Cyprus Confirms Post-Brexit Rights For Expats

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

Cyprus is the first European Nation to confirm the rights of British expats after Brexit.

The Mediterranean sunshine island wants to ensure the welcome mat is still out for Brits whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

The country’s interior ministry has published a Brexit guide for expats.

In the document, the government pledges that any British expats with five years of continuous residency on the island will be granted the right to stay.

The promise applies to all British nationals and their families who have reached the five year milestone on or before December 31, 2020.

The date is when the Cyprus government envisages the UK will have left the EU.

Five-year rule for expats

Anyone arriving before that date will be allowed to stay to build their five-year qualification.

“UK citizens will be able to continue their lives in Cyprus, with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now, subject to the specific provisions provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement,” says the guide.

Expats must apply for a residency card or right of residence to qualify for the five-year rule.

The guide does not cover other residence issues for expats, such as applying for driving licences, transferring money to Cyprus bank accounts or car insurance.

These are likely to depend on the terms of the final Withdrawal Agreement.

Income tax on earnings and pensions is likely to remain broadly in line with current arrangements.

Is policy a sneak preview?

The firsts 19,500 euros of worldwide earnings is tax-free, while pension income can be at a flat rate of 5% or caught in the same net as other earnings.

UK pension income is not taxed in Britain, while QROPS pension income remains outside of the UK tax net buy taxable in Cyprus.

Cyprus has no inheritance tax for unspent pension funds.

The Cyprus government has not clarified if the proposal to grant residency to British expats is specific policy for the island or a sneak preview of EU-wide arrangements after the Withdrawal Agreement is signed.

The British government has criticised the EU in recent weeks for failing to end the uncertainty for hundreds of thousands of British expats living in Europe once the UK leaves the bloc.

Leave a Comment