The effect of Brexit on British citizens living in Cyprus
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
The relationship of the UK to the rest of Europe will be changed when the UK will formally exit the EU and new transitional arrangements will apply or a final negotiated agreement will be reached. At this stage we do not know what this will be, but we do know that it will change the “rights of UK citizens” living, working and retiring in Cyprus.
Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 and for the last 15 years UK citizens living, working and retiring in Cyprus have enjoyed the benefits of Cyprus EU membership. In the light of the Brexit, UK citizens will need to prepare for the exit of the UK from the EU in order to safeguard their right to continue to live, work and own property in Cyprus.
Currently for UK citizens the legality of residence in the Republic is ensured by having one of the following
(1) a Certificate of Registration (MEU1) or
(2) a Certificate of Permanent Residence (MEU3) or
(3) a European Passport
(1) Certificate of Registration- Yellow Slip (MEU1)
A Certificate of Registration or a Yellow Slip is issued where an EU citizen has secured a paid job in Cyprus or is self-employed or is a student or has identified reasonable means for living in Cyprus without working (for example if that person is retired with a pension).
Under current Cypriot Immigration law all EU citizens, including UK citizens who reside in Cyprus for more than 3 months are required to register with the Ministry of the Interior and apply for and obtain an MEU 1. An MEU3 however, is only a certificate of temporary residence.
A Certificate of Registration is essential for all EU nationals who want to work and live in Cyprus. However, please have in mind that an MEU1 expires after 5 years.
(2) Certificate of Permanent Residence (MEU3)
Those UK citizens who wish to stay permanently in Cyprus, and who have previously applied for an MEU 1, and have continuously lived in Cyprus for a period of at least 5 years can apply for an MEU3 which confirms “Permanent residence” in Cyprus.
An MEU3 offers the person who holds it “equal treatment with the nationals of that Member State within the scope of the Treaty”
An MEU3 is not obligatory, but in the case where an individual’s MEU1 has expired and has not been renewed, an MEU3 can offer security as it allows that individual to continue to legally reside and work in the republic.
Please have in mind that after 5 years you do not renew your MEU 1 or have an MEU 3, you could be fined up to €2,500.
(3) A European Passport
UK citizens who have made Cyprus their home, and consider Cyprus their permanent place of residence, and domicile of choice, can guarantee post Brexit their Cyprus citizen rights and their EU citizen rights by applying for Cypriot citizenship.
UK citizens who apply for Cypriot citizenship can keep their UK Passport.
Here are some of the advantages of having a Cypriot Passport:
· The Right to work, reside and purchase property in all 27 EU member states
· The Right to travel visa-free to all countries that are part of the European Union
· The Ability to access welfare benefits, unemployment benefits and educational benefits
· And in general all legal rights as a natural born citizen
So how can you retain European union citizenship by obtaining a Cypriot passport?
At present, all UK Citizens benefit from the advantages mentioned and hopefully will continue to benefit from some or all of them in the future. If you want to continue to be a European citizen after Brexit, whatever the outcome of the negotiations is, you can apply for a Cypriot passport now.
A Cypriot passport is effectively a European passport. An application for a Cypriot passport can be submitted by UK nationals who have completed seven years of legal residence in the Republic prior to the date of application.
In any case, the applicant must have resided legally and continuously in Cyprus during the twelve months preceding the date of the application.