Residence Permission in Northern Cyprus

Not so simple, but yet easy !

Or: The search for the little man…

By Ralph Kratzer

Some time ago I read in a newspaper over here or was it on the internet (?) a review of an English lady regarding the receipt of a temporary residence permission in Northern Cyprus for foreign residents over the age of 60 years. According to the report, everything was very easy and very fast to handle. On to Nicosia, just proceed into the office of the immigration authorities and 10 minutes later – all done!

Last Monday I accompanied my girlfriend to the immigration office, just to see whether it is actually as simple as it was described.

Number TicketsAt about 10.30 am we were on site and saw in the waiting room  about 30 applicants already before us. On the wall hung a display showing the actual waiting numbers to be served. We therefore consequently looked for a machine to provide us with the requested number ticket. But there was no machine to see anywhere. So we went back to the already waiting customers and found an elderly couple who looked very British. They were actually English and told us in a friendly way, that a little man would distribute the tickets in the corridor…

But even after an intensive search no little man with tickets was to be found. We decided therefore to do what every Cypriot would do in such a case. Without waiting for a number go directly to the counter in the office and push to the front.

Ticket PointThe lady behind the counter gave us the same information about the mysterious little man, but we assured her that he could not be found.  She at first looked a little perplexed and also none of her colleagues could provide information on the whereabouts of the little man but she at last found a stack of waiting numbers on the desk and kindly gave us one of them. We had the number 65 and on the display the next number to be seen was 31. We sat down and stared – as all the others – spellbound at the display, but the number 31 was for a long time unchanged.

Ultimately it still went on and after 2 hours of waiting it was actually our turn. The rest went very quickly indeed and the staff of the immigration authorities were really friendly and helpful.

PassportForeign Residents in Northern Cyprus over the age of 60 years, who apply for the renewal of their residence permit, do not need any longer the health check in a hospital and the visit to the police authorities (as I still do!); it is enough to bring the original passport together with copies of the passport, the title deeds (or sales contract or rental agreement) and the bank statements (or proof of  pension payouts), as well as a confirmation from the Muhtar (urban district mayor) that you live on site. Do not forget the so called “pink book” which is some times light blue (the identidy card for foreigners).

Costs for a 1-year residence permission are actually 250TL, 2 years (only for persons 60+) can be had for 500TL. Not to forget the obligatory post stamp of 10TL, which can be bought at the coffee shop next door (for 11TL!).

In the end, except for the unsuccessful search for the little man, everything went very smoothly with the residence permission. It would be more smoother if there was a machine  providing the waiting numbers (instead of the disappeared little man) and simple leaflets lying somewhere in the waiting room, telling the applicants what documents they need and how the whole procedure works (in Turkish AND English language, please!).