Obtaining visas for Cyprus

Cyprus is part of the European Union and citizens of a number of countries can enter Cyprus for a visit visa-free, while nationals from countries not on the visa waiver list will need to apply for a visa before arrival. Expats wishing to live and work in Cyprus must obtain a residence permit.

Expats applying for a visa for Cyprus should be aware of the political situation in the country. The Republic of Cyprus does not recognise the secessionist north and, consequently, its visa rules only apply to the south of the island. It also views all ports of entry in the Turkish-occupied north, including the airports, as illegal and advises that valid visa holders enter Cyprus through the south to avoid any problems.

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Expats who require a visa to enter Cyprus will need to apply directly to their nearest Cypriot embassy or consulate well in advance of their planned visit to the country.

Some nationalities don’t need a visa to stay in Cyprus for up to 90 days, as long as they are only visiting the country. This includes nationals of the EU, as well as citizens of the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Residents from other non-EU countries require a visa for Cyprus.

Business visas have similar requirements to standard tourist visas, but applicants will be required to produce additional documents, such as an official letter of invitation from a company in Cyprus.

Expats wishing to live and work in Cyprus for an extended period need to obtain a residence or immigration permit. Residence and immigration permits in Cyprus are administered by the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CRMD) and there are strict criteria that expats will need to meet in order to qualify for these permits.

Expats will need to secure a job before arriving in Cyprus and the hiring company takes responsibility for the visa application. A two-in-one temporary residence and employment permit for Cyprus is generally submitted by an employer to the CRMD or the police’s Aliens and Immigration Unit. In addition, the Ministry of Employment and Social Insurances has to certify the employment contract, proving that there are no Cypriots or EU citizens who are available or qualified to fill the post, before recommending that a non-EU national be employed.

Once they pass this first stage, nationals from non-EU countries must then register at their local Aliens and Immigration Unit or CRMD office within seven days of arriving in the country.

Even non-EU citizens who are married to a Cypriot national must apply for a working residence permit if they want to work, which makes settling down in Cyprus on a long-term basis quite challenging.

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