Travelling under the new COVID-19 era


With the pandemic still ongoing and economic costs escalating significantly, governments are increasingly under pressure to design an appropriate strategy to phase out the restrictive measures imposed to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. At a European level, most Member States have already begun or announced their intention to phase out these measures.

At the same time, Cyprus is ready to accept British tourists, who have had both shots of the vaccine as from 1st May 2021, without needing a negative test or to quarantine, as per the announcement of the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Mr Savvas Perdios. “Tourists would be required to have had their second dose at least seven days before travelling”, the Minister added.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister of the UK has forbidden any travelling abroad of UK nationals until 17th May 2021 unless there are specific reasons for a person to travel, for which he will be granted special permission to do so.

Based on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), UK nationals are allowed to travel abroad under specific reasonable circumstances which include various categories such as work, owning property, getting married, charity work and several others which we will outline below.

For the purposes of work, if it is not reasonably possible for that person to work from a location within the United Kingdom or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for those services to be provided from a location within the United Kingdom, then that person may be granted permission to travel.

Permission to travel can also be granted in cases where a person needs to fulfil a legal obligation or to participate in legal proceedings, or if someone is a professional athlete or is a student who needs to return home for the university vacations.

Taking a closer and more detailed look at the FCDO announcement, we can say that UK nationals who are currently living in Cyprus, who own property or are thinking of purchasing property in Cyprus, or have family members in the country, could benefit from these special requirements.

In cases where UK nationals either own or rent residential properties, or intend to do so, they would be allowed to fly in order to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of their residential property by:

  • visiting estate or letting agents, developer sales offices or show homes;
  • viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or to rent;
  • preparing the residential property to move in;
  • moving house;
  • visiting the residential property to undertake any activities required for the rental or sale of that property.

At the same time though, many British nationals have family members living in Cyprus and are in need of assistance. As stated in the Regulations of the FCDO, UK nationals may travel to Cyprus, in case they are needed by a family member who is, for instance, hospitalized or in a hospice or care home, or to accompany them to a medical appointment, or to provide care and assistance to a vulnerable person, if that person is a close family member.

On the other hand, Cyprus has always been cherished as a place for UK nationals to have their wedding or civil ceremony, in which case it is considered reasonable to leave the United Kingdom to attend a wedding or a civil partnership ceremony in Cyprus where that person is the one getting married or becoming a civil partner, or a close family member of one of the persons getting married or becoming a civil partner, and/or one or both of the persons getting married or becoming civil partners live outside the United Kingdom.

Addressing the issue of children whose parents are divorced and for the purposes of maintaining the communication between the parent and the child, if the child does not live in the same country as their parents or one of their parents, permission to travel from the UK to Cyprus may be granted.

Moreover, if a person needs to vote in an election or a referendum involving Cyprus, which could take place in a state outside the United Kingdom, or where it is not possible to cast a vote within the UK, then that person may be granted permission to travel.

If a citizen is living in the United Kingdom on a temporary basis, and is not considered a resident in the United Kingdom, then permission to travel to Cyprus is likely to be granted.

It is a fact that until everyone has the opportunity to be vaccinated, travelling abroad remains a risk not only for the person who is travelling but also for the country which is accepting that person.

At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that Cyprus has become the second home for many UK nationals who have strong bonds with the country and its people, and many of their family members are permanent residents. It is worth looking at the various options offered to UK nationals who wish to return or travel to Cyprus any time soon, taking the above prerequisites into consideration.

The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided. For further information or advice, please contact Mr Savvas Savvides, Partner and Director of the Paphos Office, at Telephone +357 26830900 or via Email: Savvas.Savvides@kyprianou.com