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TURKEY – Update on Residence Permit Process

The Migration Directorate has recently introduced changes to its rules for short-term (touristic) residence permits, with the stated aim of limiting the number of foreign nationals illegally engaging in work while holding these permits.

These measures are expected to develop further as the Migration Directorate tests their effectiveness.

What is new?

Here we describe aspects of the new rules:

Appointment booking

Effective mid-April, all residence permit application appointments will be designated by the Migration Directorate within 14 days of online application submission.

For renewals, submission must be no more than 60 days prior to and ten days after expiration of the current residence permit. Previously, it was possible for the applicant to select an appointment date.

Validity period

Initial short-term permits will now only be issued for one year. For renewals, only five months will be granted.

However, the Migration Directorate strongly prefers the applicant to leave Turkey and re-enter on a visitor status, and then apply for a new initial residence permit, rather than remaining in Turkey and applying for a renewal, so the five-month limit appears to be cosmetic.

Postal renewals

All true postal residence permit renewals (as opposed to re-entering Turkey as a visitor and submitting a second initial residence permit application) in Istanbul are now handled at the Bakirkoy Migration Directorate.

These applications are filed via the local (PTT) post and subsequent in-person queries are required for issuance of an exit document. Note that, as previously, the exit document provided during a postal renewal application restricts travel outside Turkey to two weeks per trip until the residence permit renewal card is received.

Documents

  1. A legalized police clearance certificate (PCC) will now be required for short-term residence permits and must be from the country of nationality, not the country of last residence, and must have been issued within six months;
  2. Health insurance must be presented soon after entering Turkey. Therefore, the policy should start coverage while the applicant has visitor status. Officially, health insurance is not required for those aged under 18 or over 65. However, in some cases officials have requested this;
  3. Proof of financial status should be in the form of either continued periodic income from abroad, or lump sum assets (account balance or funds) that have been in the applicant’s account for more than a few months.For unmarried partners, the Migration Directorate is now unwilling to accept salary statements of partners in Turkey. If relying on a bank account abroad, it should show a significant balance (officer stated USD 50,000 for example but this is not fixed). A bank letter proving balance is generally not sufficient evidence. Insufficient financial status is now the most common basis for denial of a short-term residence permit.
  4. Proof of Turkish residence: short term residence permit applicants must continue to show either an address registration document or notarized lease agreement.

Transfer Applications

If an applicant is converting from one residence permit category to another (i.e., short term to dependent, student to short term), the applicant must book a “transfer application” appointment category.

Historically, the applicant booked an appointment for the new category sought, but now there is a separate type of appointment for these residence permit conversions. It is unclear if appointments booked under the old procedure will be honoured.

Change of Passport

In the event the applicant provides a new passport for their subsequent residence permit application (of any type), a postal renewal will not be possible. The applicant must file a new initial residence permit application with an interview. Given that minors’ passports have shorter validity than adults’ passports, there may be an increased incidence of this scenario leading to a parent’s postal renewal application being separated from their children’s applications, leading to possible complications with the family’s status.

Action Items

  • Confirm up-to-date information for upcoming Turkish immigration matters with a Turkish provider on a case-by-case basis.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Bener Law Office.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.