For those dreaming of leaving their mundane lives behind and relocating overseas, there’s never been a better time! The world is vast and there are many amazing countries to choose from to become an expat in, whether your reasons are for changes in climate, lifestyle, culture, or job opportunities. As you scour the globe for potential landing spots, consider the tiny island nation of Cyprus. Situated in the eastern Mediterranean, south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon, Cyprus is an expat hub for so many reasons.
To start, Cyprus is a member of the EU, providing the infrastructure and first-world atmosphere associated with countries such as France and Germany. In addition, Cyprus has very low crime rates and is the 5th safest country in the world. Pair this with beautiful weather, friendly people, and a population where 80% speak English, and you have the makings of a great new home. Unless you plan on retiring in Cyprus (which has a great program with some fantastic perks), you’ll need to support yourself in the country. In order to do this, you need some form of legal documentation.
In most cases, this will come in the form of a temporary residency permit, granting you the right to live for five years (renewable) and work abroad in Cyprus. There are a few main types of temporary residency permits to apply for, depending on your intended employment:
- Category A: Self-employed in agriculture. Applicants will need to be able to prove that they have adequate land or a permit to buy said land, with at least €430,000 in capital at their disposal. Work must not negatively affect the economy of Cyprus.
- Category B: Self-employed in mining. Applicants must have at least €350,000 in capital and acquire the necessary permits and documentation to mine in the country. Work must not negatively affect the economy of Cyprus.
- Category C/D: Self-employed in trade or professions. Must have all relevant permits and qualifications, with €260,000 in capital.
- Category E: Offered permanent employment in Cyprus, which must not create undue local competition. This is the standard form of work visa in Cyprus, in which you will receive a job offer or employment contract after spending time interviewing in the country during the 90-day tourist visa.
- Category F: This category of residency permit is for those you will receive in Cyprus, but without working in the country. This is primarily for retired expats receiving foreign pensions or generating income through international investments.
If you have received a job offer in Cyprus, submit the employment contract or confirmation to the Labour Department. This will indicate the type of work you will be doing in Cyprus and how long you’re contracted to do this work. This will be part of your application process for residency and a work permit in Cyprus.
If you want to move to Cyprus long-term with the goal of searching for employment (not receiving an employment contract), the Immigration Department will likely need you to prove that you can support yourself during the process. You will need to apply for a temporary residence permit at least a month before your 90-day tourist visa expires.
After 5 years of temporary residence, you can apply for permanent or long-term residence in Cyprus. You will need to present an employment contract of at least 18 months in length. You will also need to prove adequate income from this employment and/or outside income for yourself and any dependents. You will also need to provide proof of your maintained temporary residence permit, income tax returns from the previous five years, a tax clearance certificate, a statement of social insurance for the previous five years, and bank account statements.
Those who receive this permanent residency permit can change employers as they please and can work in local or international companies within Cyprus freely.
Cyprus Economic Statistics
- Trade Organizations: European Union, WTO
- GDP: $29.666 billion (PPP)
- GDP by Sector: Services (87.1%), Industry (10.6%), Agriculture (2.4%)
- Labor Force: 356,700
- Unempoloyment: 10.8%
- Average Gross Salary: $24,660 per year
- Main Industries: tourism, food and beverage processing, cement and gypsum, ship repair, textiles, metals, wood, paper, stone and clay products.
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Tyler Sorce is an American writer and digital nomad currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. In a past life he was a chef in Manhattan and Paris, follow his travels and favorite dishes on Instagram.