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Cyprus Moves Closer to the US Visa Waiver Program

3 minutes

On 17 June 2024, a landmark announcement was made by the Foreign Ministers of Cyprus and the USA, initiating a strategic dialogue between the two nations which promises substantial benefits for Cyprus nationals and companies. This dialogue places Cyprus in an elite group of countries with which the USA maintains high-level, ongoing cooperation across various strategic sectors, and marks a significant milestone in Cyprus's international relations.


Visa Waiver Program (VWP): 

One of the most anticipated outcomes of this enhanced relationship is Cyprus's potential inclusion in the VWP. The VWP will allow Cypriot citizens to travel to the USA for business or tourism for up to 90 days without the need for a visa, streamlining travel and fostering closer business and cultural exchanges. Instead, travelers will need to obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling. 


What this means for you:

  • Ease of Travel: The VWP will simplify travel to the USA, making it more accessible for business meetings, conferences, and tourism.
  • Business Opportunities: Strengthened USA-Cyprus ties will open new avenues for investments in Cyprus and vice versa, boosting the economy and creating employment opportunities.
  • Educational and Cultural Exchange: Enhanced cooperation will facilitate more student exchanges and educational collaborations, enriching the educational landscape and fostering mutual understanding.


The first round of the strategic dialogue is set to take place in Nicosia this September, marking the beginning of a new chapter in Cyprus-USA relations. 


Schengen Area Membership on the Horizon

In addition to the promising developments with the USA, Cyprus is making strides towards joining the Schengen Area, which represents another significant milestone in enhancing the mobility of its citizens. The Schengen Area allows over 425 million EU citizens, along with non-EU nationals residing or traveling in the EU, to move freely across member countries without the need for passport checks at internal borders by utilizing the Schengen Visa. 


As of now, Cyprus is in the process of meeting the necessary criteria for inclusion. The successful operation of the Schengen Information System in Cyprus since July 2023 marks a crucial step towards full membership. 


Looking forward

The strategic dialogue with the USA, potential inclusion in the VWP, and anticipated entry into the Schengen Area collectively underscore Cyprus's evolving international stance. These developments promise to enhance the country's geopolitical influence and offer tangible benefits such as easier travel and increased economic opportunities.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to monitor and share developments.


How we can Help

As Cyprus stands at the threshold of these significant advancements, our firm remains committed to keeping you informed and well-prepared. Whether you are planning business ventures or personal travel, understanding these changes is vital, and we are here to provide expert advice and support.


* This publication has been prepared as a general guide and for information purposes only. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render professional advice. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect you and/or your business, bespoke advice should be obtained.

Zoe is a Legal Consultant at Royal Pine. She is a qualified lawyer with experience in the financial industry and holds the Advanced Certificate of CySEC.