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State Department: Cyprus - Consular Information Sheet, April 8, 1999


Cyprus - Consular Information Sheet
April 8, 1999

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cyprus is a developed Mediterranean island nation divided "de facto" into two areas. The government of the Republic of Cyprus is the internationally recognized authority on the island but, in practice, its control extends only to the Greek Cypriot southern part of the island. The northern area operates under an autonomous Turkish Cypriot administration. In 1983, this administration declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which is recognized only by Turkey. Facilities for tourism in the Republic of Cyprus are highly developed; most facilities in northern Cyprus, while adequate, tend to be smaller and less modern. The Cyprus Tourism Authority's home page is http://www.cyprustourism.org.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required. Tourist and business visas are issued at the port of entry for a stay of up to three months. For additional information concerning entry requirements for Cyprus, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus at 2211 R Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, Tel: (202) 462-5772, or the Consulate in New York, 13 E. 40th St., New York, New York, 10016, Tel: (212) 686- 6016. Overseas, travelers should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Cyprus.

Since 1974, the Cypriot government has designated Larnaca and Paphos international airports, and the seaports of Limassol, Larnaca, and Paphos as the only legal points of entry into and exit from Cyprus. These ports are all in the government-controlled southern part of the island. Entry or exit via any other air or seaport is not authorized by the Cypriot government. It is possible for visitors to arrive at non- designated airports and seaports in the north, but they should not expect to cross the United Nations-patrolled "green line" to the government-controlled areas in the south. Such travel is not permitted by the government of Cyprus, even for transit purposes. Visitors arriving through designated ports of entry in the south normally are able to cross into the north for day trips. Policy and procedures regarding such travel are subject to change.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Good medical facilities are available. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. The Medicare/Medicaid program does not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Travelers have found that in some cases, supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proved to be useful.

Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via its home page and autofax service.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention9s international traveler9s hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), via their autofax service at 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3229), or its Internet home page at http://www.cdc.gov.

CRIME INFORMATION: Cyprus has a low rate of crime. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables and protecting personal safety while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State9s pamphlet "A Safe Trip Abroad." It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/, or http://travel.state.gov.

DRUG PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the country in which they are traveling. In Cyprus, the penalties for possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

TERRORIST ACTIVITIES: While civil disorder is uncommon in Cyprus, demonstrations sometimes occur, and there have been occasional violent incidents along the "green line" dividing the two sides of the island. Terrorist groups from the Middle East have occasionally used Cyprus as a site for carrying out acts of terrorism against third-country targets.

DUAL NATIONALITY: U.S. citizens whom the Cypriot government considers to be Cypriot citizens may be subject to compulsory military service and other aspects of Cypriot law while in Cyprus. Those who may be affected should inquire at the Cypriot Embassy regarding their status. U.S. citizens whom the Turkish-Cypriot authorities consider to be "citizens" may be subject to compulsory military service in northern Cyprus. In some instances, dual nationality may hamper U.S. Government efforts to provide protection abroad.

ROAD CONDITIONS/TRAFFIC SAFETY: Cyprus has a modern highway system linking major cities and towns. Secondary roads, however, especially in mountainous areas, tend to be narrow and winding and are less well maintained. Traffic moves on the left. Visitors to Cyprus should drive defensively, as Cyprus has one of the highest road fatality rates in Europe.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Condition/Maintainance: Good
Rural Road Condition/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service between the United States and Cyprus, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Cyprus9s civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Cyprus9s air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet home page at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288.

Y2K INFORMATION: U.S. citizens contemplating traveling or residing abroad in late 1999 or early 2000 should be aware of potential difficulties. They may wish to consider taking practical precautions against possible disruptions of services triggered by the Y2K computer phenomenon. Monitor the home page of the Department of State for updates on Y2K issues.

REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY LOCATION: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security in Cyprus. The U.S. Embassy in Nicosia is located at Metochiou and Ploutarchou Street, Engomi, telephone (357)(2) 776-400; Internet address: http://www.americanembassy.org.cy. The U.S. Government also maintains an office in northern Cyprus at 6 Saran Street, Kaymakli, Nicosia, telephone (392) 225-2440.

Department of State travel information publications are available at Internet address: http://travel.state.gov/. U.S. travelers may hear recorded information by calling (202) 647-5225 from a touchtone telephone, or receive information by automated telefax by dialing (202) 647-3000 from their fax machine.

*****

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet issued January 16, 1998, to update information on country description, entry requirements, medical facilities, dual nationality, road conditions, aviation safety oversight, Y2K information, and registration.

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Friday, 9 April 1999