Features of the entry of foreign nationals into Northern Cyprus under quarantine conditions 2020

On 14 July, 2020 it was announced that Northern Cyprus, after several months of complete isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was opening its borders to foreign nationals from all over the world. However, the government of the northern part of the island has established special rules for entry into the TRNC, according to which, all countries from which visitors to the island arrive are divided into three categories «A», «B» and «C». It is important to note that visitors from the list of countries of category «C» can come to Northern Cyprus by air or sea but then they would have to quarantine for 14 days in accordance with the regulations. However, there is an alternative way of arriving in the TRNC, bypassing the need to quarantine, by taking a  a two-week transit through Turkey or any other country of category «A» or «B» in accordance with the list of established rules.

Rule of 14 days when visiting Northern Cyprus

In light of the events associated with the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which Northern Cyprus had completely overcome by the end of April 2020, the state approved special rules for the entry of foreign nationals in order to further keep the situation under control, which is a point of pride for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The established rules of entry set out the following procedures:

In case of arrival in the TRNC of foreign nationals from countries of category «C», the tourist must pass a PCR test at the airport or seaport, after which they will be taken to one of the hotels used by the state to quarantine newly arrived guests on the island.

The established rules of entry imply the following procedures:

In case of arrival in the TRNC of foreign citizens from countries of category «C», the tourist must pass the PCR test at the airport or seaport, after which he will be taken to one of the hotels used by the state to quarantine newly arrived guests of the island.

The cost of quarantining is 265 Turkish lira (£27) per day and arriving visitors must pay these costs themselves. The price includes accommodation and three meals a day in the hotel restaurant. Children from 0 to 6 years old are quarantined for free. All medical tests, including the first one upon arrival in the TRNC and the second one after the end of quarantine, are also paid by visitors to the island. The cost of one test is 300 Turkish lira. Children under 2 years of age are exempt from the test. All expenses for quarantine and testing, tourists have pay themselves upon arrival at the hotel.

It is important to note that only flights from Turkey arrive at Ercan Airport (TRNC), since Northern Cyprus has a special international diplomatic status of a partially recognized state. In this regard, during a transit transfer at Turkish airports for flights bound for the TRNC, passengers will be required to show confirmation of the test results for COVID-19, made at least 72 hours before departure, before they can board. This can be confirmation from the country the passenger has travelled from or in the case of a transit stop, you can present the results of testing carried out in Turkey with similar requirements within the required time interval before the start of registration of flights to Northern Cyprus. Passengers who do not have confirmation of negative PCR test results, who must be confirmed by the border services of the TRNC before departure from Turkey, will not be allowed to board the plane.

When entering the island through sea or air gates, different requirements apply to tourists arriving from different categories of countries, which can be found in more detail below:

The procedure for entering the TRNC from different countries according to the degree of risk of infection

Tourists from countries in category «A» can enter the TRNC without going through quarantine if they have confirmation of negative test results from at least 72 hours before arrival on the island (less than that is not permitted) in the country from which the traveller has arrived.

In the absence of documentary confirmation of negative results of the PCR test among those entering from countries of category «A», tourists will need to undergo testing upon entry to the TRNC and then be kept under observation (for which they will have to pay themselves) until the results are received at one of the hotels allocated for these purposes, as mentioned above.

Similar requirements apply to all tourists arriving in the TRNC in transit through the southern part of the island, crossing the checkpoint between South and North Cyprus.

List of countries included in category «A»

The list of countries with the lowest risk of contracting coronavirus belonging to category «A»: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand.

In the case of transit entry from countries of category «A» to the territory of the TRNC through South Cyprus or Turkey, tourists are subject to the rules applicable to countries of category «B» only in the absence of documentary confirmation of a negative result of the PCR test performed at least 72 hours before the moment of arrival in the TRNC. If results are confirmed, the entry procedure remains unchanged under the rules for Category «A» countries.

Conditions of arrival from countries of category «B»

he current list of countries with an average risk of the spread of COVID-19 included in category «B»: Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Monaco, the Netherlands, Rwanda, San Marino, Singapore, South Cyprus, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Uruguay, Vatican City.

Visitors to Northern Cyprus arriving from countries belonging to category «B» must provide negative results of a PCR test carried out between 72 and 120 hours before entering the TRNC. After passing a similar test upon entering the country, tourists must sign a written commitment to comply with the self-isolation regime until the results of the test carried out at entry are received, which will be sent to their mobile phone via SMS within 2-3 days.

In the event that, upon entering the country, the tourist provides the results of testing carried out less than 2 days before arrival in the TRNC, the individual will be taken to a special hotel for a three-day quarantine, after which a PCR test will be done. All costs associated with quarantine and testing are paid by tourists themselves.

Quarantine rules for entry from countries of category «C»

The list of countries with a high risk of the spread of coronavirus included in group «C», subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the TRNC:

Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Kazakhstan, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

Visitors to Northern Cyprus arriving from this list of countries are required to provide documentary evidence of a negative PCR test for COVID-19, carried out 72-120 hours before departure from the country of origin. An official document confirming a negative test result will also be required by a traveller before departure from Turkey at the time of a transit transfer, since without this, the passenger will not be allowed to board a flight to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Upon arrival of visitors from countries of category «C» to Northern Cyprus, representatives of the Ministry of Health of the TRNC will conduct an interim test and after that they will accommodate tourists for 14 days in one of the hotels set aside to ensure quarantine measures upon arrival of guests on the island.

After the end of the quarantine, the tourist is obliged to undergo control testing, which, in case of negative results, will allow them to leave the quarantine zone.

In the event that a tourist from a country of group «C» before arriving in Northern Cyprus, was in the territory of Turkey or the southern Republic of the island for at least 14 days, they are automatically subject to the set of quarantine rules for countries of category «B».

Arrival in Northern Cyprus bypassing quarantine through a two-week holiday in Turkey

At the end of July 2020, the government of the TRNC announced that a mandatory seven-day quarantine would not be introduced for guests arriving from Turkey, as previously assumed.

Today, citizens of countries belonging to category «C» already have access to a proven way to get to Northern Cyprus bypassing the long and expensive quarantine, which can be safely avoided with a two-week holiday in Turkey. By taking the option of arriving from a country of category «C» to the territory of Turkey, tourists can safely spend 14 days freely relaxing by the sea without any restrictions and in addition save money, since after a two-week stay in the territory of a transit country that is in the group of average risk of infection, visitors to the island automatically receive the status of arrivals from a country of category «B», but only if they pass the PCR test directly in Turkey, at least 72 hours before arriving at Ercan International Airport (TRNC).

This option for coming to Northern Cyprus was successfully tested by many tourists who arrived from the countries of group «C», and who shared this good news on social networks and forums about Northern Cyprus. In order to avoid the compulsory and costly two-week quarantine in the TRNC, it is much more practical in all respects to get to the island through a two-week transit in the territory of Turkey in the form of a safe break by the sea.

Flights to and from Northern Cyprus in 2020

According to the Northern Cypriot print publication Resmi Gazete, for the second half of July 2020, the Turkish airline PEGASUS has increased the number of flights from Turkish airports to Northern Cyprus to three per day.

At the moment, the following air transportation routes are open from Turkey to the TRNC:

  • Istanbul — Ercan — Istanbul;
  • Ankana — Ercan — Ankara;
  • Adana — Ercan — Adana.

Current epidemiological situation in the TRNC

In the period of July 2020, among the visitors to the TRNC, 23 infected with COVID-19 were identified, who were immediately isolated and taken for treatment to a specially designated state clinic. According to communications from the Ministry of Health, it is known that 5 out of the 23 people were discharged after successful treatment, and the remaining 18 patients were placed in a quarantine hospital ward and are being prepared for discharge.

It is also known that today there are no patients in the TRNC who are in need of intensive care. The northern part of the island has all the necessary medical equipment and drugs to effectively fight the coronavirus.

Since the opening of the land, sea and air gates of the country from 1 July 2020, cases of infection have been recorded only among tourists who arrived on holiday or for the purpose of buying real estate in Northern Cyprus. At the time of publication of this information, there are no identified cases of COVID-19 infection among the local population of the TRNC. Today, Northern Cyprus is a completely clean island and completely free of coronavirus, as evidenced by the strict quarantine measures under the watchful supervision of the country’s government.