Can foreign visitors to Cyprus cross the dividing line into the Turkish-occupied, northern part of the island?
Yes, they can, but they must be aware of the potential problems and risks when visiting the non-government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus.
a) The Government of the Republic of Cyprus does not impose any restrictions on the freedom of movement of persons or goods, which have entered the territory of the Republic through legal points of entry situated in the Government controlled areas of the Republic. Therefore, travelers arriving in the Republic of Cyprus may enter the Republic only through the legal ports of entry: Larnaka and Pafos International Airports, or the ports of Larnaka, Lemesos (Limassol), Latsi and Pafos.
b) Entry into the territory of the Republic of Cyprus through any illegal point of entry situated in the occupied non-government controlled areas is illegal and subject to the relevant laws of the Republic.
c) The majority of the hotels operating in the occupied part of Cyprus belong to Greek Cypriot displaced persons or have been illegally built on properties belonging to displaced Greek Cypriots, in violation of the latter’s property rights and without their consent. Under Cyprus law, Greek Cypriot property owners may bring legal actions before the competent Courts of the Republic against trespassers to their properties in the Turkish occupied area, claiming damages and other legal remedies available to them under civil law. We extent a strong warning message to foreign citizens who wish to travel to the occupied part of Cyprus that staying in Greek Cypriot owned hotels or in hotels which have been built on Greek Cypriot property without the consent of the owners, is illegal and contributes and/or assists in the illegal exploitation/usurpation of Greek Cypriot properties contrary to domestic and international law.
d) Overnight stay in the occupied areas is also strongly discouraged for reasons of compatibility of the establishments in the occupied area with the hygienic, security and other standards. The Republic of Cyprus cannot guarantee the standards or safety of the establishments in the occupied part of Cyprus. Any claims for compensation based on established European consumer protection acts can be denied by the occupation regime as Turkey’s subordinate local administration in the occupied area of the Republic is deprived of any legal status. The authorities of the Republic will be unable to offer any help in case of accident, injury, theft, illness etc. and thus foreign nationals may find themselves isolated in the case of need.
e) According to the Travel Agencies and Tourist Guides law, tour operators that bring tourists to Cyprus are obliged to have a licensed Cypriot travel agent as a representative. The travel agencies are obliged to submit to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation all promotional material or programs for planned excursions / sightseeing tours for approval and the organisation of such excursions / tours without the use of licensed tourist guides is not allowed.
Additional information is available in the section ‘Important notice’ under the title ‘General information for Israeli visitors to Cyprus’.