Tighter visa rules to tackle rising crime
TIGHTER controls aimed at tackling rising crime have resulted in more than 2,500 people being denied entry to the TRNC since January, Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars Kadri has disclosed.
The country’s “rising and changing” population is seeing an increase in crime and more rigorous screening of people wanting to enter is one way that the problem is being tackled, said Mrs Kadri, who added that other measures include a new security camera network which will be installed first in Lefkoşa and Girne before being rolled out to other areas at a later date.
Referring to people arriving at TRNC ports of entry as tourists, she said immigration officers were routinely questioning them about the planned duration of their stay to establish if they could subsist on money they had with them or on their declared income. TRNC officials were also in talks with their Turkish counterparts about the use of passports or ID cards with chips by those arriving from that country, she said.
Ministry undersecretary Ömer Köseoğlu confirmed to Cyprus Today the Immigration Officers were “studiously” and more “carefully” assessing the process before issuing entry stamps in passports.
Only visitors from two countries, Armenia and some parts of Nigeria, are required to apply for a visa in advance of their arrival. Speaking to Cyprus Today, Immigration Department head Emre Hacı confirmed that immigration officers were asking arrivals from other countries a series of questions.
“The officers have the authority under the law not to grant a tourist entry if answers or information supplied is not satisfactory,” said Mr Hacı. Questions include asking for confirmation of the person’s country of origin, financial state, accommodation arrangements and the purpose of their visit,” he said.
“A tourist can be allowed a maximum 90-day or minimum one-day stay, depending on the assessment of the immigration officer. Any tourist who faces denial of entry can object and will be invited into an interview room where the decision can be discussed and reviewed. People can also be provided with lawyers or legal advice.”