I spent an informative couple of hours on Wednesday with The British High Commissioner, Stephen Lillie CMG, his team and several other guests at his residence in Nicosia.
The main subject of the meeting was preparing for Brexit. As you are probably aware, the situation with Brexit is unclear at the moment. However, Stephen Lillie provided advice on what actions British citizens who are resident in the Republic should take prior to B-Day (Brexit day - currently 29th March):
The minimum requirement is to have a Registration Certificate (MEU1), which should ensure your rights are protected after B-Day. If you do not have a MEU1 make an appointment with the Aliens & Immigration Unit; the Limassol unit is located at 223, Franklin Roosevelt. Providing you book your appointment before B-Day, your application will be honoured even though your interview may not be scheduled for several weeks.
Those unable to attend the Unit may appoint their partner, a friend, etc. to act on their behalf. A formal Power of Attorney is not required – a simple letter of appointment will suffice.
Further information about applying for a Registration Certificate (MEU1) and the application form may be found on the Civil Registry and Migration Department's website.
If you have a MEU1 or MEU3, take this with you if you leave the Republic even if it's just for a day. On your return present it at passport control to avoid any issues entering the Republic.
All residents of the Republic are required to register with the Tax Department and complete an annual tax return even though their income falls below the Income Tax threshold. You can find the registration form on the Tax Department's website.
The UK and the Republic wish to negotiate a reciprocal health agreement. However, the Republic needs the authorisation of the EU to enter into a bilateral agreement and is waiting their response.
The Cyprus National Healthcare System (GESY) is scheduled to start in June 2019. As this is an initiative of the Republic, the High Commissioner could not provide any guidance. However, he did advise British citizens make themselves aware of the system and decide whether to register as a beneficiary.
Further information on the Cyprus National Healthcare System may be found on the GESY website.
Details of beneficiary financial contributions and the GESY implementation phases may be found in this Cyprus Mail article.
Cyprus Medical Cards – It has been reported that a number of British Citizens in receipt of the UK state retirement pension have been refused a Cyprus Medical Card. Anyone affected should report the problem to the Vice Consul, Christina Smith, at [email protected] .
It is essential that British residents with UK driving licences exchange them for a Cypriot driving licence. Information and forms necessary to apply for a Cyprus driving licence may be found on the Cyprus Driving Licence website.
(Note that post-Brexit a Cypriot driving licence will remain valid in the UK.)
A number of British citizens have applied or are considering applying for Cypriot citizenship. British and other foreign nationals can apply for Cypriot citizenship if they have completed seven years of legal residence in the Republic prior to the date of their application. Further details of may be found on the Civil Registry and Migration Department website.
Note that once British citizens become dual nationals, the British High Commission is unable to provide them with consular assistance.
Furthermore, we were advised by one of the other guests that a British Citizen who has been granted Cypriot Citizenship (a dual national) will be liable to pay income tax to HMRC.
British citizens who are considering applying for Cypriot citizenship should take professional advice on how this may affect their finances and other matters.
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