Moving to the UK from Cyprus

Relocating from Cyprus to the UK

For decades, the nationals of Cyprus have been arriving in the UK, as evidenced by the many large Cypriot communities in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff, Nottingham, and Bristol. According to the last UK census, there are currently 21,000 Cypriot nationals living in the United Kingdom. Citizens of Cyprus have been drawn here for many reasons over the years, including joining family members who are already here and establishing (now thriving) businesses. Despite Brexit and the ending of free movement between EU countries (of which Cyprus is one), it is still possible for Cypriots to move to the UK whether to work, study, or join family members. If you are contemplating moving from Cyprus to the UK in 2024 or beyond, this guide will give you all of the information you need to make the process as smooth as possible. Here, we will provide the legal requirements for nationals of Cyprus coming to live in the UK, the cost of living in the UK, how this compares to Cyprus, and a relocation checklist to help you plan your next steps. We will also provide answers to many of the most frequently asked questions on relocating from Cyprus to the UK.

Moving from Cyprus to the UK after Brexit

With the departure of the UK from the European Union (EU) at 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020 ('Brexit'), the freedom of movement between the EU and the UK came to an end. EU nationals (including Cypriots) already living in the UK before Brexit were able to apply to remain indefinitely under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Those who were not already living here before Brexit now require a visa to live in the UK. Thankfully, with the aid and guidance of a UK immigration specialist, the process of securing the necessary visa to live in the UK can be made simple and straightforward.

Moving to the UK from Cyprus benefits

The UK offers a wide array of benefits for Cypriot nationals seeking a new place to live.

Culture and heritage - the UK is rich in heritage and history, offering a great deal to do and see. Added to this is the stunning countryside, 'chocolate box' villages, mountains, hills, and lakes; it is easy to see why Cypriots enjoy living in the UK.

Education - The UK is home to many of the most world-renowned educational institutions, including Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews, and University College London (UCL).

Transport - The UK boasts an excellent transportation system which spans the UK, including road, rail, sea, and air transport. We also have several large international airports, which makes it possible to get a direct flight back to Cyprus to visit friends and family.

Economy - the UK has a thriving economy, offering well-paid jobs and excellent business opportunities. In addition, the UK's streamlined administrative processes and minimal bureaucracy make it simple to establish and operate a new business.

Transforming Lives: Real Stories of Client Satisfaction

"This was my first application for a skilled worker visa and A Y & J helped me through it, making me feel at ease with the process. Very quick replies on e-mails & assistance provided by Imad and Silvia was excellent. Truly could not have had a better experience. Would absolutely recommend them if assistance required."

Isis Smid

Google review icon

"They are the best, very reliable and always on time"

Mashavave Viola

Google review icon

"I will be glad to work with you again and again ❤️ you are the best 💋 and l will love to contact you when ever l need your support."

Ogunnaike Olakunle

Google review icon

"This was our 2nd application for my wife's visa. A Y & J Solicitors were recommend to us and they delivered. Right from the outset. The process was explained thoroughly. We was not pushed to commit. Our appointed Solicitor Nagina was absolutely brilliant. Took all our concerns away and approached our application in a professional manor. Can not recommend enough. Thank you A Y & J & a special thanks to Nagina"

neil Pedder

Google review icon

"I'm very pleased to recommend Diana and her team. They have consistently provided excellent service and achieved successful outcomes in our applications, thanks in part to Ikra's outstanding casework and exceptional support throughout the process. She ensured we fully understood everything and addressed any questions we had promptly and professionally."

Esmeralda Krutani

Google review icon

"My experience with the A Y & J and Team was amazing. Mehak was very accessible and honest person which makes you feel instantly at ease. if you are looking for an affordable law firm, that actually treats you like a real person and makes everything run smoothly, then you have found it! I finished all my uk skilled work visa application with A Y & J. Thanks A Y & J."

Sriram Popuru

Google review icon

As a Cypriot citizen considering moving to the UK, you will need to ensure that you meet the legal requirements for the type of visa you apply for. Here are the main visas used by Cypriot nationals to live, work, study, or join family in the UK.

UK Skilled Worker visa

By far, the most commonly used work visa used by foreign nationals is the Skilled Worker visa. As a Cypriot national with a Skilled Worker visa, you can live and work in the UK for a maximum of 5 years initially. It is then possible to either extend the visa or, as most people do, apply for permanent settlement in the UK. After a further year, you can apply to become a British citizen. The legal requirements for the UK Skilled Worker visa state that applicants must have an offer of employment from a licenced UK employer and receive a salary of at least £38,700 per year or the 'going rate' for the type of work they do. Some applicants qualify for a lower salary threshold, including those with a PhD, a job on the UK government's immigration salary list, and new entrants to the employment market. In addition, Cypriots applying for the Skilled Worker visa must meet the English language requirement by passing an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).

UK Student visa

As a Cypriot national with plans to study at a British university, college, or school as a Cypriot national, you must be 16 years or older and have a formal offer of a place on a course with an approved educational provider. You will also need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your studies in the UK to cover your course costs and meet the English language proficiency requirements.

If you wish to extend your stay after your studies, you can then apply for a graduate visa, which lasts for a period of 2 years and allows you to find a job in the UK.

UK Innovator Founder visa

For Cypriot entrepreneurs and business people with plans to establish a business in the UK, the UK Innovator Founder visa is the ideal choice. One of the biggest drawcards of this visa is that it provides a pathway to permanent residency after just 3 years, compared to the more normal 5 years of continuous residence required. The legal requirements for the Innovator Founder visa state that applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a business idea that is endorsed (by an approved endorsement body in the UK) as being innovative, feasible, and scalable. Cypriot entrepreneurs also have to demonstrate their English language proficiency requirement by passing an approved English test and have enough money to support themselves and their family members while their business gets off the ground.

This is a small selection of the UK visas available to citizens of Cyprus. To understand all of the immigration routes open to you and your family and which is best for you, please speak to an expert immigration lawyer based in the UK.

How to set up your finances in the UK?

The banks in the UK will require proof of your identity and a permanent UK address before you set up a new bank account here. We recommend waiting until you arrive before trying to open a new account. Also, once you have arrived in the UK, you will need to apply for a National Insurance (NI) number before you start your employment.

If you are employed, your employer will automatically take any tax that you owe at source through the 'Pay As You Earn' (PAYE) system and ensure this is paid to HMRC on your behalf. If you are self-employed, however, you will need to prepare and submit a 'self-assessment tax return' each year. Seeking the help of a UK-based accountant can help make this process as easy as possible.

Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from Cyprus

What is the cost of living in the UK?

According to the cost of living comparison website Numbeo, the cost of living in the UK is around 11% higher compared to Cyprus, but when rent is factored in, this difference rises to 26.5%. It is important to remember, however, that the cost of living and rental varies hugely across the UK. While prices in the UK are generally higher than in Cyprus, for many highly skilled jobs, the wages may be much higher here. Also, remember that the cost of living in the UK tends to be higher in and around London and in the South of England. This is why we recommend 'casting the net' for where you might wish to live across the wider UK.

Emigrating to the UK from Cyprus – Checklist`

We know that moving to a new country can seem daunting and overwhelming, but by completing the following steps, you can reduce the burden and make the process of relocating much easier.

  • Engage the services of an experienced and trusted immigration specialist in the UK who can deal with all of the immigration and visa aspects of your move for you. They will listen to your background, current circumstances, and future plans and recommend the best path forwards. Immigration specialists understand all of the visa types available to Cypriot and EU nationals, including the self-sponsorship pathway (see below for more details).
  • If you plan to work in the UK, get yourself a job first. You will need a job offer from a licenced sponsor with a salary that meets the minimum requirements before you can apply for a work visa.
  • Draft a budget to compare your expected net income with your likely costs in the UK. Where possible, speak to someone who lives in the UK who can explain the current cost of insurance, food, fuel and energy, council tax, etc.
  • Work out your moving costs, including transportation, removal fees, and rental deposits.
  • Create a short list of the areas in which you would like to live in the UK, taking into account the distance to/from work and the cost of living.
  • Visit the UK to find out where you would like to live, find a house, organise schooling, etc.
  • EU driving licence: If you are under 67 when you become a UK resident, you can drive using your EU license until you turn 70. If you are 67 or older upon residency, you can continue driving with your EU license for up to three years.

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

The self-sponsorship route is an ideal option for Cypriots who want to move here but do not wish to go through the stress and hassle of securing a job. Instead, applicants on the self-sponsored route establish their own businesses in the UK and effectively sponsor themselves to come to the UK. AY&J are experts in self-sponsorship and will show you how to leverage this innovative immigration route. Self-sponsorship is also highly beneficial because it provides a pathway to permanent residency in the UK and, eventually, British citizenship.

Emigrating to the UK as a non-Cypriot national

Non-Cypriot individuals also need a visa to relocate to the UK. The most suitable visa will depend on your nationality, family ties to the UK, and what you plan to do in the UK (e.g. join family, work or study). For more details on the visa routes open to non-Cypriot citizens, please feel free to discuss your plans with one of our knowledgeable and helpful UK Immigration Solicitors.

Joining UK Family Members as a Non-Cypriot National

Cypriots who wish to move to the UK to join family members who already live here will need to apply for a UK Family visa. With a Family visa, you can join your partner, spouse, parent, or child as a non-Cypriot citizen. Your family member based in the UK must either be a British citizen, a person with indefinite leave to remain (ILR), an EU/EEA national who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, or a person with refugee status in the UK.

Once you have held a Family visa for 5 continuous years, you can then apply for permanent residence and British citizenship 1 year later.


What documents and information do I need to move to the UK?

The documents needed to emigrate from Cyprus to the UK will depend on the type of visa you wish to apply for. The documents required for a study visa are quite different from those required for a family visa, for example. Your immigration Solicitor will explain exactly which documents you will need to apply.

To apply for a UK Skilled Worker visa, you will need your valid Cypriot passport, evidence of a job offer for an eligible role from an approved and licensed UK employer and a Certificate of Sponsorship. You will also need evidence that you meet the English language requirement (e.g. a SELT pass certificate) and a bank statement showing you have enough funds to support yourself and your immediate family members.

Do Cypriot citizens need sponsorship to work in the UK?

Yes, if you wish to apply for a work visa in the UK as a national of Cyprus, you will need to be sponsored by a UK-licenced employer. Alternatively, you can consider the self-sponsorship route, which means that your business can sponsor you. What should I consider before moving back to the UK from Finland?

What should I consider before moving back to the UK from Cyprus?

Before returning from Cyprus to the UK, we recommend considering your employment banking arrangements and establishing a credit rating. Remember, you may have lost your credit rating if you have been living outside of the UK for many years, which may make it difficult to secure a mortgage or borrow money. Another key consideration is tax. If you have lived in Cyprus for more than 5 years, you may need to meet different rules for income and capital gains tax. And finally, there is National Insurance and your pension. We recommend checking whether you will need to 'top up' your national insurance contributions so that you are eligible for a UK state pension when you reach retirement age.

Moving from Cyprus to the UK requirements

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Cyprus to the UK above.

Can you move to the UK from Cyprus?

Yes, however, Cypriot citizens and their family members require a visa to live in the UK. Please see the visa options explained above.

Are Cypriot citizens allowed to work in the UK?

Yes, but you will require a job offer from a sponsoring employer, a certificate of sponsorship, and a work visa granted by the UK Home Office.

Applying for a UK visa from Cyprus

As a Cypriot national, you can apply for a UK visa online through the UK's Home Office website. You will need to complete the visa application form, pay any fees, and submit the documents required to support your case. An immigration Solicitor in the UK can handle this process for you.

UK entry requirements from Cyprus

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Cyprus to the UK above.

How long can a Cypriot citizen stay in the UK?

The length of time you can spend in the UK will depend on the type of visa you hold. Cypriot nationals can visit the UK for up to 6 months without a visa. Work visas last up to 5 years and provide a route to permanent settlement. Student visas typically last for the duration of the course, but holders can then apply for a Graduate visa to stay in the UK for a further 2 years to find work.

What is the cost of living in the UK?

Please see the cost of living section above.

Moving Back to the UK from Cyprus: Why are British ex-pats leaving Cyprus?

Some UK nationals are moving back to the UK from Cyprus following Brexit and the ending of UK/EU free movement. This is because UK nationals are now restricted to the number of days (90 days in every 180 days) they can spend in the EU. Other UK nationals are returning for work opportunities or to be with family members.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We're here to help!

Moving From Cyprus to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

Please click the box below to confirm you understand*

Moving From Cyprus to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

Experience Fast and Reliable Results

Click here to contact us Phone icon+44 20 7404 7933 WhatsApp icon+44 20 7404 7933
Contact us by mail iconContact us by phone iconContact us by WhatsApp icon