Travelling from Cyprus with a residence permit

By Marios Konstantinou

Updated: May 19, 2024

Can I use my Cyprus residence permit to travel to other countries visa-free? Can I travel to the European Union visa-free if I am a permanent resident of Cyprus? The short answer to both questions is no. However, as we will explain in this guide, there are exceptions concerning Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine. The guide additionally contains basic information about the residence permits and rules concerning Cyprus and Greece, Schengen, the United Kingdom (UK), and Ukraine.

Cyprus Residence Permits

The law allows Cyprus to issue residence permits to third-country nationals (non-EU nationals or TCNs) under certain conditions. Briefly, a TCN can come to Cyprus to study, work, set up a business, or as a person of independent means who will invest or retire in the Cyprus Republic. Residence permits are permanent or non-permanent (temporary permit pink slip). Note that criteria apply, and look at our firm’s specific subject guides for all the relevant information!

Travelling with a Cyprus Residence Permit

The European Commission, in the European Union (EU) Immigration Portal, explains the applicable rules when a TCN who has a residence permit from one EU country is going to another EU country:

  • With a Schengen visa, the TCN can travel throughout the Schengen area for as long as the visa is valid.
  • From one EU country to another for more than 90 days, the TCN needs a long-stay visa or a residence permit from that country.

For less than 90 days, that country can allow entry without a visa from your country. Check this with your country’s or the other countries’ embassy or consulate.

Schengen Area

Cyprus is not a member of Schengen, though it accepts a valid Schengen visa.

The Schengen area is a zone where countries have abolished their internal borders. It includes 29 countries, 25 of which are EU member states.

According to the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TCNs holding a valid visa category D/ residence permit from EU countries, Schengen countries, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania have a right to visit Cyprus under certain conditions for 90 days out of 180.

Moreover, TCNs with valid residence permits can visit Bulgaria and Romania for up to 90 days out of 180. Though Bulgaria and Romania entered Schengen by sea and air on 31 March 2024, the arrangements with Cyprus remain valid for a transitional period.

The category D visa is the so-called “long-stay visa” issued across the EU: https://handbookgermany.de/en/national-visa.

Bulgaria and Romania

As mentioned above, following Decision No 565/2014/EU, a Cyprus residence permit allows a TCN to enter Bulgaria and Romania without a visa for visitor purposes, that is, for a visit of not more than 90 days out of 180. On 31 March 2024, Bulgaria and Romania partly entered Schengen; they entered by sea and air but not land. This development does not affect the relaxed rules concerning Cyprus. Decision 565/2014/EU will remain valid for a transitional period.

Decision No 565/2014/EU also applied to Croatia, but not anymore. Since 1 January 2023, Croatia has been part of Schengen and will only accept a Croatian national visa or a Schengen one.


Due to the emergency situation in Ukraine and the need to respond in a humanitarian way, the EU passed the Temporary Protection Directive on 4 March 2022. This grants collective protective status to people fleeing Ukraine and coming into the EU. 

People covered by the Directive are entitled to

  • Residence permit
  • Access to the labour market
  • Housing
  • Medical assistance
  • Access to education for children

To get a residence permit for Cyprus, a person must apply to the Civil Registry and Migration Department within 30 days of arrival.

Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports

For Ukrainian citizens holding a biometric passport, visa-free travel is granted for up to 90 days in any 180. The right is valid in EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The purpose of travel can be for tourism, visiting relatives or friends, and for business purposes, but not to work.

Ukrainian citizens with non-biometric passports

Ukrainian citizens with non-biometric passports are given short-stay visas, valid for up to 90 days.


European Commission, the UN Refugee Agency, the Cyprus Civil Registry and the Migration Department.

Link to the Temporary Protection Directive: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/.


The Embassy of Greece in Nicosia says that, for a journey to Greece from the Republic of Cyprus, a TCN should apply either for a short-term Schengen visa or, for a stay longer than 90 days, a long-term national visa. 

The UK

Holders of a residence permit from Cyprus must apply for a visa to come to the UK, depending on their country of origin. The list of countries that need a visa is here: https://www.gov.uk/.

Ukrainian nationals’ right to travel to the UK

Ukrainian nationals can come, stay, work or study in the UK if they already have family there. They can apply under the Ukraine sponsorship scheme and get the same rights if they do not.

The details for Ukrainian nationals are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/.

To sum up

The Cyprus residence permit will not give the right to travel visa-free to other countries, whether EU or not. However, a TCN from the Schengen area can travel across the Schengen countries. Ukrainian citizens have collective protection status and can travel across the EU in certain circumstances. Under the EU Temporary Protection Directive, they are entitled to a residence permit, work, medicine, and housing. The United Kingdom and Greece have particular requirements that were explained above. Come over to our office for any help you need to travel with your residence permit!


Can I travel to Turkey with a Cyprus residence permit?

No. The most common way of travelling to Turkey is with an eVisa, for which you can easily apply online. Nationals of certain countries can get a visa on arrival. The Republic of Cyprus is included in these countries. Still, it is not mentioned as an independent country, only as an administration (so we advise Cypriots to apply for an eVisa). Nationals of certain countries are allowed to travel with an ID card, but not nationals of the Republic of Cyprus. The eVisa mentioned above usually lasts 90 days, though its duration varies depending on the country of origin. Family applications for eVisa are allowed.

Can I travel to Bulgaria with a Cyprus residence permit?

Yes. You can travel to Bulgaria for a visit that does not exceed 90 days in 180 days.

Can I enter Romania with a Cyprus residence permit?

Yes. You can travel to Romania for a visit that does not exceed 90 days in 180 days.

Can I travel to Italy with a Cyprus ID card?

Yes. Holders of ID cards from EU member states can travel to other member states.

Can I travel to Switzerland with a Cyprus ID card?

Yes. Concerning EU member states, Switzerland accepts valid transport or national ID cards.

Can I enter Serbia with a Cyprus residence permit?

No. You might need a valid travel document/ ID card or a visa, depending on your country of origin.

Can I travel to Canada with a Cyprus residence permit?

No. Depending on your country of origin and for short-term (90 days) tourist purposes, you may need:

  • 1) no visa but an eTa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) or,
  • 2) a visa.

Canada lists the countries by requirement here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/visit-canada/entry-requirements-country.html.

Can I travel to the UK with an EU residence permit?

No. You need a valid passport; it should be valid for the whole of your stay. Depending on your country of origin, you might need a visa. Find the list of countries that need a visa to enter or transit the UK here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-visa-requirements-list-for-carriers/uk-visa-requirements-for-international-carriers.

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