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.
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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.

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. 

 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. 

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Kate Ozikiz (Smith)
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.

Website: Ian Smith Estate Agents


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  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?

  14. Hi Kate,
    My wife and I are seriously considering retiring to Northern Cyprus within the next few years. I have two questions for you if you would be so kind as to answer for me please.
    1) would we still get the yearly rise on our state pensions from the u.k.
    2) you mention that you have to pass a medical exam. I had a heart attack over twenty years ago. I am currently well due to the intake of medication. Would this jeopardise our plans?
    Thanking you in advance

  15. HI Maurice, thanks for your enquiry,. yes you would still get the annual rise on your pensions. its probably wise to keep the money coming into a UK bank account and just withdrawing from here as and when required.
    it wouldnt jeopardise your plans at all. Its just a blood test and xray thats done as part of your medical test. Past illnesses or things such as heart attack wouldnt be an issue. Hope this helps. Feel free to email me direct on

  16. Hi Kate,
    My partner and I are looking into retiring to TRNC within the next couple of years. Our uncertainty about this are the laws regarding ownership of the property. What deeds do we need, to ensure our property or land could not be reclaimed at anytime. We are looking at buying the property within the next few months. What part of NC has the largest expat population.

  17. HI Dawn, thanks for your email. Please check out these lawyers websites which go into details about the different deeds. You can also check Pre 74 deeds are 100% safe but harder to find.
    The north coast has the largest expat (British/European) community. Quite a few out Esentepe way and then nearer to Kyrenia there are lots between Karsiyaka and Catalkoy
    Feel free to email me any other queries on

  18. Hi Kate. I am hoping to retire to TRNC in the near future.
    I have pets: one dog and several cats.
    I would want to bring them with me and would like to know whether there are restrictions, and what documentation I would need.
    I plan to buy a property, as I don’t know if I would be able to rent somewhere with the animals!
    Also, what are Covid regulations now, in respect of vaccinations etc?

    • HI Ariel, thanks for your queries. Please check this link which gives information on bringing pets out.
      it is harder to rent with pets but not impossible
      As of March 1st, anyone vaccinated can fly into north Cyprus without a PCR test etc. If you aren’t vaccinated then a PCR test is still required but quarantine not necessary.
      Hope this helps, please feel free to email me on info@iansmithestate.conm if you have another queries.

  19. As a British citizen now, if I became a citizen of TRNC would I be eligible for a Turkish passport in addition to my UK one?

  20. Hi,
    we are thinking about NC as a permanent move but at under 50 still would like to possibility to work, is this a simple process or do you require specific visas?

  21. Hi Jason, thanks for your enquiry. It depends on the type of work you are looking at and whether you intend to be self employed. If you are going to work for a company, then its pretty easy as your employer should apply for your work permit for you and pay your pension contributions etc. Its not so easy (but can be done) if you intend to set up your own company and its advisable to use an accountant to guide you through the process. Feel free to email me on for further information.

  22. Hi Kate
    I am 61, from South Africa and would like to look at retiring in TRNC. My plan is to visit on holiday to compare the South and North. I would look at renting first. Am divorced and have my dog. I understand that you say it is difficult to rent with a pet. I would hope that it is possible though. I cannot see if there is a tax agreement between TRNC and RSA. Would I benefit from zero tax on my retirement savings? Are they also strict on the structure of retirement funds? I have about a third of my funds as a Living Annuity based in South Africa. The majority of my funds are based offshore as discretionary investments.

  23. Hi Glyn, many thanks for your enquiry. We do have some landlords who will accept pets so Im sure we can find somewhere for you to rent. There is no tax agreement as such but you would not be taxed on your retirement savings. They are not at all strict on the structure of retirement funds and at the moment questions arent usually asked about smaller amounts of money coming into a private bank account from abroad, especially if you are retired.
    Hope this helps. Feel free to email me on with any other queries

  24. I would like to rent in Northern Cyprus for 12 months before committing to purchase a property as I lost a huge amount of money whilst trying to buy in Madeira by falling foul of less than honest lawyers.

    I intend to spend 12 months thoroughly doing my research before committing to buy. Is it possible to get a residence permit if you are renting and not buying? I would struggle to get a reference from last employer as I retired 12 years ago, I do have personal and private pensions which are more than enough to cover rent and living expenses.

  25. Hi Ann Marie, thanks for your query. Yes its absolutely possibly to get a residence permit when renting it. You just need to show a minimum 6 month rental contract and the authorities will then give you a 12 month residency visa. Proof of income is also adequate to rent from us,
    Hope this helps. Feel free to email me with any other queries on

  26. Looking to buy and retire to TRNC following the passing of my parents – my main concern is that i have a “colourful” police record in my early life but nothing except driving offences since 1986 and nothing at all since 2000 ( i passed a uk DBS check for my job in 2021) – is this likely to be a problem ?

  27. Hi very interested in looking at retiring from the uk and moving overseas with North Cyprus being one of the options.
    Could you provide a pack up or some information regarding this please.
    It would be most helpful

    Benny and Julie Snowdon