The Turkish Ministry of Interior has announced that on April 10, 2014 the responsibility for issuing residence permits will be transferred from the Police Department to the Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate of Migration. This will result in significant changes to the work and residence permit process. All data currently held for foreigners’ existing work and residence permits will be collected and gradually transferred to the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Migration office. The police stations have accepted Residence Permit applications until April 1, 2014.
Relief for Police Stations
This shift in responsibility is part of a new structure planned by the Ministry of Interior and intended to relieve the work load of the Police Stations. Apart from the issuance of residence permits, police stations are also no longer responsible for passport applications for Turkish nationals, firearms licenses, vehicle registration, driving licenses and citizenship applications.
Currently foreign employees need to apply for a work visa at the Turkish Consulate in their country of residence. Within 10 days from submitting the Work Visa application, the Work Permit application is then submitted to the Labor authorities in Turkey. The visa can only be issued once the Work Permit application has been approved. Upon entering Turkey on his/her Work Visa, the employee then needs to apply for a Residence Permit at the local Police Station within 30 days or arrival. Based on their nationality, some accompanying dependents will also need to obtain a visa to enter Turkey, and all dependents will be required to apply for a Residence Permit within 30 days of their arrival.
As of April 10, 2014, however, foreign employees need to apply for their work permit through the Turkish consulate in the country of their residence. Once the work permit is approved, the employee will need to revisit the consulate to collect the work permit. They will no longer need to apply for a residence permit separately, because the work permit will automatically contain the residence authorization. A separate work visa will also therefore no longer be issued.
Dependents applying for their first residence permit will also need to file their application at the consulate. Both employee and dependents must have a passport that is valid for at least 60 days beyond the requested permit validity.
Beginning April 10, renewal applications will need to be filed at the General Directorate of Migration office. Branch offices will be established early 2015 to streamline the renewal process and will be located in the district governors’ and governors’ offices throughout Turkey,
Finally, it is important to note that as of April 10, all residence permits will be issued with a maximum of 1 year validity. This applies to all categories of residence permits, including residence permits for spouses of Turkish nationals and for business owners.
ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS
Employers should note that major changes to the Turkish work and residence permit application process will be implemented next week. This shift in responsibility may result in changes to requirements and processing times; however, at this stage, it is still unknown whether any changes will be of a favorable nature to applicants. Initial delays in processing of the work/residence permit should be expected, while the consular officers get used to their new responsibilities.
Overall, the combination of the work and residence permit under the new regulation is a positive change, as it will limit the number of applications that need to be filed and will make planning for the renewal process easier. However, the new validity limitation for the residence permit to only 1 year may result in more residence permit renewal applications for dependents.
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