500 / EUR17,000 approx) is tax free and then you're taxed at standard rates (between 20% and 30%).
Healthcare in Cyprus
Another thing which may affect your decision to retire to Cyprus is the standard of healthcare, which is an important priority whatever age you are. Both public and private sector health facilities in Cyprus are of a high standard and, because the Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU, retirees from other EU states are entitled to free or low-cost healthcare in the public sector. Retirees should obtain form E121 from their home country and in the UK that is the Department of Work and Pensions (see contact details above). When you arrive in Cyprus, you should take your E121 to your health center or government hospital where you will be issued with a medical card. There are two types of medical card, one for free treatment and one for reduced cost treatment. The type of card you are given will depend on your annual income (including pensions) and 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're thinking of retiring to Cyprus. Although prices have risen during the last few years, prices in Cyprus are still relatively low, especially when you compare them with other popular retirement locations. Fresh fruit and vegetables, grown locally, can be bought cheaply 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 you will do with all that free time, Cyprus offers endless leisure activities to keep you busy and active. There's hiking and cycling along some of the beautiful nature trails in the spectacular Akamas Peninsula, horse-riding, a whole range of water sports, or skiing in the Troodos mountains in the winter. These are just a small selection of ways to enjoy that wonderful outdoor lifestyle in Cyprus. There's also plenty of golf – a very popular pastime for retirees in Cyprus. For those who love the game, Cyprus already has three championship golf courses close to Paphos and one close to Limassol. The Cyprus Tourism Organization is committed to a total of 14 golf courses on the island over the next few years and some big name golfers such as Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus are lending their names to golf course developments. The latest course under construction is just outside Larnaca, in the village of Tersefanou which is scheduled for completion in 2010.
Residence Permits in Cyprus
So if you've decided that Cyprus is the place for your retirement, all you need to know now is how to apply for a residence permit. You may stay in Cyprus for up to 90 days without a permit if you're an EU citizen or a citizen of a number of other countries, including the US, Canada and Australia (a full list of qualifying countries is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cyprus). 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 CYP 2,700 (£ 3,700 / EUR4,600 approx) for each dependent person. Residence permits are issued for five years and are usually automatically renewed on request.
So, off you go and enjoy your well-earned retirement relaxing on the beautiful island of Cyprus.