Cyprus - General Information

Republic of Cyprus

Area: 9251 sq. km. ((3,572 sq.mi.); coordinates at 35 N and 33 E, lies at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia, at the crux of the busy shipping and air routes linking the three continents.


TerrainCentral plain, with mountain ranges to the north and south.


Official languagesGreek, Turkish, English is widely spoken.


Regime: Presidential Democracy


Government type: Cyprus is a Presidential Democratic state. The Executive authority is vested in the President who is elected for a five year term by universal vote, and exercised by a Council of Ministers appointed by the President. The Legislative authority of the Republic is exercised by the House of Representatives. House Members are elected by universal vote every five years. The administration of Justice is exercised by the Judiciary, which is a separate and independent body. The Members of the Cyprus Supreme Court are appointed by the President of the Republic of Cyprus.

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Location & Population: The population is about 838,000 people. The capital of Cyprus is Nicosia situated in the heart of the island with a population of approximately 326,000. The second largest city is Limassol on the south coast with a population of approximately 235,000 and the island’s major port. Larnaca and Paphos are the third and fourth largest cities, each with a new airport, situated on the south west and south east coasts respectively.

Economically active population: According to Eurostat’s Labour Force Survey, Cyprus exhibits an employment rate of 68,5% for the age class 15-64; the rate is the highest among the new ten EU member states and above the average employment rate of the EU 15 (65,2%). The tertiary sector 17 for the provision of services accounts for the largest percentage of the workforce (71.2%), while the secondary and primary sectors account for a percentage of 24.1% and 4.7% respectively.

Birth rate: 11.44 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)


District Administration

Cyprus is divided into six administrative districts: Nicosia, Famagusta, Limassol, Paphos, Larnaca and Kyrenia. Each district is headed by a District Officer, who is a senior civil servant appointed by the Government. District Officers are responsible for the coordination of all Ministries in their districts and is accountable to the Ministry of Interior.


Municipalities are a form of local government for urban and larger tourist areas. Local policy is devised by the Municipal council (a body elected by the citizens to a term of five years) led by a Mayor who is the legal representative (also elected by the citizens to a five year term).


Communities (or Village Authorities) are broadly equivalent to municipalities, providing the local structure in rural areas. Any community may become a municipality by local referendum (subject to approval) provided it has a population of over 5,000, or has the economic resources to function as a municipality. A community is led by a President (elected by the community to a five year term) and may receive financial, administrative and technical support from the District Office or from Central Government.

Climate: Pleasant Mediterranean climate, enjoying 300 days of sunshine, with mild, wet winters (meaning daily minimum 5°C and maximum 13°C) and hot, dry summers (meaning daily minimum and maximum temperatures are 21°C and 36°C respectively).

Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +2 hours

Working hours: Hours of working vary according to sector and profession. Private sector office hours are generally 08.00 a.m. to 05.30 p.m. Monday to Friday, with a break from 01:00 p.m. to 02.30 p.m. In many cases one afternoon (usually Wednesday) is free, and on that day work stops at 13.00 hours.
Shop opening hours are subject to legislation. Generally speaking, shops stay open until 07:30 p.m. in the winter months (November to March) and until 08.00 p.m. in the summer. Wednesday is half-closing day; shops close at 03.00 p.m. Adherence to the custom of the siesta from 02.00 p.m. to 05.00 p.m. is optional and applies only in the summer.

Banking hours for the public are:

September: Monday-Friday 08:15 - 13:00 and Monday 03:15 p.m. - 04:45 pm
October to April: Monday-Friday 08:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and Monday 03:15 pm - 04:45 pm.
May to August: Monday-Friday 08:15 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
Banks are closed at weekends and on public holidays and Easter Tuesday.
Christmas Eve is a working day for banks.

-Public holidays:

- Every Sunday
- Every Saturday for bank transactions
- New Years Day, January 1st
- Epiphany day: January 6th
- Pure Monday: 41 days before Easter
- Greek Independence Day: March 25th
- Cyprus National Day: April 1st
- Labour Day: May 1st
- Easter vacations: Good Friday – Easter Tuesday
- Pentecost: June 24th
- Assumption Day: August 15th
- Cyprus Independence Day: October 1st
- Greek National Day: October 28th
- Christmas Day: December 25th
- Boxing Day: December 26th

- Residence permits/visa requirements/work permits:

For non EU citizens

Applications for the issue of entry and work permits in general categories of employment are submitted to the Civil Registry and Migration Department by the intended employer, through the respective District Aliens and Immigration Branch of the Police, on condition that the foreigners are abroad. The applications should be accompanied by a work contract stamped by the Department of Labour of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. The said Ministry is competent to examine whether regarding the specific profession or job there are no available or adequately qualified Cypriots and then to make a recommendation for employment of aliens. The applications are forwarded to the Civil Registry and Migration Department and after they are examined and it is established that there is nothing against the foreigners which prevents their entry into Cyprus, the relevant entry and work permits are issued.

Residence and work permit for EU citizens

Nationals from EU Member States have the right to enter Cyprus by simply showing a valid EU passport or ID Card without having to register upon arrival. If there is an intention to stay for more than three months (and / or take up employment), then they have to apply for a) an Alien Registration Certificate (ARC), at the local Immigration Branch of the Police, b) a social insurance number securing employment in Cyprus and c) a residence permit (the application must be submitted before the expiration of this 3-month period to the Civil Registration and Migration Department.
Conclusion of formalities for acquiring a residence permit is not an obstacle to the immediate commencement of employment.
Nationals of EU Member States who wish to pursue a regulated profession (such as lawyer, medical doctor, accountant, engineer etc), should contact the competent body in Cyprus to apply for the relevant permit

Foreign exchange regulations: There are no exchange control regulations.


Exports(required permissions, if any)

Membership in international organizations: Since 1960, Cyprus has been granted membership to several international organizations, including:
- European Union (2004) and Eurozone (2008)
- The World Trade Organization (1995)
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) (1962)
- The World Bank (1962)
- The Commonwealth (1961)
- The Council of Europe (1961)
- The United Nations (1960)

Telephone code: + 357




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