Your Cyprus posting

A families’ guide to living in Cyprus

Contents

01   Passports

Check them today!

You are responsible for ensuring that everyone in your family has a valid passport.

You can claim back the cost of your passport for all immediate family members where a renewal or initial application is necessary; your soldier’s Unit Admin Office (UAO) will guide you.

If someone in your family doesn’t have a British passport, you must ensure they have the right travel documentation (visas and the Cyprus Treaty of Establishment Status Stamp issued by MSS). Visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk for all you need to know, or try the Foreign & Commonwealth section.

02   Your Cyprus SFA

In Cyprus, all Service Family Accommodation (SFA) allocations are processed through the individual Housing Community and Support Offices (HCSO). Complete MOD e1132 (Application to occupy Service Family Accommodation) at the earliest opportunity to help the HCSO assign suitable housing to you; the form is available from your current Unit Admin Office / Welfare Office.

Remember:

SFA in Cyprus is not as plentiful as in other areas; whilst you will always be housed, you may not get the choice you expect.

You will be allocated the highest grade of accommodation available at the time of your arrival.

You cannot request a lower grade of accommodation; requests for accommodation above entitlement will be considered on an individual basis.

Click here for a list of all HCSOs and their corresponding contact details.

Please note: All SFA come fully furnished (this includes a fridge freezer, which must remain in the house, but does not include any other white goods). Once settled, you can request for some of the larger items of furniture to be removed if you choose.

You will also receive a ‘Get-you-in-pack’, which is available to you for up to six weeks after your arrival. This pack contains duvets, sheets, pillows, an iron, crockery, cutlery, pans and a kettle. It does not include towels.

Many of the older houses do not have central heating. Whilst there is no requirement for this from March-Nov, the houses can become cold over the winter months. Stand-alone heaters are available from housing.

None of the SFA comes fitted with air conditioning units as standard. Some families have made the decision to have them installed at their own cost; please be aware that you need to obtain a third party works order from housing before embarking on this.

CILOCT is no longer charged overseas, as of April 2016.

03   Move-in

For information about the removal and storage of your personal and household effects, click here.

The average time for shipping is six weeks.

04   Schools

MOD schools provide a good range of both primary and secondary education in Cyprus; the schools follow the same curriculum as in England. Parents often say that the quality of schooling is one of the highlights of their posting to Cyprus.

Primary education
No matter where in Cyprus you are posted, your child will not have far to travel to get to school in the morning.

Secondary education 
Secondary education is provided through St John’s School, Episkopi, and King Richard’s School, Dhekelia.

All MOD schools follow the same curriculum as schools in England, so there should be no gap in your child’s education; class sizes are much smaller and the schools have a real community feel and a positive atmosphere.

You can find more information on MOD schools on their website, click here.

05   Childcare

Each station has an early years learning facility. Some offer a breakfast club and some offer extended hours outside of the core opening hours.

There are a number of registered childminders in Cyprus. Take a look at who’s currently registered and active at www.ssafa-cyprus.org/childminder-search

To find out more, get in touch with Jill Shaw, SSAFA Childcare Coordinator on +357 9961 8672 or at jill.s@ssafa.org.uk

If you are posted to Cyprus and have any questions about education, please contact AFF’s Education & Childcare Specialist at ec@aff.org.uk or for more general queries contact the Cyprus team at rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

06   Additional medical needs

You should contact your relevant Housing Community and Support Officer (HCSO) giving advance warning of any additional needs that your family has; the earlier your needs and preferences for SFA are known, the easier it will be for the HCSOs to accommodate you and your family appropriately.

If you or a member of your family has an illness or condition that is being treated in the UK, it is very important that you confirm as soon as possible that you can be cared for in Cyprus by consulting your soldier’s Unit Medical Officer and completing the medical screening forms issued as part of the process of booking your family’s flights.

An existing registered additional need or medical condition will not usually prevent you from coming to Cyprus; however, there are some circumstances, and needs, which cannot be treated with the facilities available in BFC.

Start this process as soon as possible because, for those few people who have to have their posting cancelled, it’s far worse if you have already packed up your old house, shipped belongings and given up jobs, or even have to be sent back home on arrival on Cyprus.

Special educational needs (SEN)
If your child has a significant level of SEN that you would like to be addressed by the school, or if they are on the SEN register or have a statement, you must get in touch with the Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) to register your child and ensure that their needs can be catered for in Cyprus.

07   Cars

There are two types of vehicle in Cyprus:

Duty Free – can only be sold to an entitled person

Duty Paid – can be purchased by anyone including Cypriots; these are normally more expensive due to the Import Duty.

Duty Free vehicles
Note: a dependant cannot own and register a duty free vehicle.

Your relief from duty and VAT is subject to the following conditions:

  • That you submit a C104A, available from your nearest customs office, for clearance with the Republic of Cyprus Customs. Your soldier will need to provide a copy of the vehicle log book, their driving licence and valid vehicle insurance for the Republic of Cyprus.
  • Only your soldier and entitled family members drive the vehicle (permission can be sought for visitors and on exceptional circumstances from the Fiscal Office).
  • The vehicle is registered in your soldier’s name within 28 days of purchase (or its arrival in Cyprus).

All duty free vehicles must be registered by your soldier; if your vehicle is already registered in the UK you will still be required to register the vehicle within 28 days of its arrival in Cyprus.

Your vehicle will require a Cyprus MOT. An MOT lasts for two years. There is also a requirement to pay an annual road tax fee based upon the engine size.

Bringing your car to Cyprus

If your car is on a finance agreement, you need to discuss exporting it with your finance company.

For more information, contact the Cyprus HIVEs or SEALIFT OPS – DE&S DSCOM at MOD Abbeywood on 030 6798 1138.

08   Doctors/Dentist

Your family must register with the unit medical centre on arrival in British Forces Cyprus (BFC).

Medical provision in BFC offers healthcare at least as good as in the UK from the NHS.

Occasionally, if your health needs cannot be met on the island, it will be necessary to return to the UK, either temporarily or sometimes on a permanent basis, to receive treatment.

There are military general practices at Akrotiri, Dhekelia and Episkopi. All three are accredited GP training practices. All hospital care in BFC is currently delivered through a contract with a Cypriot private hospital, the Ygia Polyclinic, based in Limassol.

Please note: If you are seriously injured or fall ill elsewhere in the Republic of Cyprus, you will most likely be taken to one of the local state hospitals where all costs will be paid by BFC. If you intend to travel to North Cyprus you are entering a foreign country that is not part of the EC. Your entitlement to medical care at BFC expense ceases at the border and the EHIC card is not accepted. Therefore whilst in North Cyprus, it is essential that you take out appropriate health insurance.

09   Insurance

We strongly recommend you to insure your belongings whilst they are in transit, in storage and in use while in Cyprus. You should also ensure that you have ‘licence to occupy’ insurance. This insures you against any damage to your SFA.

Many UK household contents insurers won’t provide cover for your belongings while overseas, so shop around.

Don’t forget travel insurance to cover your family during your move – you never know what could happen.

All EU travellers should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which provides access to certain services within the Cypriot health care system.

This is particularly important if you receive visitors while in Cyprus as they will not be able to access free healthcare via the medical centre.

10   Pets

Want to bring your pet to Cyprus? Fill in the pet’s section (Annex B) of the MOD F1132. Ensure they have an up-to-date pet passport which can be obtained from a vet; visit www.gov.uk/defra for all you need to know.

For advice on obtaining flights from the UK and a list of shipping companies to consider, contact the British (Forces) Animal Rehoming Centre (BARC). On arrival in Cyprus, register your dog with your Sovereign Base Area Administration (SBAA) Office, either in Dhekelia or Akrotiri. This gives you a dog licence that must be renewed annually.

Once your dog has been registered with the SBAA, you are required to register it for free at your Housing Community Support Office (HCSO). They will then issue an identity tag for its collar so, if it runs away, it can easily be identified.

11   Dependants Status Stamp

Before moving to Cyprus, get your Dependant’s Status Stamp from the Families Section at Abbeywood. This is normally done through your UAO as part of your soldier’s posting process.

This will give you tax free entitlements and access to the military trooping aircraft; it is imperative that this is done at the earliest opportunity by contacting the following 030679 81013 or DSCOM-FAMSEC-GP@MOD.GOV.UK

12   Allowances

You are entitled to allowances such as Get You Home (Overseas) Allowance and Local Overseas Allowance (LOA) while in Cyprus. These allowances are designed to offset some of the extra costs of living abroad as a family.

LOA recognises the amount by which average day-to-day living costs in a particular overseas location differ from those in the UK and takes into account the differences in local lifestyle where appropriate. It isn’t a financial incentive for overseas service or a second income supplement. LOA is calculated by comparing the costs of a wide range of goods and services with similar ones in the UK.

We don’t publish details of the allowances available because they are renewed regularly and there is a danger of providing you with out of date information. Please contact us at rmcyprus@aff.org.uk and we will get back to you with the most recent rates.

13   Does your child’s surname differ from yours?

Concerns over child trafficking have led to 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 rmcyprus@aff.org.uk for further information.

14   Interserve Cyprus

For maintenance or repairs to your SFA in Cyprus, queries, compliments or complaints, email the team directly at cyprus.helpdesk@interserve.mod.uk

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

15   Claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and National Insurance contributions in Cyprus

You may be entitled to claim JSA for up to three months if you were in receipt of contribution based JSA in the UK immediately preceding your move to Cyprus. Please contact AFF’s Employment, Training, Allowances & Money Specialist at etam@aff.org.uk for more information.

Don’t forget to claim your National Insurance credits.

Whether you have been working in Cyprus or not, as a Service spouse or civil partner you will be able to claim National Insurance credits to maintain your National Insurance record for time spent accompanying your soldier in Cyprus post 6 April 2010.

These National Insurance credits will protect your entitlement to the basic state pension and certain contribution-based Social Security benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.

You can apply for your credits by completing the form, which can be found here and having it verified by your welfare office.

Some spouses have been led to believe that they do not have to apply for the credits if they have been claiming state benefits whilst in Cyprus, for example Child Benefit, but that is not the case. Irrespective of whether you have been claiming any state benefits or not, you will still have to make a separate application for your National Insurance credits.

16   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. You can choose to bring your UK home phone with you – Cyprus uses the same telephone connections as back home, although many people choose to just use a mobile.

CYTANET or Cosmos Wireless – the equivalent of BT – provide fixed telephone networks and broadband.

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

Mobile phones

There are two major mobile phone networks available: Cytamobile and MTN. 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, however, these calls will be very expensive!

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 that enables access to various TV and radio channels. To obtain the box and viewing card, visit one of the BFBS DTH offices.

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. The BFBS TV and radio services are FREE – you do not need a TV licence. For more information, click here.

Radio

BFBS offers two radio channels in Cyprus. BFBS Cyprus is the live and local service with contemporary music, BFC local news and features.

 

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 rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

17   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.

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 smaloney@stjohnsschoolcyprus.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 rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

18   Spousal employment options in BFC

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

AFF’s guide to spousal 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; click here for more details

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@armymail.mod.uk

Applying for a UKD post

To apply for a UKD position within BFC, when you arrive in Cyprus, register with LEHR. Click here for more details.

 

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 and is in high demand is childminding.

If you’re a registered childminder, or you’re thinking of becoming one, please take a look here.

Those who opt to be self-employed will require a business licence. Check with your local HCSO and fiscal office how to apply.

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, click here.

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.

Want to know more?

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

19   School Children’s Visits (SCVs)

School Children’s Visits (SCVs) are a contribution towards the cost of reuniting children with their families wherever they are posted to, over a certain distance away. This could be for half terms and/or holidays.

In Cyprus, the serving person is entitled to six return SCVs each academic year, for each of his/her children. Either a trooper flight or a civilian flight can be used.
Click here to view the full process of booking a flight; or for more information, contact your Unit Admin Officer.

20   Leaving Cyprus

Removals

Your soldier will receive a Posting Order outlining the process of moving through Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). Once this is received, you can then apply for  Service Family Accommodation (SFA) using the online e-1132 form, found on the Defence Intranet. Book your removals online through Agility Logistics.

Move-out

Once you have advised your Housing and Community Support Office (HCSO) that you are posted, you will receive a cleaning standards booklet with details of approved contractors if needed.

Travel

Flights for the whole family can be booked via the Joint Air Booking Centre (JABC); don’t forget to ask about onwards travel from Brize Norton to your new quarter.

Need a hire car to get you to the airport in Cyprus? The HIVE has a list of companies to choose from.

Checklist

  • De-register with MOD schools
  • De-register with your doctor/dentist
  • Return your BFBS box
  • Call 132 to arrange disconnection of your CYTA services; this must be done at least ten days before leaving your quarter. You must settle your bill prior to leaving the island.
  • Don’t forget to claim your National Insurance credits – check out the Money Matters page for more information
  • You must arrange for your pet to travel with an approved transport company on an authorised route. Visit defra.gov.uk.

Got a question?

If you have any other questions which are not addressed here, the AFF Cyprus office will be happy to hear from you. Get in touch at rmcyprus@aff.org.uk

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