Relocating to a new country is always a cause for concern. It gets you thinking and you’re left with many questions. One of the most primary questions revolves around the cost of living a new country. This is understandable considering that this directly relates to the money required to lead a meaningful and comfortable life in the new country. As such, if you are considering relocating to North Cyprus, I am certain that you have asked yourself the same question, “What is the cost of living in North Cyprus?”.
Legal and Statutory Fees
“Dura lex, sed lex”.
The phrase above literally translates to, “The law is harsh but it is the law”. As such, before moving to your new home in another country, you would probably be concerned about the financial and non-financial requirements for having a favorable life there. You would want to know about the tax rates, laws concerning residency, residence permit fees amongst other things. Here is the breakdown of legal and statutory fees in North Cyprus:
- As a foreigner, you have to apply for and subsequently obtain a residency permit for a period of one or two years. Generally, it will cost you about 370 TL (Turkish Liras) or about €113 per person. After a period of five consecutive approved residence permits, you will be able to apply for the permanent residency and ultimately, the citizenship.
- As a residential property owner in North Cyprus, you will be required to pay a tax on your property. The amount depends on the total area of your residential property. This usually does not include land, porches or decks. You will be required to pay 1 TL (€0.3) for each square meter of indoor area of your residential property.
- In the event that you do not wish to dwell in the purchased residential property, you can choose to lease/rent it out so that you can receive an income from it. The lease/rent can either be short term or long term. Finally, income from rent is subject to 10% tax
- Electricity and Municipal Fees
There are costs associated with owning property in North Cyprus. The main expenses are electricity expenses and the payment of the municipal fee. The municipal fee includes water supply, street cleaning, and trash pick-up fees. If you own a property in North Cyprus but you are not on the island, you can go to your local bank and set up automatic bill pay. The banks in North Cyprus do this regardless of the citizenship of the customer. It will enable you to pay your bills on time whether you are on the island or not. There is a more detailed breakdown of these fees below:
- Municipal fee
The cost of maintaining a house depends on where your property is situated in North Cyprus. The municipal fee includes the following:
- janitorial services
- Garbage collection
- Water supply (10 tonnes per month). The water supply fee is constant regardless of whether you live in a house or not. It is approximately equal to 30 TL (€10) per month.
Every house or apartment has a 1-1.5 ton tank on its roof. Water from the municipal water works is pumped into that tank every 2 days. Needless to say, the amount of supplied water is more than enough for the average family. However, if you choose to use more water than is supplied, you can contract private firms to supply water to you. It would cost you about 10 TL (€3) per ton. These extra water supply orders usually take approximately one hour to fulfill.
Electricity tariffs in North Cyprus are as follows:
- For first 250 kW – 0.40 TL/€0.12 per kW
- 251-500 kW – 0.45 TL/€0.14 per kW
- 501-750 kW – 0.49 TL/€0.15 per kW
- For 751 and next kW – 0.52 TL/€0.16 per kW
Thus, if you used 300kW during the month, the cost will be calculated as 250*0.4+50*0.45=122.5TL or €38. Consumption patterns of electricity vary depending on the time of the year in North Cyprus. During the summer and the winter months in North Cyprus, when air conditioning is heavily used, the electricity bill can reach 400TL (€125). During the other months, fall and spring, on average, your electricity bill would cost you about 100 TL (€30).
In North Cyprus, public transportation is probably not what you are used to. It is somewhat under-developed but it exists. In the long term, it is more expensive than owning a car. Meanwhile, purchasing a car in North Cyprus is not a major hassle. In fact, most families have two to three cars in their households.Furthermore, car dealerships generally provide good services and bonuses. These could include: providing a guarantee for your new car, vehicle inspection services, registration certificates, and insurance recommendations. They also offer many alternatives for foreigners buying a car in North Cyprus. Depending on your credit rating, they can approve an interest-free instalment payment plan or a loan with an interest rate. Instalment plans are usually made for no more than a year, while loans are given for longer periods. Otherwise, you can obtain a car loan from a bank. Banks in North Cyprus have special loans tailored for foreign residents of North Cyprus. You only have to provide your passport and title deed on your property. Interest rates and general requirements for foreigners and citizens are the same.
You can also import a car provided that it has right-hand drive and is less than three-years old. Duty on the import of cars is 50-75% of the car catalogue price.
After you have procured your car, you will be required to obtain insurance. On average, it costs about 300 TL (€93) per year. You will also be required to pay road tax and it starts from 350TL (€109) depending on the engine volume and car’s age. Petrol is 3TL (€0.93) per litre. Therefore an average car will cost you around 55TL (€17) per month plus petrol.
In the event that you only come to North Cyprus on vacation, it would probably make more sense to rent a car for the duration of your stay. There are plenty of “rent-a-car” services in North Cyprus. Daily rent starts from 45TL (€14) off-season and from 75TL (€23) during the high season.
There are two mobile operators in North Cyprus – Telsim and Turkcell. They offer a variety of tariffs to satisfy their diverse customer base. Prices start from as low as 20TL (€6.25) per month. Special tariffs for customers who frequently make international calls cost about 100 TL per month. This usually includes about a thousand text messages and 3GB of Internet bandwidth.
The cost of internet is between 60 TL to 90TL (€20-30) per month. It largely depends on the Internet Service Provider that you choose. For example, 20 Mbit/s internet provided by Multimax internet provider costs 75TL (€25) per month.
The people of North Cyprus are justifiably proud of their traditional food. However, there are numerous restaurants that offer European, Indian, Asian and Russian food. Meals can cost between 15 TL (€4.6) for a kebab and 8 TL (€2.5) for a soup per person, 30-50 TL (€9.3-15.6) per person and 150 TL (€50) per person for the freshest seafood at a five star hotel.
However, if you prefer to cook your own meals, here are the prices of commonly purchased food items:
- Bread – 1-5 TL (€0.33-1.56)
- Milk – 3-4 TL (€0.93-1.25)
- Olive oil – 25 TL/L (€7.8)
- Cheese – 15-20 TL/kg (€4.6-6.2)
- Chicken breasts – 30 TL/kg (€9.3)
- Beef and lamb – 20-40 TL/kg (€6.2-12.5)
- Fish – starts from 20 TL/kg (€6.2)
- Potatoes and bananas – 1-3 TL/kg (€0.33-0.93)
- Tomatoes and cucumbers – 1-4 TL/kg (€0.33-1.25)
- Apples – 3-5 TL/kg (€0.93-1.56)
- Oranges and mandarins – up to 2 TL/kg (€1.25)
North Cyprus is heaven for healthy eaters! Vegetables and fruits are fresh and largely inexpensive. You can get great deals at the weekly farmers’ market. It holds on Wednesday every week and the farmers usually bring fresh produce direct from their farms for sale at the market.
Drinking water is generally delivered on order. Many companies will deliver potable water in 19-litre bottles for around 3-6TL (€1-2). On the other hand, you can exchange your empty bottles and buy full bottles at the nearest supermarket.
In North Cyprus, there are numerous casinos, clubs, golf clubs, cinemas, etc. Also, there are several historical sites which are free and easily accessible. Other more rigorous activities include; paintball, horse riding, quad safari, paragliding, scuba-diving, bowling, billiard. There is something for everyone. Prices are as follows:
- Paintball game – 30TL (€9.3) per person
- Scuba diving – 60 TL (€18.6) per person
- Cinema – 15 TL (€4.6) per person
- A cocktail in a club – 20TL (€6.2) per person
- Horse riding – 120 TL (€37) per person
- Museum – 15TL (€4.6) (2TL/€0.6 for students)
5-star hotels usually have private beaches. Non-lodgers can access these beaches for a small fee of up to 25TL (€7.5) and enjoy water parks, luna parks, pools, spa, restaurants and variety of beach activities.
In case you need a gas cooker or heater, there are two suppliers in North Cyprus. People tend to use blue canisters for cooking and green for heating, but generally they are substitutes. A canister costs 42TL (€13) and lasts for 3-4 months. You can order them from the same companies that deliver drinking water.
Usually people use air conditioning for heating purposes. However, you can install a central gas heating system. It is useful if you live in a private house. However, it is a little bit more expensive than the cost of using air conditioning. Despite this, this system can also be adapted to provide gas for cooking and other purposes.