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Cyprus

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Summary

  • Exercise normal safety precautions in Cyprus. Use common sense. Look out for suspicious behaviour. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local conditions.
  • You can only legally enter Cyprus through certain airports and seaports. Australians have been refused entry because of arrival through non-official points in the north of Cyprus. The Cypriot Government can also refuse entry if they have concerns about your travel to, or certain activities in, the north. See Entry or exit.
  • Avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they might turn violent, especially around the UN buffer zone. See Safety and security.
  • You may be deemed a national of Cyprus under local laws if you have a family connection to Cyprus. If you're a Cypriot-Australian dual national, you may need to do national service under Republic of Cyprus laws. Similar possibilities exist for Turkish Cypriots in northern Cyprus. See Laws.
  • Drink spiking is a risk, particularly in tourist areas such as Ayia Napa, Protaras, Limassol and Paphos. See Safety and security.
  • Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities in recent years. See Safety and security.
  • See Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.

Entry and exit

Visas

You don't need a visa to visit Cyprus for up to 90 days. If you plan to stay longer, you'll need to apply for a visa.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact a High Commission, Embassy or Consulate of Cyprus for up-to-date information. 

More information:

Other formalities

Cyprus is a divided island, with approximately the northern third occupied by Turkey and with checkpoints between the north and the Republic of Cyprus.

Entry to Cyprus is only legal through certain airports and seaports.

To visit Cyprus, you must enter through a legal entry port. The legal entry ports are the airports of Larnaca and Paphos and the seaports of Larnaca, Limassol, Latsi and Paphos.

Entry to or exit from the Republic of Cyprus via any air or seaport in northern Cyprus, including Tymbou (Ercan) and Lefkoniko (Gecitkale) airports and the seaports of Kyrenia (Girne) and Famagusta (Gazi Magusa), is illegal.

You can be refused entry if immigration officials have concerns about planned travel to, or activities in, the Turkish-controlled north.

Residence permits, identity cards and other documents issued by Turkish authorities in the north may not be accepted as valid by the Republic of Cyprus Government in southern Cyprus, nor by the authorities of other countries.

  • If you overstay your visa, you could be charged with breaching immigration regulations.
  • The Republic of Turkey doesn't accept 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' identity cards as valid travel documents for entry into or transiting Turkey. Use your Australian passport for all travel into or out of Cyprus and Turkey.

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you're forced to hand over your passport, contact the Embassy for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

Money

Declare cash of 10,000 euros or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you're travelling between Cyprus and any non-European Union (EU) country. This includes notes and coins, money orders, cheques and travellers cheques. If you don't declare your cash or give incorrect information on entry to, or exit from, Cyprus, you'll be fined. You don't need to declare cash if you're travelling to or from another EU country.

The official currency of the Republic of Cyprus is the Euro. The principal currency in the north is the Turkish Lira, although Euros can be used in many establishments. The Turkish Lira isn't accepted in the Republic of Cyprus controlled south.

ATMs are widely available in tourist locations and major credit cards can be used in most places.

Safety and security

Civil unrest and political tension

A United Nations peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) controls a buffer zone between northern and southern Cyprus.

The Government of the Republic of Cyprus is the only internationally recognised authority in Cyprus.  However, in practice, it only controls the southern part of the island. The northern part of Cyprus is controlled by the so-called 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' ('TRNC'), which is only recognised by Turkey. There is also a Turkish military presence in the north.

In August 2017, UN-hosted talks between the two communities of Cyprus and the guarantor powers (Greece, Turkey and the UK) resulted in no agreement on the issue of the Cyprus division. Be aware of the political sensitivity of the division of the island, and monitor local media for updates.

There have been occasional violent incidents along the UN Buffer Zone (also known as 'The Green Line'). Incidents of politically-motivated hooliganism have occurred among fans at local sporting matches.

  • Take care if discussing sensitive issues in public, such as the continued division of Cyprus.
  • Avoid public demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent, especially around the UN Buffer Zone.
  • Monitor local media and other sources for advice of possible unrest and avoid those areas.
  • Don't take photos in any military designated area. See Laws.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Crime

The incidence of serious crime in Cyprus is low but you could encounter petty crime. Purse snatching, pick-pocketing and petty theft happen, particularly in urban and tourist areas.

Incidents of serious violence, including physical assault, have occurred on the island. Media reports have linked the violence to organised crime. Remain aware of your surroundings, and apply normal precautions.

'Drink spiking' is a risk, especially in tourist areas. It heightens the risk of theft and sexual assault. Apply reasonable precautions. More information: Partying safely

  • Pay close attention to your personal belongings, particularly in crowded areas.
  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Avoid carrying bags that are easy to snatch. Hold bags and backpacks in front of you.
  • Use ATMs in controlled areas such as within banks, shops and shopping centres. Avoid ATMs that open onto the street, especially at night.
  • Never accept food or drinks from strangers. Never leave food or drinks unattended.
  • Check prices before to ordering food and drinks, especially at bars and 'cabarets'.
  • Check the Cyprus police website for the latest on common scams.

More information:

Terrorism

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities. Targets have included public transport and transport hubs, and public places frequented by foreigners. In addition, a number of planned attacks have been disrupted by European security services in recent years.

  • Be alert to possible threats, especially in public places.
  • Exercise particular caution around locations known to be possible terrorist targets.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Keep an eye on the news for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so.

More information: Terrorist threat worldwide

Local travel

Travelling to or from the north

If you arrive in Cyprus through legal ports of entry in the south (see Entry and exit), you can cross into the north. You can cross at checkpoints at Ledra Street or the Ledra Palace (pedestrians only) and Ayios Dhometios in Nicosia, and at Astromeritis, Limnitis, Pergamos and Strovilia outside Nicosia. Checkpoints operate 24 hours but operating times may change at short or no notice.

You'll need to show your passport to the authorities when entering and leaving the north. You can take private vehicles or hire cars through checkpoints (except Ledra Street and Ledra Palace) from the south to the north, but you can't take hire cars from the north to the south.

Carefully check your car insurance to ensure you have adequate coverage for the area in which you're travelling. Insurance policies offered by car hire companies may only offer coverage in the north or the south.

The Republic of Cyprus has also warned visitors about staying in accommodation in northern Cyprus they may be deemed illegal by Cypriot authorities. Review information listed on Cypriot Government websites. See Entry and exit.

You may need to present your goods for inspection when you cross between the north and south sectors. Items purchased in the north, including alcohol, cigarettes and imitation/pirated brand-name products are subject to strict controls and may be confiscated by Republic of Cyprus police or customs authorities. You could also be fined. 'Customs authorities' in northern Cyprus strictly enforce a limit on the purchase of goods in the south. Both sides enforce quarantine rules on foodstuffs.

Adventure activities

The safety standards you might expect of tour operators, including for adventure activities, water sports and diving, or renting recreational vehicles (such as quad bikes or dune buggies), aren't always met.

  • If you plan to participate in these types of activities, check if they are covered by your insurance policy and seek advice on any restrictions that may apply.
  • Only use appropriately licensed and insured operators.
  • Don't be afraid to ask about or insist on safety requirements.
  • Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't.
  • If appropriate safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Some operators may request your passport as a deposit or guarantee for equipment hire. Passports are valuable documents that need to be protected.

  • Don't provide your passport as a deposit or guarantees in any circumstances. 

Road travel

Traffic accidents are a significant risk. Most roads are of a good standard but some secondary and mountain roads are poorly maintained. Driving practices can ignore standard, international norms, such as obeying traffic signals, using indicators, or observing speed limits. Be very cautious when crossing roads, as traffic may not comply with signals.

Multiple serious injuries and deaths from quad bike accidents occur each year, particularly in tourist areas. Be aware of quad bikes on roads while driving. Follow directions on where you can and can't ride quad bikes or similar vehicles.

Access to roads in the UN Buffer Zone is restricted. Parts of this militarised zone have landmines.

If you plan to drive a vehicle:

  • only hire vehicles from reputable companies
  • ensure you've got the right licence for the vehicle you plan to drive
  • check if you're covered by your insurance policy and get advice on any restrictions
  • drive defensively and to the road conditions
  • don't drink and drive.

More information:

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike, dune buggy or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you. Always wear a helmet.

Driver's licence

If you wish to drive, your Australian driver's licence can only be used for months from you date of arrival in Cyprus.

Get an International Driver's Permit before you depart Australia.

Taxis

Use only authorised taxi and limousine services, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Unofficial taxis may overcharge.

Public transport

Bus services operate throughout Cyprus. Take care of your belongings on public transport as petty crime does occur.

Sea travel

Before embarking on a ferry or other boat, ensure it has appropriate safety equipment. A number of international cruise lines stopover in Cyprus.

More information: Cruises

Air travel

The Australian Government doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Cyprus.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Cypriot authorities may not always notify the Australian High Commission if an Australian citizen has been arrested, particularly if they are a dual national. If you're arrested or detained, request the police and prison officials notify the Australian High Commission immediately.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and can lead to life imprisonment. Possession of even small amounts of any illegal drug can result in imprisonment.

More information: Carrying or using drugs

Other laws

If you're are planning to get married in Cyprus, check the legal requirements before you travel.

More information:

Purchasing property in the north of Cyprus can be fraught. Legal titles to land can be uncertain (because of claims to ownership of persons displaced during the conflict of 1974). Under Republic of Cyprus law, it is a crime to buy, sell or rent property anywhere in Cyprus without the consent of the owner. Seek independent legal advice before signing any property contract. It is also a crime to intend to purchase disputed property - being in possession of property pamphlets from the north can be considered evidence of intent to purchase.

More information: Australian High Commission

The following activities are illegal in both parts of Cyprus:

  • photography of military camps, facilities, personnel or equipment (even inadvertently)
  • photography in the UN buffer zone
  • photography in any military designated area
  • entering a restricted military zone
  • export of cultural or archaeological artefacts without official authorisation.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

You could be deemed a national of Cyprus under local laws if you have a family connection to Cyprus. Nationals of Cyprus, including dual Australian/Cypriot nationals, may have national service obligations under Republic of Cyprus laws:

  • males aged 15-50 years may have a military service obligation if they stay in Cyprus longer than three months
  • females aged 18-50 years may have civil defence obligations if they are permanent residents of the Cyprus
  • males aged 16-26 years need to get an exit permit from the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia or from the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Cyprus, in order to exit Cyprus.

If you are or could be a national of Cyprus, check your national service obligations before you travel.

More information: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Republic of Cyprus)

If you're male, of Turkish Cypriot background, over 18 years of age, and you stay longer than three months in northern Cyprus, you may need to perform military service in northern Cyprus. If you could be affected, check with the relevant authorities before you travel.

In some circumstances, periods of national service can be reduced by providing evidence of long-term residency in Australia. If you are or could be a dual national, you haven't completed your national service obligations, and you're intending to stay in Cyprus longer than three months, get a copy of your movements into and out of Australia (Request for International Movement Records) from the Department of Home Affairs as evidence of your residency in Australia.

More information: Dual nationals

Health

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and aren't covered under your policy
  • whether you'll be covered for travel to both northern and southern parts of Cyprus
  • that you're covered for the whole time you'll be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may even be illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you're on medication, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and seek advice on any quantity restrictions that may apply. If it is illegal, consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of your travel.

Take prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Always carry a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information:

Health risks

Rodents, bats and other vermin can carry communicable diseases. Take particular care to avoid contact with such animals when travelling to the countryside or archaeological sites.

Medical facilities

Public and private medical facilities in the Republic of Cyprus's main cities are adequate but can be expensive. Medical services in northern Cyprus are more basic than in the south.

Decompression chambers are located at the Famagusta General Hospital (located in Paralimni) and Paphos General Hospital.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuations can be very expensive.

Natural disasters

Cyprus experiences earthquakes. Large earthquakes are rare but minor earth tremors are common.

Cyprus is subject to occasional violent storms and high winds in coastal regions. Winter snowstorms in the Troodos Mountains can block roads or create hazardous driving conditions.

Many parts of Cyprus, particularly the heavily forested and mountainous regions, have forest fires and grass fires during the long dry season from May until October.

If there is a natural disaster or severe weather:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag)
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts
  • closely monitor the media, other local sources of information and the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities.

Beaches

Strong seas and undertows at some beaches pose a risk to swimmers.

  • Follow warning signs on beaches.
  • Only swim at approved beaches.

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

Republic of Cyprus:

  • Firefighting and rescue services: 112
  • Medical emergencies: 112
  • Police:  199

Northern Cyprus:

  • All emergencies: 155

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Emergency operators may have limited English.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact:

Australian High Commission - Nicosia

7th Floor, Block A
Alpha Business Centre
27 Pindarou Street
1060 Nicosia CYPRUS
Phone: +357 2229 7555
Fax: +357 2276 6486
Email: nicosia.ahc@dfat.gov.au
Website: cyprus.highcommission.gov.au
Facebook: Australia in Cyprus
Twitter: @AusHCCyprus

Check the High Commission website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the High Commission in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional resources