Northern Cyprus Residency
Permit update – April 2015
By Chris Elliott…….
The subject of obtaining or not a residency permit when you want to stay in Northern Cyprus has always been the subject of much controversy and debate and no more so than when Citizens Advice Cyprus kindly contributed an article on May 31st 2014 in which they said:
“Citizens Advice Cyprus would like to advise expatriate residents in North Cyprus of the latest news regarding Residency Applications.
If you are 60 or above, you no longer need to apply for a yearly residency stamp in your passport. You are free to enter and exit the TRNC as often as you like and stay here for as long as you like.”
To read this full article please click here.
I have noted my own personal experience as follows when realising my residency permit had expired and how I resolved the issue.
A few weeks ago I had to return to the UK urgently for a week and on my return to Ercan airport I was greeted by a charming Immigration Policeman who said “Sir, your Temporary Residency has expired.
My reply was OMG what do we do now and he replied. “Sir you are over 60 so you can stay here as long as you like. I will give you a 90 day permit”. I walked away from Ercan happy that I had not been penalised for not renewing the permit when I should have.
So I could have done nothing and simply remained here in TRNC on 90 day permits but I decided to face the music and I went to the Immigration offices with my paperwork and within 1 hour I paid for and received a new 2 year Temporary Residency Permit (with a smile) backdated to the expiry of the last one and was not penalised for failing to update it when I should have. At least my run of permits has not been disrupted so I am in a better position to apply for permanent residency or even citizenship when the time is right. I should add that there has been a small increase in the cost of the residency permit and revenue stamps over the fees shown in the BRS article below.
So there we have it, we all have it seems a choice over the age of 60 to apply for a residency permit or not until further facts are made known.
Following the Citizens Advice Cyprus posting on cyprusscene.com there was much debate in the social media and great efforts were made by the British Residents’ Society to clarify the situation in the following posting shown below which was placed on their website which you can read or their other information and news by clicking here
Everyone coming to live in the TRNC must observe their rules on residency. Failure to do so will result in heavy fines and may lead to deportation. After your initial 90 day visa expires, you must apply for residency. Until you obtain Permanent Residency, all residency visas are classed as “Temporary”.
On your first application, visit the Immigration Section at your local Police station. (Opening hours are typically Mon-Fri 0815-1145)
You must take with you
- Your valid passport, and a photocopy of the photo page
- 2 recent passport photos
- A photocopy, of your property sale contract, kocan (deed) or rental contract in your name
- Local bank statement showing holder’s name and latest balance
- (Typically you will need to have £10,000 or tl equivalent, per person)
- TL 10 in revenue stamps (from local Post Office)
- Original letter from your local Muhtar, bearing two signatures and 1.30 TL revenue stamps. (This is required to prove your residency address)
- Married couples should produce their marriage certificate, with a photocopy
- Dependents over 18 years will need a notarised statement from their sponsor (eg parents) promising financial support.
If a couple apply together, each person must have a full set of documents. For the first year it is only possible to obtain a residency permit for one year. For successive renewals a 2 year option is available, but only if you are aged 60 or over.
If the documents are in order, you will be asked to obtain a medical test. You will be directed to your local State Hospital, eg residents of Lefke will go to Guzelyurt, Karpaz residents will go to Gazimagusa and Girne residents to Girne State Hospital.
In Girne, Take your passport and the paperwork given to you by the Police. Enter the Hospital from the visitors’ car park at the rear of the hospital, on the lower level, and go to the cashiers desks just past the small cafe. You will need to take a number from the number dispensing machine by the Cashiers desk. You will be called in turn and allocated a specific test laboratory where you should go for blood tests and TB test. The fee, currently, is TL135. The laboratory will ask you to return after a few days to check for a reaction to the TB test.
Obtain your medical test from the designated medical laboratory. Return to the police station with all the documents listed in 1 + receipt from your medical test.
After approx one week, you can sign for and collect the test results in a sealed envelope from the hospital (lower ground floor). Do not open the envelope.
After about 3 weeks (4 for Karpaz residents) you go to the Immigration Dept in Lefkosa, taking with you
- Your passport
- Your medical report
- The current residency fee
- TL10.5 in revenue stamps (You can buy stamps in the Ministry Cafe on the same floor)
If all is in order, your residency permit will be stamped in your passport (while you wait) and you will be given a pink or blue registration booklet
For annual renewal
- Under 60’s still need blood tests and x-rays ( For over 60’s read section below )
- Take your registration booklet+ up to date versions of the documents listed above
- Photocopy of the last residence stamp in your passport
- No passport photos are needed
- No revenue stamps are needed.
If your address has changed since your last renewal please ensure that Muhtar’s letter shows this.
Applications for renewal should be made between 30 and 15 days before the permit expires. Don’t let your permit expire: there are hefty fines for doing so!
PLEASE NOTE THAT ANYONE WHO WILL BE ABSENT FROM THE TRNC AT THE TIME THEIR RESIDENCY IS DUE, MUST VISIT IMMIGRATION IN LEFKOSA BEFORE LEAVING THE COUNTRY AND ADVISE THEM OF LIKELY TIME THEY WILL BE AWAY, SO THAT THE AUTHORITIES CAN MAKE A SYSTEM ENTRY TO THAT EFFECT.
Applicants over 60 need to take medical tests on their first application, but not on subsequent renewals. Over 60s may also request a permit valid for 2 years (at double the cost) when they go to the Ministry to get the permit stamped in their passport.
Residence permits will not normally be issued to persons who live and work abroad or to their dependents, even if the dependents wish to remain in TRNC full time.
Temporary residence permits must be renewed annually or bi-annually. Fees as at 1st January 2013 are as follows:
- 250TL for a year
- 500TL for 2 years
If your permit has expired, don’t leave the TRNC without renewing it. In emergencies, renewal can be expedited.
For those residents that are under 60.
If you have to leave TRNC in an emergency and your permit has expired/is being processed/will expire while you are out of the country, contact Immigration at the Ministry of Interior and inform them. Don’t try to get a letter or advice from the Police: they are not authorised to give advice or issue such letters. Upon your return please ensure that you go through the renewal procedure within 30 days of your return; your renewal however will be backdated to your anniversary renewal date.
Dependents of Work Permit holders must apply for Residence Permits.
Work permit holders who give up work completely should give up their work permits and apply for residence permits. Do not give up a work permit if you intend to do any work at all.
Over 60s – New Residency Rules
OVER 60’s RESIDENCY
The Over 60’s residency exemption has been the subject of much confusion for the ex-pat community. The BRS has had several meetings with the government to investigate how the system could be changed in such a way that a residency stamp or similar could be provided. After much discussion with the immigration management and their legal advisor, it was agreed that the present system would be simplified for the Over 60’s. However, before providing details of the new process, the question of whether over 60’s need annual residency has to be addressed. There has been contrasting advice on this subject so we will attempt to clarify matters.”
Please clickhere to read the advice in full.
“Blood Donor Exemptions for under 60’s
Anyone who gives blood 3 times per annum, one of which must be done within 30 days of residency renewal will not have to pay for their annual blood test. For further details or problems, contact Prue Lundie on 0542 8551114 or visit the Blood Donor section of this website.
Permanent Residency THIS PROCESS IS PRESENTLY BEING REVIEWED, AND IS THEREFORE SUSPENDED
Once you have a minimum of 5 successive “physical ” annual residency stamps you may apply for permanent residency. Please note that a two year residency stamp counts as 1 stamp so the criteria is not 5 successive years.
A permanent residency application form can be obtained from the police. At the time of entry (March 2013), you will also be required to produce all the normal residency documentation plus a form confirming that you have no criminal record. A blood test and chest X-ray will also be required, regardless of your age.
The cost of permanent residency is linked to the minimum wage figure. As this changes frequently it is advisable to ask the police to provide you with the current charge at the time of your application. As a rough guide, the figure, excluding the costs of blood tests and x-rays was approx 1600tl in March 2013.
As with other residency procedures, you complete the formalities at Lefkosa, pay the appropriate fees and collect your residency permit. You should allow a greater time interval for permanent residency application to finalisation, say 4 weeks.
As with all Govt office visits, we would like your feedback of the procedures and costs.”