Those determined to move to live in Cyprus should initially look at their finances before making a firm decision to move, surprisingly the cost of living in Cyprus is comparable to living in the UK. For example although property and utility prices are generally a bit lower.
Those who have no income such (as a pension) will need to determine whether they can realistically find work paying a sufficient salary to cover their lifestyle and anyone contemplating making a moving – whether they have a property to sell or not – needs enough in the bank to cover them for at least the first 6 months at their current standard of living. In real terms a couple will need around £1000 a month and a family of 4 will need £2000 a month to live a comfortable lifestyle.
Those with a property to sell should think long and hard about staying behind and selling it before moving to Cyprus because it is far easier to sell a house when you’re in close proximity to it.
You will also need to open a bank account in Cyprus which is a very easy task and can be done very quickly:
Information on opening and managing a bank account in Cyprus (what documents to provide), the main retail banks and the Co-Operative bank.
The Central Bank of Cyprus regulates all banking. It publishes a list of all regulated banks – including branch and representative offices of foreign banks – operating in the country.
The larger southern Cyprus banks include:
- Central Bank of Cyprus
- Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd
- Co-operative Central Bank Ltd (CCB)
The Co-operative Central Bank oversees all the operating Co-operative Societies (Co-Op bank), which work on the same licence as retail banks. Traditionally providing services for rural and agricultural communities, these now offer standard banking services and may have lower lending rates, interest rates and charges.
Note: There is a charge for all banking transactions in Cyprus banks.
There is a wide network of banks across the country – foreign, Greek and Cypriot – and many of those in the major towns have English-speaking staff. Small towns have Co-Op banks but may not have a branch of a more major bank.
Opening an Account
Permanent residents of Cyprus need a bank account in Cyprus when making a residency application; non-residents do not have to have a Cyprus bank account, but those who own property on the island may find an account convenient for making regular payments of utilities.
No appointment is necessary to open an account; the following documents are needed:
- Passport or proof of identity
- Proof of address (recent utility bill, title deeds)
All major banks offer a full set of banking services for individuals and businesses.
- Current and savings accounts
- Debit and credit cards
- Direct debits and standing orders
- Foreign currency exchange
- Long terms savings and investment accounts
Many also offer:
- Loans and mortgages
- Internet banking
Almost all banks offer full Internet banking services allowing all transactions to be made online. The account holder will be issued a password to access the account.
Most banks are open 08:30-12:30 Monday to Friday and Monday afternoons from 15:15-16:45 in summer (1 July to 31 August).
Banks in tourist resorts open longer hours in summer.
ATM (automatic teller machines) are available in all larger towns. These generally provide 24 hour access to an account for withdrawals, deposits or balance checking. Many machines have instructions in English.
Residents, Non-residents and Tax
Foreigners who are tax resident in Cyprus will have a percentage of interest on their account retained for tax (paid to the Ministry of Finance). This payment may be recorded on the tax return.
Non-resident foreigners should be aware of the EU Savings Tax Directive which affects residents of one EU member state that earn interest income from investments or deposits held in another (or in one of the other jurisdictions that have agreed to apply the Directive).
Cyprus currency is the euro. Cyprus joined the Eurozone in January 2008.
* Central Bank of Cyprus
At: 80 Kennedy Avenue, Lefkosia
Tel: +357 22 71 41 00
Fax: +357 22 37 81 53
* Co-Operative Central Bank
At: 8 Gregoris Afxentiou Street, Nicosia
Tel: +357 22 743 050
Fax: +357 22 672 431