You can open a bank account before arriving in the country via an overseas branch of any Cypriot bank (or a foreign bank operating in Cyprus), but your signature must be ratified before the account can be opened. The Bank of Cyprus has branches abroad; in the UK they’re in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Obtain details from as many Cypriot banks as you can as early as possible so that you have plenty of time to compare their services. Before choosing a bank, you should compare the fees charged for personal accounts, overdrafts, international money transfers and other services.
Ask your friends, neighbours or colleagues for their recommendations and go along to the bank of your choice and introduce yourself. You must be over 18 and provide proof of identity, e.g. a passport and your local address. Note that various types of bank account can be opened, including current accounts and foreign currency accounts).
It isn’t wise to close your bank accounts in your home country when you’re living permanently in Cyprus, unless you’re absolutely certain that you won’t need them in future. Even when you’re resident in Cyprus, it’s cheaper to keep some money in an account in a country that you visit regularly than to pay commission to convert foreign currency. Many foreigners living in Cyprus maintain at least two accounts, a foreign bank account for their international transactions and a local account for day-to-day business.
This article is an extract from Buying a Home in Cyprus from Survival Books.