Cyprus at a Glance
Visa Information for Cyprus
Moving abroad is a giant step for anyone, and many a future expat probably would like to get to know their future home before actually relocating there. Luckily, as Cyprus relies heavily on tourism from all over the world, acquiring the right to visit the island is very straightforward and uncomplicated.
As the nation is a member state of the European Union, visitors to Cyprus who are holders of an EU passport can freely enter the island without having to apply for an additional visa. The maximum duration of their stay is limited to three months.
Third-country citizens, i.e. nationals of non-EU member states, can apply for a Schengen visa which does not only facilitate travel to Cyprus, but also to every other country which is part of the Schengen area. However, it is important to note that it is not possible to travel to Cyprus with a Schengen visa from outside of the Schengen area, due to complications due to the ongoing division of the country. If you enter another Schengen country before traveling on to Cyprus, you should not run into any problems.
If this is not an option for you, you can always directly apply for a Cypriot visitor’s visa. The Embassy of Cyprus in Washington, D.C. has detailed information on the requirements and the application process.
If you are relocating to Cyprus in order to take up gainful employment, your residence permit for Cyprus is inextricably linked with your work permit. As with entry visas, the process of obtaining a residence permit is considerably different for citizens of EU and non-EU countries.
Citizens of EU member states can expect things to go very smoothly, whereas there are a fair number of further requirements for nationals of so-called third countries. The main requirement is probably the need for a signed work contract with a company in Cyprus before being allowed to actually relocate. Since the Cypriot economy is now shrinking, while the unemployment quota is rising, getting such a job offer might be the biggest problem.
We have taken a more detailed look at all the requirements and administrative steps for obtaining work and residence permits in our article on working in Cyprus.
EU nationals who’d like to live in Cyprus for more than three months and/or take up employment still need to officially register as residents. First, they must apply for an Alien Registration Certificate (ARC) at the Immigration Office of the local police within eight days of arrival. Then, within the next three months, they must submit an application for a residence permit to the Civil Registry and Migration Department.
The ARC is indeed required for all foreign nationals coming to Cyprus. Formerly, there were also ID cards, or Civil Identity Cards, issued to foreign residents.
However, the ID cards for foreigners were scrapped in 2011 – a decision which caused considerable confusion among the local expat community. The Cypriot government announced that they will introduce new resident cards to replace the old IDs, but the issue has not been resolved yet.