About North Cyprus

North Cyprus Information

Ian Smith Estate Agency are delighted that you have chosen to consider your purchase through its company. Established in 1985 Ian Smith Estate Agency is the Number One agency for providing all round impartial free advice to assist you in this life changing project you are considering embarking upon.

We will assist you every step of the way providing free advice and guidance on all aspects of your venture and continue to provide support following completion of your property and/or Sale.

If you decide to make a purchase whether for investment or living purposes Ian Smith, the Number One Agency will give you free access to a wide range of Information and advice.

In the mean time whilst you are no doubt familiar with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus we will take this opportunity to give you an overview of this beautiful Island.

The TRNC comprises an area of 3,355 sq. miles and encompasses the northern part of the island, which is the third largest in the Mediterranean. It is situated at the crossroads of east-west and north-south navigational routes, is only 70 kilometres south of Turkey and 385 km north of Egypt. Owing to the close proximity to the Middle Eastern countries it provides an ideal place for foreign investment.

TR Northern Cyprus generally has long hot summers and short mild (but often wet) winters making the island one of the healthiest places in the world to live. It enjoys approximately 300 days of sunshine and the lowest sea temperature is rarely below 63 degrees F.

The capital of the TRNC is Lefkosa (Nicosia), which is the main administration and business centre. Other towns include Magosa (Famagusta) – the country’s principal port, Girne (Kyrenia), a town of tourist and archaeological importance and Guzelyurt (Morphou), which is the centre of the citrus industry.

Turkish is the official language and English is the second language, and is widely used and understood in official and commercial circles. There are several first-class Turkish language teachers available, and some foreign residents avail themselves of their services

Local time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.

Living costs in the TRNC are a little cheaper than the UK and most of Europe.

There is no rates system at present. The main costs are electricity (anything from around £50 for a 2 / 3 bedroom apartments to £200+ for a large villa with pool, monthly), water (standing charge for up to 19 tonnes in most areas is £10 monthly, this includes refuse collection and road lighting) and an annual property tax which is £1 per square metre . Central heating is becoming more popular with new builds and is usually run on gas or fuel. Most cookers are run on calor gas and/or electricity. There is no mains gas at the moment.

The Turkish Lira is the legal tender and official rates for the TL are adjusted daily according to changes in the international monetary markets. All foreign currencies are acceptable at trading or tourist outlets.

There is a wide selection of consumer goods of good quality. In addition to locally produced, almost all foreign brands are available on the market.

Mains power 240/415 volts AC. 50Hz. Plugs are usually English standard. We do experience some power cuts so surge protectors are an excellent item to bring with you!

Water is by mains supply connected to water tanks usually fixed on house roofs and in some properties supplemented by wells. However, it is recommended that bottled water is purchased for drinking.

There is an international telephone system with facsimile and internet and also wireless internet connection.

As in the UK, traffic circulation is on the left. Road signs are international. There is a large selection of car hire companies with a variety of vehicles at favourable rates, from £15 per day in the winter to £20+ in the peak season.

There is no acute unemployment in the TRNC and the number of registered unemployed has declined steadily since 1978. The official working week is 40 hours in the winter and 36 in the summer.

The TRNC follows a flexible exchange policy. Foreign currency accounts can be opened with local banks and currency can be moved in or out of the country through the banks without any restriction or much control.

All types of banking services are provided and they are flexible enough to satisfy the continually diversifying needs of the business community. There are branches in many of the important trading centres of the world. Some banks, such as Turk Bankasi have branches in London. See www.turkishbank.com

The newly refurbished Ercan (pronounced Airjan and approximately 30 minutes from Kyrenia) airport handles the bulk of the tourist traffic. Daily flights from many mainland Turkish cities, as well as flights from Europe, supply the majority of the visitors to the island.

Airlines flying to north Cyprus include Pegasus, Turkish Airlines, Atlas Jet and Fly Kibris Airways. No visa is required for Brits and Europeans to Northern Cyprus and if you prefer not to have your passport stamped when entering the country, you can have a blank piece of paper stamped.

Many people are now flying via Larnaca to the UK and other countries. Tickets can be bought in the UK for flights from the UK to Larnaca and a Greek or Turkish taxi will bring you across the border. The drive from Larnaca to Girne is approximately 90 minutes.

Email us at info@iansmithestate.com for further details.

There is a selection of car and passenger ferries from Turkey, the fastest being 2 hours from Tasucu to Girne.

North Cyprus has a large selection of accommodation units from 5 star hotels, small family hotels, motels, pensions, self-catering villas, apartments and camping facilities. We are able to recommend hotels and self-catering villas.

The mild climate, the natural and scenic attractions, the rich antiquities coupled with the hospitality of the Turkish Cypriots, makes North Cyprus an ideal place for tourists. There is none of the pestering of holiday makers that is so common now in other Mediterranean resorts.

For the registration of a company, the legal form widely used for business undertakings in the TRNC, both by foreign investors and by local businessmen, is the Private Limited Company. The provisions concerning the Limited Company are set out in the Company’s Law, Cap 113, which is almost identical to the UK`s Company Act of 1948.

Permission is obtained from the Council of Ministers for foreign ownership of TRNC registered companies usually within two to three months of application. Foreign ownership can be from 49% – 100%. A Business Permit is also required, which may be obtained from the Immigration Office.

The TRNC is encouraging a policy of attracting foreigners to come and live and work in North Cyprus – in particular, to invest in businesses, especially within the tourism sector. This, of course, opens up a multitude of trades and businesses, from travel agencies, transport companies (whether land or sea or air), hotels, bars, restaurants, holiday villages, paragliding (www.highlineinfo@yahoo.com for more information on tandem paragliding off the Five Finger mountain range) touristic related services such as water sports, (www.amphoradiving.com for scuba diving), recreational land sports such as tennis, golf, horse riding etc.

The British Residents Society is based in Kyrenia and is open on Saturday mornings. Members of the committee are there every Saturday to give help, information and advice. Their website is www.brstrnc.com.

With regards to the purchase of land or buildings, we will look at the different types of property, and the Title Deeds which one is likely to be offered.

Foreigners are limited to one property on a donum (husband and wife count as one person unless they have different surnames). Alternatively you can buy up to 5 donums of land, but only build 1 dwelling on it.


Internationally recognised deeds. Permission to buy is still necessary


These deeds are 100% safe but before the property can be registered in your name, an application must be made to the Council of Ministers for approval. The procedure to obtain approval will take some time.


This is property or land that was in Greek Cypriot ownership pre-1974. When the Turkish Cypriot refugees came to the safety of the north after July 1974, they left all their possessions behind in the south.

Accordingly, the Government then assessed on a points basis, the value of the refugee’s forsaken assets in the south.

With these points, the Turkish Cypriot refugee could take a relinquished Greek Cypriot house or land in compensation for his lost properties in the south to the TRNC Government, who would then hold them pending a negotiated settlement between the North and South Governments. The refugee would then be issued with a Title Deed for his newly recompensed property. Until he received this Title, he would not be in a position to sell.

Our feeling is that as the island is heading, albeit slowly, for some sort of solution, whether it will be a negotiated settlement or annexation to the Mother land, then the TRNC title deed properties can be considered safe to purchase.


Some people offer for sale, for relatively nominal sums, these properties without deeds. They are sold for “air money” or “goodwill” usually, these need the purchase of additional points before the Title Deeds will be issued. It is our opinion that agreements should not be entered into for property that does not have a Title Deed issued by the relevant authority.


When one looks back to pre 1974, there were over two thousand British in the Girne area, and property was experiencing something of a boom. In the period up to the Peace operation in July 1974, there were several hundred Title Deed applications pending and subsequently not processed, owing to the lethargy of the Greek Cypriot administration, and the political instability.

Following the formation of a Turkish Cypriot Government, a statement was issued that all foreign land and property ownership, once registered, would be respected. This has been done; the first cases have been to court, and as long as the owner can substantiate his original payment for the property, then deeds are issued. There are some seven or eight hundred cases to be heard, so unavoidably, the process will take some time.


These are usually derelict houses, which the Government will lease out for periods of up to 49 years to foreigners who renovate the property at their own expense, and who pay a nominal ground rent for the lease period. An excellent example of the manner in which this scheme has been operated can be seen in Karaman (Karmi) Village, which is a credit to the Minister of Tourism and his staff. It should be noted that a lease holder must retain the property for 3 years before they will be given permission to sell.

This policy is showing encouraging results, as many visitors from overseas are returning to North Cyprus to investigate the possibilities of starting new businesses here. At the present time, the majority of these people are from the British Isles, and many have commenced trading in such businesses as water sports, restaurants, holiday home management, shops, estate agents, construction companies, irrigation equipment suppliers etc.

Regarding the actual mechanics of property or land purchase, the following procedure must be adhered to:

  1. The validity of the Title Deed is checked and confirmed by a solicitor.
  2. A £5,000 deposit is paid.
  3. Contracts of Sale are drawn up, with the purchaser paying a 10% deposit, and a completion date is set. In many cases, the purchaser returns to the UK or wherever, and the solicitor attends to the completion in the purchaser’s absence, having been given Power of Attorney.
  4. A application must be made to the Council of Ministers (allow up to approximately 24 months)
  5. Once your permission to buy is granted, the Land Registry values the property for Stamp Duty purposes at 6%, or you can use a once-in-a-lifetime exemption and pay 3% on the contract price.
  6. On the day of completion, the monies are paid by the solicitor to the vendor and the Land Registry respectively; the name of the purchaser is entered into the Land Registry’s record books, and the new Title Deed is subsequently issued.

NOTE There is no rating system in the TRNC at the present time.

NOTE The legal system here is based on British law, with a number of first-class lawyers whom we are pleased to recommend to prospective purchasers

A foreigner coming here to live and/or work must apply for the following permits: firstly, a Temporary Visitors Permit from the Police Station/Immigration Department that requires the completion of several forms, provision of four passport photos, medical test etc., (please ask for more details). A full Permanent Residency Permit is not usually issued until the applicant has been in resident in the TRNC for five years.

One does not require a Residence Permit to purchase property in North Cyprus.

There are opportunities to enter into long-term, loose or joint venture projects with an organisation here that owns many seashore and inland tracts of land and properties. Any interested companies or individuals who are looking for investment opportunities in the tourism sector for hotels, holiday villages, and villa or apartment projects in superb locations should contact Ian Smith Estate Agency.

For the client who wishes to purchase land and build a house or villa, the laws are as follows:

  1. Outside the Municipal boundaries, there are restrictions upon the area that one can build on (35% of the land area in general) and a height restriction of two storeys.
  2. There is an abundance of good architects and engineers who will plan and design your villa at reasonable rates. We are pleased to be able to recommend reliable practices for interested clients. Once the plans have been lodged with the District Office, work may commence.
  3. Land in North Cyprus is measured in donums. 3 donums = 1 acre. 1 donum = 1,338 square metres.
  4. With regard to the actual construction, there is a multitude of companies who claim to be fully experienced in building villas. It has been our experience, following thirty-four years of home and overseas construction that the main problem for house and villa owners overseas is the matter of building control. There are no building inspectors as in the UK, and whilst the architectural and engineering plans are drawn to exacting standards, many of the so-called construction companies are not able to read plans properly. We are happy to offer to potential house builders the names of reputable and trustworthy building companies who will guarantee the completion of a property within a fixed time, and at a pre-agreed price.

Building costs vary, dependent upon finishing, from £500 per square metre upwards. Most buildings are constructed in the reinforced concrete frame system that is prevalent in Mediterranean countries. Buildings tend to be over-specified, but this can only be an advantage to the buyer. Materials are readily available from Turkey, Spain, Italy, Germany, and UK.

In addition, we are happy to direct clients to excellent suppliers of all household items, electrical equipment and landscape gardening services, antique furniture and interior design services.

We now have our own busy Rentals department which will attend to all your requirements should you wish to rent your property or have the villa managed in a professional manner.

We also have reliable and honest personnel who will guide you through the Government

Departments for importation of household and personal goods, vehicle registration, immigration permits, driving licenses etc. – as well as advice from our legal and accountancy colleagues for your pension, investment and banking needs.

The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus official religion is Muslim. As a visitor it is courteous to respect the laws and practices of this religion. The main Christian Church here is St Andrews in Kyrenia, an Anglican Church situated by the old Police Station near the castle, and welcomes both practicing Christians and visitors. It holds its major Service at 10.00 am on Sundays, and 09.30 am on Thursdays. The Chaplain can be contacted on 815 4329. The Roman Catholic Church holds a Mass at 12 midday on the 1st and 3rd Sunday in the month. It is situated in Kyrenia, by The Dome Hotel.

It is true to say that retired people and families who come to live in North Cyprus enjoy a much higher standard of living than their UK counterparts, with pensions having a higher purchasing power, and with the reassuring knowledge that one is living in a safe environment.

For investors in virtually all sectors, this country offers more than possibly anywhere else in the world, a statement that is being reflected in the number of enquiries from British and European companies, and private investors.

For younger people with families, there can be no finer, safer and healthier environment in which to raise one’s children.

We hope these brief pages assist in explaining a little more about this beautiful island, and we conclude by offering our congratulations to President, the Government, and the peoples of Northern Cyprus for retaining the beauty of the island, whilst developing the infrastructure of their new country, even with the limitations and restrictions that are applied by the outrageous non-recognition of the north.

We are honoured to be involved with and working in this exciting period of North Cyprus history.

We look forward to you becoming a part of that.