Northern Cyprus Risk Report
Security travel advice for Northern Cyprus
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current safety travel advice is to remain cautious when visiting Northern Cyprus. Crime rates in the country are low but travellers should be aware of the general threat on a wider global scale.
Officially known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), it is a self-declared state, separate to Southern Cyprus and only recognised as this by Turkey itself. A coup d'état in 1974 led to the invasion by Turkey of the island and the partitioning of the country. There was a unilateral declaration of independence by Northern Cyprus in 1983 and the state now relies on Turkey for economic, political and military support. Nationals of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are known as Turkish Cypriots.
Recent Security Events
Due to UK and US action In Syria in mid-March 2018 there is more of a heightened risk of incidents against Westerners in Northern 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 Brirish Air base of RAF Akrotiri (near Limassol) was used to mount the US-led air strikes against Syria.
June 2016 saw complaints filed by 5 Turkish Cypriots who claimed to have been attacked by a group of men thought to be Greek Cypriots. This suggests that there still appears to be tensions between the two regions despite ongoing talks to try and bring them both together.
In general, the atmosphere in Northern Cyprus is relaxed, with violent crime appearing to be extremely uncommon. Travellers should remain cautious of pickpockets and other petty crimes.
There may be some tensions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, with clashes occasionally occurring. Tourists should not be too affected by such incidents however you should be wary if fights do break out.
Northern Cyprus experiences strained international relations with the EU, mainly due to the member states of the EU’s refusal to recognise it as an independent state. As of 2016, Northern Cyprus is temporarily exempt from EU legislation as the EU has addressed the fact that the North is outside the control of the country’s government. Only the Southern part of the island enjoy the benefits of EU membership.
In 2004, political tensions reached its peak, a United Nations referendum was held in order to settle the ongoing Cyprus dispute. Whilst this was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots rejected the referendum. Therefore there are still undivided tensions that has not been able to resolve the current disputes.
Northern Cyprus retains an excellent relations with Turkey which holds an official embassy in the country and there are unofficial representative offices in other countries. Countries such as Azerbaijan and Gambia have expressed an interest in eventually recognising Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus formally, leading to increased relations with both countries.
You should be aware that foreign nationals who first enter Cyprus through the North are considered to have entered Cyprus via an illegal port of entry. Although it is extremely uncommon, you may be liable to fines from the Government of the Republic of Cyprus if you cross into Southern Cyprus. In order to avoid this issue, it is advised not to enter the country through the North.
Most foreign nationals visiting Northern Cyprus will be able to use their driving licence to operate a vehicle for up to 90 days. If you are planning on driving for longer than that you should apply for a TRNC licence. Check with your embassy for more information.
If you plan to drive to South Cyprus during your stay, you must have your National Driving Licence. You should obtain an authorisation certification after your first crossing of the border. Insurance for your vehicle purchased in Northern Cyprus is not valid so additional insurance will need to be purchased for approximately €25 per month. In order to insure your vehicle you must first obtain a South Cyprus tax certificate.
Currency: Turkish Lira
Time now in: North Nicosia
Most travellers including British and US nationals are able to enter Northern Cyprus for up to 90 days. If you choose to enter the north via Turkey, as long as you do not leave the airport in Turkey you will not require a visa. If you would like to spend time in Turkey first, you must apply for a visa. Alternatively, entering through the south of Cyprus does not require a visa.
It is advised that visitors to Northern 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.
Other health risks
European nationals in possession of an EHIC card should be aware that this is not valid in Northern Cyprus. It is advised that you take out private medical insurance before you travel to the country. There are three well-equipped hospitals in Northern Cyprus alongside many private clinics, most doctors speak very good English and the cost of treatment is extremely low.
U.S. Embassy Nicosia
Metochiou & Ploutarchou Street,
Telephone: +357 223 939 39
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +357 223 939 39; wait for the recorded message and press 0
British High Commission Nicosia
Alexander Pallis Street,
PO Box 21978,
Telephone: +357 22 861100
Police emergency: 155
Fire emergency: 199
Medical emergency: 112
Forest fires hotline: 177