What is GESY
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What Is GESY And Who Is Entitled To Free Healthcare In Cyprus

What Is GESY Cyprus

The General Healthcare System (GHS) known as GESY in Cyprus marks a pivotal transformation in the country’s approach to healthcare, aiming to offer comprehensive, high-quality medical services to permanent residents and Cypriot citizens. After decades of deliberation and planning, the vision for a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system began to materialize with the passing of crucial legislation in 2001. This legislation set the stage for a healthcare reform that promised to reshape the access, quality, and funding of medical services in Cyprus.

Understanding Your Entitlements and Contributions Under GESY

GESY, as a universal healthcare system, aims to provide comprehensive healthcare services to permanent residents and Cypriot citizens. Here’s a breakdown of what you’re entitled to and what you pay:

What Are You Entitled To?

  • General Practitioner (GP) Visits: GESY beneficiaries are entitled to a certain number of GP visits per year without charge. Beyond this allowance, a small fee is applied per visit.
  • Specialist Consultations: Referrals from a GP to a specialist are covered, with some services possibly requiring a co-payment.
  • Hospital Services: Includes inpatient and outpatient care, emergency services, and surgeries.
  • Pharmaceuticals and Lab Tests: Medications and laboratory services are available at a nominal fee, with some prescriptions and tests fully covered.
  • Dental, Palliative, and Rehabilitation Services: Certain dental treatments, palliative care, and rehabilitation services are included, with specific conditions for coverage​​.

What Do You Pay?

  • Contributions: Employees, employers, self-employed individuals, and pensioners contribute a percentage of their income to fund GESY. The rates vary by employment status, with employees paying 2.65%, employers 2.9%, self-employed individuals 4%, pensioners 2.65%, and the state contributing 4.7%​​.
  • Co-payments: For services beyond the basic entitlements, such as certain medications or specialist services, minimal co-payments are required to offset costs. These co-payments are designed to be affordable, ensuring that healthcare remains accessible​​.

It is noted that your right to register with GESY depends on your immigration status in Cyprus as certain types of immigration permits do not offer you the right to register with GESY.

Rights and Process for British Nationals (Non-EU/Third Country Nationals)

British nationals residing in Cyprus post-Brexit fall into a unique category, especially concerning their healthcare rights under GESY. Here’s an overview tailored for British expatriates:

Rights Under GESY

  • With S1 Form: British nationals who have an S1 form (a certificate of entitlement to healthcare in another EU country based on social security contributions made in the UK) can access GESY services without additional contributions. The S1 form essentially transfers their healthcare entitlements from the UK to Cyprus​​.
  • Without S1 Form: British nationals without an S1 form must contribute to GESY like any other resident to access healthcare services. Contributions are based on income, with specific rates applicable to employees, self-employed individuals, and pensioners.

Process for Enrolling in GESY

  1. Registration: All applicants, including British nationals, must register for GESY through the official GESY portal or at a local healthcare facility.
  2. Obtaining an S1 Form: British nationals who have paid social security contributions in the UK should apply for an S1 form through the UK’s International Pension Centre before moving to Cyprus.
  3. Submitting the S1 Form: Once obtained, the S1 form must be submitted to the Cypriot health authorities to register for GESY without needing to make further contributions based on Cypriot income.
  4. Tax Residency: Post-Brexit, it’s important for British nationals to establish tax residency in Cyprus to secure their healthcare rights under GESY, especially if they do not have an S1 form. As stated above, your immigration status in Cyprus is crucial concerning your right to register in GESY as well as your tax residency in the island. Being a tax resident in Cyprus requires you to spend at least 183 days in Cyprus in a tax year.

These steps ensure that British nationals can navigate their healthcare entitlements in Cyprus, aligning with the post-Brexit landscape and GESY’s inclusive healthcare framework. By understanding their rights and the process for enrollment, British expatriates can ensure continued access to comprehensive healthcare services under GESY.

GESY Portal

You can access the GESY Portal online at this link.

GESY Contribution Rates


Contributors Categories First Phase

(As of 1/3/2019-28/2/2019)

Full Implementation

(As of 1/3/2020)


(Public and Private Sector)

1.70% 2.65% On their salaries

(Including the State as an Employer)

1.85% 2.90% On the salaries of every person employed by them
State 1.65% 4.70% On the salaries of the employees, the remuneration of the self-employed and officials, and on pensions
Self-employed 2.55% 4.00% On their remuneration
Pensioners 1.70% 2.65% On their pension
Income earners

(e.g., rent, interest, dividends)

1.70% 2.65% On their income
Government Officials 1.70% 2.65% On their remuneration
Persons responsible for the payment of remuneration to Government Officials 1.85% 2.90% On the remuneration of the Government Official


Types of Income Subject to GESY

The table provided below outlines the obligations for General Healthcare System (GHS) contributions across different income streams for individuals who are tax residents of Cyprus compared to those who are not tax residents of Cyprus:


Type of Income Cyprus Tax Resident (domiciled and non-domiciled) Non-Cyprus Tax Resident
Salary sourced in the Republic
Salary sourced outside the Republic
Benefits in Kind or other earnings (sourced in the Republic) not falling under the definition of insurable earnings under the Social Insurance Law
Benefits in Kind or other earnings (sourced outside the Republic) not falling under the definition of insurable earnings under the Social Insurance Law
Income earned from self-employment activity in Cyprus
Income earned from self-employment activity outside Cyprus
Income earned in the capacity of a person’s office sourced in Cyprus
Income earned in the capacity of a person’s office sourced outside Cyprus
Pension sourced from employment in the Republic
Overseas pension
Dividend income sourced in Cyprus
Deemed Dividends as per Special Defence Contribution law
Dividend income sourced outside Cyprus
Rental income from properties in the Republic
Rental income from overseas properties
Interest Income from deposits held in Cyprus
Interest Income from deposits held outside Cyprus
Other income subject to withholding tax on the basis of Article 24 of Income Tax law Not applicable
Amount or consideration in respect of any trade goodwill (goodwill sourced in Cyprus/abroad)


When And How Was GESY Rolled Out

GESY’s rollout was strategically planned in two phases to ensure a smooth transition and to allow for the gradual integration of services and stakeholders into the new system. The first phase, initiated in March 2019, focused on outpatient care, laying the foundation for a more comprehensive coverage that would later include inpatient care, emergency services, and more. This phase allowed personal physicians to enroll patients into the system, and set the groundwork for pharmacies and laboratories to integrate into GESY​​.

The second phase, which was rolled out in June 2020, marked the completion of GESY’s implementation, offering full operational status to the system. This phase introduced inpatient care among other services, signifying the realization of a fully functional, universal healthcare system. Despite the challenges posed by global events such as the coronavirus pandemic, the management and stakeholders of GESY remained committed to its mission, considering adjustments to timelines to maintain the system’s financial health and readiness​​.

Under the Guidance of the Health Insurance Organization (HIO)

The stewardship of GESY falls under the Health Insurance Organization (HIO), a public legal entity tasked with the monumental responsibility of overseeing the system’s implementation and ongoing management. The HIO’s role is critical in ensuring that GESY achieves its goals of providing equal access to healthcare services for all Cyprus residents, including those requiring specialized care within the broader EU network. By focusing on reducing out-of-pocket expenditures for patients and streamlining access to a variety of medical services, the HIO aims to address long-standing barriers to healthcare access and quality​​.


Understanding GESY’s Coverage and Costs

The General Healthcare System (GESY) in Cyprus offers wide-ranging healthcare services aimed at all residents, ensuring affordability and comprehensive coverage. Below are key points about GESY’s coverage and the associated costs:


Comprehensive Coverage for All:

  • GESY provides a broad spectrum of healthcare services, including outpatient and inpatient care, emergency services, specialist consultations, and access to pharmacies and laboratories.
  • Additional services include dental care, palliative care, and rehabilitation, aiming for holistic healthcare.
  • The introduction of inpatient care in the second phase completed the range of services, ensuring access to necessary treatments for everyone, eliminating previous barriers.


Out-of-Pocket Expenses: Minimized and Capped:

  • Primary care visits to general practitioners (GPs) are free up to a certain limit, with a nominal fee applied afterward, promoting preventive healthcare.
  • Pharmaceutical products and laboratory services require a minimal co-payment, with efforts to keep costs low for residents.
  • Financial contributions are capped for lower-income individuals, preventing healthcare costs from becoming a financial burden.


Eligibility for Coverage:

  • Eligibility extends to all permanent residents of Cyprus, including Cypriot citizens, European and non-EU citizens with residency status.
  • Expatriates, their families, refugees, and protected individuals are also covered, highlighting GESY’s universal healthcare approach.


GESY’s structure is designed to ensure sustainable and accessible healthcare for every resident, focusing on comprehensive coverage, minimized costs, and broad eligibility.


Eligibility and Entitlement: Overview of Who Can Claim on GESY Cyprus

GESY is a beacon of universal healthcare, designed to extend comprehensive medical services to the entire population, irrespective of nationality, income, or social status. This segment explores the eligibility criteria for GESY and delves into the entitlements for free healthcare, with a particular focus on expatriates and the impact of international agreements such as Brexit.

Universal Eligibility

At the heart of GESY’s philosophy is the principle of universality. All citizens and permanent residents of Cyprus, encompassing both European and non-EU nationals, are eligible for the program. This inclusivity ensures that the healthcare system serves a broad spectrum of the population, from Cypriot citizens to the expatriate community that calls Cyprus home. Even individuals without employment or a regular income, including refugees and protected persons, are entitled to enroll in GESY, highlighting the system’s commitment to healthcare as a fundamental right​​.

Expatriates and the S1 Form

For expatriates, particularly those from the UK, the S1 form plays a pivotal role in healthcare access. The S1 form is a certificate of entitlement issued under EU social security agreements, allowing individuals to register for healthcare in their country of residence, using contributions made in their home country. In the context of GESY, UK expatriates who possess an S1 form are entitled to free healthcare, integrating them into Cyprus’s healthcare system without the need for additional contributions​​.

The S1 form ensures that retired expatriates, who have contributed to their home country’s social security system, can access healthcare in Cyprus just as they would at home. This arrangement underscores the reciprocal healthcare agreements within the EU, although the future of such arrangements has been subject to the uncertainties brought about by Brexit​​.

The Impact of Brexit on Cyprus Healthcare Entitlement

Brexit introduces complexities into the previously straightforward entitlements for UK expatriates in Cyprus. The continuity of free healthcare access for UK nationals holding an S1 form in Cyprus hinges on the negotiation outcomes between the UK and the EU. Despite the uncertainties, Cyprus has taken steps to reassure UK expatriates of their healthcare rights, emphasizing that eligibility for GESY will be based on tax residency and contributions to the National Health Insurance Tax, regardless of Brexit outcomes​​.

For UK expatriates, registering for tax residency before the end of the Brexit transition period was a crucial step to secure their healthcare entitlements under GESY. This proactive measure ensured that their rights to healthcare access were preserved amidst the changing landscape of UK-EU relations​​.


Gesy Healthcare Cyprus

The future of GESY and healthcare in Cyprus is one of optimism and potential. By addressing current challenges and embracing opportunities for growth, GESY can continue to evolve into a model of universal healthcare that other countries aspire to. The commitment to innovation, quality, and inclusivity will be key to ensuring that GESY meets the healthcare needs of Cyprus’s population in the years to come.

As GESY navigates the complexities of modern healthcare, its adaptability, resilience, and dedication to universal access will shape the health and well-being of generations. The journey ahead is promising, with GESY poised to lead Cyprus towards a healthier, more equitable future.

What is GESY and who is eligible for it?

GESY, or the General Healthcare System, is Cyprus’ universal healthcare system providing comprehensive medical services to all permanent residents and Cypriot citizens, including expatriates and their families.

What services are covered under GESY?

GESY covers general practitioner visits, specialist consultations, hospital services, pharmaceuticals, lab tests, dental, palliative, and rehabilitation services.

What are the contribution rates for GESY?

Contribution rates vary: employees pay 2.65%, employers 2.9%, self-employed individuals 4%, pensioners 2.65%, and the state contributes 4.7%.

How does GESY affect British nationals post-Brexit?

British nationals with an S1 form can access GESY without additional contributions. Those without an S1 form must contribute to GESY based on their income.

Are you entitled to GESY?

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