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.
These are some of the reasons UNFICYP does not 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 Section 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; local authorities also issue separate permits.
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 prior 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.
Permits for farming in the buffer zone
A farming permit is necessary for farming on owned or rented 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 a Job Permit(s) for the employees he plans to employ within the buffer zone. This permit is usually valid for six months.
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, please write the Civil Affairs Section 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 Farmers Outreach (‘Coffee Shop’) meetings
Members of the Sector Civilian Activity Integrated Office (SCAIO) 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: