Important changes to residence permit processes in Turkey
May 23, 2014
On April 11, 2014, a new law, no. 6458: "Foreigners and International Protection", regulating work and residence permit processes for foreign nationals came into force in Turkey. This law created a new Immigration Administration General Directorate under the Ministry of Interior and is bringing widespread changes to rules and procedures.
All assignees and their families, who are applying for their initial work and residence permits or extending their existing permits in Turkey, will be affected by these changes. Long-term, several of the changes will have a positive impact on efficiency and reduce processing and lead times for new assignments. However, until the new structures, processes and procedures are finalized, assignees extending their residence permits or being issued with new dependent residence permits should expect delays in processing time and may experience some inconvenience.
For the full information and advice surrounding the key changes, please click on this link.
We have prepared the below frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers for assignees to better understand the situation and its possible impact, helping them to make timely decisions.
Mehpare Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Sinem Ugural, email@example.com, from the Crown Immigration team will be happy to answer any questions regarding the below information.
Crown Relocations has excellent connections and relationships with both the Ministry of Labour and Immigration Police and gains updates from both on a daily basis. This information is correct as at May 16, 2014. We will issue new updates as the situation develops and are doing everything possible to limit the impact on our clients.
FAQs about work permits
Q: I’ve been told that my work permit will be issued inclusive with a residence permit. What will replace the residence permit booklet, and when will I receive it?
The Ministry of Labour will issue new cards that replace residence permits. The authorities have started printing these new residency cards and as of May 15, they will replace residence permits.
Q: Where will these new “residency cards” be sent to? Can they be sent to my office?
The cards are currently being sent to the work permit holder’s office address by PTT cargo. It was specified in the original rules that the residence cards would be sent directly to the work permit holder’s home address in Turkey. Therefore, this could be subject to change. Crown Relocations is also investigating whether we can collect the cards in person, using our power of attorney where necessary.
Q: I am a frequent traveler. Now that my residence permit is no longer valid, what do I present at passport control?
Until the new “residence cards” are issued, the work permit letter issued by the Ministry of Labour is being accepted as temporary proof at police border control points.
Q: What guarantee do I have that the work permit letter will be accepted at passport control?
Crown Relocations has confirmed with immigration officials at both Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul that they will accept the work permit letter as proof. When the Ministry of Labour approve work and residence permit extensions, details are transferred directly into the Border Police immigration system.
If you face a particular officer who is not familiar with the changes, even if asked to wait, please remain polite and calm but be firm until the work permit letter is accepted.
FAQs about family residence permits
Q: My wife and children’s residence permits expire on June 1 and they have an appointment to extend them on June 20. When will they receive their renewed residence permit booklets?
The Immigration Police estimate that they will be able to process residence permit extensions within 90 days of the appointment date. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that your family will receive their residence permits back until the middle of September.
The authorities are issuing new cards that will replace the booklets, and plan to send these directly to your home address by PTT cargo.
Q: Last year, we received our booklets back within a week. Is there a way to speed up the process?
Unfortunately there isn’t. Although the Immigration Police are accepting applications for extensions, they are unable to process them as changes in the law haven’t been integrated into the current system.
Q: If my wife and children won’t receive their residence permits back for several months, does that mean they will be staying in Turkey illegally?
No, to remain immigration-compliant, all foreigners need to have gained an appointment to extend their residence permits in the Immigration Police system before their residence permit's expiry date. Your wife and children have an appointment. As long as they attend this appointment, they will remain within the law. We will send you a copy of the appointment confirmation for you all to keep as proof.
Q: What about our summer holidays? We’re going back home in July. Will my family have problems leaving and re-entering Turkey without their booklets?
If your family exits Turkey within 15 days of their residence permit's expiry date, they can legally re-enter Turkey as a tourist/visitor.
However, if they exit Turkey after 15 days of their residence permit's expiry date, they will be fined around 100 TL and not permitted to re-enter Turkey within the next 90 days.
Q: Our flights are booked and we don't want to spoil our family holiday over this. What do you suggest?
We’ve spoken to the immigration authorities directly about this. Their clear advice to expats is to exit Turkey within 15 days of the expiry date of their residence permits, and then re-enter on a Tourist visa.
Upon re-entry, your family will be able to gain Tourist visas. The Tourist visa is a multiple-entry visa, permitting 90 days’ residence within 180 days. This means that they will be able to enter and exit Turkey without problems until their residence permit booklets are issued.
If they do not exit Turkey within 15 days of their residence permits' expiry date, they will need to wait until they receive the residence permit cards before being able to travel.
Q: I’ve been told that "sticker" visas-on-arrival are no longer available to visitors to Turkey and you now require an e-Visa. Is that true?
Yes, they'll need to obtain their visas through the electronic visa application system on www.evisa.gov.tr at least 24 hours before traveling.