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. 

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 on the website.

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 by 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, 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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  1. We are thinking of retiring to Northern Cyprus. My partner is 74 and I am 66. Is the si form necessary and valid in NC.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Annette, thank you for the comment.
      No, the S1 form doesn’t work in Northern Cyprus. It will be necessary to sort out some kind of private arrangement for your healthcare or have state health insurance and use state hospitals.
      Hope this helps

  2. I would not call North Cyprus ‘very cheap’ if, as quoted above, a meze and kebab dinner costs around £10-£15. I have been to many very livable countries where a comparable meal costs £5 or less. I’m sure it’s a lovely place to live, but it ain’t cheap, people.

  3. Hi Kate,
    I’m 77 years of age and somewhat interested in a relocation to North Cyprus.
    I have two questions for you and hopefully you’ll be able to help me.
    1. If I buy a property in NC,would I be able to be covered by the Public Health System due to the fact that I have a Pre-existing condition ( Double Bypass) in 2001 ?
    Or I’ll have to take up a Private Health Insurance,and if so ,what would be an approximate figure per year?
    2. What are the options for a single person when through an illness you have to live in a Nursing Home or equivalent and what would be the approximate charges for this care?
    Your answer will be most appreciated.

  4. We are looking to purchase an Apartment in Northern Cyprus to use during our retirement. If we purchased and stayed for a few months each year (this may be 3 months at a time or maybe longer/shorter) could we apply for Residency which would cover us for local hospital care when applying for Residency, or would we need to take out private healthcare every time we visit? I am 74 at the present time so private healthcare would be very costly. Thank you.

    • @Brenda, Hi thanks for your message. yes as long as you have a title deed or rental contract you can apply for annual residency which would entitle you to local care

  5. I have purchased a property in North cyprus and have applied for residency. I work in Iraq where my company pays my tax and am only in North cyprus for approximately 90 days in a calender year. Do i have to pay income tax on the money i transfer to my TRNC bank account.

  6. Hi
    My husband would like to move from the UK to Northern Cyprus in about 4 or 5 yrs. He’s Cypriot and has a property there which still needs to be finished.
    There might be a business opportunity in a restaurant. He’ll be over 50 and I’ll be around 50 yrs old by then.
    We have 2 teenage daughters.
    I’m really worried about the cost of life in NC and whether we would be able to manage. I’m not turkish and I dont speak the language, and I am diabetic. I have a job in the UK and my daughters have plans for their university studies.
    Going to NC would mean leaving everything here in the UK.
    Any advice you could give?

    • @Nur, Hi Nur, the cost of living is actually a lot lower than in the UK. I can only suggest you do a lot of research to see if its the right move for you. My parents were 40 when they moved here and never looked back! Feel free to email me on if you have any queries.

  7. 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

  8. 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 ?

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  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

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