CAN CYPRUS JOIN SCHENGEN?
Cyprus, like the rest of the EU, is urged to seek for Schengen membership. If the nation meets the requisite technological and security standards, it will be allowed to the travel zone.
Cyprus is currently one of just a few EU member nations that has not yet successfully joined the Union’s passport-free travel zone. Among the EU states that continue to be non-Schengen countries are:
Ireland and the United Kingdom are Schengen exempt, while Croatia is in the final stages of joining the travel zone. Furthermore, Bulgaria and Romania have passed the 5-step review procedure and are awaiting official EU approval to become full Schengen members.
Cyprus already has stronger relations to numerous core European institutions than some other EU member states. For example, unlike some other non-Schengen EU members, it is a member of the Eurozone and uses the Euro currency.
The country also permits visitors holding Schengen visas from other EU member countries to enter without a Cypriot visa, and it works with the EU’s immigration and enforcement networks. These factors could aid the country’s preparations for membership in the borderless zone.
DO TRAVELLERS NEED A SCHENGEN VISA FOR CYPRUS?
Some third-country nationals, such as US or Canadian citizens, may visit Cyprus without a visa for a short period of time.
Foreign nationals from non-exempt countries can enter with a dual or multiple-entry Schengen visa or a Cyprus national visa for short tourism visits. Special conditions apply when entering Cyprus with a Schengen visa; travellers must ensure that they have all of the necessary information and meet the requirements.
Even if Cyprus is not a Schengen member at the time the ETIAS visa waiver is implemented, it will still be necessary to travel to Cyprus without a visa. Passengers from visa-exempt countries must complete the online ETIAS application prior to their trip to Cyprus.
The ETIAS travel authorisation will be implemented by November 2023, with mandatory use of EU the visa waiver after the grace period. If Cyprus is still in the process of joining the Schengen travel area at this time, the ETIAS policy will still cover the country.
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR CYPRUS?
Now that Cyprus has stated its intention to join the Schengen Area, it will be evaluated by the EU.
The country must go through a 5-step approval procedure to demonstrate its ability to preserve Schengen border integrity and security.
Cyprus must carefully align its border and security data collection with the EU’s digital database framework and procedures. If Cyprus can satisfy EU officials with its efforts and investments to keep Schengen’s borders open, it should be granted membership in the zone.
The Republic of Cyprus has previously faced a variety of barriers to Schengen membership, including an ongoing territorial conflict with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRCN). Following a civil war in 1974, the island of Cyprus remains split between the two states.