Message of the High Commissioner on consular issues
HIGH COMMISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CYPRUS
The High Commissioner
Dear Cypriot Compatriots,
It gives me great pleasure to communicate with you once again in order to remind you of the importance of maintaining contacts with your mother country.
Since I arrived in this beautiful country almost two years ago, I have noticed that a large number of people of Cypriot decent do not have the Cypriot citizenship, meaning being registered in the Republic of Cyprus as a citizen either by birth or by origin. If one is registered as a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus it is important also to apply for a Cypriot Identity card and a Cypriot Passport.
I strongly believe that it is imperative for all members of our community to have the Cypriot citizenship. Once a person is registered as a citizen of the Republic is then able to apply for a Cypriot Identity card and a Cypriot passport. Cypriot Citizens that are holders of a Cypriot Passport and ID enjoy the benefit of travelling as European citizens and most importantly maintain the significant link with their motherland. The two travel documents (passport and identity card) allow the holder to travel in any European Union or EFTA country without the need for a visa and also have the opportunity to receive consular assistance and protection in emergency situations or in case there is a problem when traveling abroad.
The High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus is urging all those who do not possess the above to visit either its consular section in Pretoria (Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 12:30 hrs) or its consular branch in Johannesburg (Thursday and Friday from 09:00 to 13:00 hrs) in order to apply for the acquisition of Cypriot citizenship or to submit an application for a Biometric Cypriot passport or an Identity card. Applicants visiting the Johannesburg branch for any Consular service as well as those requesting the issue of passports in Pretoria are requested to kindly make an appointment for their convenience. Please note that all consular services available in Pretoria are also available in the branch in Johannesburg.
The website of the High Commission ( http://www.mfa.gov.cy/highcompretoria ) offers all the necessary information [consular section → consular services → citizenship applications (5 categories) or applying for a Cypriot passport or applying for the issuance of a Cyprus identity card or Registration of Births]. Please note that the initial step is to apply for the Cypriot citizenship and after the citizenship is granted, the application for an Identity card and lastly a Biometric Passport is followed.
The acquisition of the above by the overwhelming majority of the people of Cypriot descent living in South Africa and in the neighboring countries will enable the High Commission to effectively register our overseas compatriots.
I have noticed that very often, people that intend to travel to Cyprus contact the High Commission at the last moment to submit their visa application to travel to Cyprus on their South African passport. Many visa applicants do not submit the required documents, for example, in the case of a visa application for a minor it is required that an unabridged birth certificate is submitted but most parents do not possess this important document and the High Commission is not able to issue a visa without it.
Thanks to the valuable assistance of the Cyprus Brotherhood of South Africa and other generous donors, we were able to open a Consular services branch of the Cyprus High Commission in Johannesburg. This is for the benefit of our community as the majority of the South African Cypriots are living in Johannesburg. The offering of excellent consular assistance in the shortest time possible will be guaranteed if the applicant makes an appointment, downloads and completes relevant forms and collects all the requirements for the relevant application to be submitted. In addition, for your convenience, you are strongly advised to send your enquiries to the email addresses of the High Commission and we will attend to them the soonest possible, usually the next working day.
Also, for any complaints or comments regarding the services provided by the Consular Section of the High Commission, please forward them to Mrs. Elena Christoforou (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will revert to you in due course.
We urge our compatriots to make sure that they always possess valid travel documents. An ordinary Cypriot passport can at any time be replaced by the new biometric passport irrespective of its expiry date (please note that the non biometric Cypriot Passports are still valid for travel until their expiration). The conclusion of the process usually takes around one and a half to two months from the time the relevant application is made.
An application for a biometric passport can be made only when the applicant has an identity card or has been recently issued with a citizenship document by the Migration Department which has the personal identification number of the holder, which is the same number of his/her identity card.
It is noted that all minors should apply through their parents for the issue of identity cards and passports as they are no longer permitted to travel on their parent’s passport. The validity of the biometric passport for minors is only 5 years. The validity of the passport of the adults is 10 years.
In the case of a minor, it is advisable that the Cypriot parent start the citizenship application process for their child as soon as the unabridged birth certificate is received after the child’s birth (registration of births). Once the application is submitted it can take up to a year for the registration to be processed and only then can the parent apply for a Cypriot Passport and ID. It is noted that for all categories of citizenship application the original unabridged birth certificate to be submitted should bear the Apostille seal (from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation).
Our country, which is suffering a lot by the unprecedented economic crisis, depends also on the support of the overseas Cypriots who are urged to visit the island on a frequent basis in order to contribute to the improvement of the Cypriot economy. Tourism is one of our pillars, if not the main at present, for the revival of our economy and therefore, you are also urged to advertise Cyprus as a tourist destination to your South African friends. There are great possibilities for the enhancement of tourism from South Africa to Cyprus and the High Commission is already working towards that end.
I urge the recipients of this message to bring its contents to the knowledge of as many people of Cypriot origin as possible.
Petros T. Nacouzis
Pretoria, 20 June 2013