Travel to Cyprus: latest Covid rules and holiday advice

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Cyprus remains one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful islands, but like so many has taken a firm stance when it comes to Covid-19 protocols. 

It operates what has become known as a SafePass, which is a vaccination certificate showing you are fully vaccinated with at least two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Alternatively, you may present a negative PCR test certificate not more than 72 hours old. You may be asked to show a form of identification to prove the SafePass or negative test certificate belongs to you. Your certificate must clearly show your QR code, which will be scanned when you enter the premises. It should be downloaded onto a mobile device or presented in a printed form.

Visitors to Cyprus are obliged to follow the same rules as locals. For Britons, if you are fully vaccinated, are certified as having recovered from Covid-19 or hold an European Union Digital Certificate, you must still apply for a Cyprus Flight Pass 48 hours before departure and present it in an electronic or printed form.

Unvaccinated Britons must take a PCR test 72 hours before departure in order to apply for the Cyprus Flight Pass, and another PCR test on arrival at Paphos or Larnaca airport at your expense. Cruise ship visitors will be required to show their Covid-19 status and disembarkation card. Other visitors arriving by sea through a legal point of entry must show proof by the administrator of the marina and their Covid-19 status.

Visitors will find that most bars and restaurants, and places of interest are open, albeit it with a quieter atmosphere than experienced prior to the pandemic, as a result of the recent introduction of the SafePass, and its equivalent certificates as above. 

Can I travel to Cyprus? 

Yes. Cyprus is categorised as low risk by the UK Government, meaning you can visit. The UK did however enter Cyprus’s red category on July 8. Fully-vaccinated Britons can enter without tests, but everyone else must take a test 72 hours before departure and provide proof on arrival. You must then undergo another PCR test upon arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports, and remain in self-isolation until the result is issued. Test results should be available within three hours through the online platform. Passengers must pay for both tests.

Are flights operating?

Yes. British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are among the airlines operating flights to Cyprus.

Will I be insured if I go? 

The FCDO does not warn against non-essential travel to Cyprus, meaning your insurance is likely to be valid if you visit Cyprus, but do check your policy.

Do I need to take a test before travel to Cyprus?

If you have not been fully vaccinated, you will need to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure. Children who arrive in the Republic of Cyprus before their 12th birthday, are exempted from the testing requirement – children aged 12 and over who have not received two vaccinations should follow the same advice for adults who have not received two vaccinations.

Do I need to fill in any forms? 

Yes. The FCDO advises: “All categories of travellers must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before their journey, available on the Cyprus Flight Pass website. Where relevant, you will be responsible for ensuring your PCR test result is uploaded to Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours of your departure. If you need to provide your appointment letter you can upload both documents in a single photo. In addition to obtaining the Cyprus Flight Pass, passengers are required to carry with them, in hard copy or electronically, copies of these documents. You will be asked to present your flight pass prior to boarding and on arrival at immigration.”

Do I need to self-isolate on arrival? 

If you have not been fully vaccinated, you must take a PCR on entry to Cyprus and isolate until your tests return. The FCDO explains: “You must undergo another PCR test upon arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports. Test results should be available within three hours through the online platform.”

Essential tick-list: What do I need to travel to Cyprus?

Make sure you have the right paperwork and documents for your trip:

Before travelling, you will need:

  • Certification of your Covid vaccination – provided digitally (through the NHS app) or as a printout (this can be requested from the NHS by calling 119).
  • If you are not fully vaccinated you will need a certificate of a negative PCR test, taken 72 hours prior to departure.
  • All passengers need a Cyprus Flight Card, with pre-loaded test results if applicable, in an electronic or printed form.
  • Any additional non-Covid related visa/entry documents.

On arrival, you must:

  • If you are not fully vaccinated you must undergo another PCR test upon arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports, and remain in self-isolation until the result is issued. Test results should be available within three hours through the online platform.

Returning to the UK

Anyone arriving in the UK must take a lateral flow test and fill out a Passenger Locator Form. Due to concerns over the omicron variant, from 4am on November 30, all travellers (regardless of vaccination status) must take a day 2 PCR test on arrival in the UK – to be taken by the end of the second full day after arrival – and isolate until a negative result is received. Anyone who tests positive must isolate for 10 days.  Unvaccinated travellers must also take a PCR test on or after day 8 and isolate until day 10 unless opting into Test to Release. You can find the Government’s rules on testing before departure here.  

Do I need to wear a mask? 

It is compulsory for everyone over 12 years of age to wear a mask in all public inside and outside areas, including supermarkets, shopping malls, offices and banks, bars and other evening venues, and restaurants except when sitting at a table. Masks should be worn on all public transport. This rule applies to visitors as well as residents and employees of, for example, shops. Most people respect the ruling.

What are the rules on beaches? 

While a SafePass is mandatory for any place where 10 or more people might gather, one of the exceptions is beaches. Others are parks, linear parks, dams and nature paths. Social distancing is, nonetheless, in place on all public beaches and the use of masks is compulsory for everyone over the age of 12 years if moving around. If remaining sitting or sunbathing then masks may be removed. Social distancing and sanitisation measures are in place.

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