Cyprus residency group offers free service to help those without necessary residency documentation
By Bejay Browne
Up to 31,000 British nationals living in Cyprus may not yet have the proper registration which, when the transition period for Brexit ends on December 31, has serious implications as they will no longer have automatic right of residence in Cyprus, it emerged this week.
“There are around 31,000 of the 70,000 or so British nationals living in Cyprus which are unregistered or hold registration that is now invalid, as all of the old forms of registration will not suffice. Around 5,000 of those may need help to collate and complete all of the paperwork as they may have mobility issues, live in remote areas, or face other issues,” said Wendy Nash from the Cyprus Residency Planning Group.
“The UK withdrawal from the EU makes residency registration essential and if you are unregistered you are also liable for a €2,500 fine,” she added.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how important holding the correct documentation is. Permanent residents of Cyprus that have been stuck abroad due to the flight ban and who did not hold the correct papers would have found it incredibly difficult to apply for repatriation.
The UK withdrawal from the EU makes residency registration essential and all EU citizens living in Cyprus must hold a valid MEU1 or MEU3 permit.
The Cyprus Residency Planning Group (CRPG) is working to ensure that all British residents in Cyprus, particularly those in vulnerable categories, are in possession of the necessary residency permits ahead of the end of the year, and are appealing to communities for help due to coronavirus restrictions.
CRPG is made up of concerned professionals and volunteer residents and is a free service funded and supported by the British foreign office.
All individuals who remain in Cyprus for longer than 90 days are obligated by law to register with the ministry of interior,civil registry and migration department for an MEU1, which offers among other benefits, access to the Cyprus national health system, Gesy.
British residents that have lived in Cyprus for five years or more are entitled to permanent residency status, which is an MEU3 certificate.
The Brexit transition period still officially ends on December 31, 2020. All previous forms of temporary and permanent residence registrations issued to UK nationals prior to 2004 are invalid, and if British nationals do not have permanent or temporary residence, they are in danger of being declared illegal aliens with dire potential consequences.
“Currently, Covid-19 is the UK government’s top priority with the UK foreign office providing rapid response to help deal with the crisis. This will, in some instances, impact on CRPG operations and response rates, however CRPG wants to assure UK nationals that its work continues in laying the foundations for when the crisis has abated,” Nash said.
During the enforced lockdown, the group’s emphasis is on ‘Persons at Risk’, to acquire the relevant residency certificate, before the end of the transition period.
“As long as a UK national has an MEU1 before the end of the transition period (currently December 31, 2020) they may still apply after five years for an MEU 3.”
The not for profit organisation is dedicated to locating and getting assistance for those UK nationals who may find it hard to complete all of the paperwork, particularly pensioners and disabled, those living in remote areas or those with mobility difficulties, or needing assistance with language translation, or interpretation. Also, UK nationals that cannot help themselves for whatever reason, she said.
Due to ongoing lockdown restrictions, even after Monday, May 4 when some restrictions are eased, the group cannot easily get to the areas where these people live, so they are relying on digital methods and traditional media to reach out.
“The message is that CRPG is still open to answer your questions and offer solutions to support individuals who wish to apply for residency in Cyprus,” she said.
As people are stay at home, this offers an ideal opportunity for them to gather and collate the required documentation in preparation, where possible, for the immigration process, she added.
Then, when circumstances allow, a CRPG field representative can assist them. For now, the focus is on compiling a list of people who need assistance.
“We try to make the regulations clear and understandable, advise the best and easiest way to comply with the process and complete the documentation required,” said Nash.
“Before the break out of the pandemic, we had 20 agents ready to go and help people. Now we have to rely on posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, but many elderly or vulnerable people don’t use these or don’t have access.”
The group is asking the wider community if they know anyone who needs help to get in touch.
All personal information will be deleted from CRPG files when the group closes on December 31, 2022, she said.
“If you know anyone that is deemed at risk, please contact us so that we may contact them.”
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MEU1- Registration Certificate: (after 90 days)will need a completed application form, passport, proof of residence, letter from employer or self employed certificate of registration, three months social insurance certificate, for retired or unemployed, a P60, pension, or bank statements showing sufficient resources, and S1 or personal health insurance, current bank statement, two passport photographs,and 20 euros cash.
MEU3 – Permanent Residence- (after five years) will need an MEU1, passport, Cyprus IDs , if any, marriage or death certificate, title deed of house or rental contacts, electricity bills for five years, five years of bank statements, social insurance payments for five years (if applicable), and two photographs and 20 euros cash.