We have been approached by a number of British citizens with Cypriot roots who, in light of Brexit, are considering claiming to what amounts to their birth right, Cypriot Citizenship. A major consideration for them is whether the males will have to serve in the military as Cyprus still has conscription for all males which is usually served straight after secondary education.
Military service in the Cypriot National Guard is mandatory for all male citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as any male non-citizens born of a parent of Greek Cypriot descent. This obligation is imposed on all Cypriot males for the period from the 1st of January of the year in which they turn 18 years of age to 31st December of the year in which they turn 50.
Dual Citizenship Cypriot origin citizens, who were born in Cyprus or abroad, have the obligation to serve in the National Guard on repatriation, regardless of whether or not they possess a foreign citizenship. A person is considered as having Cypriot origin where a grandparent or parent was/is a Cypriot citizen.
Repatriates who resided permanently abroad, Repatriated Cypriots and their children, who have lived abroad for a period of ten years or more and have returned to Cyprus for permanent residence, are eligible to serve a reduced term of National Service depending on their age at the date of their arrival and establishment in Cyprus depending on their age at the date of commencement of the permanent repatriation. Have in mind that normal conscription now is 12 months.
In this case the above only applies if the subject wishes to become a permanent resident of Cyprus. If he resides abroad permanently, then he can apply for an exemption from military service for that reason. The application can be filed in either the Ministry of Defense in Cyprus or in the respective Cypriot Embassy in their country of residence.
The necessary documentation required can be found on the site of the High Commission of the Republic of Cyprus in London (http://www.mfa.gov.cy/mfa/HighCom/london.nsf/All/ADCB88A968E8730D80257B79004FBDE4?OpenDocument)
or the Cyprus Ministry of Defence (http://www.mod.gov.cy/mod/mod.nsf/page23_gr/2E1A1EAC47620238C2257BE10044E4BE/$file/Application_by_permanent_residents_abroad.pdf)
The Ministry of Defence provides an applicant with a certificate of exemption (permanent exit permit) if you live abroad permanently. This means that a person needs to apply once at the Diplomatic Mission of the Country you live. Note that in the case you stay in Cyprus exceeds the three (3) months and in order to exit the country an exit permit is required to be issued.
The application needs to be made promptly after the Cypriot passport is issued or at the same time if possible.
Originally published June 16, 2017
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