Cyprus Mail

Exiting Cyprus, a bit like leaving Saudi Arabia

passport The EU is already pushing through legal proceedings to shut down existing golden passport schemes in Cyprus, Malta and Bulgaria

I am a Cypriot national and often take my kids to Cyprus alone without my husband for long holidays. My husband is British, and we live in London. He is not always able to come for a month because of his work and usually flies in for a week mid trip. And so I am stuck battling immigration officers each and every trip.

We are not divorced or separated and for the past two years after numerous inquisitions by the border officers I started carrying a written permission signed by my husband with a copy of his passport to speed things along. Until last summer, this was sufficient.

Last August I presented a written permission at the passport control, informed the officer that my husband is not a Cypriot, I am and so are the kids and he proceeded with making a call to my husband to confirm that this was legitimate.

Luckily my husband picked up the phone. He is a trader for a Tier 1 bank and is not allowed to answer personal calls on the trading floor.

How a random call confirms anything beats me, but it somehow worked. Coming to think of it he had no proof he was speaking to my husband. He didn’t even confirm our address in London or names of our kids, just mentioned my name and that I was flying out.

The officer then said I need the permission to be verified by a lawyer. I asked about the format and he dismissively explained that the paper needs, in his words “some kind of a stamp” and a signature of a lawyer.

What in the actual hell does this mean? Notarised? Or signature witnessed? And what stamp? These are different things.

Official travel advice is not clear either, there’s no wording format OR explanation of what type of notarisation is required…

Long story short I’m flying to Cyprus again and I’m gearing up for another lovely exit, getting a letter witnessed by a solicitor, getting a notarisation on it just in case and arriving at the airport an hour earlier to deal with this idiocy. Might get my hubby to record a video explaining that I’m in fact taking kids back to him. That’s the plan.

Granted even I have heard of cases where divorced parents take kids out of the country, but surely a Cypriot parent flying home to their non-Cypriot husband is a different matter.

Exiting Cyprus is becoming a bit like exiting Saudi Arabia and this issue should be challenged.


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