The Realities Of Retiring To North Cyprus – Your Questions Answered By An Expert

Considering North Cyprus as a retirement destination? Find the answers to your most common questions you as an expat might have when moving to North Cyprus.

Kyrenia North Cyprus

Considering North Cyprus as a retirement destination? Find the answers to the most common questions you as an expat might have when moving to North Cyprus.

A North Cyprus expert Kate Smith from Ian Smith Estate Agency, the leading property agent in North Cyprus, answers all your questions about moving to and settling down in North Cyprus. 

The Q&As are updated regularly. If you cannot find an answer to a particular question, please, contact us with your query and we will add the answer to the next update.

Ian Smith estate agency is a family-owned business. It’s the first British estate agency established in North Cyprus.

Back in 1986, Ian Smith came to North Cyprus on a government tender to build social houses for the locals and fell in love so much with the island that he moved the whole family to Cyprus. Now Ian’s daughter Kate and son in law Osman continue to run the business.

Kate Smith knows the local property market from the inside out. She also has a deep understanding of the norms, rules and regulations of the country. She is also very familiar with questions and worries you may have when relocating to North Cyprus and is in a perfect position to help you. 

Retire to North Cyprus
Kyrenia Harbour, a favourite place for a stroll and an al-fresco lunch for both expats and locals alike

Is North Cyprus safe?

North Cyprus is one of the safest destinations in the Mediterranean. Crime levels are very low. It is safe to walk around even at night, people are very friendly and helpful.  

Is North Cyprus a member of the EU?

On May 1st, 2004, the Republic of Cyprus became a full member of the European Union (EU) on behalf of the whole island. It means that the whole island is considered to be part of the EU. However, the application of EU law is suspended in the northern part of the island.

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The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is not recognized as a member state, is within the European Union borders but it is outside the territory of the internal market.

What are the benefits of moving to North Cyprus?

  • Great base to travel the world
  • Super climate
  • Very low level of crime
  • Extremely friendly locals who generally speak English
  • Very cheap cost of living (meze and kebab dinner around £10-£15)
  • Tasty produce at rock bottom prices
  • No tax on pension incomes
  • Property transactions in GBP
  • Property procedure follows the British legal system
  • Cheap education 

How can I find friends and integrate into the community?

There is a strong expat community scattered across the area with bowling teams, a superb golf course in Esentepe, darts teams, gyms, badminton etc. 

The Foreign Residents Society can help you integrate quicker and find friends. They host and organise various social events and gatherings, just follow the updates on their website. 

Can I use public hospitals in North Cyprus?

Yes, if you have residency you are entitled to use public hospitals. In fact, when you apply for residency, you have to have health insurance in place. 

You can apply for the North Cyprus state health insurance via the Koop Bank in Nicosia and it will cost you around £45 per year. It covers the use of a State ambulance (112 Emergency Ambulance Service) and gives you a 20% discount on treatments.

Are private hospitals good enough in North Cyprus?

North Cyprus private hospitals are very well equipped and staffed with highly-trained doctors and nurses. 

Near East University Hospital in Nicosia has state of the art equipment, a cutting-edge diagnostic imaging centre, and English-speaking staff.

There are also excellent dentists trained in Turkey, Europe and the States at very reasonable prices. 

Can I use South Cyprus hospitals if I live in North Cyprus?

Yes, you have an option to use hospitals in South Cyprus if you choose to do so. 

How much will private healthcare cost me?

Health insurance is available from various local agencies. Depending on your age and health, a middle-tier plan with nil excess can cost you around £1,000 per year and will increase from the age of 55 upwards. 

The pay-as-you-go option is also available and regular “maintenance” visits to a doctor won’t break your bank. As an example, a consultation with a GP can cost you £20-30.

Do I need a visa to visit North Cyprus?

No, there’s no visa required for citizens of most European countries including the UK.

How do I get my residency permit?

A short-term residency is given on entering the country. It usually covers 30 or 90 days. 

To apply for long term residency, the system is now automated and online. You can find up to date information in the Foreign Residents Society group on Facebook and on the website.

How easy is it to rent a property in North Cyprus? 

Renting in North Cyprus is a straightforward system; 2 deposits and one month’s rent are usually asked for upfront plus a reference from a previous landlord or employer.

Rent can be paid into the UK or local bank.

How much will it cost me to rent a property in North Cyprus?

Monthly costs are considerably lower than in the UK  and so are electricity, water and gas (if central heating is available).

Rental prices range from around £300 for a 2-bed apartment to £500+ for a 3-bed villa with a pool. 

Can foreigners buy a property in North Cyprus?

Yes, foreigners can buy a property in North Cyprus. It’s a straightforward process, which will include providing a clean police check and receiving permission from the Council of Ministers

What is the process of purchasing a property in North Cyprus like? 

All properties are priced in GBP. Transfer fee 3% and legal fees around £1250. 

Most conveyancing lawyers are trained in the UK and speak fluent English. 

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 A clean criminal record is required to apply for your permission to buy and once this is granted, the deeds are transferred into your name. 

Please check our website for the legalities.

Ian Smith Estate Agents – Expatra’s trusted property partner in Northern Cyprus

If you are looking for a reputable and reliable property specialist in North Cyprus, we recommend Ian Smith Estate Agents. This is why:

  • Vast knowledge of property transactions  with over 30 years  experience;
  • 1000s of satisfied customers;
  • Qualified and long-standing staff. Kate is the only agent in North Cyprus with a UK diploma in Residential Estate Agency;
  • Family run business;
  • NO hard sell;
  • Experts in all there is to know about North Cyprus;
  • Bilingual staff.

If you have more questions about moving to North Cyprus, please, contact Expatra and we will include the answers in our next update. 

If you have questions about renting or buying a property in North Cyprus,  contact Ian Smith Estate Agents directly or drop us an email and we will introduce you to Kate personally. 

You might find useful:

Kate Ozikiz (Smith)

Kate Ozikis (Smith) is a British expat living in North Cyprus and running a successful and reputable property company Ian Smith Estate Agency that her father founded back in 1985. Kate has a deep understanding of the norms, rules and regulations of the country and is very familiar with questions and worries you may have when relocating to North Cyprus. She helps Expatra readers with advice, tips and, of course, with finding a perfect home in the TRNC.


  1. I wish to retire to Northern Cyprus from the UK but I am short on info.
    1) Is TRNC a member of the EU.
    2) Does TRNC have reliable internet and backup for running a business outside TRNC.
    3)Does TRNC have Inheritance Tax.
    Please send details of how to become a full retiree severing all ties from the UK, best banking etc.

    Keith J

    • Hi Keith,
      Thank you for your interest in our publication. We will soon be publishing a Guide on Cyprus Retirement in which we will be talking in detail about both parts of Cyprus separately. Please, check our guides page in January.
      Best regards,

  2. I am looking to buy a property and live in North Cyprus next year, 2022. I am a UK citizen, but work abroad in Africa mainly. My budget is £100,000. Looking for a flat/apartment near the coast. One or two bedrooms.

    • Hi David, North Cyprus is a good choice, congratulations. If you need help with property and help and advice on settling down, it’s worth talking to our North Cyprus expert Kate Smith (Ian Smith Estate Agents). Kate has been a great help to our readers buying properties in North Cyprus. You can contact Ian Smith Estate Agents directly or drop us an email and we will introduce you to Kate personally.

  3. I’ve rented in the South for the last few years and have an MEU1. how difficult would the move to the North side be, what extra paperwork would i need. ?

    • Hi Suzie, yes, you can live in North Cyprus and work remotely. You can get a good internet connection there, so being in touch won’t be a problem. However, you might wish to consult a tax specialist to make sure you understand exactly how your move impacts your tax situation in both countries.

  4. Hi! How easy and what are the costs involved in importing a motorbike from the UK to TRNC, will I be able to register it? Will I need to change my drivers license? What is the best way of moving some household items to TRNC, is it worth it?

    Thank you very much!

  5. Hi Ian, Kate!
    I just received your email with the Villa list for Rent in Zeytinlik – West of Kyrenia, We are in early 70’s and had decided to just stay in The US, because of tax complexities as retires. But after falling in love with this property and looking at the non taxations of our pension we are revisiting North Cyprus.
    A general question; Could we come to NC on a 90 day tourist visa, rent the property, for the first year and come and go as we please as long as we don’t exceed 90 days per visit.
    Or would that be permitted, just wondering we love the property, we will always of good Medical insurance while there.
    In 2023 we would more than likely make it permanent.
    Just wondering.
    Thomas Bryant

    • HI Thomas, Ive sent an email to your address but yes you can come and go as you please as long as you dont overstay your visa
      regards. Kate

  6. Hi, how does the information you provided for UK citizens differ for American citizens in moving to Northern Cyprus? I am particularly interested in Healthcare and residency.

    Also, what would be the residency financial requirements for 3 people: me my wife and my teenage step son? I am retired but she wants to work

  7. HI Al, thanks for your email. Its exactly the same for UK and American citizens. You will be given a 30 or 60 day visa to stay in the North on your first visit and can then apply for annual residency. Financial requirements are set out on this page
    but basically a figure of around £9,000 is required per annum in a bank account or a monthly income of approx £750
    Feel free to email me with any other queries on

  8. I have a criminal record from my younger days…I’m 56 and looking to retire to Northern Cyprus.
    How far does the check go back or will it ruin my chances of long term residency?
    Thanks I’m advance.

    • Hi Darren, thanks for your email. A check is not needed for residency or renting a property, only for purchasing a property so you should be fine. For purchasing it depends how long ago and how minor the conviction was.
      Hope this helps. Please feel free to email me on

  9. Hi,

    My wife and I are going to move to North Cyprus when the pandemic situation settles down. I own my property in Wimbledon London outright and I will have in excess of £500k Capital. Plus I am financial journalist/analyst so I can work from anywhere. I’ve been given the hard sell from a Russian owned estate agent based in North Cyprus and will not be using them. I’m currently monitoring the lira situation as with the high interest rates on lira accounts I could have an annuity of around £60k a year but I’m concerned about Erdogan’s fumbling around with FX. Anyway, if I work out there, my wages will go into a UK account so I don’t think I’ll need a work permit. Is this correct?

  10. HI David, thanks for your email. I personally recommend investing some of your money into a hard current account rather than TL as interest rates are still very good at up to 4% and far more stable . You dont need a work permit as long as you have a temporary residency permit. Hope this has answered your questions. Feel free to email me on

  11. Just a quick question. I want to stay permanent in TRNC and also work there- selling drugs and nutritional supplements. Does TRNC fall with these products under EU law, meaning if the products are EU registered or do have a CE mark it is possible to sell?
    Where can I get these information?
    Thanks for your help

    • HI Ann, sorry for the delay in replying but was looking into this. We are not regulated by EU law here but North cyprus is very strict about selling drugs/nutritional supplements and I dont think this would be allowed unless you were selling from your own pharmacy or shop with the relevant licences Im afraid.

    • HI, you are best contacting universities directly as there are many Nigerians studying at them so they will be able to help you with student visas etc.
      I suggest you try Girne American University, Final University, Near East University and Easter Mediterranean University
      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other queries

  12. Hi
    We are UK citizens living in Turkey
    We own our property but are looking to relocate to northern Cyprus and purchase
    a property.We have a 2 year residents permit, would this be transferable
    Any other information would much appreciated

  13. Hi, unfortunately the residents permit in Turkey isnt transferrable over here so you have to apply for one once here. You can do so with a rental contract or title deed. Take a look at this website for further info
    Feel free to email me with any other queries and please let me know if you would like me to add you onto our mailshot?

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