Southern Cyprus Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Southern Cyprus
How safe is Southern Cyprus?
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel advice for Southern Cyprus is to remain cautious on your travels. Providing the correct safety precautions are taken, your trip to Cyprus should be pleasant and hassle-free.
Southern Cyprus COVID-19 Update
Cyprus is on the UK government's amber list of countries that pose a COVID-19 risk, which means that travellers should not go unless it is for essential, family or business reasons. On their return to the UK, travellers are required to fill in a passenger locator form, to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result before travelling, to quarantine at home for 10 days and to take a sequencing test on day 2 and day 8 after their arrival.
The UK is on Cyprus's amber list which require travellers to present a PCR test on arrival in Cyprus, taken no more than 72 hours before landing, and upload it to Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours of their departure, copy of which must be retained in hard copy or electronically for boarding or on arrival at immigration.
The government has taken a series of measures to control the spread of the virus. The use of face masks has been made compulsory in indoor and outdoor public places, a night curfew is in place from 00:00 to 05:00 and people must obtain a SafePass that requires them to take a COVID-19 test or present a certificate of full vaccination or of recovery. A SafePass will grant people the right to certain facilities including shopping malls, eateries and sports facilities.
The Republic of Cyprus
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On March 4 2020, in Limassol, a pipe bomb exploded outside the office of MC Digital Media Group, parent company of the Cyprus Times. No one was injured in the explosion and no group has claimed responsability.
In 2016, a hijacked flight was diverted from its route between two Egyptian cities and landed in Larnaca airport in Cyprus. The hijacker was arrested and the incident resolved immediately.
In July 2011, there was a military accident in Cyprus that was considered to be the worst in history. The peacetime accident saw 98 containers of explosives self-detonate at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, after being left in the sun for over 2 and a half years. 13 people were killed including Cyprus’s most senior naval officer. It further damaged hundreds of nearby buildings including the island’s largest power station, which resulted in black outs for much of the country.
Many of the country’s residents were angry by this disaster and believe it could have been avoided. This led to demonstrations by thousands of citizens in the capital city, Nicosia and other large cities for the week following the disaster.
Due to UK and US action in Syria in mid-March 2018, there is more of a heightened risk of incidents against Westerners in Cyprus. It is also possible that tourist areas may be subject to terror attacks during the summer months, but by then, the threat may have diminished somewhat. It should be noted that the British Air base of RAF Akrotiri near Limassol was used to mount the US-led air strikes against Syria.
There is a UN buffer zone that separates Southern Cyprus with Northern Cyprus and you should not attempt to enter this at any place other than the designated zones. There are mines in the area and it is highly militarised.
It is important travel advice for Southern Cyprus is that visitors should not photograph any military areas in the country. Police strictly enforce no photography regulations. Some tourist bars and cabarets may overcharge foreign nationals for drinks. General crime against tourists is rare, however travel advice is that visitors should exercise normal precautions such as securing valuables away and not keeping lots of cash on the person.
Southern Cyprus's International Relations
Southern Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, alongside the Commonwealth of Nations and World Bank amongst others.
It has historically followed the non-aligned foreign policy, however, since joining the EU in 2004, it had enjoy strong relations with the organisation, as well as with Greece and Israel.
Travelling around Southern Cyprus
Most visitors are able to use their driving licences to operate vehicles in Southern Cyprus, for a maximum of 90 days. Driving takes place on the left-hand side of the road. Many of the secondary roads in the country are small and winding and not as well maintained as many of the main roads. The driving standards in Southern Cyprus are relatively poor and road accidents are common. Travellers should exercise extreme caution when driving a vehicle.
When travelling by car in an EU country, British nationals do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) but a motor insurance green card issued by their car insurer is required to drive a UK-registered car in the EU including.
If you are planning on entering Northern Cyprus, you should be aware that insurance purchased in Southern Cyprus is not valid. You can purchase insurance near the UN buffer zone check points. Many car hire companies will not allow travel to the north, you should check with your provider if you plan to visit the north. The main crossing point for South to North is Agios Dometio in Nicosia. If you would like to travel by foot, the Ledra Palace and Ledra Street checkpoints are located in central Nicosia.
Upon your return to the South, there are strict controls on the quantities and types of goods brought back from the North. There is, for example, a limit of 40 cigarettes per individual when crossing the border.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
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Emergency services in Southern Cyprus
All emergency services: 112
Air/sea rescue: 1441
Southern Cyprus Overview
Time now in Nicosia:
Consular information for Southern Cyprus
U.S. Embassy Nicosia
Metochiou and Ploutarchou Street,
Telephone: +357 22 39 39 39
British High Commission Nicosia
Alexander Pallis Street,
PO Box 21978,
Telephone: +357 22 861100 (Urgent assistance)
Visa requirements for Southern Cyprus
Visitors to Southern Cyprus from the UK, EU and US can enter Southern Cyprus without needing a visa. As Northern Cyprus is not recognised by the official government, it is highly advised that you only enter and leave the country via Larnaca and Paphos airports and the seaports Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. Further advice information can be found here: Visa advice Southern Cyprus
As the UK is no longer part of the EU, British nationals can travel without a visa to Cyprus for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Visits to other EU or Schengen countries are not cumulative and do not count towards the 90-day limit in Cyprus as Cyprus is not part of the Schengen area.
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Southern Cyprus are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
European travellers with an EHIC will be entitled to the same emergency care as Cypriot nationals, however it does not cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment. As such, you should ensure that you have extensive medical insurance that will cover you for such instances.
If you are a British citizen, your UK EHIC card remains valid when travelling to an EU country until it expires, providing access to state-provided healthcare in Southern Cyprus. After that, British citizens must apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will cover them for state-provided healthcare in the EU including in Southern Cyprus (but not in Northern Cyprus). Nevertheless, you will be required to show proof on arrival that you have travel insurance for your trip.