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Cyprus

If you’re travelling to Cyprus, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), available by contacting the Health Service Executive, and that you also obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Health
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice is to avoid non-essential travel, other than to any countries on the ‘Green List’ where the advice is to take normal precautions.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas (including to Great Britain but not to Northern Ireland), other than to any countries on the ‘green list’ where the ‘normal precautions’ security status rating will apply. The request to restrict movements does not apply to individuals arriving into Ireland from any countries on the ‘green list.’

On 15 September, the Government agreed that, for the period ahead, this ‘green list’ will be updated on a weekly basis, to include any EU / EEA countries with a 14 day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of 25 or less, based on the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Updates are being made on the basis of data each Thursday, with changes taking effect from the following Monday.

The Green List was reviewed again on the basis of the ECDC data on Thursday 15 October.  As no EU / EEA countries were below the required 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases, it remains the case that there are no countries on the Green List. The new EU Recommendation on coordinating travel within the EU / EEA was adopted at the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 13 October. Implementation of this is for consideration by Government next week.

The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination.

The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to any countries with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. Citizens who are considering travel to these countries are also advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their chosen destination. This includes information regarding possible restrictions on arrival from abroad, including from Ireland. The security rating for all other countries remains unchanged at either ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

Where additional restrictions apply within Ireland, these are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page.

Where to go for further travel information:

Check Embassy websites and Twitter accounts

Overview

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel

Security Status Last Updated: 08 October 2020 to take effect from 00.00 on 12 October 2020

Latest Travel Alert

Novel Coronavirus

Inward flights to Cyprus are currently permitted from certain countries, classified into two Categories (A and B).

Ireland is currently in Category B (with effect from 28 August). This means that visitors arriving from Ireland must undergo a molecular test for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours prior to the departure of their flight, and hold a certificate that demonstrates a negative result. There are certain limited exemptions to this requirement.

Further information is available here: https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/index.html.

All persons entering Cyprus from any country must complete a traveller declaration form known as the Cyprus Flight Pass. Passengers arriving without a Cyprus Flight Pass will have to pay a fine of €300, and may be refused entry. They will also be required to take a mandatory Covid-19 test at the airport at a cost of €60. A Government of Cyprus Help Desk is available at +357 2484 1234 to assist travellers with any queries regarding the Cyprus Flight Pass.

Crossing Points

It is not currently possible for visitors or tourists to cross between the north and south of Cyprus at the crossing points.

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

U.N. Buffer Zone:

A UN peacekeeping force administers a buffer zone between the north and the south of Cyprus. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus controls the southern part of the island.

Irish citizens are advised not to attempt to enter the United Nations buffer zone at any place other than a designated crossing point.

It is illegal in both parts of Cyprus (north and south of the UN Buffer Zone) to:

• take photos of military camps, facilities, personnel or equipment, or anything that could be perceived as being of a security interest, even by accident;
• take photos in the UN buffer zone;
• take photos in any designated military area.

Pay particular attention to areas marked with “no photography” signs. Police on both sides of the island strictly enforce these restrictions.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Cyprus is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Cyprus but you should take sensible precautions:

• Watch out for bag-snatching and pickpocketing, particularly in tourist areas.
• Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
• Leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
• Personal attacks, including sexual assaults, are infrequent but they do occur. Be alert to the possible use of ‘date rape’ and other drugs. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times to make sure they are not spiked. If you drink, know your limit; drinks served in bars are often stronger than those in Ireland.


Reporting crime

If you are a victim of a crime while in Cyprus, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact the Irish Embassy in Nicosia if you need help.

You should always request a police report when you report a crime.

Arrest Notification

If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the Irish Embassy immediately.

Public Transportation

There are few public buses and no rail links in Cyprus. Taxis are widely available.

Vehicle hire

• Rental cars and scooters are widely available and carry distinguishable red number plates. If you’re hiring any vehicle, whether it’s a car, moped, boat or jet ski, check that it is road, or sea-worthy and that you have appropriate insurance cover and safety equipment. You should also read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
• If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
• If you intend to take a hire car to the north of the island you will need to cross at a designated checkpoint. Car insurance purchased in the southern part of the island is not valid in the north. If you travel north of the UN buffer zone, you must have separate car insurance, which can be purchased at some crossing points.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Cyprus, remember to drive on the left, as in Ireland. The standard of driving in Cyprus is not the same as in Ireland and extra caution is required. Drivers are advised to watch out for cars changing lanes without using their indicators.

If you want to drive:

• Bring your full Irish driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
• Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, heavily fined or banned from driving if caught.
• Be aware of Cyprus’s traffic laws, such as speed limits. On motorways, the limit is 100km/hour.
• You can be heavily fined if you drive without wearing a seat belt or while using a mobile phone, or if you ride a motorbike without wearing a crash helmet.
• Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights.
• Be vigilant at traffic-light junctions as there’s a tendency to jump red lights.

Swimming

Bathing is generally safe, but you should be aware of strong seas and undertows, particularly on the west coast. Always comply with warning signs and swim only from approved beaches.

 

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Practical advice

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it’s your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or even illegal.

Illegal drugs

Cyprus has a strictly enforced zero tolerance policy towards drugs.

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can lead to life in jail. Carrying even small amounts of an illegal drug can result in jail time.

Homosexuality

Homosexuality is legal in both parts of the Island but discretion in public is advised.

Health

Health

Weather

Cyprus has an intense Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and dry from mid-May to mid-September. From November to mid-March winters are rainy and changeable and are separated only by short autumn and spring seasons.

Sun safety

Citizens are advised to be sun-safe and take the necessary steps to avoid over-exposure to the sun.

Remember to slip, slap, slop and wrap:
Slip on a loose long sleeved t-shirt
Slap on a wide-brimmed hat that covers the back of the neck as well
Slop on sunscreen generously and regularly (SPF 15 or higher and at least SPF 30 for children)
Wrap on sunglasses

Particular attention should be taken to protect children and babies from sun exposure.

Vaccinations

Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Cyprus.

Emergency assistance

If you need emergency medical assistance during your stay in Cyprus, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment, you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.

There are several private hospitals and clinics in Cyprus that operate private ambulances. We recommend that you always check with the ambulance drivers if they are taking you to a private or state hospital to prevent any potential queries over hospital charges. Your EHIC card will not cover you for private hospitals or clinics.

European Health Insurance Card

We advise you to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel to Cyprus. This card replaces the E111 form and entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Cypriot nationals.

The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance and doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. You can apply for an EHIC online at www.ehic.ie

The EHIC is not valid in north Cyprus.

Travel Insurance

We can’t pay for emergency medical repatriation, repatriation of remains, or for expenses as a result of a personal emergency while you are abroad. If you buy an appropriate travel insurance policy, these costs will be covered, provided you haven’t broken the terms and conditions.

Buying comprehensive travel insurance can save you and your family a lot of money if something goes wrong. It will also ensure that you get the medical attention you need, when you need it. Hospital bills can quickly run into thousands of euro, and a medical evacuation back to Ireland can cost thousands more.

Not all policies are the same, and the cheapest one might be cheap for a reason. Make sure your policy covers all the activities you plan to do on your trip. Insurance Ireland recommend that you purchase a policy that provides a minimum medical cover of €1 million.

Emergency expenses

Your policy should cover:

  • All medical care abroad, including evacuation by air ambulance, or other emergency procedures, and any other costs associated with an unexpected longer stay.
  • Your entire trip, from departure to return. Consider an annual multi-trip policy if you’re making more than one trip in the year.   
  • 24-hour emergency service and assistance.
  • Personal liability cover (in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property).
  • Lost and stolen possessions.
  • Cancellation and curtailment.
  • Any extra activities you intend to do that are excluded from standard policies (e.g. water sport activities such as jet skiing or other extreme sports).

Exclusions: You should know most insurance policies will not cover drink or drug-related incidents.

If you are planning to visit the northern part of the island, make sure that your insurance covers your travel there.

The Embassy strongly advises against procuring any health-related services in northern Cyprus due to the lack of regulation and the fact that its legal system operates in the context of international non-recognition of the ‘TRNC’.

Additional Information

Additional information

The northern part of Cyprus proclaimed itself the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (‘TRNC’) in 1983. The ‘TRNC’ is not recognised internationally, by the UN or any country other than Turkey. In line with relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, Ireland does not recognise the ‘TRNC’.

The Embassy’s ability to provide assistance to Irish citizens in the north of Cyprus may be constrained.

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

You must hold a valid passport to visit Cyprus. However, Irish passport holders don’t require an entry visa into the Republic of Cyprus. You should ensure that your passport is valid for the full duration of your stay.

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay, you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times and should never give your passport as security for car, motorbike or quad bike rentals.

Entry to northern Cyprus

There are checkpoints between the south and north of Cyprus. You will need to show your passport to officials when entering and leaving the north.

Foreign nationals who have entered Cyprus through the north (such as via Ercan airport) are considered by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to have entered Cyprus through an illegal port of entry. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus reserves the right to fine EU (including Irish) citizens for illegal entry if they cross into the south.

Time Zone

Cyprus is two hours ahead of Ireland; i.e. when it’s 9.00am in Ireland it’s 11.00am in Cyprus.

Electrical equipment

Cyprus uses the same electrical infrastructure and plugs as Ireland, so adaptors are not required.

Language

English is widely spoken throughout the island. Road signs in the Republic of Cyprus are normally written in both Greek and English.

Mobile phones

Irish mobile phones with a roaming facility will operate on the Cypriot network. The international code for Cyprus is +357.

Buying property in Cyprus

If you choose to purchase a property in the Republic of Cyprus, as with property transactions in general, you should seek local, independent legal advice to ensure that the title deeds are clean and that there are no outstanding mortgages on both the property in question or on the land on which it’s built.

There have been reported cases where, unbeknownst to the purchaser, the land on which a purchased house was built was mortgaged to a bank, and when the landowner defaulted on the loan the bank sought possession of the land.

Property in northern Cyprus

If you’re considering buying property in the northern part of Cyprus, which is not under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, we strongly advise you to exercise caution and to get qualified, independent legal advice. This is due to potential claims related to title and ownership from Greek Cypriots displaced from that area in 1974, which may lead to serious financial and legal repercussions.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in a number of cases that owners of property in northern Cyprus before 1974 continue to be regarded as the legal owners of that property. Potential buyers may face legal proceedings in the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, decisions of which can be executed elsewhere in the EU, including Ireland.

Furthermore, there is a Cypriot law making it a criminal offence, with penalties of up to seven years imprisonment, to purchase, sell, rent, promote or advertise the sale of property in the northern part of Cyprus owned by Greek Cypriots. Any attempt to undertake such a transaction is also a criminal offence under Republic of Cyprus law.

Money

The currency of Cyprus is the Euro. Cyprus takes seriously the possession of fake euro banknotes and checks are made at the majority of retail outlets. If you’re found to be in possession of fake Euro banknotes, the police will be called and you may be prosecuted.

All major credit cards are accepted in Cyprus and bank cards from Irish banks can be used in shops and at ATMs.

 

Other countries’ Travel Advice on Cyprus

 

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you require assistance in the case of emergency while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number +357 2281 8183 for details of the Duty Officer phone which is monitored out of hours.

Embassy of Ireland
7, Aiantas Street
St. Omologites
1082 Nicosia
Cyprus

Tel: +357 2281 8183

Monday to Friday 09:00-12:00

Contact us