Get travel and medical insurance
- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
High Degree of Caution
Security Status Last Updated: 22 October 2020
Latest Travel Alert
COVID-19 is still a threat, but with continued public health measures, vaccination and testing, it will be possible to travel internationally. You will need to plan your travel carefully and there are risks.
Department of Foreign Affairs services and practical supports to all Irish Citizens travelling abroad can be found on dfa.ie/Travel
Travel to Cyprus
On 1 March, Cyprus adopted a country categorisation system in accordance with ECDC standards. With effect from 29 July, Ireland is in the red category for entry into Cyprus. This means that passengers from Ireland must undergo a PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to departure, and must hold a certificate that demonstrates a negative result. Upon arrival in Cyprus all passengers from Ireland will be required to take another PCR test at their own expense.
Vaccinated passengers do not need a negative PCR test but are required to present the EUDCC - EU Digital Certificate. Further information is available here: Cyprus Flight Pass - Vaccinated Passengers and here Cyprus Flight Pass - Important Information.
All persons entering Cyprus must complete a passenger declaration form known as the Cyprus Flight Pass within 48 hours prior to arrival.
A Government of Cyprus Help Desk is available at +357 22 285 757 (or 1474 from within Cyprus) to assist passengers with any queries regarding the Cyprus Flight Pass. Further information is available here: https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/contact-us
Please note that passengers who provide false information and declarations and do not meet the conditions of the selected category are subject to sanctions.
Further information is available here: https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/index.html.
Restrictions are in place throughout Cyprus, and you are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities. Please refer to https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/index.html for further information.
Additional advice and information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
Effective from 4 June, crossing points across the island have re-opened subject to a Red, Orange and Green categorisation system – with Orange restrictions applying at present. The current requirement for non-vaccinated persons to cross is a negative PCR/Antigen test taken within the last 72 hrs.
Fully vaccinated persons do not require a test.
You can contact the emergency services in Cyprus by dialling 112 or 199. Directory enquires is 11892.
Safety and Security
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.
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 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.
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.
If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the Irish Embassy immediately.
There are few public buses and no rail links in Cyprus. Taxis are widely available.
• 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.
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.
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
Local laws and customs
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.
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 is legal in both parts of the Island but discretion in public is advised.
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.
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.
Check with your doctor a minimum of eight weeks in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Cyprus.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
Cyprus is two hours ahead of Ireland; i.e. when it’s 9.00am in Ireland it’s 11.00am in Cyprus.
Cyprus uses the same electrical infrastructure and plugs as Ireland, so adaptors are not required.
English is widely spoken throughout the island. Road signs in the Republic of Cyprus are normally written in both Greek and English.
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.
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.
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
Tel: +357 2281 8183
Monday to Friday 09:00-12:00
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you 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.