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Posted by Kingsley Ajuonuma on March 16, 2024
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North Cyprus, with its distinct administrative status, operates under a unique set of laws and regulations, particularly regarding employment and work permits. This blog post aims to guide expatriates and foreign nationals who are considering or planning to work in North Cyprus, providing essential information on the work permit application process, requirements, and other pertinent details.

Understanding North Cyprus

North Cyprus, officially known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), is recognized only by Turkey. This unique political situation impacts international relations, including work and business practices. Despite this, North Cyprus has a growing economy, particularly in sectors like education, real estate, tourism, and hospitality, attracting foreign workers and professionals.

Work Permit Requirement

Foreign nationals wishing to work in North Cyprus must obtain a work permit. Unlike some regions where the permit can be applied for upon arrival, in North Cyprus, the process typically needs to be initiated before entering the country. This is crucial for those planning to work legally and avoid any legal issues that might arise from unauthorized employment.

For foreign nationals aiming to work in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), their employers must apply for a preliminary work permit with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security before they arrive in the TRNC and secure preliminary approval on behalf of the prospective employee. If you enter the TRNC before the preliminary approval date issued by the Ministry without leaving, or if you leave and re-enter after the preliminary approval date, the preliminary approval obtained by the employer on the worker’s behalf will not be valid. Should this situation be detected, the work permit application made will not be processed and will be rejected.

Once the employer has secured this preliminary permission for the employee, they must apply to the relevant department of the Ministry (the District Labor Office) within 15 days of the employee’s arrival on the island to complete the work permit procedures. These procedures should be finalized within 30 days from the start of the application process. If the work permit application is approved by the Ministry, the foreign national will be granted a work permit. This permit is then stamped into the employee’s passport, a process commonly referred to as “sealing,” and is carried out at the Work Permit Center

How to Apply for a Work Permit

The application process for a work permit in North Cyprus involves several steps and collaboration between the employer and the prospective employee. Here’s a simplified overview:

  1. Job Offer: Initially, secure a job offer from a North Cyprus employer. The employer plays a significant role in the work permit application process.
  2. Application Submission: The employer must submit a work permit application on behalf of the employee. This involves gathering necessary documents, including a valid passport, employment contract, health insurance, and proof of accommodation.
  3. Health Check: Applicants must undergo a health check in North Cyprus. This typically occurs after arriving in the country with a preliminary permit or visa that allows them to enter for this purpose.
  4. Approval and Collection: If the application is successful, the Ministry of Labor in North Cyprus issues the work permit. The permit’s duration can vary, but it usually covers one year and can be renewed based on employment continuity.

Conditions governing work permit processes in North Cyprus.

Securing a Work Permit After Preliminary Entry

Foreign workers entering the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) with preliminary permission need their employer to formalize their work status. Within 15 days of entry, employers must initiate the work permit process at the Ministry’s District Labor Office, aiming to complete it within 30 days. Successful applications result in a work permit, stamped into the worker’s passport at the Nicosia Work Permit Center.

Criteria and Employment

The Ministry issues work permits based on the employer’s operational needs and specific job roles. A work permit is restricted to the specified employer and cannot be transferred to work with others.

Work Permit Validity and Renewal

Work permits are valid for six months to one year. For renewal, employees should apply within three months after the expiry date, ensuring they haven’t been abroad for more than 135 days within the permit period.

Fee Responsibility

The employer bears all costs associated with obtaining the work permit, including fees, without deductions from the employee’s salary.

This streamlined approach highlights the essential steps and obligations of employers and foreign workers in the TRNC work permit process, ensuring clarity and compliance. Visit our post on conditions and employment procedures to learn more about working in North Cyprus

Important Considerations

  • Legal Representation: Given the complexities of the application process and the unique legal environment of North Cyprus, it might be beneficial to seek legal advice or assistance from professionals experienced in North Cyprus immigration law.
  • Renewal and Cancellation: Be aware of the renewal deadlines and the conditions under which a work permit can be cancelled. Failure to comply with the terms of the work permit or the laws of North Cyprus can result in penalties or deportation.
  • Integration into Society: Learning about the culture, laws, and language (Turkish) of North Cyprus can significantly enhance your experience and facilitate smoother integration into society.


Working in North Cyprus offers unique opportunities and experiences in a region rich in culture and history. The key to a successful employment journey in North Cyprus lies in understanding and adhering to the local laws and regulations, particularly regarding work permits. By following the correct procedures and being prepared, expatriates and foreign nationals can experience a rewarding professional and personal journey in North Cyprus.

Remember, the information provided here is a guide and subject to change. Always refer to the official TRNC government website or contact the Ministry of Labor directly for the most current information and legal advice.

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