Buffer Zone Permits
Activities in the Buffer Zone
The buffer zone exists to prevent renewed hostilities between the opposing forces in the Cyprus conflict. While Cyprus has been peaceful for a long time, shots are sometimes fired into the buffer zone. In addition, thousands of land mines still lie dormant between the de facto ceasefire lines.
That is one reason UNFICYP doesn't allow any activity within the buffer zone without prior approval, except within specially designated Civil Use Areas. Safety and the operational requirements of UNFICYP come first, followed by adherence to ownership rights of the land within the buffer zone.
In order to manage activities within the buffer zone, UNFICYP's Civil Affairs Branch manages four permit schemes:for construction, farming, work and access. All permits have a limited duration and permit holders must apply for their renewal prior to expiration of the permit.
Permit Scheme for Construction in the Buffer Zone
Approval from UNFICYP is necessary for construction in the buffer zone, in addition to permits that local authorities demand.
Construction includes, but is not limited to:
- building a house, shed or storage facility
- drilling a well
- fencing a plot of land
- construction of any structure
The District Office will not issue its permit without approval from UNFICYP. Without this permit and a separate written agreement from UNFICYP, no construction is allowed. People constructing in the buffer zone without these documents will be stopped and asked to leave. The District Office will be notified of any unauthorized construction.
In addition, the owner/contractor has to file a request for Job Permit(s) for the workers involved in the construction project. This permit is usually valid for six months.
Continue to Construction Permits >
Permits for Farming in the Buffer Zone
A Farming Permit is necessary for farming on owned or leased land in the buffer zone. It is usually valid for one year and is limited to the plot(s) listed on the permit.
In addition, the farmer has to file a request for Job Permit(s) for the employees he plans to employ within the buffer zone. This permit is usually valid for six months.
Continue to Farming Permits >
Permits for Short-Term Access
An Access Permit is necessary if someone needs to enter the buffer zone in an official capacity not related to working or farming on a specific plot.
To apply, write the Civil Affairs Branch in Nicosia (listed in Contact us) with an explanation of the reasons access is needed and details about the applicant and the vehicle used to enter the buffer zone.
The 'Coffee Shop' Meetings
Members of the Sector Civil Affairs Teams (SCAT) organize regular 'coffee shop' meetings to make it easier for Cypriots to collect and renew their permits and to get their questions answered.
The following schedules apply for the coming period:
- Land mines can still kill after decades in the ground: they don't become inactive with age.
- Burning a field clears the land, but it doesn't clear land mines.
As part of the application process for a Job Permit, applicants will have to attend a training session about land mines in the buffer zone.
Permit holders who repeatedly access unsafe areas, will have their permit revoked.
UNFICYP has no liability for personal injury or damage to equipment from land use in the buffer zone.