Living in Cyprus
Essential information for British nationals living in the Republic of Cyprus.
If you are a British citizen or British subject with right of abode in the UK, you do not require a visa to enter the Republic of Cyprus. Other British nationals should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Republic of Cyprus High Commission.
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from the Republic of Cyprus. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
EU Citizens who wish to reside in the Republic of Cyprus for more than 3 months are required to apply for a residence permit (yellow slip). You can apply through the local immigration office of the Ministry of Interior Republic of Cyprus using form MEU1A. A fee is payable but the permit does not need to be renewed.
A permanent registration certificate can be applied for after 5 consecutive years of residence using form MEU3A. More details can be found at the Ministry of Interior website (this website is in Greek only), however you can search under the form names – instructions on how to complete, and the documents required, can be found at the bottom of the application form.
The UK basic state pension is payable in the Republic of Cyprus.
The state pension changed in April 2010. More people now qualify for a full basic state pension. Find out about the most important changes and what they mean to you.
To find out when you reach State Pension age, use the State Pension Age Calculator.
If you live but have not worked in the Republic of Cyprus, you should claim your UK state pension by contacting the International Pension Centre (IPC) in the UK on Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 7777.
However, if you live and have worked at some point in the Republic of Cyprus you can apply for your UK state pension with the aid of the Citizen Service Centre (CSC): please note, your claim for a UK State Pension may be rejected if you apply directly to the International Pension Centre but have worked and made contributions in the Republic of Cyprus.
British nationals resident in Cyprus affected by the proposed changes to UK Barclays Bank accounts should contact Barclay’s directly for advice. Those in receipt of a UK state pension can also contact the International Pension Centre to discuss their pension payment options. Unfortunately the British high commission is unable to advise or assist individuals regarding private financial matters. However, individuals can seek financial advice from an independent financial advisor who is best placed to advise them regarding financial matters.
Citizen Service Centre
They offer, from one point of contact, multiple services, using simplified, quick procedures.
They use modern technology, and as a result the citizen is able to receive, in many cases, the service immediately.
Where direct or immediate provision of the service is not possible, Centres undertake the whole process on behalf of the citizen. This means that documents are processed via the Centre, without the need for citizens to visit multiple government organisations.
Moving to Cyprus once in receipt of a UK state pension
If you are moving to Cyprus from the UK you should inform the International Pension Centre (IPC) of the changes to your circumstances. This will prevent any problems with your pension payments. It will also help you to get the right access to healthcare in the Republic of Cyprus.
If you are not paying into the Cypriot social security system you may be able to get state healthcare if:
- If you are in receipt of a UK old age state pension, request an S1 form (previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999. If you are in receipt of an exportable DWP benefit you can request an S1 form the office which pays your exportable benefit. It is your responsibility to keep the Overseas Healthcare Team or office which pays your exportable DWP benefit up to date with any changes in circumstances which may affect your entitlement to an S1 (E121). When received, register the S1 form with your local state hospital or health facility, before you register with your local state hospital doctor and obtain a medical card.
- you are an early retiree and have been resident for less than 2 years, apply for a S1 Form from the Overseas Health Care Team, telephone: 0191 218 1999
- you are a posted worker for a UK company ,apply for a S1 Form from the Centre for Non Residents, HMRC, telephone: 0044 191 203 7010
- you are a dependant of someone who falls into one of these categories
- you spend less than 6 months of the year in Cyprus and have a valid UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you do not fall into one of the above categories and are not paying into the Cypriot Social Security System then you will not be entitled to free treatment and should look to take out private health insurance.
There will be an important change to UK-funded healthcare for early retirees and visitors from July 1st 2014. See the NHS Choices pages for more details on EHIC changes and changes for early retirees in Europe.
You can find out more about how to plan for your healthcare if you are going to live abroad on a permanent basis on the NHS website.
Before you go to Cyprus on holiday make sure you bring a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you, and take out private travel insurance.
Further information, List of Hospitals in the Republic of Cyprus
Entitlement to a Republic of Cyprus retirement pension
After working in more than one European Economic Area country, it is possible for your contributions from each one to be taken into account when calculating your pension or benefit. You must therefore give as much information as possible about your working life when you apply.
For information on how and when to claim your Republic of Cyprus retirement pension or how your contributions in the UK can contribute toward your entitlement to a Republic of Cyprus retirement pension, contact your CSC.
You may also be thinking about paying voluntary contributions to top up your pension entitlement in either country. For further information on paying voluntary contributions in the UK, contact HM Revnues & Customs. For the Republic of Cyprus contact your CSC.
Life certificates for UK state pensions
If you have received a life certificate from the UK Pension Service it is important that you reply as quickly as possible otherwise your benefit may be stopped. You’ll need to get it signed by a ‘witness’ and send it back, as instructed on the form.
Check the list of people who can witness a life certificate. This is now the same as the list of people who can ‘countersign’ a passport photo, although they don’t need to live in the UK, or have a British or Irish passport.
Benefits in the Republic of Cyprus
UK Benefits which you must apply for before leaving the UK
UK Benefits which you can apply for after leaving the UK
- Contribution-based Incapacity Benefit/Employment Support Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Bereavement Allowance
- Maternity Allowance
- UK Child Benefit
Non-exportable UK benefits
The following benefits are for people who are ordinarily resident in the UK and under no circumstances are they available in the Republic of Cyprus:
- pension credit
- council tax benefit
- income support
- housing benefit
- means-tested incapacity benefit/employment support allowance
Remember – if you are in receipt of benefits, it’s an offence not to tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if your circumstances change, for example:
- you are going to live or currently living in The Republic of Cyprus
- you get married, or if you separate, divorce or are widowed
- you start work, increase your earnings or your savings
If you don’t tell the DWP it could mean prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions.
For more details visit the benefit theft website.
Cyprus contribution-based benefits
Working and paying contributions in the Republic of Cyprus gives you entitlement to a number of Cyprus social security benefits. These benefits include unemployment benefit, and permanent and temporary incapacity benefit. If you have any questions regarding entitlement to, or payment of benefits from the Republic of Cyprus, call or visit your nearest Citizen Service Centre for advice and claim forms.
If you have worked in the Republic of Cyprus, but have been told that you do not have entitlement to Cyprus social security benefits as you have not paid enough national insurance contributions in Cyprus, you must make sure you declare the contributions you have made in the UK to enquire if they can be used to make up any entitlement as though they were paid in Cyprus. You should also state any previous periods of contributions in the UK.
You can prove previous periods of contribution in the UK by filling out a CA3916 and applying for a statement of National Insurance contributions from HM Revenue & Customs to assist Unemployment Benefit claims. Also make sure that, as for any benefit application, you apply in writing.
Republic of Cyprus unemployment benefit
You should apply for unemployment benefit in Cyprus if you have been working here and paying contributions. Make your claim at your local Citizen Service Centre.
Other Republic of Cyprus benefits
You should seek advice & assistance from your nearest Citizen Service Centre on other benefit entitlement, or read the further information on Republic of Cyprus benefits.
Driving licences and vehicles
Information on importing your UK-registered vehicle from the UK to the Republic of Cyprus is available from the Republic of Cyprus Customs & Excise department.
Please note you cannot import a vehicle into the Republic of Cyprus via ‘north Cyprus’ – attempts to do risk the vehicle being impounded/seized.
Information regarding, driving licences, Republic of Cyprus motor regulations are all outlined by the Republic of Cyprus Department for Transport (in Greek only). You can obtain ‘unofficial’ English translations and guidance from ex-patriot forums such as Cyprusdriving.net and Anglo Info – please note our disclaimer below.
Our Living in Cyprus leaflet has more information.
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Republic of Cyprus authorities. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office makes no representation as to the quality or accuracy of the information which is available at the web addresses listed nor do we endorse them. We are not involved in the production or sale of the company’s products nor do we monitor their quality.
Published: 22 March 2013
Updated: 5 May 2014
- Information added on changes to EHIC rules and health cover for early retirees.
- Update information on life certificates for UK state pensions and added link to Living in Cyprus leaflet.
- First published.
Related guides: Living in Cyprus Notarial and documentary services guide for Cyprus