A Turkish residence permit, also known as "ikamet," is an identity document for foreign nationals in Turkey. It is a plastic card with the individual's photograph and details, issued for a specific duration to confirm the legality of their stay in the country. All residence permits have duration periods ranging from 30 days to five years except long-term permits, which have no time limit. After the permit expires, it can be renewed. This article explains the process of renewing your permit: how to apply, the documents you’ll need, and the fees you’ll need to pay.
Deadlines for Renewing a Residence Permit
The key to renewing any residence permit is to act promptly. It is best to apply to the migration authority (either in person or remotely) 60 days before the expiration of the existing residence permit because renewing an expired residence permit is much more challenging.
Kusadasi, Turkey. Photo: piqsels.com
My Residence Permit Expired — What Should I Do
This scenario should be avoided. If your residence permit has expired and you have not managed to renew it, the best option is to leave the country and then return. This will allow you to be in Turkey legally (with or without a visa) and to submit a new residence permit application.
If such a journey is not possible for some reason, there is another option: submit an application for a new residence permit within ten days after the expiration date. Along with the other required documents, you must provide a letter in Turkish in which you apologise for missing the deadline and give the reasons for missing it.
However, these options are not a guarantee; officials have the right to refuse both the issuance of a new permit and the extension of the old one.
Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo: Afdhallul Ziqri (Unsplash)
Procedure for Renewing a Residence Permit
In the regular process for renewing a residence permit, you should:
- Schedule an appointment with the immigration office and attend the appointment in person with all the required documents. You can initiate this procedure on the official e-ikamet website in all cases except for humanitarian residence permits and residence permits for victims of human trafficking. Visit the website, register, and select the special module for renewing residence permits. There is an exception only for citizens of Serbia and Montenegro; for them, permit renewal goes through the application service.
- Fill in all the fields on the website and submit your application. After this, you will get an interview date and a list of required documents.
- Attend the designated location at the appointed time.
- Obtain a confirmation of document submission. This document signifies that you are legally in Turkey even after your residence permit has expired.
- Monitor the status of your application on the website or wait for notification via email or phone regarding the decision made by the immigration office.
- If your application is approved, you will receive a renewed residence permit, which is effective from the expiration date of the old one. However, your application may be rejected. In this case, you will receive a letter detailing the reasons and explaining the appeal process.
The renewal process for humanitarian residence permits and residence permits for victims of human trafficking differs slightly. General rules do not apply in these cases, so you should clarify the specifics with the immigration office in your place of residence.
Cappadocia, Turkey. Photo: Roman Jøe (Unsplash)
Reasons for Rejecting a Residence Permit Renewal
There are usually a number of reasons for the denial of a residence permit renewal. Regardless of the basis for obtaining the residence permit, you will not get a new one if it is found that you obtained a previous one through deception or with counterfeit documents. Additionally, if the applicant's passport is set to expire within 60 days of the requested residence permit's expiration, the renewal will not be approved. A renewal will not be granted if there is a decision pending on the applicant's deportation from Turkey.
Depending on the type of residence permit, you cannot renew it in the following cases:
- Short-term residence permit: You will not get a renewal if you have transferred your residence permit to someone else, are living in unsanitary conditions, or do not have a place of residence in the country. Individuals with a criminal record may also be rejected.
- Family residence permit: You cannot renew it in the case of marriage dissolution or if officials discover that you married solely for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit. If a divorced foreign national wishes to remain in Turkey, they must apply for a short-term residence permit because they lose the right to a family residence permit.
- Student residence permit: The most obvious reason for denial is the completion of studies. In this case, the residence permit ends its validity on the same day. However, if a student did not complete their course within the planned time frame, they may extend their residence permit for up to one year. It is essential to remember that a student residence permit is not granted for distance learning, so if an applicant changes their form of education during their studies, they cannot renew their residence permit. Instead, they may obtain a different type of residence permit through a new application.
- Humanitarian residence permit: Renewal can be rejected if there are no longer conditions justifying the issuance of the permit.
- Residence permit for victims of human trafficking: Initially, it is granted for 30 days, then for six months, and subsequently the foreign national can extend it every six months, but not for more than a total of three years. Additionally, the residence permit is annulled if the applicant voluntarily returns to the traffickers.
The long-term residence permit is issued indefinitely, so there is no need to apply for its renewal. However, it is essential to be aware of the possibility of its annulment. You can lose a residence permit if you leave the country within a year with no valid reason, such as medical treatment, education, or mandatory government service in your home country. Moreover, a foreigner may lose their permanent residence status if they pose a significant threat to public order.
Appealing a Rejection
You can appeal a rejection of residence permit renewal. To begin with, you will need to file an appeal with the migration authority. If this is unsuccessful, you can further escalate the matter by turning to the courts. Alternatively, you can submit a new residence permit application, but strictly based on different grounds, as there is a six-month ban on reapplying for a previously rejected residence permit in Turkey. In any case, the foreign national will need to leave the country and re-enter, either with a visa or without, if eligible for visa-free entry.
Side, Turkey. Photo: piqsels.com
To renew your residence permit, you will need to provide:
- Passport and a copy;
- Copy of the latest entry stamp into Turkey;
- Copy of the previous residence permit;
- Four biometric photos;
- Health insurance with coverage throughout Turkey;
- Proof of residence in the country;
- Income statement;
- Receipt of payment for the government fee.
This list is not exhaustive. The additional documents required may depend on your residence permit, and you can find them on the e-ikamet website when submitting your application.
Istanbul, Turkey. Photo: Jack Krier (Unsplash)
Cost of Residence Permit Renewal
Renewing a permit means two different fees: one for the temporary residence card and another for residence in the country.
The fee for the card is fixed and is 365 Turkish Lira ($14) as of 2023. As for the other fee, it depends on the nationality of the applicant. For some countries, the fee is no more than $0.50 per month, while other foreign nationals pay $5 or more. Citizens of certain countries, such as the Czech Republic, Denmark, Syria, and many others, are entirely exempt from the obligation to pay for their residence in Turkey.
You can find out whether a fee for residence permits is applicable for your specific country and get more information on the website of the Directorate General of Migration Management.
In a Nutshell
Renewing a residence permit in Turkey is similar to the initial application. You need to schedule an appointment at the immigration office, gather the required documents, pay the fee, and wait for a response. If approved, you will receive a new temporary residence card with a specified duration. If denied, you can submit a new application based on different grounds.
Cover photo: Hagia Sophia Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; Rohan Reddy (Unsplash)