Cyprus Relocation and Living
Cyprus is serviced by an extensive list of local and international moving and shipping companies.
To assist with relocation planning, one should keep in mind that it might take up to 1 month for goods and personal belongings to arrive in Cyprus. Individuals are also advised to insure their belongings.
For EU nationals, exemption from excise duties is granted for personal property imported permanently from another EU member state. For non-EU nationals, relief from import and excise duties as well as VAT is granted for personal property, provided certain conditions are met.
The conditions to be fulfilled for the importation to Cyprus of a vehicle depend on whether the vehicle is to be imported from an EU or non-EU country and also whether the intention is for the vehicle to be imported temporarily or long-term.
Vehicles from EU countries
Vehicles from EU member states are considered goods in free circulation in the EU and can move from one EU member state to another without payment of customs import duty. To be exempt from import duty, proof of EU status of the goods must be provided, such as forms T2L or T2LF (for new and used vehicle) or number plates and the vehicle registration document issued by the previous EU member state for used vehicles.
Vehicles from countries outside the EU
A person resident in a non-EU country transferring his/her residence to Cyprus is entitled to transfer his/her vehicle as part of their personal belongings without liability to import and excise duties and VAT, under certain conditions. In order to avoid a period of unavailability of the vehicle on importation, a temporary licence to use the vehicle may be applied for under Form C104O. It is possible to import a vehicle from a non-EU country in order to use it temporarily in Cyprus and then re-export it without paying customs duty, excise duty or VAT in Cyprus.
There are many estate agencies which can provide options and support during house hunting. A list of registered estate agents is available from the Cyprus Real Estate Agents Association, CREAA.
Buying a property is a popular option, especially for people looking to settle in the island. All EU nationals have the right of home ownership. In the case of non-EU nationals, special conditions apply such as being allowed to buy only one property, with the land not exceeding 4.014 square meters. Additionally, such individuals must not own any shares in a company that owns immovable property and must not have a criminal record.
If a loan is required for buying a residence, one can contact any commercial bank to discuss loan terms. The deposit usually lies in the range of 20-30 percent of the purchase price. Stamp duty and transfer fees are also payable by the purchaser of property, the amount of which is calculated on the purchase price. The seller usually bears the commission of the real estate agent.
Cyprus has a surplus of property available for short and medium term rent. Rental property is usually provided unfurnished, but includes air-conditioning, heating and some kitchen appliances.
It is common practice for a rental contract to be for a period of 1 or 2 years, allowing the possibility of renewal. Usually, the equivalent of 1 month’s rent is required as a deposit together with payment of 1 month’s rent in advance on signing of the contract. The deposit is refunded when the contract expires, unless there is property damage. The tenant usually bears the cost of utilities, such as water, heating and electricity.
The banking system in Cyprus is regulated by the Central Bank of Cyprus.
The opening of a bank account involves the presentation of required identification documents such as an individual’s passport or identity card, recently issued proof of address (such as a utility bill or property title deeds) and confirmation of employment or copy of a valid work or residence permit. It is possible to open an account before arrival in Cyprus through an overseas branch of a Cypriot bank or one of the many foreign banks operating in Cyprus.
The working hours of banks are usually 8.30am to 1.30pm, Monday to Friday. Banks normally provide 24 hour access through ATMs for withdrawals, deposits or balance checking. Additionally, banks in Cyprus have online services.
Office and retail hours
Most private offices are open between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. Government offices are open until mid-afternoon, Monday to Friday. Shops and supermarkets are usually open 9.00am to 7.00pm, Monday to Sunday.
Driving is on the left hand side of the road.
The rules of driving are regulated by European standards which set that the minimum driving age (student licence) is 17 years with the legal driving age being 18 years. Seat belts are compulsory for all passengers as well as child seats for children under the age of 5. There is a speed limit of 100km/hr on motorways, 50km/hr in residential areas and 80km/hr in rural areas, unless otherwise stated. Third party liability insurance for vehicles is compulsory.
Some foreign-issued driving licences are considered valid in Cyprus while some may be exchanged for an equivalent Cypriot licence. Only individuals who have been resident in Cyprus for at least 6 months may apply for a Cypriot driving licence. The registration process involves an oral test, theory test and practical test.
The minimum legal drinking age is 17 years old. The maximum legal alcohol level while driving is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath and 9 per 100 of breath for student drivers who have less than 3 years of driving experience, for drivers of public vehicles ie taxis, buses, trucks etc.
The official language in public schools is Greek while in most private schools the official language is English. Many private schools also teach in other European languages. Public schools are free. Fee-paying private schools usually have proficiency entrance examinations for applicant students.
Depending on an individual’s status, public health care is either free or subsidized for those eligible for a medical card or paid at fixed government rates for those not eligible for a medical card. Public health care is accessible in all cities of the island, as well as smaller hospitals or clinics located in villages.
It is customary for organizations to provide health insurance to employees. Employees often also have the option to extend coverage to their dependents under their employer-provided scheme at their own cost.