Is Northern Cyprus a good place to live for foreigners? Cost of living in TRNC

When you plan to move abroad, you probably want to buy real estate right away. You most probably want it to be located somewhere near the sea coast, and would prefer something inexpensive, but equipped with everything necessary for a comfortable life. However, the choice of such properties is very limited, since housing by the sea is already a luxury, and the prices are understandably high. In this case, why not consider North Cyprus for relocation as one of the options with clear advantages?

life in northern cyprus

Many people are turned off by the fact that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus remains unrecognized by all the countries except Turkey. However, the foreigners who have already settled there say that this fact does not interfere with their life in any way. The country provides the chance to live and work in the community made up of a lot of foreigners of different nationalities, and makes it much easier for expats to get residence permits in Europe.

We will explain why Northern Cyprus is a good choice for foreigners in the view of obtaining a residence permit and permanent residence, how much one may need for a peaceful and comfortable life in the Republic, and in which cities and regions expats choose to live in Northern Cyprus.

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Why is it profitable to move to Northern Cyprus?

What are the benefits of this particular route for emigrants who want to live in comfort on the sea coast, but also to have the opportunity to work, develop their skills, and travel freely around the world? The main advantages of Northern Cyprus for foreigners are as follows:

  • Visa-free entry into the country for a period of 30 to 90 days, which applies to nationals of many countries, including citizens of almost all of the CIS states, except Armenia.
  • The TRNC does not enter into geopolitical battles on the world stage. It is quietly developing its own economy, underlining that the jurisdiction is not involved in any foreign policy issues. However, one should bear in mind one thing: even though the country is under Turkey’s supervision, it has its own separate laws and regulations, which may differ from the Turkish ones.
  • In Northern Cyprus, you can quickly get a residence permit through purchasing real estate at any price, registering a company, or several other reasons. A residence permit does not give its holder the right to employment. However, a foreigner can get a work visa quickly and inexpensively, both in the case of official employment and when registering their own business.
  • TRNC is Cyprus, no matter how you look at it. Accordingly, there is the Mediterranean Sea, luxurious beaches, magnificent nature, and beautiful mountain ranges.
  • You can choose housing for any budget: luxurious villas on the seashore with swimming pools and saunas or private houses on the outskirts, where you can enjoy a quiet life and develop your business. The country has a low crime rate, and your life will most probably be peaceful and undisturbed.

Reference: Nicosia is the capital of Northern and Southern Cyprus. This is one common city of the two states, separated by a border zone. At the same time the following distinction exists: you can easily travel to the northern part of the island from South Cyprus with any Schengen visa, but the visa for Northern Cyprus does not provide the right to visit the EU countries and the Schengen agreement.

The most popular cities for living in Northern Cyprus

Where do most expats live in Northern Cyprus, and where is it better for foreigners to move for recreation, life, work, and building their own business? Depending on the purpose of the trip to Cyprus, several regions of the TRNC can be considered:

  • The tourist towns of Kyrenia and Famagusta remain popular for living by the sea. These are the tourist centers of the country, with a lot of attractions and well-developed infrastructure. However, the cost of living in such regions is ten times higher than in the central regions, and housing prices continue to rise during the tourist season.
  • If you want to live by the sea, but avoid the hustle and bustle of megacities, you can consider Lapithos as a place for relocation. It is a small town situated 14 km away from Kyrenia, where life is calm and relaxed, and the cost of living is lower than in the big cities of the island.
  • The central regions of the island are also good for permanent residence in Northern Cyprus at a moderate cost and in comfort. For example, the town of Lefke, surrounded by greenery, where you can afford to buy housing and grow your own fruit trees. We should also mention Morphou, a small town amidst citrus orchards, where foreign expats can find a lot of interesting things to see and do.
  • It would be best for students to move to Gönyeli in the TRNC. This is not a tourist city with insane prices, but a calm region. Life there may not be filled with memorable events, but crowds of tourists generally stay away, and the prices always remain moderate. Thanks to the Near East University (Yakın Doğu Üniversitesi, YDÜ), many foreign students choose this particular area of Cyprus for immigration.
  • Entrepreneurs and foreign businessmen may prefer the capital of Northern Cyprus, Nicosia (Lefkosa). It is here that business life is in full swing, and all trade relations of the island state are concentrated. At the same time, the cost of living is always stable, since there is no access to the sea or a huge influx of tourists.

Where else do expats live in Northern Cyprus? The real answer is, everywhere. Everything depends on the individual goals and financial capabilities of foreign immigrants.

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How to get to Northern Cyprus

Citizens who have a residence permit or citizenship of one of the countries of the European Union and the Schengen agreement can visit the TRNC in any of the available ways, including flying in through Larnaca Airport. A separate visa is not required, and a permit valid for 30 days is issued at any border point. Thus, EU citizens can live in Northern Cyprus without a visa for 30 days, and subsequently obtain a residence permit and stay in the country for a longer time or permanently.

Those who do not have a Schengen visa and do not hold a residence permit of the EU or Southern Cyprus can visit the TRNC either with a Schengen visa (which should be obtained in advance) or by crossing the border from Turkey. Entry from Cyprus is not allowed!

How expensive is it for foreigners to live in the TRNC?

Our readers often ask how expensive it is to live in Northern Cyprus. However, there is no universal answer for everyone here. For example:

  • The cost of living in the TRNC is higher than in some Eastern European countries, but lower than in Turkey;
  • If a foreigner’s income is about 30-50 thousand Turkish liras per month, then Northern Cyprus will be the cheapest place for them to live comfortably on the Mediterranean coast.
  • For foreigners whose income is below 15,000 Turkish lira, the cost of living in the TRNC will be acceptable – not very expensive, but not cheap either. Just right on budget.
  • If we compare the prices in Northern Cyprus with Europe, the TRNC will turn out much cheaper in all respects: from food to entertainment, from outdoor activities to real estate.

It is difficult to say which is the cheapest Northern Cyprus city to live in. The farther from the sea, the cheaper. We can say about the same about the cost of living in the remote villages of the TRNC, where no tourist has set foot. But here you can make profit developing your business, especially in agriculture and winemaking.

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How much does it cost to live in Northern Cyprus?

To talk about the living costs in the TRNC for foreigners, we should identify the following main areas of expenses:

  • Real estate in Northern Cyprus:
    • rental price in the center of resort towns – from 400 euros to 800 euros per month;
    • housing prices when buying property – from 100,000 euros for a studio (open-plan) apartment and from 150,000 euros for a private house.
  • Grocery expenses in Northern Cyprus are approximately 40-50 euros per person per week, excluding restaurant visits. You can dine in a TRNC restaurant for 10 euros;
  • Transportation costs in Northern Cyprus in 2023:
    • bus fare – about 1 euro;
    • taxi – about 5 euros for a 10-minute ride.
  • Utility costs in TRNC for electricity and water in a small apartment are from 50 to 80 euros, plus you have to pay about 50 euros per month for the Internet.

To sum up, this is what we can recommend. In order to live in Northern Cyprus in comfort, not in luxury, but at the same time not to have to limit yourself in everyday expenses, you must have an income of at least 12-18 thousand liras per month per person.

Northern Cyprus, Turkey or Southern Cyprus: where should foreigners move?

All three of these countries have access to the Mediterranean Sea and offer profitable programs for the immigration of foreigners. But if we evaluate the relocation in terms of financial costs, the cheapest choice is to immigrate to the TRNC, where the housing, food, and accommodation prices are lower.

According to other criteria (business, investment benefits, banking sector, etc.), Cyprus and Turkey are definitely better. However, before making a final decision, it is better to conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of all countries and, if possible, choose a completely different place to move.

Contact our portal’s experts and use their expertise and professional services! We will be happy to help you do the following:

  • open an account abroad;
  • choose an inexpensive route for moving abroad;
  • protect your assets from sanctions and persistent relatives;
  • buy real estate as part of the residence permit or citizenship program;
  • open a business in Cyprus, Turkey or another jurisdiction;
  • settle in a new place, and many other issues.
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