Useful Information


On this page:

Making buses our business
Free school lunches for Service children overseas
Does your child’s surname differ from yours?
Interserve Cyprus now available online
Help for F&C spouses and soldiers in Cyprus
Self-employed and working overseas?
Stay connected in Cyprus
Post 16 years education options in BFC
Spouse employment options in BFC
Childminding in Cyprus
Getting your child to Cyprus

 

Making buses our business

AFF asked you, the families of BFC, to tell us your views on the forthcoming changes to school buses in the area; independent of the chain of command, we were not involved or consulted on the initial decision to reduce the school bus provision across the island.

We took your comments, both negative and positive, straight to the top - the Transport Review Team - and as a result the Chief of Staff has released a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Representing your views

AFF is pleased that some of your constructive comments and suggestions are to be considered further; these include:

  • initiatives to develop road safety awareness
  • a review of opening times for crèches
  • breakfast clubs
  • walking buses
  • flexible working conditions

We encourage the local communities throughout BFC to get involved with supporting these initiatives.

Opposing opinions 

We are disappointed that, despite providing evidence of concerns relating to traffic management, and increased risks around the drop off/pick up areas and car parks of the primary school entrances, the response from HQ BFC is that: “As parents are discouraged from driving their children to school it is not intended to make changes to drop off or parking areas at school entry points at the moment. However, this and other aspects will be monitored and any issues addressed as they arise.” 

Many of you have already told AFF that you will not be walking to school as, in excessive weather conditions, this will have a negative impact on your child’s education and wellbeing - and on your family’s quality of life; therefore an increase in traffic may be the consequence.

Seeking something similar to the UK

Families indicated that they are willing to pay for a school bus service similar to in the UK. This is a key area of frustration relating to MOD policy which states that charges cannot be made for MOD provided transport. AFF will push for this policy to be reviewed as part of the work on the ‘Cyprus Offer’ since there are severely limited public transport options in BFC.

Chain of command also stated that BFC will not be responsible for establishing another bus contract, highlighting that there is an opportunity to apply for a business licence to provide a service within the SBA.

We recognise that it is probably not feasible for any individual within BFC to set up this type of service as we are such a transient population and it could involve significant set-up costs. Instead, the provision of ‘pay as you go’ transport could have a significant positive impact on the BFC community gaining access to employment, training and leisure facilities.

Have your say

There will be further information provided over the coming weeks.

If you have any questions or comments relating to the FAQs, then contact AFF Cyprus at rmcyprus@aff.org.uk or call 00357 2596 2289.  

AFF will continue to voice your concerns, to push for answers from BFC and to represent you, the families of BFC.

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Free school lunches for Service children overseas

Does your little one attend a MOD School at your overseas posting?

All children in reception years one and two will now receive a FREE lunch in line with the Government’s decision to provide free school meals to eligible children in England.

This initiative is just one way in which MOD Schools, on behalf of the MOD, are working to ensure that Service children are not disadvantaged; for schools in hot climates, where a hot lunchtime meal is not ideal, packed lunches will be provided.

MOD Schools comply with the Schools Food Standards which govern all food and drink on offer within the school and it is hoped that this arrangement will go a long way to ensure that children get the nutrition they need during the school day – as well as saving you money!

Based in Cyprus?

MOD Schools in BFC have extended the school day by 15 minutes for key stage one children to accommodate this change; there is no official lunchtime at schools in this area.

The BFC dental team and dietician are working with Sodexo to ensure your child will receive a balanced chilled snack.

Want to know more?

For more information, contact your child’s school Head Teacher or email DCYP-DCYP-Mailbox@mod.uk  

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Does your child’s surname differ from yours?

Concerns over child trafficking have led to new legislation giving UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers responsibility for checking that there is a genuine and legal link between the child and the parent/guardian where surnames differ. This is for both military and civilian flights.

If you are due to fly with your child, be aware that you may be asked about your relationship to them, especially if you have a different surname.

We recommend you carry a copy of your child’s birth certificate; without such evidence, the immigration officer may talk to both you and your child depending on their age, to satisfy them self of the relationship.

For more information, contact the Joint Booking Centre (JBC) – your soldier can do this on the Army intranet. Or contact our UK and Overseas Director ukoverseasdirector@aff.org.uk for further information.  

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Interserve Cyprus now available online

For maintenance or repairs to your SFA in Cyprus, you can now access Interserve via the following link: bfgnet.de/hive-europe/cyprus-interserve.php 

The Interserve webpage contains an electronic version of the SFA repair and maintenance booklet, as well as helpdesk information and the repair request form.

Got a query, compliment or complaint? You can also email the team directly at cyprus.helpdesk@interserve.mod.uk 

For more information, including Interserve’s upgraded call centre service, click here.

If you have a query about your SFA, or any other aspect of your Cyprus posting, please contact the AFF Cyprus team at cyprus@aff.org.uk  

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Help for F&C spouses and soldiers in Cyprus

AFF WinAs a result of AFF’s discussions with HQ BFG, we are delighted to announce that the chain of command in Cyprus has agreed to fund travel back to the UK to collect a biometric residence permit and to attend an interview for a full 10 year passport.

The issues

Biometric Residence Permits (BRP): The requirement to travel to the UK to collect a BRP came into effect in May this year for all visa applicants overseas. While not a problem for families planning to travel to the UK to settle, it is a huge problem for families of soldiers based overseas who are required to maintain their UK visas.

AFF is aware of one spouse who has had to return to the UK at personal expense to collect her visa, and a spouse in Kenya is looking at having to do the same thing.

AFF raised this issue to Army HQ who are liaising with UKVI about other possible options. Travel back to the UK is not ideal and is not cost-effective for units. We believe it should be possible for a named representative in the UK to collect the BRPs and post them; we continue to work on this issue.

One year passports: AFF has been raising the issue of one year passports since April 2013 when the passport office suddenly decided that applicants should attend an interview in the UK in order to get a 10 year passport.

Soldiers and spouses based overseas are now granted a passport for one year instead, leading to spouses not being able to travel, to some soldiers not being able to deploy and extra expense for units who must cover the cost of the passport renewals.

More to be done

Funding travel to the UK is a great success and a step in the right direction; however, attending an interview in the UK is not going to be possible for everyone because the process can take up to three weeks.

AFF would like to see soldiers and spouses based overseas being allowed to have an interview at their nearest Embassy or Consulate, in the same way that expats can. HQ BFC’s agreement to fund flights and associated costs to return F&C families to the UK is a welcomed short term fix, but AFF will continue to challenge the disadvantages that overseas families face with the current system.  

Contact AFF

Having trouble with a visa? Visit our Visas page

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Self-employed and working overseas?

AFF has received a number of queries from spouses posted overseas who want to continue running their own business from a BFPO address, but are concerned about tax and National Insurance.

This is a very complicated area; however, we have done a lot of research with the University of Wolverhampton and HMRC and the answer is actually surprisingly straightforward.

A simple solution

If you’re posted within the European Economic Area (EEA) and are registered as self-employed, it should just be as simple as calling HMRC on 0191 2037010 or 0300 55 5734, and changing your address (probably to your BFPO address). This will enable you to continue paying tax and Class 2 NI as per normal. 

AFF is also working on this issue for spouses posted outside of the EEA and will let you know the outcome as soon as we find it.

You tell AFF

Speech marksI am a self-employed teacher and work from home online. We are off to Belgium and I want to continue teaching online but am unsure of how to go about declaring my income for tax. Do I need to register with a tax office locally?

Speech marksI make soft furnishings for a couple of design studios in the UK and they have indicated that are happy to courier work out to Germany for me to then send back to them. Would I have to pay German or UK tax?

We are very interested to hear your stories about running a business from an overseas posting, to share your experiences, contact AFF at etam@aff.org.uk.  

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Stay connected in Cyprus

If you’ve just moved to Cyprus, communication is key to getting you on track to a happy posting.

Here, AFF gives you an overview of what you need to know to get connected on the sunny isle…

Telephones and internet access

Telephone and broadband packages are available but are expensive compared to the UK; however, telephone calls are relatively cheap.

Your quarter will be fitted with a telephone port but will not be connected to a service, or have a telephone. Bring your UK home phone with you – Cyprus uses the same telephone connections as back home, so make the most of them!

CYTANET – the equivalent of BT – provide fixed telephone networks and broadband, for more details visit www.cytanet.com.cy 

Remember: HIVE, WRVS, unit libraries and other welfare establishments offer FREE internet access.

Mobile phones

There are two major mobile phone networks available:

Both offer similar packages.

It’s cheaper to use your mobile phone in Cyprus than the UK, especially when making calls to a UK landline; however, handsets are expensive to buy.

You can bring your handset to Cyprus with you but will need to ensure that it is unlocked to all networks; this can be done in Cyprus for a small fee.

Don’t want to use your UK mobile while in Cyprus? Contact your network provider to arrange disconnection prior to arrival.

Please Note: Cyprus SIM cards are not recognised in Northern Cyprus so retaining your UK SIM may be useful if you intend to travel.

Television

BFBS delivers TV in Cyprus by Direct to Home (DTH) – essentially a satellite dish connected to an outlet point in your quarter.

You’ll also be entitled to a set-top box which enables access to various TV and radio channels; to obtain the box and viewing card, visit one of the BFBS DTH offices:

  • RAF Akrotiri – near the Ermes Max store open 9am to noon, Mon to Fri
  • Episkopi – HQ block open 9am to noon, Mon to Fri
  • Dhekelia – in the amenities centre open 9am to noon, Mon to Fri
  • Ay Nik – in the forum open 10am to noon, Mon to Fri

Remember: to take your military ID with you.

To receive the BFBS TV service you’ll need to sign a contract with BFBS and renew your licence annually.

Details of channel listing and programme information can be found at www.bfbs.com/tv 

The BFBS TV and radio services are FREE – you do not need a TV licence.

Radio

BFBS offers two radio channels in Cyprus.

BFBS Cyprus is the live and local service with contemporary music, BFC local news and features.

Location and FM 
WSBA: FM 89.9 
ESBA: FM 99.6 
Nicosia: FM 91.7 
Ay Nik: FM 107.3 

BFBS Radio 2 mixes the best of UK radio with BFBS output.

Location and FM 
WSBA: FM 92.1
ESBA: FM 95.3
Nicosia: FM 89.7

For more information visit web202.ssvc.com/radio

Newspapers and magazines

UK national newspapers are available in Cyprus but are more expensive than in the UK; they are normally available the same day.

Two Cypriot national newspapers – the Cyprus Mail and Cyprus Weekly - are English speaking, inexpensive and cover UK, world and Cypriot news and sport.

Magazines are very expensive compared to the UK; if you plan on buying one regularly it’s better to take out a subscription using the BFPO postal system to save money.

Have a question? 

Contact AFF Cyprus at cyprus@aff.org.uk 

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Post 16 years education options in BFC

If you’ve got children over 16 years accompanying you on your posting to Cyprus, our handy overview of the educational opportunities existing could help to make this a great posting for the whole family.

Youth service

The BFC Youth Service provides social & educational opportunities for young people aged 8 to 18 years.  

There is a Youth and Community Officer in the HQ and a Youth and Community Worker based in each station, who can offer a wide variety of activities, projects and events, designed specifically to meet the needs of young people.

The Open University

The Open University (OU) scheme is administered in BFC by RAF Akrotiri Force Development and Learning Centre (FDLC) and enables you to undertake OU courses and exams.

For more information, call 00357 2527 + Ext or email BFC-AKI-PMS-TDS-Clk02@mod.uk

  • Military Training & Development: Ext 6168 
  • Personal Learning Advice: Ext 6271
  • Resettlement Advice: Ext 5246
  • Interactive Learning Centre: Ext 6163
  • Library: Ext 6162

Vocational Training Qualifications (VTQ)

Part of the Joint Education Training Service (JETS) Academy, with sites located across the Island based at Episkopi, Akrotiri and Dhekelia - VTQ provides opportunities to undertake a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), by offering work placements.

Adults may also undertake NVQs, whether you are in work or in volunteer positions, to enhance your qualifications.

Further information on current courses can be found at www.jetsacademy.ac.uk

Please note: this scheme is open on a fill up basis to dependants.

Adult education

There is an Army Education Centre group in BFC located in both Episkopi and Dhekelia with a satellite location at Ayios Nikolaos.

This provides a range of services to the wider community including Personal and Community Development Learning (PCDL) classes for all BFC personnel and families.

The courses held in the AECs cover vocational, languages, computing, recreational and functional skills.

Learndirect and the opportunity to gain a qualification such as an NVQ are also available.

Career Adviser 

To discuss post 16 education and training opportunities in BFC, please contact Sue Moloney, Personal Careers Adviser, at sue.moloney@sceschools.com or (00357) 9961 4273, who will be happy to offer independent advice and guidance. 

Got a question?

To find out more, contact AFF Cyprus at cyprus@aff.org.uk 

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Spouse employment options in BFC

If you’re accompanying your soldier on a posting to Cyprus, what employment opportunities are available?

AFF’s guide to spouse employment in BFC covers all angles to give you the facts you need to know…

Under the Treaty of Establishment that granted Cyprus Independence and created the Sovereign base Areas (SBA) there is an obligation to, where possible, employ local Cypriot civilians; therefore opportunities for employment within BFC for spouses is limited.

However, don’t let this put you off, there are a number of options for you to explore.

United Kingdom Dependant (UKD) Jobs

Predominantly for spouses of BFC military personnel or civil servants, most of the posts are of a clerical, teaching or medical nature.

The Locally Employed Human Resources (LEHR) arranges recruitment for all UKD staff employed in British forces Cyprus; their contact details are as follows: Locally Employed Human Resources,
Block c, Episkopi Garrison
Open Mon 06.45 – 16.30, Tues – fri 06.45 – 13.30
Tel: 00357 2596 2553 / 3456
Mil: 94120 2553/3456

MOD and LEHR job vacancies for UKDs can be found at the HIVEs along with application forms. To receive email updates of job vacancies in BFC, email episkopihive@hive-europe.co.uk

Please note: If you have older children they are not entitled to take UKD jobs under the Treaty of Establishment.

Applying for a UKD post

To apply for a UKD position within BFC, when you arrive in Cyprus, register with LEHR by completing the following forms:

  • BFC Category B UKD Registration for Employment
  • Security Vetting Form
  • Health Declaration

Details can be found here.

Once completed, return your forms to LEHR together with any original educational certificates and your passport containing your dependancy status stamp.

Due to LEHR having to check your dependant status you cannot register until you arrive on the island.

Self-employment and homeworking

One activity that remains popular is childminding.

If you’re a registered childminder or you’re thinking of becoming one, contact the SSAFA FH Childminder Coordinator at your new location.

Those who opt to be self-employed will require a business licence. Applications can be made to the following contacts:

Please note: You should not use the BFPO system to send or receive mail relating to your business. 

Civilian employment in the Republic of Cyprus (RoC)

Employment in the RoC is limited for non-Cypriots and an understanding of Greek is preferable; occasional work may be obtained in service industries and tourist areas - vacancies are advertised in the local press and through local labour offices, www.mlsi.gov.cy 

For employment in shops, bars and clubs, make your enquiries directly to the establishment.

Volunteer opportunities

With limited paid employment opportunities in BFC, the alternative could be to volunteer; not only will this bridge any gaps in your CV but you’ll also be making a positive contribution to the BFC community.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities in BFC including SSAFA, Home-Start, British Animal Rescue Centre, Victims Support and Uniformed groups (Girl guiding, Scouts, Beavers etc.) to name a few.

AFF also operates a volunteer programme, so if you have a specialist skill that you want to utilise whilst in BFC, contact us at volmanager@aff.org.uk.

Want to know more?

For more information about working in Cyprus, contact AFF Cyprus at cyprus@aff.org.uk 

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Childminding in Cyprus

Whether you are looking for a childminder for your children or you want to register as a childminder in Cyprus, SSAFA Cyprus’ website has got all of the information that you could possibly need. Click here for SSAFA’s childminding pages. If you have any questions about childminding in Cyprus you should contact Jill Shaw, SSAFA’s childcare coordinator in Cyprus on 00357 9961 8672 or at jill.s@ssafa.org.uk

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Getting your child to Cyprus

Until last month, if your child was at boarding school in the UK and wanted to travel to Cyprus to visit their family, they had to use the trooper from Brize Norton unless civilian flights had been authorised.

New improved process

AFF is delighted to announce that this policy has now changed so that your child can once again use civilian flights as well as the trooper. This is great news as it means that your child will be able to travel from an airport much closer to their school rather than having to travel to Oxfordshire.

You will need to choose an economy seat and claims for additional flight extras such as increased baggage allowance, additional leg room, fast pass boarding and subsistence are not permissible – you need to pay for those things yourself.

Booking a civilian flight

To use civilian flights, simply submit an application on JPA - ideally at least 3 months before the date of travel. Once approval is received you then need to go to your travel cell with details of the flights you want to use. The great thing about this is that you do not need to pay for the travel and then claim the cost back.

If you would like your child to travel from an airport other than the one closest to the boarding school, you need to seek the permission of your soldier’s Commanding Officer. You might want to do this if the nearest airport does not offer direct flights to Cyprus or a service for unaccompanied minors.

Click here to view the full process of booking a flight; or for more information, including where your travel cell is located, contact your local AFF Co-ordinator.

 

 

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