Turkey Immigration alert: Restrictions traveling to and from Turkey
March 1, 2016
With changes to procedures and existing regulations being more strictly enforced, several migrant categories should pay attention when traveling to Turkey using various immigration paths.
120 days in 360 rule for residence permit holders
Residence permit holders are now only entitled to travel outside Turkey for 120 days out of 360 days. If they exceed 120 days, then residence permits will be cancelled and foreigners will need to enter Turkey on a tourist visa, then reapply for a new residence permit.
This restriction is now being actively enforced and should be carefully tracked by family dependents, short and long-term residence permit holders who travel frequently.
90 days in 180 rule for visa holders
New assignees and family members traveling to Turkey on tourist visas, or from countries with visa exemptions of up to 90 days for travel, should not stay in Turkey for more than 90 days in 180 days.
It is important to count back 180 days from the date you plan to leave Turkey, then calculate how many days you have spent in Turkey during that period.
All applicants must be physically present in Turkey on the date of the residence permit application appointment. This new requirement will increase the lead time for family members to get their residence permits.
When the Ministry of Interior/Migration Management (Göçmen İdaresi) processes applications, they now cross-check entry and exit dates, and will reject the application if the appointment was booked on a day when the applicant was not in Turkey.
1. Residence permit first applications
After the appointment for the residence permit is booked, foreigners can legally stay in Turkey until the residence permit is issued.
After the first application has been completed, the Göçmen İdaresi will issue an exit paper allowing the foreigner to leave for a maximum of 15 days and return to Turkey before the final residence cards are issued.
2. Residence permit renewals
The E-renewal system ensures that renewal applications are made online with supporting documentation sent by courier to the Göçmen İdaresi. Assignees and their families no longer need to attend face-to-face appointments for residence permit renewals. However, Göçmen İdaresi can and sometimes does demand that you visit the Immigration Office (with no notice) if they need clarification.
For family members’ renewals, a copy of the principal assignee’s work permit card should also be provided. This means that renewal applications can be submitted shortly before the residence permit’s expiry date.
Once the online residence permit renewal process has been completed, expats can legally stay in Turkey until the new residence permit is issued.
If family members wish to travel abroad, they should aim to travel before their residence permit expires or obtain an exit paper from the Göçmen İdaresi allowing them to leave Turkey for a maximum of 15 days. Then return to Turkey before their renewed residence cards are issued.
3. Mandatory online system implemented
Foreigners submitting visa applications – assembly and maintenance visas, work visas and consular visas – must now upload their application and supporting documents online through the Turkish electronic visa application system, prior to submitting their visa application forms and supporting documents in person at a consular post.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact our Immigration team in Turkey, Hatice or Nebihe