How easy is it for a citizen of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus who is resident on the territory it administers to get a Republic of Cyprus (EU) passport?

Is it unlawful under TRNC law for them to obtain a RoC passport without renouncing TRNC citizenship? Will the RoC consider an application from a person who is resident north of the Green Line and wishes to remain a TRNC citizen? Perhaps there are other impediments?

(Note: please do not migrate this question again to Expatriates.SE. It has nothing to do with expatriates. It is about the laws and policies of the two states that claim the territory of northern Cyprus and how they affect a person residing there who was born there and who has no intention of going to reside anywhere else.)


It's either relatively easy or completely impossible. It really depends on whether you can prove your family was on the island before 1974. If you can, obtaining a passport isn't too difficult (at least since 2003-2004). You have to travel to some office in the Greek part of Nicosia (IIRC) and you can even get served in the Turkish language by the Republic of Cyprus, which is officially bilingual.

I have a friend who is just in that situation. As far as I know this doesn't create any special difficulties with the authorities in the north or with Turkey, where she is also going regularly. She did study in the US earlier (without anything else than a TRNC passport) but traveling and living abroad became much easier for her after 2004.

Basically the Republic of Cyprus makes a point of ignoring the very existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. And any special requirements for residents of the northern part of the island or any distinct treatment of those considered to be citizens by the TRNC would be an implicit recognition of its existence.

On the other hand, if you cannot prove you or your ancestors were already citizens of the Republic of Cyprus before the invasion then you cannot get a passport at all. Here as well, the fact you actually reside on the island or may be considered a citizen by the TRNC is completely irrelevant from the perspective of the Republic of Cyprus.

  • " if you cannot prove you or your ancestors were already citizens of the Republic of Cyprus before the invasion then you cannot get a passport at all" - except if you're a Russian oligarch. And my answer isn't an oversimplification - it's the same as yours, just phrased differently. Apr 16 '18 at 22:23
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    @DenisdeBernardy Or a refugee from (the right part of) Yougoslavia or just a regular immigrant but that's not what this question or my answer are about. We are talking about residents of the TRNC. I am not aware that many Russian oligarch live there. Any real reason to downvote or you're just miffed that I was able to actually understand and answer the question where you couldn't?
    – Relaxed
    Apr 16 '18 at 22:24
  • @DenisdeBernardy In all seriousness, how can you claim your answer is the same as mine? Apart from the irrelevant commentary and over-simplifications (which are real and not mere formulations problems), you say nothing of the practical side of things, which is what this question is about (as opposed to generalities regarding the status of the TRNC which are well known to the OP as s/he told you already). But if you agree with all this, feel free to remove the downvote and edit and correct your answer... You cannot really have it both ways.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 16 '18 at 22:41
  • @tell I don't know if there is a law on the books about this. I doubt the TRNC is very effective in applying its laws anyway. What I know is that, in practice, people with both passports can cross the green line back and forth to get a RoC passport or catch a plane without facing retaliation or being prevented from returning.
    – Relaxed
    Apr 17 '18 at 18:34

Cyprus and the international community have, from the start of the conflict, always considered the Turkish army to be an invading force. That is, Cyprus would consider the northerners to be its own citizens. And sure enough, it does with a caveat:

Turkish Cypriots may obtain Cypriot passports and ID cards if they can prove their descent from a citizen of the Republic of Cyprus. Turkish settlers in the northern part of Cyprus are not entitled to Cypriot citizenship.

Put another way, to Cyprus there is no such an administrative thing as the TRNC. Only Cyprus citizens living in an occupied north and some Turkish settlers at their side. There is no TRNC citizenship to renounce, either - the TRNC simply doesn't exist.

Also note in passing that a Northern Cypriot passport is mostly worthless, in that it's recognized by only a handful of countries.

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    Thanks, but this does not answer the question and concludes with an irrelevant statement of opinion suggesting that the right to travel to Turkey is "worthless". The Wikipedia articles do not answer the question either.
    – user19344
    Apr 16 '18 at 10:52
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    @tell: I suspect you're reading too much into this. Per the first link I provided, no nation other than Turkey has officially recognised Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state. Apr 16 '18 at 12:26
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    I already knew that when I posted the question, @DenisdeBernardy. From the point of view of somebody born in North Cyprus and who lives there, it is a sovereign state. It won't get them very far if they tell the authorities they don't recognise their existence, legitimacy, and laws.
    – user19344
    Apr 16 '18 at 12:36
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    @TheEarth there were more than 0 RoC citizens in 1960, they transitioned from some other citizenship. Some of those people could have left Cyprus, had children, then the children could have returned
    – Caleth
    Apr 16 '18 at 12:38
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    @TheEarth I didn't say there were citizens before it was created. The process of it's creation assigned citizenship to a number of people
    – Caleth
    Apr 17 '18 at 9:58

I am married to a Turkish Cypriot. She was born pre-1974 at the British Military Hospital in Nicosia, which did in fact create some difficulties later in life when she decided to apply for a 'kimlik' (ID card) in the TRNC. This was because neither administration would accept a British birth certificate as legal evidence of jurisdiction. Searches for a civilian birth record were conducted on both sides of the green line, and it took several years before one was found - in her case in the southern part of the island. Consequently, the ROC authorities granted her an ROC civil register number, which she was then able to use on the TRNC side to get her kimlik. I also believe that a ROC civil registry number will permit her automatically to obtain a ROC passport.

Her own sister on the other hand, was able to get her kimlik based on a birth record on the Turkish side. With her kimlik she was able to apply for and receive both a ROC passport AND a Turkish (mainland) passport.

The entire process although lengthy and time-consuming, evidenced goodwill on the part of authorities on both sides of the island. And even prior to starting this process, my wife was encouraged by the ROC consul in the country where we live, to apply for ROC citizenship.

From personal knowledge a very large number of Turkish Cypriots carry ROC passports, work in the south, have ROC social security numbers which permit them access health and other benefits. And of course gives them free visa-free access to the EU and many parts of the world.

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