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BHC says raised ‘delays in processing residency applications’ with ministry

February 7, 2020 at 2:48pm
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The British High Commission in Nicosia said on Friday it is aware of delays in the processing of residency applications and appreciates the frustration this is causing some UK nationals.

“We have raised this issue directly with the Minister of Interior and officials at the Civil Registry & Migration Department and are supporting their efforts to speed up application waiting times,” it said in a post on Facebook.

“If your application has been outstanding for over six months then we recommend you contact the Civil Registry & Migration Department in Nicosia. You should have your MEU application reference number to hand so your case can be looked into,” it added.

This reply — together with nine other frequently asked questions by UK nationals in Cyprus — were posted on the High Commission’s Facebook page as part of efforts to provide clarity post-Brexit.

The FAQs followed an open letter regarding the UK’s exit from the European Union posted in late January.

Questions covered a range of issues, particularly residency, health care, driving licences and movement across the Green Line after the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.

The questions and answers are reproduced below.

Question 1: What is the deadline for applications for MEU1 and MEU3 for British expats living in Cyprus?

We advise all UK nationals to submit applications for residency by the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. This is because UK nationals with residency documents will then be entitled to continue to travel freely into and out of Cyprus on the same basis as EU nationals after the end of 2020. UK nationals who have regularised their residency will also be able to register with GESY – the new state healthcare system and be entitled to lifelong healthcare rights for as long as they remain resident in Cyprus. You can make applications at the civil registry and migration department or in local district offices. More info is available on www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-cyprus.

Question 2: I understand the transition period is February 1 to December 31, 2020. What about after that, in terms of the residency status of British expats?

UK nationals who were living in Cyprus before the 31 December 2020, but for whatever reason could not apply for residency by the end of the year will still be able to apply and are entitled to residence rights as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement as long they can provide documentary proof that they were resident before 31 December 2020. But as we said above, if you can apply before the end of December 2020, we strongly recommend you do. UK nationals who come to live in Cyprus after 1 January 2021 will be subject to Cyprus Immigration Rules. The current practice in Cyprus is for non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to be admitted for 90 days.

Question 3: I have applied for residency (MEU1 or MEU3) but have been waiting months for a response. This is important for me because I want to register with GESY.

We are aware of delays in processing residency applications and appreciate the frustration this is causing some UK nationals. We have raised this issue directly with the Minister of Interior and officials at the Civil Registry & Migration Department and are supporting their efforts to speed up application waiting times. If your application has been outstanding for over six months then we recommend you contact the Civil Registry & Migration Department in Nicosia. You should have your MEU application reference number to hand so your case can be looked into.

Question 4: I own property in Cyprus and plan to retire here in the future. Will that be possible?

If you own property in the Republic of Cyprus we recommend that you apply for residency. This will mean you can continue to live, work and access services in Cyprus for as long as you remain resident. After 2020, UK nationals who are not resident in the Republic of Cyprus will be subject to Cyprus Immigration Rules. The current practice in Cyprus is for non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to be admitted for 90 days.

Question 5: Where can I find out more information about how the Cypriot government is going to support vulnerable UK nationals who need help to apply for residency?

We welcomed the announcement by the Ministry of Interior and their plans to support residency applications for roughly 5,000 vulnerable UK nationals in Cyprus who are incapacitated. The British High Commission is working with local charities on island as well as the Ministry to ensure this vulnerable group of people have their rights safeguarded by the end of 2020. Please continue to follow our pages to keep updated of developments. We hope to be able to make a further announcement soon.

Question 6: Will my healthcare rights change now that the UK has left the EU?

There will be no changes to UK access to healthcare in Cyprus or any other EU member state before 31 December 2020. Visitors to Cyprus can also continue to use EHICs as you did before during this time. If you are living in Cyprus now or move here permanently, before 31 December 2020, you will have lifelong healthcare rights in Cyprus, as you currently do, provided you remain resident. Future mobility rights and therefore reciprocal healthcare rights between the UK and EU will be subject to future negotiations.

Question 7: I am a UK national below state pension age currently living in the EU. Am I entitled to a UK S1 and EHIC after the transition period?

If you are a UK national who is yet to reach state pension age, you will have the right to apply for a UK S1 once you start drawing your UK state pension, providing you are legally resident in Cyprus by the end of the transition period and continue to reside here. At this point you would also be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC valid for travel across the EU. In the meantime, you should continue to access healthcare through the appropriate route. This may mean paying a contribution into the Member State system or purchasing insurance.

Question 8: If I have a UK driving licence which has not expired do I need to change it to a Cypriot one?

If you are legally resident in Cyprus, we strongly encourage you to obtain a Cyprus driving licence. When you visit the UK, you will still be able to drive on your Cyprus licence. If you reside in the UK, you can continue to use your UK driving licence for short trips to Cyprus, until the end of December 2020. From 1 January 2021, we recommend that you obtain an international driving permit if you plan to visit Cyprus.

Question 9: Will I be able to cross the Green Line in my Turkish-Cypriot registered vehicle?

We are aware that some UK citizens were informed that after 31 January they will not be able to renew their TOM89 certificate, which are necessary to drive vehicles from the north of Cyprus into the Republic of Cyprus. The advice you have been given is incorrect. Until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, there will be no change to the rules on travel to, from or within Cyprus for United Kingdom nationals, including motorists crossing the Green Line. This includes being able to renew or purchase a TOM89 certificate. If you experience problems doing this please let us know. We recognise that Britons living in the north of Cyprus are keen for these arrangements to continue after 31 December and will keep you updated as we have more information.

Question 10: We are UK citizens living in the north of Cyprus but mostly exit and re-enter Cyprus via Larnaca airport. Will it still be possible to do this within the transition period?

Until the end of transition period, all UK nationals will be able to enter/exit Larnaca or Paphos airport on the same basis as other EU nationals. From 1 January 2021, UK nationals who are not resident in the Republic of Cyprus will be subject to Cyprus immigration rules. The current practice in the Republic of Cyprus is for non-EU nationals who do not require a visa to be admitted for 90 days. The Republic of Cyprus authorities may count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90 day visa free total. After 1 January 2021, as a non-EU national, you may, on arrival, need to show that you have sufficient funds available for the duration of your stay, show proof of a return or onward ticket and answer questions about the intended purpose of your visit. On a related note, you will be aware of the issues around using Ercan airport and the complications this can cause with the Republic authorities. This is expected to remain the case.

Read more

BHC updates UK residents in Cyprus on their rights post-Brexit