Post-Brexit: Healthcare & Travel Rights for Expats in Cyprus
The UK and the European Commission reached a comprehensive agreement last December on the reciprocal protection of the rights of UK and EU citizens after Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019.
Britain’s High Commissioner addressed UK nationals living in Cyprus, stating they will be able to carry on living, working and studying in Cyprus for as long as they wish to. The right to remain in Cyprus will be protected now, during the implementation period and indefinitely and residents will continue to be able to access social security as Cypriot citizens.
Residents will be entitled to have their social security contributions made before and after the departure in the UK, or in another European Country, count towards a future UK or EU member state pension, with children being able to continue to access education in the same way that Cypriot children do.
Travel Procedures & Driving Licenses
Driving licenses for UK nationals have yet to be negotiated and decisions will be released at some point later this year, however the current system will remain in place until December 2020.
Travel arrangements between the UK and EU beyond 2020 are also being deliberated during the second phase of negotiations. In the interim, until December 31st 2020 all EU members and dependents will continue to be able to travel to the UK as the procedure is now. Where residents have lived in an EU member state for at least three months prior, their non-EU family members also have rights to travel to the UK.
Regarding healthcare, the High Commission said that UK tourists will continue to be able to use their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) to receive free medical treatment in Cyprus until the end of the implementation period.
British nationals living in Cyprus are being advised to apply for a RoC medical card, however there are certain criteria to be met. Otherwise various private insurance agreements are also available, until the national healthcare scheme Gesy is introduced.
Once Gesy is established, all individuals living in Cyprus should have the right to access healthcare, however expat contributions to the scheme have not been announced yet. The NHS has published advice on healthcare for those moving abroad on its official website.
The High Commission is planning another series of outreach events for British nationals living across the island as the negotiations development and decisions start to be released later this year.