So, you’ve relocated to North Cyprus and you need to find work.  Well, take a step back for a moment!  Rules relating to foreigners getting a work permit have been in place for a long time, but until recently they were very infrequently enforced and nowadays, getting a work permit is not exactly straightforward.  If you need to find a job to support yourself or your family in Northern Cyprus, then you ideally need to find work before you arrive.

We will detail the rules for obtaining work and a work permit as best we can, but please note that the rules do change quite frequently so it always better to seek government advice for regular updates.  For example there are currently rumours circulating that a foreigner will only be able to hold a work permit for 4 years and will then have to leave for 10, before they can get another one!  A work permit will entitle you to reside legally in North Cyprus and work here, and it will need to be renewed on a regular basis during your working life on the island.

Foreigners coming to the TRNC do not have the automatic right to work, earn money or run a business without first obtaining a full work or business permit.  Most of the European workforce here in North Cyprus is either employed by the real estate and construction sectors, or by the tourism and hotel industry, so this is where most job vacancies arise should you be wondering about what types of jobs are most readily available.

There are no employment agencies on the island at the present time, and the most common way for people to find work is either by word of mouth, or you may sometimes find the odd job advertised in the local Cyprus Today newspaper or on some of the North Cyprus web forums.

As the rules stand at the time of writing, a foreigner must be given permission to be employed by a company, only after a government search has been done to ensure that no local Turkish Cypriot citizen can do the job required.  This means that ideally a reputable employer who has offered a job to a foreigner has already exhausted the local employment market.

Once government permission is given accepting that no locals can fill the required vacancy, the employer is then free to advertise the job or bring in a foreigner that he may already have in mind by way of a letter of invitation.  The employer, normally through his accountant, will start the process of obtaining a temporary work permit for their new employee.

The process will involve plenty of form filling, you will need to go for a medical test, visit a local police station and be registered at various government departments such as social security.  Your employer should handle most of the process for you that does not require your personal attendance.  It’s important to note that the employee at this point is still not allowed to work until a full permit has been issued.

Under current rules, employees are required to have a euro denominated bond held in a local bank account which is blocked for the duration of their work permit.  Amounts payable differ depending on your home country, but the bond is basically to ensure that should your employer go bankrupt and you are left with no money, the amount is enough for you to be able to return to your country of domicile.  Who pays this amount is actually dependent on your employer, and we have heard of employees actually being asked to pay this, but employers should pay it and most do.

The process to obtain a work permit can take two to three weeks to complete, and a full permit is normally issued for between 6 months and a year.  Every time the permit expires then the same process has to be repeated each time.  Subsequent permits can then be issued for two years at a time, lessening the frequency of the process.

Beware also that once a permit has been issued it is solely the property of the employer.  Should you be sacked or terminate your employment then this permit is not valid for any other job or company, and if you start a new job then you need to start the whole process again.  If you are unable to find another job and your work permit has expired then you are required to leave North Cyprus within 7 days of the date of expiry and then return to be given another 30 day visit visa.  Within this time you need to find another job or start the process of transferring to a temporary residency permit.

Each month your employer will additionally pay your social security contributions which will entitle you to free state healthcare, and can be an important source of income should you need to draw on your contributions in the future when you are not working for six months or more.

You should receive a medical card which will need stamping every six months at your local social security office, to prove that your contributions are up to date and give you continuing free state healthcare, as well as a general employment card which should be updated every time you move company with your new employer details.  Note though, that as of 2009/2010 foreigners are no longer allowed to contribute to the state pension system, so that is something to bear in mind also.  If you have been working for some years and you move job, then you will then be unable to continue contributing but are entitled to reclaim your contributions to date.

Finally, it is important to mention that there is a black market economy in North Cyprus, with many foreigners working without the above process in place.  More and more we hear of people who have been deported and fined due to them having been found to be working illegally, so it’s really important to seek legal employment as the fines currently stand at 1,190 YTL per day!  However, there are times of the year when the government issues an amnesty allowing illegal workers to leave the country with lower fines.

So, please do your homework before thinking of relocating to North Cyprus if you need to supplement your budget with a regular income, as it can be a stressful situation to be in should you find yourself without work or having to work illegally.



  1. hi
    to whom it may concerned
    i have perchased an apt in girne and will be retired in near future and comming to reside there.pls.
    can you tell me whether i can get work permit or buy a resturant or not?is yes tell me the prosess.
    your response will be appriciated in advance.

    • Hi Saeid, you can obviously apply for temporary residency just like most of us. You need to visit the main police station in Lefkosa to start the process and depending on your age you would be required to undergo a medical exam.
      With regards to business permits, that is different entirely and we have tried to explain above what the process is in another article on starting a business, but unfortunately we haven’t had time to post it yet – keep checking it will be here soon!

      • hi thanks for i want to know ,if i get residevsy permit can i travel to turkey and back
        evry month or week, or i have to stay in north cyprus and i am not allowed?what regulations
        about this matter.what about finding a jub in turkey if i wasnot able to to find in TRNC. whilest my
        family staies in trnc. and studies.

  2. I am a student in gau and I want to work because its very boring for me how can I find job

  3. Hi,

    Me Jawad,
    I am here a student of PhD (Electrical & Electronic) in Near East University.Now here i found job regarding my field to support my self.i find your website on internet.i need your assist regarding i have 7 years experience in operation Manager in Pakistan.I was working there in G4S Multinational Security Co.I know very well English and Urdu Language. your response will be appreciated for me.
    Best Regards,
    Jawad Naseer

  4. I am British national resident here in TRNC . I want to bring my kids Nanny to look after them what would be the process.

    • Hi Sam, we would always recommend that you go to the immigration police – she would most likely need a permit of some kind. Ed

  5. hey i am leaving in south Cyprus(Greek Cypriot).I came to north Cyprus side 1 year ago and i forget to cancel my exit entry.Now immigration They stop me to enter again in North side can you tell me how i make correct this thing and go to north side.i went 2-3 times to say them please cancel it but they did not gave me answer.please tell me any solution

    • Hi Arvind, sorry but how on earth did you manage NOT to cancel your exit visa?! As you can only go over the border checkpoints then we would have thought it impossible that they missed you? Really sorry, but not something we can help you with I am afraid. Ed

  6. Hello, my name is Ivona Krajcovicova, i need help and im not sure who can help me with this thing. Im from Slovakia, i was working in North Cyprus in Kyrenia i alone was paid my working permit which should finish by september next year. In my last work i was worked more then 6 month. When i was finish in my work, they canceled my working permit which i was paid and the didnt tell me about that,after my work i was around one more month still on the Cyprus and when i went back to my country i had problem and they asked from me penalty.Can you help me please what i should do now.Money which they asked was not little money and i didnt know about this and now im in very bad situacion.Thank you for your answer and help.

    Have a nice day


  7. hello, i need help i need to ask it is possiible if i was live country already and i have to pay penalty, it is possible that my penalty is more and more every week? and i was left country before one month?

    • Hi Ivona, We can’t really answer your questions, apart from to say that yes, if you have outstayed your visa then you are liable for penalties when you leave the country. If you don’t pay them when you leave we believe that you will have to pay them when you come back in to the country, or not come back at all sadly. You really need to perhaps visit the local police immigration to find out. Ed

  8. hello good day to you , please i am from morocco , i would like to find work in cyprus for get residence and work permit ? thank you

  9. Hello people how are you doing all?
    I am citizen of Pakistan living and working in Capital Islambad. I have a wish to apply for jobs in Cyprus but I don’t know how to apply and where to apply. Can anybody tell me the way to get into Cyprus and get a work permit?

    Plz reply me on my email as a favour.
    My Mobile No. is 0092-345-5086165

  10. Hi there,
    I am a nurse in England and looking at relocating in northen Cyprus. Is this possible and please could you give me some information about it. I understand that there aren’t many nurses but if I have researched correctly I can work as a private nurse.

  11. i am a Nigerian who gained admission in north cyprus, please i want to know if there are jobs to be doing that can help to sustain on in taking care of himself and also be able to pay his school fees and other things…..

    best regard

  12. can one have north cyprus visa and have his stay in istanbul turkey

  13. Hello i want to ask if you have working permit in North Cyprus can you able to go out and come ?

  14. Hi I need a job .I want live out if necessary I’m filipina and and willing to work baby sitter or housekeeping
    Thank you

  15. Hi
    I am working as Technical Writer (English Language) in an Information Technology company. Is there any opportunity in IT companies in North Cyprus.

  16. gurpreet kaur Reply

    Hi ,I am a INDIAN CITIZEN. been in uk for two years on study visa. i have own my company. and i have five year work experience. I m good in speaking english. so if there is any work available for me then pls guide me. what i need? should apply work permit from my home country.

  17. hello ,
    my name is Jassi . I got work permit from Northern Cyprus and now Turkey do not allow me to get Ercan airport without Turkish visa why so ? I do have work permit from TRNC

  18. please I have a valid turkey visa ,I want to know if I will be allowed to come into Cyprus to reside and work?

  19. Roshan saru Reply

    Hi can I know about some regulations
    I am working now northern Cyprus I have work permit but I need to go south Cyprus for work I have opportunities also but they said I can’t work. Can you have some idea please

  20. hello sir’
    I want ask something about medical requirements.I have 10 years old spot in my chest x-ray.
    My medical test will be clear or not and can I authorise to work in north Cyprus I want to get work permit so please guide me

  21. Hello
    you all right if i want a work permit of any hotel resturant in north cyprus so how can is this possible give me a complete information and what csn i do for this?
    reply me please

  22. hi, i know some people who are working illegally in casino and they told me also i can join,but i am scared because i live in cyprus sometimes and i don t want to get in trouble.They told me nobody is ever checking them and they re making a lot of money without paying tax anywhere.What happens if they get caught?

  23. Ndifor nelson Reply

    I arrived the island as a student in NEU but later found a job
    Which i worked full time which means i stopped schooling. now
    my student admission letter is expired and i want to make a working permit. How do i go about it please.

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