Travel to Cyprus: latest Covid rules and holiday advice

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. The rule applies for anyone over 12 years of age. You may be asked to show a form of identify 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 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 apply for your 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 previous green and amber lists have merged into a singular ‘Go’ category. 

The UK entered Cyprus’s red category on July 8. Double-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 double 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 permitted 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 double-jabbed, you must take a PCR on entry to Cyprus and isolated 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

To return to the UK, you will need:

  • A completed passenger locator form.
  • If not fully vaccinated, you will need to take a pre-departure test, taken 72 hours before returning, and show a certificate before boarding your flight home.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to self isolate for ten days when arriving from any country, taking a PCR test on day two, and another on day eight, with the option to ‘test to release’ on day five.
  • If vaccinated a lateral test, taken within 48 hours of arriving back in the UK. A full list of Government accredited companies can be found here.

Exemptions may apply, and rules may vary for children. See the full FCDO travel requirements 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. It is recommended for children to wear masks. 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.





Social distancing is in place on all public beaches


Credit: Getty

What are the rules in bars?

It is compulsory to wear a face mask until seated when entering inside areas of bars, along with nightclubs and event venues. The serving of drinks at a bar is prohibited. You will need to show a SafePass, or its equivalent, and may be asked for ID, if the bar can cater for more than 10 people, including employees. This applies for outdoor and inside areas. You will be required to social distance (two metres).  

What are the rules for restaurants?

As with bars, you will be required to show a SafePass, or its equivalent, when entering a restaurant that can cater for more than 10 people. The restaurant must deny entry for anyone without a SafePass, or inform the authorities of anyone who refuses to show a SafePass. The fine for non-compliance is hefty. Masks must be worn until seated. Only seated service is allowed with the maximum number of people per table set at eight.

What are the rules for shopping?

You must wear a face mask and social distance (two metres) in all shops. A SafePass must be shown when entering a shop that can accommodate more than 10 people, but not, for example, a bakery where a handful of people may be at any one time. A SafePass is necessary for larger supermarkets, department stores and shopping malls. Authorised officers will scan your QR code and have the right to ask for identification. Sanitizing gel is provided at the entrance to shops, which you are required to use. A sign is displayed at the entrance of such stores stating the maximum number of people allowed inside at any one time. 

What are the rules in hotels?

Hotels are obliged to follow similar protocols as businesses, such as in the retail and catering sectors, in so far as domestic guests must possess a SafePass and non-resident guests must show a Cyprus Flight Card or a European Union Digital Certificate in an electronic or printed form. Social distancing and mask-wearing is mandatory. Hotels must display their guidelines prominently. Hotels may choose to host only vaccinated guests, which they must make clear prior to accepting a booking.

What are the rules on public transport? 

All passengers aged 12 years and over must present a SafePass or its equivalent when boarding a public bus, a private tour vehicle, using shuttle buses to and from airports or seaports, or using a taxi. All vehicle drivers and employees of such transport companies must be in possession of a SafePass. It is mandatory to wear a facemask. All such companies must show the current protocols prominently at their premises or inside their vehicles. Maximum capacity is 50 per cent.

Shall I take cash, or pay for everything on card? 

While making payments electronically is encouraged throughout Cyprus, and is available at shops, salons and catering establishments, cash is still widely accepted. A handful of businesses, such as transport and tour vehicles for example, are exempt from offering passengers the option to purchase a ticket by card onboard, but may at the companies’ premises. Small shops, such as bakeries or kiosks where a purchase is unlikely to amount to more than a few Euros, cash is welcomed.

Do I need to take a test before travelling back to England? 

It depends on your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to take a pre-departure test 72 hours before arriving back in the UK. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must take a test (lateral flow are accepted) 72 hours before travelling home, using a Government-certified testing company. You can find the Government’s rules on testing before departure, here.

Do I need to self isolate on my return to England?

It depends on your vaccination status. If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to self isolate on your return from Cyrpus though you will need to take a lateral flow test, bought through a private provider (not from the NHS), up to two days after arriving back in the UK. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to self isolate for ten days when arriving from any country, taking a PCR test on day two, and another on day eight, with the option to ‘test to release’ on day five.

Do I need to do any paperwork before travelling back to England?

Yes. All passengers must fill in a Passenger Locator Form before arrival back to England, including your reference code for your day two (and eight) test. You can do so, here.

How is the case rate in Cyprus?

As of November 10, Cyprus has recorded 126.26 cases per 100,000 over the past seven days, a 20 per cent weekly increase.

How is Cyprus’s vaccination drive going? 

60.9 per cent of the population has received a first jab; 57.4 per cent have received a second jab.

Does Cyprus recognise the Indian AstraZeneca vaccine batch for entry?

Yes, Cyprus currently accepts travellers immunised with all the vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and several other doses, including Covishield, the Indian AstraZeneca batch.

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