Northern Cyprus Residency Permit and Driving Licence update – May 2015

Northern Cyprus Residency

Permit and Driving Licence

update – May 2015


By Chris Elliott…….

I wrote an article recently click here that gave examples of statements by Citizens Advice Cyprus  and the British Residents’ Society which advised whether it is necessary for expatriates of over 60 years of age to obtain a residency permit, or not, when you want to stay in Northern Cyprus.

In this article I also explained how on returning from the UK I discovered at Ercan immigration that my residency permit had expired but was told that as I was over 60 years of age I did not need British passporta residency permit and my passport was stamped for a 90 day stay so I decided I wanted to continue to have a temporary residency permit and visited the Lefkosa office and completed my application and had my passport brought up to date with a new permit.

Interestingly friends have recently needed to have their permits renewed and have sent the following explanation of what they experienced so that other readers can be aware of the current situation and should make their own choices to renew, or not, their temporary residency permit.

“Hi Chris,

Don’t know if this is of any interest to you but Roy and I went to Lefkosa this week to renew our residency. For 2 years, for 2 people, the cost is now 1064tl and the stamp is 10.5tl each.

However, we did ask the lady at the residency desk if we needed to renew our residency as we are both over 60 years of age. She said that no, we didn’t need to but that the onus was really on us. If we opted out of renewing our residency but  still wished to have a Turkish driving licence (which we do) then we could, instead, obtain a letter from the village Muhtar where his signature would require 2 further witnesses at that time. We would then have to produce that letter when applying for driving licence renewal in the office above the residency office (same building); this applies only if we did not have a residency stamp in our passports.

In other words, when applying for a Turkish Cypriot driving licence without a residency stamp then alternative evidence of address in the TRNC is required.

So, it looks as though this issue still remains ‘up in the air’ and we decided not to take the risk but to get another 2 years stamped in our passports – to save any arguments at the border etc.  Wouldn’t Government clarification be marvellous??  None of us really know what to do and most of us don’t want a lot of hassle in our older years so we opt for ‘safety’!!

Best wishes,



2 replies »

  1. When we became regular visitors to North Cyprus, 29 years ago, we never intended to stay for more than 90 days, so there was no need to get involved with residency, driving licences and all of the other requirements invented and frequently changed by the North Cyprus administration. However, 15 years ago, when we bought a house and decided to spend more time here, we felt that it was time to investigate the residency procedures. We had become members of the British Residents’ Society and although this was before the building frenzy and the attendant influx of many expatriates, we assumed that the BRS would would have a simple fact sheet describing the types of residency and the requirements and procedures. I sent two emails, asking if that was the case and if so, could we have one; I did not receive a reply or even acknowledgement to either. Previously, I had asked if there was a fact sheet on the procedure for making a will in North Cyprus; I was given a fact sheet telling us no more than that it was advisable to make a will (which everyone should know already, regardless of where they live) but nothing at all about the procedure here.

    During the 15 years since we bought the house, we have spent a lot of time here but have never stayed on the island for more than 90 days at one time and although that can be a nuisance at times, we did not trouble to investigate the residency procedures again, until the special arrangements for over-60s was announced. As with all regulations in North Cyprus, the changes seemed complex and contradictory but in a Cyprus Scene article, there was a link to Citizens’ Advice Cyprus, for further information. I sent an email asking for any information on residency, with particular reference to over 60s; as with the BRS, I received no response.

    On the topic of driving licences, a few years ago we were stopped at a routine police check and asked for our documents. The surly policeman scoured our driving licences, ‘log book’, insurance policy and 3-yearly police check certificate. He seized upon our UK driving licences and asked why we were driving a car with “Turkish” number plates. I pointed out that the number plates were North Cyprus and not Turkish and we were driving the car because we owned it and had done so since we bought it in North Cyprus. All of the other documents were in order but he pointed out, aggressively, that our insurance and police check were due at the end of the month and we had better make sure that they were renewed (he didn’t add “or else”) and if we wanted to drive a locally registered car, we needed local licences and we had better get some. I had not heard of this regulation but enquired of the police and was told by a senior officer that, not only did we not need local licences, we could not get them even if we wanted to, as we did not have residency; the traffic policeman was quite wrong (after all, his speciality was traffic regulations – he may even have been given some training!).

    It is impossible to imagine the criticism that the UK government would get (ECHR, Human Rights etc.) if they made foreigners jump through so many hoops.

    • Hello Ray,

      Thank you for your comment highlighting some of the frustrations many people that have visited TRNC or live here have also experienced in the past although it has to be said that we have seen incredible improvements here. I can remember when doing residency in the past people used to line up all night and I have stood in some of those cues. Now when you arrive at the Lefkosa offices having done the provisional preparation you will find cues are orderly and managed and you should wait no more than one hour to be served.

      There is now a lot of information on websites and both the British Residents’ Society and Citizens Advice Cyprus have websites giving information.

      As for organisations that do not reply to emails this clearly is not acceptable and you may have an alternative organisation you may wish to deal with.

      Again I would like to say that the warmth and interest shown by most people we deal with here is excellent and could be seen as a role model for those teaching their staff how to care for customers in the UK.