Akrotiri and Dhekelia

General information

The Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) of Akrotiri and Dhekelia are those areas of the island of Cyprus that remained under British sovereignty when the 1960 Treaty of Establishment created an independent Republic of Cyprus (RoC). The SBAs cover around 254 square kilometres.

Most of this land (some 60%) is privately owned by Cypriot nationals. The British population of the SBAs is around 7,500 and includes Service personnel, UK-based civilians and their families. In addition there is a population of around 12,000 Cypriots.

The Cypriots living in the areas are recognised residents of the SBA but are generally European Union (EU) and RoC citizens. There are two locations: the Western Sovereign Base Area (or WSBA), which consists of Episkopi and Akrotiri stations, and the Eastern Sovereign Base Area (or ESBA), which consists of Dhekelia and Ayios Nikolaos stations.

As such, the SBAs have never been part of the RoC, they are not on temporary loan, nor have they been ceded to the UK.

It is because of this military focus that the SBAs are administered by the Ministry of Defence, and not the Foreign and Commonwealth Ofice, which administers other overseas territories. There are in most areas no entry or exit controls between the SBAs and the rest of Cyprus, and the boundary itself is marked only by inconspicuous pillars. Although there is free access to the majority of SBA Territory, access to the military bases is restricted.


The UK Government declaration made at the time of the Treaty of Establishment, but not part of it, stated that the intent was to restrict the establishment of civilian commercial or industrial enterprises within the SBAs, unless they are connected with military requirements but British Forces Cyprus and the Sovereign Base Areas Administration do provide many direct local employment opportunities. Non-military development of the SBAs is likely to evolve over time, becoming more permissible, following an agreement signed between the UK and Cyrpus in 2014.


The bases remain sovereign British territory under the Crown unless the Government of the United Kingdom, in view of changes in its military requirements, decide to divest itself of the sovereignty or effective control over the SBAs or any part thereof. The military requirement for the bases still exists and there are no plans to withdraw from the SBAs. Civil government of the SBAs is the responsibility of the Administrator, and is carried out by the SBA Administration on his behalf. The philosophy for the administration of the SBAs was stated by the UK Government in 1960, when it declared that the UK’s key policy objectives in administering the Areas were:

> The effective use of the SBAs as military bases;

> Full co-operation with the Republic of Cyprus;

> Protection of the interests of those resident or working in the SBAs;

Legislation in the SBAs is made by the Administrator but, in general, mirrors the RoC’s laws, in line with the UK’s declaration that the laws applicable to the Cypriot population of the SBAs would be, as far as possible, the same as in the Republic.




34°35'22.9"N 32°59'21.1"E


34°59'51.6"N 33°44'09.3"E

Akrotiri and Dhekelia – wildlife and heritage

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Akrotiri & Dhekelia