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.

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