Having purchased a car here in North Cyprus it is important to actually make sure that you can legally drive it! Fortunately, as European driving standards are classed as being far superior to those in North Cyprus, (you’ll soon realise why!), you won’t have an issue with obtaining a TRNC license, and you will not be required to sit through another driving test!
There are a few important pointers though, as there is a timeframe of three months in which to get your license once you have the car bought and registered in your name, otherwise this could mean problems if you are stopped by police on a routine roadside check, or if you are involved in an accident.
Fortunately the process of getting a license is pretty simple and it doesn’t take long, but you should start the process as soon as you have your car, or indeed before you have bought a car as there is no requirement to physically own one before applying for a license! You need to visit your local Tax Office to do some form filling whilst taking with you your passport and a copy of your work or residency permit and the photo sections within in, two passport sized photos, and both the original and a copy of your existing European license.
When completing the form you need to decide how long you want your license for – what a novelty!! Costs at the time of writing (costs have not risen as normal as there is an election coming up!) in 2009 are 150.20YTL for 2 years, 200.30YTL for 3 years, 300.50YTL for 5 years and 501YTL for 10 years. It is entirely up to you, but it may make sense to go for a shorter period, as you may not know what your intentions are for the next few years.
Once you have completed the form and paid your money, the official will take your paperwork which will then be sent to the central license office in Lefkoşa. Another two to three weeks and your license should be ready for you to collect from your local Tax Office, but do check with the official to make sure about timeframes. And that, really is all it takes!
Perhaps you borrow a friend’s car from time to time, which is easy here as you don’t need to get additional insurance cover. If you’re stopped by the police for any reason then they will expect you to speak with the owner of the car on the phone straight away to confirm that they have given you permission to borrow it, or else you may need to make a visit with the owner to the police station. If you borrow someone else’s car whilst they are away or not living here permanently, then you will need to obtain an authorised power of attorney from a notary which you will need to have in the vehicle at all times.
Next up, making sure you have a valid TRNC license becomes more important when mentioning insurance! Presently an insurance company or agent can issue you with an insurance policy even if you do not have a TRNC license, leaving the onus on you to ensure you obtain one. But, if you do not obtain a license within the three month period and are involved in any kind of accident, then the insurance will be invalid as far as the police and the insurance company are concerned, and you may be prosecuted too. In addition to that situation, you would also be liable for any repairs to damage on the other party’s vehicle.
One other issue may be that you want to purchase a car in North Cyprus, even if you don’t live here permanently but have a holiday home perhaps and do spend longer periods than just a standard two week holiday and you want to save on rental costs for example. Unfortunately, unless you have obtained a temporary residency visa then you will be unable to apply for a driving license leaving you open to invalid insurance which will still be issued to you irrespectively. Believe us this situation does happen as people are unaware of the rules!
For those who have all the necessaries in place though, the process of getting a license is so easy as we hope we have shown, and the cost of having a driving license is not prohibitive so you should not even need to worry about the consequences of not having one!!