January 30, 2023

Readers mail…
From Ian George…..

Hello CyprusScene,

I thought it might be worth sharing our experience of entering the TRNC through Ercan. We have an apartment in Esentepe and visit three times per year for the last twelve years so we are pretty experienced in the TRNC ways.

So my wife and I downloaded the EU jab certificate and PCR test we had in Dublin. Going through Dublin airport couldn’t have been simpler, just show your passport, ticket and PCR test and away you go.

On arrival at Istanbul they allowed us to go straight to our departure gate rather than going out and back in again, like they do sometimes.

Boarded and arrived ten minutes early but then it all went wrong. After queuing for twenty minutes we were told we had to get a bracelet. Ok no problem so we go to the desk and waited ten minutes only to be told you must have a PCR test. So we have the test, get the paperwork and return to the desk and queue for another 15 minutes. We were told we had to pay 750TL for the bracelet and test and download an app on our phones. So we download the app only to be told they will send us a code to our Turkish phone, which is in our apartment! We found out later that you can use your own mobile to do this.

Surprise, surprise there was a man sitting at the end of the desk selling Turkish SIM cards!! So I bought one, and after another twenty minutes of trying to download the app and queuing back up again, we eventually got back to the desk to pay.

Now, as a regular visitor to Northern Cyprus I have used my debit card hundreds of times over the years. I put my card in the reader put my three numbers in, but it would not go through. My wife got her card out but hers wouldn’t work either. I tried ten times to put my code in but was told you need to put in four numbers! I tried explaining to the girl that UK cards only have three numbers, but she said they cannot complete the payment. So I said no problem I will pay you in cash, but was told sorry only card payments.

So there we were two hours later in the sticky heat in Ercan airport scratching our heads as to what we do next. Luckily our taxi driver came to our rescue and paid for our bracelet on his card and we reimbursed him. We were told to stay indoors for five days, I asked about getting water and food, but all I got was a shrug of the shoulders.

Three hours and ten minutes it took us to get through the airport, whereas our neighbors came through Larnaca, straight to Metehan   crossing, had a quick test which took ten minutes in total and no bracelet!

What is wrong with this government? They allow hundreds to come from the south with just a quick test at the border. Why do you have to have another test and a bracelet at Ercan?

They have succeeded in convincing me to give my money to British Airways rather than Turkish Airlines in the future. With all that’s going on in the world they should be welcoming tourists not making it so difficult that they will not come back.

All the best

Ian George

Editors Note of team experiences

Of course, rules are changing constantly with more requirements for people to abide by like having an ADApass or QR code and it seems individuals need to do their homework and perhaps following this page click here rather than a myriad of other sources where so much confusion is being created due to the fast changing decisions by TRNC authorities leaving published news out of date .

Chris Elliott having been hospitalised for an operation and missing his second vaccination date of 16th August went to Girne State Hospital today 7th September and received with relief his second AstraZeneca injection and then came home and applied online for an ADApass and was successful after some issues completing the online document.

Margaret Sheard who is suffering from cancer and receiving chemotherapy and having been previously advised that it is unwise for cancer patients to be vaccinated whilst undergoing treatment is waiting for a letter from her consultant which she understands she is required to be submitted to the Ministry of Health to request exclusion permission so that she will receive free PCR tests when needed.

2 thoughts on “A nightmare when we arrived at Ercan Airport

  1. I have to say that our experience flying from Dublin to Ercan two weeks ago was very different.
    Like Chris says we did our homework and knew exactly what was required before we left Ireland.
    The only question we had for ourselves was would our TRNC SIM cards still work since we’d had an enforced COVID absence of over 18 months. In some places that would have been sufficient for our pay-as-you-go accounts to have been closed, but we had topped up our numbers fairly regularly (by the minimum amount) using our TRNC on-line banking app. On arrival in Istanbul the SIM card was put into one of our phones and eureka! It worked.
    So the Guvende Kal app was downloaded during our two hour stopover in Istanbul and the details filled in ready for our arrival at Ercan.
    As regards the five day home quarantine we’d arranged for a “welcome pack” of essentials and water to be left for us which got us over our first night (breakfast next day consisted of the Denny’s sausages and rashers which most Irish people bring with them whenever they go abroad!). Friends then brought us sufficient for the remaining days of our quarantine and left them for us at the gate – social distancing being properly observed!
    The end of quarantine couldn’t have been simpler with the Guvende Kal system and now we’re firmly settled back home.
    As always, and as shown above, your mileage may vary but good planning and preparation are essential.

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