Entering and leaving Cyprus and border crossings from the northern to the southern part (May 2023)

Visiting Cyprus with your own car can be pretty interesting. Here is some info based on my stay and personal experiences from January to May 2023 with my in Germany registered car:

  • You can enter the northern part (aka Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, TRNC) from the Turkish mainland (most likely via ferries from the harbors Tasucu or Mersin to Girne or Farmagusta) with your own car.
  • Once you are on the island, your car is only allowed to leave the island via the northern part. The southern part considers your car as illegally imported and would not let it go off the island from a port on the southern part. You as a person may leave and come back without problems via the southern or northern part.
  • After leaving the ferry on the northern part, you have to get a customs document and a car insurance for the northern part. Both are easy to get at the harbor passport and customs control. For the insurance you can choose between several time spans and they are not very expensive. The customs document for my car was only valid for three months. They would not give me more. But when crossing to the southern part and then back to the northern part, you’ll most likely get another/ fresh three months. Or you can extend it at the “Department of Customs and Excise” (see on Google Maps). And it seems that the customs document for the northern part can run out when you are in the southern part without getting penalties for that.
  • On Cyprus you can cross the border between the northern and southern part (aka The Republic of Cyprus) in your own car. But because for the south the northern part is an occupied area, they don’t see it as a crossing between two countries.
  • When you cross the border. Make sure that you keep the customs documents you have received before. Only when leaving the south the last time, give the officers the customs document for the south. And only when leaving the north for the last time, give the customs officers the customs document for the north.
  • When crossing in your own car, I would not recommend taking the crossing “Deryneia Border Crossing” (see on Google Maps) because this one was the most complicated for me. But maybe just because I got to the most motivated border officers. The “Farmagusta Border Crossing” (see on Google Maps) is normally not allowed for foreigners. I made it through from the southern part once nevertheless. The other crossings are possible to take. But the “Yesilirmak Crossing” (see on Google Maps) is pretty small and I guess it could be complicated to get a customs document for the south at this one.
  • When crossing from the northern to the southern part, you need a car insurance. For EU citizens their homeland car insurance most likely covers the southern part. And you get a customs document for the southern part. You can have it valid for three months. When you cross from south to north and back you most likely get a new/ fresh three months. Or you can extend it in the customs office in Limassol (see on Google Maps). There should be a customs office in Nicosia as well.
  • If problems occur while crossing a border, I recommend just going to the crossing in Nicosia (see in Google Maps). It seems like everything is easier and less bureaucratic at that crossing.

Apart from these standard procedures there are some things that seem to happen pretty randomly to travelers.

  • I had to pay a road tax of about 400 Euro in the northern part. Only two out of ten other travelers had to do that. This procedure includes visiting the “Department of Customs and Excise” (see on Google Maps). I had to get a printed visa info which is only possible to get at the “Nicosia Police Headquarter” (see on Google Maps). After that Rosinante had to go through a technical inspection at this place (see on Google Maps). During this inspection a guy from that department first refused to give Rosinante the necessary permission. He pointed in the direction of the winch and just said they won’t accept that. I did not know which part he was talking about but me and a nice Turkish guy who came along thought that maybe he was talking about a metal guard which is mounted directly to the winch. We tried to remove it but did not succeed. So we just hid the part next to the engine. The guy from the department did not even check again and so I got the certificate… After that back to the first place, then to the “Vehicle Registration and Licensing Branch” (see on Google Maps) to pay the road tax and then back again to the first place to get the necessary stamp on the customs document. Easy.
  • When crossing from north to south for the first time the officers of the south forgot to register the car of a friend. When she wanted to go back to the north there was some confusion where her car had come in the first place. She nearly had to pay a big fee but refused and drove to the border crossing in Nicosia. There it was no problem, her car got registered, she had to pay nothing and was allowed to cross.
  • It’s not allowed to bring living animals from the south to the north. But a lot of travelers manage to hide and bring their dogs or cats.
  • The north considers some cars as military cars. If they do so, they will escort you to the border crossing in Nicosia to cross to the south but won’t let you drive around on the northern part. When you want to leave the island, they will escort you from Nicosia back to the port.

So if you want to spend some months on Cyprus in your own car, you can easily do this and it is a wonderful island.

And especially for car travelers it’s super nice because the island is not so big and most likely you will meet the same people several times.

But if you want to reset or extend your visa days with your stay on Cyprus, be aware that the calculation of your visa and customs days most likely will not be done in the way you expect it. More on another post.