Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Living and Working in Turkey: Visas, e-Visas and Permits

It's taken me most of two years to figure out the "deal" with visas in Turkey.  I think I've got it now.

When you enter Turkey from Canada you must purchase a 90 day Visitor's Visa with U.S. cash or a credit card (about $60.00 last time we entered).  Then you go through Passport Control where a young man with a gun reviews your documents and in our case, so far, waves us through.  Then it's on to baggage claim and through the exit doors into the main concourse.  There's a big sign that says "Do you have anything to declare?" before you go through those doors. Nobody seems to stop.

Just a note about vistor's visas.  After April 10, 2014 visas will no longer be available at the airport.  Instead you will have to apply on line for an e-Visa in advance of your journey through this website:  https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/

Before the 90 day Visitor's Visa expires you must a) leave the country b) apply for a work or residence permit.

a) If you fail to leave on time I understand that there are fines and hassles at the airport/border crossing and you may or may not get back in. Thankfully we have no experience with this.

b) If you get a job, then your employer applies for a work visa on your behalf.  In Cam's case, the local company was required to provide evidence of his education.  Because of his title and university degree, the Turkish government wanted not only a copy of his degree and university transcript but also scope and sequence information for all the courses he took in university.  Since this did not seem feasible, Cam's employer changed his job title on the application and provided his high school transcript instead. I understand they were also required to show proof that they had at least 5 Turks hired to offset Cam's employment.

c)People living or retiring in Turkey can apply for a residence visa.  Applicants must get a tax number and then a local bank account.  They must demonstrate that they have money to live on while in Turkey. They can apply at the local police station where they live.

Our case is different because our residence visas are contingent on Cam's work permit and expire when his work permit expires.

The good news in all of this is that the company's lawyer walks us through the application process.  Last week we flew to Ankara, where the local company office is located. We went to the lawyer's office with photocopies of our expired residence permits, our Canadian passports and our photos. We filled out an application form for each of the children and I and then went to the police station. The lawyer took all the documents and stood in line at the counter to make the application, paid the fee and we were finished.  In the past we've received our residence permits in 3 days or a week.  This time it will be three weeks before our residence permits are available.  In the mean time we can't leave the country because our Visitor's Visas have expired (the same day we applied for the Residence Visas). So we wait.

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 23 - 25 Ankara to Istanbul

We had to go to Ankara to apply for residence permits.  We left Wednesday, November 20, drove to Istanbul and flew to Ankara. Friday morning we flew back to Istanbul and then checked into the Gonen Hotel** near the airport for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. We returned to the Saros Monday via the dealership where we picked up our car which they had to repair the accident damage.

Ankara, Turkey's capital.

In the chauffeur driven van, pretending to be famous.

In the chauffeur driven van.

Thor The DarkWorld 3D at Panora Mall, Ankara: pre-assigned seating, prepaid popcorn (we opted out), Turkish subtitles, and a ten minute intermission. There was a National Film Board of Canada short film before the feature!

At the Istanbul Akvaryum - the largest aquarium in Europe depending on who you ask.  We were careful to have lunch before we paid our admission, but there were cafes and restaurant around every bend inside the aquarium.
This ray was showing off for Sam.

Poseidon's Pool

Nicole and Poseidon

Sam at the South Pole

Johanna and Nicole with a really big ice cube.

Nicole and Hercules.

Johanna and fish

Sam found a hiding place.

Sam and Nicole in the rainforest

Big trees and big fish tanks.

Cam and Johanna

Little neon green frogs. They also had other frogs and big big spiders.


Johanna enjoying the view from the mall attached to the aquarium.

Cam checking messages at the mall attached to the aquarium.
At the Rahmi M. Koc Museum - Istanbul A museum dedicated to transportation, communication and industry. They have a "sister" museum in Ankara. It is very small compared to this one.  If you're going, plan to spend the day! I particularly liked seeing the model ships and the submarine tour.                     http://www.rmk-museum.org.tr/english/

The cab ride from our hotel was very exciting because neither cab driver really knew where the museum was located.  The girls and I were in one cab. Cam and Sam were in the other cab.  Our driver was a "professional driver" attached to our hotel.  The other driver also in a yellow cab was "no good" according to our driver. Our driver began to swear at him loudly in Turkish about half way to the museum.

Nicole and a Beetle

This one looks like it might be fun to drive.

Too many steering wheels ... make art!

After the tour of the submarine. See we got certificates!


If subs and boats don't interest you - you can always tour an airplane or

look at earth moving equipment.
Or read about people who sail around the world in little boats! We even took a short train ride.

Sam with the fish beside the Golden Horn.

Outside the building that houses the models.

It's not the Tardis but still pretty cool.

Heidelberg Printing Press. This printing press made me homesick for my childhood.

Johanna at the helm.  In this ship display there were charts for the Newfoundland and Labrador.

**Gonen Hotel - treated us very well. They gave us a free upgraded room. Food was excellent. Their North American "cuisine" was very tasty.  Lots of choices at the breakfast buffet. On the weekends there is someone standing by to make omletes! Staff went out of their way to be kind and helpful. Good pool, free shuttle to and from the airport, free wifi. We took the kids to the "pub" on the last night we were there.  We had supper, played pool and hung out. This was a great weekend away from the Saros!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cam's Day

When the children and I returned to Turkey in August we had to purchase 90 day Visitor's Visas at the airport because our Residence Permits could not be renewed before we left. Between the Gazi Park Riots, and influx of Syrian refugees, the Police, who handle such things were very busy last spring.

Cam has had few days off in the last four months, so our trip to Ankara to apply for new Residence Visas was postponed until the day before our Visitor's Visas expired. This is my take on his day:

7:30 a.m. Makes himself breakfast and coffee.  Tries to help me find a reasonably priced hotel in Istanbul for the weekend.
8:15 a.m. Walks to the highway to catch a ride to the lease because our car is in the shop
8:15 - 12:30 p.m. Supervises operations on location
12:30 Drives home in the rental car that has been dropped off at the lease for our use.
1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch with us
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.  Packs for Ankara and changes from work clothes to travel clothes
2:00 - 5:30 p.m. Drives from home to Ataturk Airport Istanbul
5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Eats a stale muffin and a drinks a bottle of water. Answers a "Where are you?" phone call from work.
6:30 p.m. Takes a bus across the tarmac and boards plane
7:15 - 8:30 p.m. Eats airplane food (eggplant and tomatoes, 1/2 turkey sandwich, vanilla pudding, water)
8:30 p.m. Answers second "Where are you?" phone call from Ankara manager while we are waiting to get off the plane.
8:30 - 9:30 p.m. Collects luggage, connects us to the company driver who is waiting outside the terminal to take us to the hotel, checks into hotel, ensures the kids are settled in their room, prays with them.
9:30 - 10:40 p.m. Writes daily report (work), answers emails (work), and talks to his Canadian boss on the phone (work)
10:40 p.m. Sets alarm for tomorrow 7:30 a.m. and goes to bed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Baby it's cold inside

We've been enjoying some lovely fall weather.  The sun shines and though the wind is cool; we haven't had much rain. I usually walk every day and most days I come home with my jacket tied around my waist!

We have power outages everyday. Often it's out for five minutes or less, but it's not unusual to have five to ten of these outages each day.  It can be frustrating if laundry or computer work is a priority. Cam's work supplied him with an external power supply which is a big battery you can plug things into.  It gives us a couple of hours of wifi and in a pinch will run the kettle.

Yesterday and today our power was out from about 9:30 a.m until 5:00 p.m. Those were two very long very cold days, because we rely on electricity for heat.  My walk warmed me up temporarily, but I resorted to blankets and mittens at one point in the house! Thankfully our cook top is fuelled with bottled propane so we managed a hot lunch and got supper started on top of the stove.  Now that the power is on, laundry is restarted and all the heaters are running taking the chill off the house.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Buying Cheese

We've been buying cheese from the same guys for two years. "Guys" consists of Baba, Thunder (the only one who will use his English), and two other brothers. Buying cheese has never been boring, but now it's getting down right silly.

Thunder always greets us with a huge smile, and an enthusiastic "Hello!" And then promptly cuts us all cheese samples. If Dad isn't with us, Thunder asks about him while he gets our cheese order ready.
What's really amusing is that Dad is Baba's special friend.  Baba always makes it a point to rush over and shake Dad's hand, and pinch Sam's cheek.
I think Thunder recently learned the English phrase "I love you." He has been using it with great enjoyment. (For the past three weeks he waves goodbye and says "I love you!")

Last week, Thunder gave us some bread and butter (the butter was REALLY good). So this week we decided to get some more. Mom wanted me to take a picture of the wooden container that the butter was in. It looked to be wooden and we thought it was kinda cool. Thunder and company caught me taking pictures and eagerly rose to the occasion.

 Getting us butter

 From left: Thunder, Johanna, Sam, and Baba


Dad, Sam and Baba

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fezzes are cool ?

Cam tried on lots of hats while we were in Selcuk and Sirince. The girls bought two of them for his birthday.

He likes the leather ball cap quite a lot, but doesn't he look great in the fez? Not everyone like's fezzes. 
In the gif below even Dr. Who gets grief for his fez. 

River and Amy attack the Doctor's Fez photo fezzesarecool.gif