UK Foreign Office issues warning for Brits going on holiday to Cyprus

UK Foreign Office latest advice for tourists visiting Cyprus
UK Foreign Office latest advice for tourists visiting Cyprus -Credit:Julian Nyča / WikiCommons

The latest advice from the UK Foreign Office about visiting Cyprus has warned of political demonstrations, crime and safety. With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters and summer temperatures reaching 30C, it's no surprise that Cyprus is a favourite among British holidaymakers.

However, the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have raised concerns for those planning to visit the Mediterranean island due to its close proximity. Cyprus is generally seen as a safe holiday destination, but the British government's advice for travellers does include some warnings about political demonstrations, crime and safety, reports Birmingham Live.

The UK Foreign Office last updated its guidance on travel to Cyprus in February. If you've got a holiday booked to Cyprus or are considering booking one, see below for the latest travel advice.

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What is the British government's advice about travelling to Cyprus?

The most recent travel advice from the UK Foreign Office does not advise against travel to Cyprus, so it can be considered generally safe to visit. However, the government does warn that protests can occur with little warning in cities.

The Foreign Office states: "Events in the Middle East have led to heightened tensions and demonstrations are likely. Avoid any protests, political gatherings, or marches and leave the area if one develops. Local transport routes may be disrupted."

Has Cyprus been affected by the Middle East crisis?

Cyprus, while not directly impacted by the ongoing crisis between Israel and Hamas, has seen a rise in tensions due to its significant Israeli population. Local Cypriot press have reported an increase in security measures across the island in recent months.

What are the entry requirements for Cyprus?

As a member of the EU, Cyprus' entry requirements are similar to those of Spain and Greece. UK citizens must ensure their passport is less than ten years old and has at least three months remaining from the intended departure date.

UK holidaymakers do not require a visa for visits to Cyprus lasting less than 90 days, whether for tourism, visiting friends or family, attending business meetings, cultural or sports events, or short-term studies or training.

Despite being part of the EU, Cyprus is not within the Schengen area, meaning time spent there does not contribute to your 90-day visa-free limit in the Schengen zone. It's important for British citizens to remember to get their passports stamped upon entering and exiting Cyprus, as border officials use these stamps to verify you haven't overstayed.

Upon arrival in Cyprus, tourists may be asked to present a return or onward ticket and could be required to prove they have sufficient funds for the duration of their stay.

Local rules affecting UK tourists

UK tourists heading to Cyprus should be mindful of the country's laws and customs. Notably, Cyprus enforces stringent rules on goods that can be imported or exported from the nation.

Visitors are required to declare any items subject to tax or duty, and it is prohibited to bring meat, milk or products containing them into the country. Exceptions include powdered baby milk, baby food, and special foods needed for medical purposes.

While crime against tourists is relatively rare in Cyprus, the UK Foreign Office advises visitors to 'take sensible precautions'. Personal attacks, including sexual assaults and drink spiking, are not common, but holidaymakers are advised to purchase their own drinks, keep an eye on them at all times, and avoid separating from their group.

Cyprus has a strict zero-tolerance policy towards illegal drugs, including laughing gas. Those found in possession of drugs could face fines or imprisonment.

Same-sex relationships are legal in Cyprus and civil partnerships are recognised, however, acceptance may not be as widespread as in the UK. In the north of Cyprus, same-sex relationships are legal but not widely accepted.

Tourists are also warned against taking photographs near sensitive areas like military buildings, as this could lead to arrest. Additionally, when swimming in the sea, travellers should be wary of strong waves and currents.

It is recommended to heed warning signs and only swim at approved beaches.

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