An official website of the United States government


U.S. citizens are subject to local laws. 

If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. A U.S. passport does not entitle its bearer to any special privileges, and will not help you avoid arrest, prosecution, or prison sentences.

If you are arrested in Cyprus or know a U.S. citizen who is:
  • Notifying the U.S. Embassy is your right (privacy will be respected both by local police and by us)
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy Nicosia if you wish to use your right to consular notification and request consular assistance.
Consular Assistance to U.S. Prisoners:

If a U.S. citizen is arrested, the U.S. Consular Officials should be notified immediately, either by the police at the time of arrest, or at a later stage should the arrestee request it. The U.S. Embassy will do what it can to protect U.S. citizens and their interests, and ensure they are not discriminated against under local law. Consular Officers regularly visit U.S. citizens detained in Cyprus to check on the health and welfare of arrestees, the treatment provided by the Cypriot authorities, and consider any additional requests for assistance. For more information on the Embassy’s role, please see the Department of State website.

We can:
  • Provide a list of Local Attorneys.
  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen with their written permission. In all communications with the Consular Officer, the right to privacy is protected by U.S. law under the Privacy Act. The Embassy will not release information related to the detained U.S. citizen to anyone — regardless of their relationship to the citizen — unless the detainee specifically authorizes the release by signing a Privacy Consent Form which are available from your nearest Embassy upon request.
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen periodically to monitor his/her well-being, health, and status of the legal case.
  • Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care.
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process.
  • Serve as a liaison between the prisoner and his/her lawyer.
  • If they would like, ensuring that prison officials are permitting visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of your choice.
We cannot:
  • Get U.S. citizens out of jail.
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent.
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in overseas courts.
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators.
  • Provide fund for bail or pay legal, or medical fees for U.S. citizens overseas.


Additional information can be found on the Department of State’s website at Arrest or Detention of a U.S. citizen Abroad.