Cyprus Information > General Information
Geography and Population
Population in towns:
The towns of Ammochostos (Famagusta) and Kyrenia in the eastern and northern parts of the island respectively, are currently under the illegal occupation of the Turkish army.
Cyprus is among the most developed countries in the world with an automatic telephone connection with over 200 countries. The national network uses high technology such as digital switching and transmission systems and fibre optic cables and ranks third in the world regarding quality and technology.
A telephone call within any of the districts in Cyprus costs €0.02 cent/minute. International calls start from €0.0354 cent/minute UK, €0.059 Russia and €0.038 China (depends on the country and the time of the call). The islands postage rate is €0.20 cent for a letter up to 20gr, whilst air mail rates for letters are 34 cents to neighbouring countries, Europe, most of the Middle East and North- East Africa. In addition to the normal postage rate, an 2 cent "refugee stamp" must be affixed to all letters, postcards and printed matter, irrespective of their destination.
Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers from June to September and rather variable winters from November to March. The autumn and spring seasons are therefore short and of a rapid change. Τhere are approximately 300 days of sunshine p.a. and around 30-40 days of rain, mainly during the period of November to March. Winter period has a mean temperature of 15’’c. - 20’’c. while August, the hottest month ranges from 25’’c – 40’’c.
For climatic details please refer to the Meterorlogical Service.
Foreign Persons (other than E.U. citizens) who have purchased property and are retiring in Cyprus can apply to obtain this permit. The granting of the permit is based upon the living level of foreign income available to support oneself and this includes pensions and income from investments or otherwise. A proof of an annual income of €25,000 is usually considered satisfactory for two retired persons. A foreigner can apply for a Cyprus Passport after 7 years in Cyprus, (E.U. directive for foreign personnel). After five years of permanent stay and/or working in Cyprus the Directive states that a foreigner cannot be expelled but has the right to stay in Cyprus and on the end of the 7th year can apply for the Cyprus nationality. Please note that based on the immigration policy a person who buys a house in Cyprus not less than €300,000 can apply immediately for a residence permit.
Residence Permits for Foreign Real Estate Buyers
* Only for family of executive directors or executive staff employed by international Business Companies, others have a 2 year waiting period.
The banking system in Cyprus is modelled on the British System. The banks have many convenient branches that are very efficient, modern and well equipped with the latest technology. Foreign persons retiring to Cyprus may open a local and or an external deposit account without difficulty. International banks have branches throughout the island and furthermore, major credit cards, such as those within the Visa and Europay networks, are widely used in Cyprus.
Most local Banks provide finance for foreigners in any currency when acquiring real estate. The usual requirement is 30%-35% own contribution and up to 15-20 years repayment. - Usual charge = libor + 1.50% - 2% p.a.
Property loans (in a number of currencies) can be obtained for the following purposes:
The loans are usually guaranteed by:
The legal system in Cyprus is mainly based upon the British Legal System. The Cyprus Land Registry is probably one of the most advanced and reliable systems in the world. Purchasers of property in Cyprus will therefore be far more secure, with regard to their acquisitions, than they might be in another country. Furthermore, legal fees/costs are very reasonable and are way lower than in other European countries.For an ordinary sales contract the fee is at €1,000-€1,500.
There are both junior and secondary schools of high standards catering for English, Armenian, French, Russian and Arabic speaking pupils. There are two Greek speaking Goverment Cyprus Universities and a number of English speaking private Universities of high standards covering a wide spectrum of professions, as well as english speaking collages which cover professional exams/courses such as ACA, ACCA etc. These collages are related to UK and USA universities and graduates of 2-3 years courses in these collages can easily enrol with the UK/USA related universities or colleges. Fees in such Cyprus Universities or Colleges are in the range of €4.000 - €8.000 per annum depending on the University and the course attended.
Health care in Cyprus is inexpensive, since every town has its own Government hospital, where fees are very low. However, for those who prefer private treatment there are a number of private clinics with competent specialist physicians in all fields. Government statistics showed that there is a doctor for every 370 persons, a dentist for every 1.100, a nurse for every 215 and a hospital bed for every 215 persons. A doctor’s visit costs about €30-€50 and X-rays from €50. Inexpensive Private Medical Insurance is also available. Cyprus residents, whether Cypriots or not, can have a private medical insurance starting from €300 per annum.
The "standard option" covers public sector clinics and hospitals only whereas the "comprehensive option insurance" (€1500/year) includes the covering of expenses of private medical services and medicine. The plans differ mainly in respect of the maximum coverage they provide. Plan A covers up to €2.000.000/year, Plan B up to €100.000/year and plan C up to €40.000/year. For govermental hospitals E.U. citizens are considered as locals since 5/2004. This implies enjoying the same benefits in health care as the Cypriots, i.e practically free health care subject to certain conditions [retirees and low income people].
Visitors in Cyprus may drive using a valid international driving licence or their National driving licence, provided it is valid for the particular class of vehicle they want to drive. If a foreigner wishes to get a Cyprus driving licence then he must convert his national licence to a Cypriot one or take the driving test.
A Cyprus driving licence costs €59.80 (one off, up to 70 years of age and after that age must be re-newed at no extra cost ). Hiring an ordinary saloon car costs about €45 per day including full cover insurance during the summer season and €23/day during the rest of the year. Four lane motorways connect all towns and the airports and two lane, good surfaced roads connect all towns and villages. EU citizens can bring their cars in Cyprus for a period of six months whithout registering it in Cyprus. Attention must be paid to the fact that driving in Cyprus is on the left side of the road with cars being right-wheeled.
Import Duty: For more details on bringing a private car in the Republic of Cyprus refer to the Customs & Excise Department
Cyprus enjoys a very low crime rate in comparison with other competitive Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Italy. According to Interpol Statistics, Cyprus' crime rate is only at the rate of 6% to that of the UK, 8% of Germany, 30% of Portugal and Spain, 5% of Sweden, 12% of Norway, etc.
Greek is the official language but approximately 90% of the population speaks English.
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