International students studying in Cyprus
There are thousands of students from different countries currently furthering their education in Cyprus. Part of the appeal for these international students is that they can receive a quality education in a safe and friendly environment at an affordable price. The enviable Mediterranean climate and the rich culture of Cyprus is also a huge plus. Cypriot students also benefit from the international students who bring a diverse cultural dimension to the student body. Many long lasting friendships have been formed which have later enhanced the relationships between the different countries. Cyprus offers higher education of excellent standards at all their colleges and universities. The largest higher education institutions are in Nicosia with smaller branches in Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos. Thousands of foreign students are currently studying at University of Cyprus. Located in the nation’s capital, the University of Nicosia is a global educational centre with 20% of its 5,000 students coming from abroad, representing over 60 different countries in a multicultural learning environment that promotes friendship, cooperation and understanding. The main language of education in Cyprus is English which makes it easier for international students. Cyprus is also located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa which makes the island easily accessible to many countries.
There are rules and regulations that need to be followed by student that wish to study in Cyprus from abroad. Admission and acceptance to study at these higher learning institutions is granted if the student has a leaving certificate from a secondary education school or equivalent qualification, or through national entrance examinations. In order to be accepted a student would have to show that they have completed a six year secondary school and that they have a good knowledge of the English language.
For applicants outside the European Union, students will need an entry clearance issued by the Cyprus Diplomatic Mission of their country. Without the appropriate clearance you will not be allowed to enter Cyprus. Information on the Cyprus Diplomatic Mission in your country is available through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the official government website www.mfa.gov.cy Non EU citizens will also need to apply for a visa before travelling to Cyprus. Students from Bangladesh, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will need to attend personal interviews at the Embassy of Cyprus in their countries. The Embassy will require the following documentation on application of a visa to travel to Cyprus:
- Original Academic Certificates (translated in English if required).
- Original Police Clearance Certificate.
- Original Bank Certificate stating that the student’s parents or sponsors have the financial means to cover his/ her expenses for the durations of his/ her studies in Cyprus.
- Letter of acceptance from the college.
- Valid Passport and identification
- Airline Ticket
- Original attested blood test results for HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C (4 months validity)
- Original attested chest X-ray report for Tuberculosis (4 months validity)
It is best to contact the Embassy or Cypriot Diplomatic Mission to find out exactly what documentation they require before applying for a visa. Provided that all the required documents and payments have been received, the University will submit the student’s documents to the Migration Authorities and Ministry of Education for further approval. Once the visa application is approved, the visa will be issued in Cyprus and the student will be informed accordingly. A copy of the visa will be sent to the student as this will be required for the student to travel.
On arrival in Cyprus you will need all the above documentation plus an original bank certificate for the payment of the academic fees and a receipt from the college against the fees already paid. You will also be asked to present the visa that has been granted. Immigration rules and regulations may change and it is best to double check to make sure that you comply with all the regulations as required by law. Health insurance is also compulsory and you will have to obtain this through your college or make your own arrangements.
While studying in Cyprus you may apply for part-time work if you can get a work permit. You will only be permitted to work for 20 hours per week during a semester and up to 38 hours a week during the holidays.
EU students can travel freely to Cyprus without worrying about obtaining a visa. They do however need to submit an application for a residence permit from the Migration department within four months of their entry into the Republic of Cyprus. It is common for the administration office of the learning facilities to help with this procedure. EU student must also have health insurance coverage.
Upon arrival in Cyprus you will have to visit the Office of Admissions during office hours to get all the information regarding your studies. Most of the universities and colleges have hostels with accommodation for students and if you have secured a room you will get all the information from the institution. Some students rent out apartments near their university and shared accommodation is common amongst students. It is always wise to ensure that you have sorted out your accommodation before you arrive in Cyprus, but in the event that you haven’t secured a place to stay, you can get accommodation at a hotel or hostel until you find somewhere permanent to stay. Advertising for rooms available are posted at the university or college and you can also employ the services of an estate agent to find the right accommodation. Please note that during the first week of your arrival you will have to register with the Cypriot Migration Office to receive a student visa. Part of the visa procedure, is to repeat the blood tests and chest x-ray which you will have to pay for. You will also have to prove that you have brought with you enough money to cover all your expenses.
Once you have settled into the student life you can take advantage of all that Cyprus has to offer. If you are in Nicosia there are many cultural events and places to see. The island of Cyprus offers beautiful beaches about an hour out of the capital Nicosia. You could even go on excursions up to the mountains and enjoy the countryside. All in all you will find Cyprus to be a cosmopolitan destination which offers safety and security as well as hospitality.