Retiring To North Cyprus: Your Questions Answered

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.

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.

Our 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. 

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The Q&As are updated regularly. If you cannot find an answer to a particular question, please get in touch with 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 Harbor

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 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 organize various social events and gatherings and 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. When you apply for residency, you must have health insurance. 

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 center, 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 the 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; regular “maintenance” visits to a doctor won’t break the bank. For example, a GP consultation can cost you £20-30.

Do I need a visa to visit North Cyprus?

No visa is required for North American citizens and 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 Expatra’s Living In North Cyprus guide.

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

Renting in North Cyprus is straightforward; 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 a 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 £400 for a two-bedroom apartment to £700+ for a three-bedroom 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. The transfer fee is 3%, and legal fees are 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 of 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 get in touch with 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 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. Hello!
    Me and my wife are currently living in South Cyprus (now 9 years) and are thinking of relocating to North Cyprus (actually buying property).
    I am an EU citizen and my wife is Japanese and has obtained permanent EU residency a few years back.
    1) If we relocate to the North, my wife will most definitely lose her EU permanent residency, right? I know that by EU law if you live out of the EU for a period of over 2 years you lose it.
    2) Would she have problems crossing the border on a daily basis with her Japanese passport when her permanent EU residency expires?
    Thank you

    • Hi Luca, thanks for your email. Japanese passport holders can cross and stay in EU countries for 90 days out of 180 days so as long as she keeps to this rule, she will be fine.
      Im not sure about losing EU residency but it certainly sounds that way. Ive emailed you separately as well.

  2. Has the UK’s departure from the EU changed any of the regulations regarding purchasing property in TRNC? In the articles it seems to be lumped in with all the other EU countries and of course it isn’t any more. Thanks.

  3. Hi All,

    Trying to find out whether there are any age restrictions to retiring in Northern Cyprus. My husband is 75 currently, and I am 71. We want to come over asap, but if there is an age restriction for residence permits, then it will be pointless. Any info., would be much appreciated. Thanks a lot!

  4. Make sure you are over the age of 65. The TRNC has nothing for anyone under the age of 55 as far as expats residing permanently are concerned. Great for holiday, sun, cheap booze and food… but not to live. You’ll find no communal groups or activity as the average age here is 67. All that gets done here is sitting around drinking and eating, with things like “quiz nights ” where the questions are about TV shows from the 60’s…and “bazaars” where the expats peddle their wares that they’ve had for 35 years (who wants my 1970’s stand mixer for 45 pounds??? It’s for charity????

    It’s like stepping back into the 80’s. Few know how to use a computer, cellphone, hell even a damn fire stick… They carry around little books and write all their appointments in them… it’s insane.

    The TRNC is the Florida of the UK. Its for the Brits that can’t afford to live on the Greek Side… If you’ve ever been to St. Pete Beach or Sarasota.. you know what I’m talking about…

  5. I’m looking to move out of US to retire, but want you to find out for me please the following : I’m still have my auto repair shop , and can’t stay home more than a day.Need to find out some repair shop to continue to work, at least part time. I’ve the best tools, my toolbox fully loaded, all diagnostic tools as well.
    And of course we will need the good place for living.
    Please advise
    Sincerely Allen Lafleur

    • @allen, Hi Allen, thanks for your enquiry. You would need a work permit if you were to work, even if part time so may be quite hard to find somewhere as they tend to use local labour here for such jobs.
      It might be worth you emailing the Near East University as they have a large car museum and also have invented their first car so they may be interested in your skills.
      Hope this helps. More than happy to help on the accommodation side!

  6. We are looking for places to retire outside of the US. One problem is I get a long term cancer treatment. It is not a chemo but a protein inhibitor. Any idea about how modern their cancer centers are?

  7. Hi, do you help to find a rental place? We are moving to N Cyprus in September and we are looking to rent an apartment.

  8. As an expat in northern Cyprus can I travel back to uk via the south of Cyprus as often as I want to? Are there restrictions on how often I can travel to the south?

    • Hi Hedley,
      No, there are no restrictions. UK passport holders can enter South Cyprus like any other EU country, as long as your stay doesn’t exceed 90 days in 6 months, it’s fine.

  9. Hi, is this information up to date please? only the property taxes have now gone up from 3% to 12% which means on the buying costs with all the stamp duties, transfer tax and legal costs etc, it’s now more expensive to buy a property in TRNC then in the UK.

  10. Hi, my wife and I will be retiring to N Cyprus from the UK. We are coming out on 12th April and have booked an initial 28 days holiday let. How do we get a 90 day visa, rather than 30 days. We are flying into Larnaca, then crossing to the North. Do we need 90 days accommodation pre booked? Do we need to apply before we travel? We have sold up and want to buy something asap when we arrive. Also apply for residency as soon as we can. Thanks. Raymond.

    • @Raymond Levine, Hi Ray, thanks for your email. Immigration tends to give 30 days and occasionally 60 days. If you explain you are coming to buy they may give you 60 days but highly unlikely that they will give you 90 days so you will have to start your residency procedure as soon as you get here. You cant apply before arriving in North Cyprus either. Would you like to book an appointment with us on the 13th or 14th so we can go through everything with you?

    • @kate l ozikiz, Thanks for your prompt reply. I think it would be a good idea to book an appointment with you. We have researched a lot of info and have friends who are residents in Lapta. We have had a few holidays and driven around the area but any help is most welcome. 13th is fine as we want to get things started asap. Thanks.

  11. Hello my husband and I are thinking of relocating to N.Cyprus he was there I was born in london. I don’t have an id card is it necessary to have one and how do go about applying for one. Also can you recommend one, as I’m worried about my belongings being taken at customs.

    • @Hatice, HI, thanks for your query. You have to apply for one when you are here (and not in the UK) and whilst its not compulsory or essential, its definitely helpful to have one, especially if you are going to purchase property here. You can apply youself or there are companies who can help you apply for one in Lefkosa.
      The big removal companies like Olays trans and Euromed will look after you when you bring property over and can advise the best way forward.
      Feel free to email me on with any other queries you may have

  12. Hi,

    My husband and I are going to relocate in the next few months and are trying to get to grips with the documentation side. My husband is of Turkish Cypriot origin, but born in the UK and his father lives in TRNC, so we eventually wish to take citizenship. We are a tad confused with the paperwork requirements. Even with his family’s good intent to help us, we are struggling. Is there an agency who could assist us with the process of timely documentation, before arrival?

    Many thanks in advance


  13. HI Tara, thanks for your message. As a Turkish citizen you wont need a retirement visa. Regarding your insurance it will depend which insurance company it is as to whether the hospitals here will accept it.
    Please feel free to email me on the above email if you have any other queries

  14. I am a citizen of Turkiye, how can I have the retirement visa for Northern Cyprus? Also, can I use my medical insurance that I have from the government of Turkiye there?

    Thank you