Cyprus - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel

Includes information on business customs, travel advisory, visa requirements, and other aspects of international travel. 

Last published date: 2021-09-30

Business Customs:

Despite long, hot summers, the conventional business dress code usually calls for a suit and tie for men and conservative attire for women.  More casual wear is usually worn when entertaining business guests, depending on the venue.  It is considered a courtesy for businesspeople to host business lunches or dinners while discussing possible cooperation.  Business cards are traditionally exchanged at business meetings and gifts are acceptable in the private sector and to a lesser extent in the public sector.  

Travel Advisory:

Cyprus enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in Europe, good hygienic conditions, and a modern array of goods and services.  Visitors may obtain travel advisory information here.  Additionally, U.S. businesses in Cyprus can contact the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia and request a security briefing from the Regional Security Officer.

Visa requirements:

U.S. Companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States are advised that security evaluations are handled via an interagency process. Visa applicants should go to the following links: State Department Visa Website or U.S. Embassy Consular Section at https://cy.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/.

Republic of Cyprus:

U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter Cyprus.  Persons arriving with the intention to work must obtain special work permits. For more detailed information, please visit the Ministry of Interior, Civil Registry and Migration Department website. 

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

U.S. citizens do not need visas to enter the area administered by Turkish Cypriots.  Travelers should check COVID-19 rules and restrictions when crossing to the Area administrated by Turkish Cypriots.  Visitors arriving in the Republic of Cyprus are normally able to cross into the area administered by Turkish Cypriots without hindrance, although on occasion, travelers have reported difficulties at both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot checkpoints, particularly if the traveler originally arrived on the island via Ercan airport.  Policy and procedures regarding such travel are subject to change.  More information on current procedures may be obtained at the U.N. Buffer Zone Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia.

Currency

Republic of Cyprus:

The currency in the ROC is the Euro (€).  Using any other currency to pay for goods and services is quite uncommon.  Banks exchange many other currencies, but transactions are subject to commission.  Credit and debit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used in hotels, stores, restaurants, supermarkets, and petrol stations, with Diners Club, Eurocard, and American Express less commonly accepted.  ATMs are widely available and located throughout the island.  Exchange rates and bank commissions are charged when an ATM is used for foreign currency withdrawal and for payments with cards in foreign currencies.  International transfers, possible through local banks and private financial agencies such as Western Union, are also subject to commission.  Banks do not issue travelers checks but can cash them, also with a commission.  Traveler’s checks are not used as a direct form of payment. 

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

The local currency in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots is Turkish Lira, but the Euro, U.S. Dollar, and British pound are accepted widely.  Banks exchange all currencies.  Credit and debit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used in hotels, stores, restaurants, supermarkets, petrol stations.  ATMs are located throughout the north.  Exchange offices also exist to exchange mainly the commonly used currencies (Turkish Lira, Euro, British Pound, U.S. Dollar).  International transfers are possible through all banks.

Telecommunications/Electronics: 

Republic of Cyprus:

The island’s telecommunications system is advanced and efficient.  More than 190 countries can be reached through fully automatic direct dialing.  Installation services are usually completed within a few days.  Telefax and internet service are widely available.  The average Internet connection speed is 8 Mega Bytes per Second (MBPS), although speeds of up to 100 MBPS are readily available for a higher fee.  Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops.  GSM cellular phone technology is the standard and it is delivered on European frequencies.  The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CyTA – a semi-governmental organization), Epic, PrimeTel and Cablenet provide fixed line, internet, and cellular phone services.  Cablenet acquired its MNO license in 2019 and is now expanding its mobile telephony services.  Epic also offers Blackberry services.  All four telecom operators have acquired a 5G spectrum license and CyTA and Epic have already launched their 5G networks.  The Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digital Policy released documents for a 5G spectrum license in July 2020.   The ROC was also part of the “5Genesis” (5th Generation End-to-end Network, Experimentation, System Integration, and Showcasing) EU project, which was a pilot platform that was part of the EU’s Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” project.  Along with Athens, Málaga, Surrey, and Berlin, the ROC, through the city of Limassol, was one of the five platforms of the 5Genesis facility.  Since July 2019 mobile phones issued in the ROC work in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots and vice versa but significant roaming charges apply.  The Office of the Commissioner of Electronic Communications and Postal Regulations (OCECPR) regulates all telecommunication services (Note: The website is only available in the Greek language). 

The Electricity and plug system in Cyprus are the same as the UK - 240 Voltage and 3-pin plugs.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

The “Telecommunications Authority” provides telephone, telex, internet/ADSL, fax, and telegram transmission services.  Telephone service is integrated into the Turkish market and relies on Turkey’s country code.  Two private companies, KKTCell (subsidiary of Turkish company Turkcell) and Telsim (now owned by the British Vodafone Company in Turkey) provide GSM-Mobile services (including 3G).  4G is not yet available in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots.  Internet services are widely available, including broadband services.

Transportation:

Republic of Cyprus:

Inner city travel is often by taxi, public buses, or rental car.  Cars are right-hand drive and rental cars are available in manual and automatic drive options.  Public transportation within cities and between towns has recently improved with more frequent routes, and old buses have been replaced with new, modern ones.  However, public transportation is still not as frequent or convenient as in many other EU countries.  Taxis are metered.  The cost for a taxi from the airport in Larnaca to Nicosia averages approximately 60 dollars (50 Euro).  In renting a car, prices will vary depending on the season and the visitor’s car selection.  Air traffic is served through two international airports in the cities of Larnaca and Paphos.  Although limited by COVID-19, many international airlines continue to offer daily flights to major destinations in Europe and the Middle East.  The ports of Limassol and Larnaca serve the country’s external trade and seaborne passenger traffic, acting also as transshipment centers for the region. 

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Public transportation in the north is often by public bus or taxi.  Rental car services are also available.  Distances between cities are relatively short.  Roads are generally serviceable but in worse condition than in government-controlled areas.  Only Turkish carriers fly into Ercan airport, and all flights must currently touch down in Turkey.  Most goods destined for the area administered by Turkish Cypriots are transshipped through the Turkish port of Mersin, significantly increasing the cost of shipping cargo.  The two ports of Famagusta and Kyrenia are used for cargo and passenger transportation.

Language:

The official languages in Cyprus are Greek and Turkish.  Greek and English are widely spoken in the Republic of Cyprus.  Turkish is spoken in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots, where English is also increasingly spoken.  English is usually preferred in business dealings.

Health:

Republic of Cyprus:

The World Health Organization acknowledges Cyprus’ health care as high standard and equivalent to other developed countries.  As of June 1, 2020, the Cyprus Health Insurance Organization implemented the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS or Greek acronym GESY) under which, all Cypriot citizens are covered for outpatient and inpatient health care services.  Most facilities provide adequate medical care with modern equipment and English-speaking medical professionals.  Doctors are mainly trained in Europe or the United States.  Almost all medicine brands are available in Cyprus and can be purchased at pharmacies through the NHIS.  Foreign nationals entering Cyprus do not require specific infectious disease vaccinations, but COVID-19 vaccination or testing may be required. The Medical and Public Health Services department carries out frequent and strict inspections of food and water safety. 

COVID-19 Situation: The Republic of Cyprus has among the most extensive testing and vaccination programs in Europe.  Nevertheless, due to an increase in COVID-19 infections, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) placed Cyprus in the Red category on July 8.  Check ECDC for the current status, the Republic of Cyprus COVID-19 information website for local information including public health measures, and the U.S. Embassy Nicosia COVID-19 information page.  For entry purposes into the country, the ROC assesses the epidemiological risk of countries weekly and places them into four categories:  Green - low risk countries, Orange - countries with possibly low risk but greater uncertainty, Red - increased risk countries and Grey - special permission countries.  Updated information on the countries assessment and entry into Cyprus can be found in https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/vaccinated-passengers.

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

Adequate access to health care is available.  Some patients note the lack of modern equipment at “state” hospitals.  Most medical professionals were trained in Turkey.  While there are general hospitals in every city and several private clinics, those who can afford it tend to prefer receiving treatment at private hospitals.

COVID-19 Situation:  The area administered by Turkish Cypriots has a fairly extensive vaccination program, but it is based predominately on Chinese origin vaccines provided by Turkey.  For more information about COVID-19 measures, vaccines, and daily cases, please visit: https://saglik.gov.ct.tr/.  (Note: The website is only available in the Turkish language).

Local time, business hours, and holidays:

Republic of Cyprus:

Local time in Cyprus is according to the Eastern European Time Zone.

For a list of holidays observed by businesspersons in Cyprus for 2021, please visit: Cyprus Public Holidays.

For a list of banking holidays, please visit:  Central Bank of Cyprus.

Businesspersons should avoid making appointments on public holidays.  The months of July and August are relatively slow months because many businesses close for summer vacation.  Other dates to avoid when setting appointments are Christmas and Easter.

Government Offices Standard Business Hours:

Monday – Friday:                       7:30 – 15:00                   

Banking sector:

Monday – Friday:                       7:30 – 15:00

(Note: Teller services are available to the public from 8:30 to 14:30 from Monday through Thursday and 8:30 to 14:00 on Fridays).  Automatic tellers are available in larger cities but there are not as many one would expect to find in U.S. cities.

Private sector standard business hours vary.  The most common work hours companies follow are from 8:00 to 17:00 with a one-hour break between 13:00 and 14:00. 

Business travelers to Cyprus seeking appointments with U.S. Embassy Nicosia officials should contact the Political / Economic office in advance.  Section staff can be reached by phone at +357-22-393520, +357-22-393362, or +357-22-393361 or through email

Area Administered by Turkish Cypriots:

For a list of bank holidays, visit the Turkish Cypriot Banks Association (Note: The website is only available in the Turkish language)

“Government” Offices:           

May – September

Monday – Friday  - 08:00 – 14:30

Thursdays -   08:00 – 12:30 and 13:00 – 17:30

October-April

Monday – Friday -   08:00 – 16:15

Thursdays -   08:00 – 12:30 and 13:00 – 17:30

Standard business hours vary.  The most common work hours companies follow are from 8:00 to 17:00 with a one-hour break between 13:00 and 14:00. 

Banks:

Monday – Friday - 08:00 – 12:30 and 14:00 – 15:30

Factories:

Monday – Friday - 07:30 – 16:00

Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings:

There are no restrictions for temporary entry of materials or personal belongings within the limits of the law (e.g., no guns, narcotics, etc.).