In the last session of Turkish National Assembly, on 04 April 2013, new Law on Foreigners and International Protection has been passed. Law on the Foreigners and International Protection will make substantial changes in the Turkish asylum system, as well as will outlaw existing Law no: 5683 on Law Related to Residence and Travels of Foreigners. New law will be first Turkish asylum law and will be treated as Turkish foreigners’ code. New law specifies entry rules to Turkey, visa regulations and residence permit applications as well as identifies rules and principles regarding deportation and international protection. Law on the Foreigners and International Protection also establishes General Directorate of Migration Management under the Ministry of Interior.
[box type=”shadow”] Law no. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection has been published in Official Gazette on 11 April 2013, No: 28615.[/box]
Following points are the major features of the new law about the residence permits.
Exemptions from Residence Permits
Following foreigners will be exempt from residence permit requirements; (ii) those foreigners who owns “certificate of stateless person” (iii) officers of diplomatic and consular missions (iv) those family members of the officers of diplomatic and consular missions (approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sought) (v) those officers of International Organizations, whose employment status has been determined by the international agreements, (vi) those foreigners who kept exempt from the residence permit requirements by international agreements which Turkey is party (v) foreigners within the scope of article 28 of the Law no: 5901 on Turkish Citizenship. (vi) those foreigners who owns “Certificate of International Protection Applicant” or “refugee certificate” prepared in accordance with articles 69/7, 76/1 and 83/1 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection.
Residence Permit Applications
Residence permit applications will be made through the Turkish consulates in the home countries of foreigners. In order to apply for residence permit, it is essential that, foreigner applicants should have passport which is valid for at least 60 days beyond requested residence permit period. Duly applications will be finalized not more than 90 days period. Those foreigners, who obtained residence permit from Turkish consulates in their home countries, should register themselves to the Address Registration System within 20 days after their arrival to Turkey.
Only in following exceptional cases, residence permit application can be made within Turkey through relevant governorships; (i) With requests or decisions of the Turkish judicial and administrative bodies, (ii) In the circumstances when the departure of foreigner from Turkey is not reasonable and possible, (iii) “Long-Term Residence Permit” applications, (iv) Student residence permit applications, (v) Residence permit applications on humanitarian grounds, (vi) Applications for transition from ‘Family Residence Permits’ to ‘Long Term Residence Permits’, (vii) Residence permit application for child born to foreigner parents who have valid residence permits in Turkey. (viii) Residence permit applications made for new purposes of stay upon disappearing of cause for granting current residence permits. (ix) Applications for ‘Short Term Residence Permit’ after completion of higher education in Turkey.
Residence permit extension applications will be accepted by relevant governorships of Turkey. The application for extension might be submitted within 60 days before and in all circumstances before the expiry date of the residence permit. After extension application, applicants will be given a document which is not subject administrative fees. During extension evaluation period, foreigners will use this document to continue to reside in Turkey legally.
Work Permits will be used as Residence Permit
As per new rules on residence permits, valid working permissions will be used as residence permits. Thus work permit validity requirement of residence permit application within 30 days upon obtaining the work permit (for consulate applications 30 days was starting upon arrival of work permit holders) will be outlawed. On the other hand the same as work permits, “Work Permit Exemption Certificates” will also be used as residence permits.
Interruption to the residence
Staying outside of Turkey for the periods more than six months within one year or more than one year within last five years will be accepted as interruptions in the residence permit period. In the residence permit applications of those foreigners who have interruptions in their residence permit period, previous residence permit periods will not taken into consideration. This rule is also applicable for the applications for transition to another type of residence permit. In the calculation of uninterrupted residence period, half of the period for student residence permits and full period for other types of residence permits will be considered.
Types of Residence Permits
New law specifies six main types of residence permits. (i) Short-Term Residence Permit, (ii) Family Residence Permit, (iii) Student Residence Permit (iv) Long- Term Residence Permit (v) Humanitarian Residence Permit (vi) Residence Permits for the victims of Human Trafficking.
- Short- Term Residence Permit
Short-term residence permits are granted in accordance with the visiting purpose of the foreigners. Short-term residence permits will be issued at most for one year terms. Short term residence permit might be granted for the following foreigners who have suitable accommodation conditions in Turkey. It is essential that, foreigner applicants should have passport which is valid for at least 60 days beyond requested residence permit period. Additionally foreigners might be asked to provide criminal record from their home countries if Turkish authorities consider necessary.
a) Those foreigners coming to Turkey for scientific research.
b) Those foreigners who owns immovable property in Turkey.
c) Those foreigners coming to Turkey for business relations or opening business.
ç) Those foreigners coming to Turkey for in-service-training
d) Those foreigners coming to Turkey as a part of international student exchange programs or in line with international agreements which Turkey stands as a party.
e) Those foreigners coming to Turkey for tourist purposes.
f) Those foreigners coming to Turkey for medical treatment except for those illness might cause a threat to the public health.
g) Those foreigners who need to stay in Turkey due to requests or decisions of judicial or administrative bodies.
h) Those foreigners who seek transition from Family residence permit to Short-term residence permit.
i) Those foreigners coming to Turkey to attend Turkish Language Courses might be granted with short-term residence permit at most two times.
j) Those foreigners coming to Turkey for training, research, internship or traineeship purposes through Turkish Public Institutions might be granted with short-term residence permit at most one time and not more than for one year.
In the case of staying outside the Turkey more than 120 days within one year, Short Term Residence Permits might be cancelled. Applications of foreigners who are subject to the deportation or entry ban decisions will be rejected.
- Family Residence Permit
Family Residence Permit is granted to the foreigner spouse, foreigner children who are under statutory age and dependent foreigner children of foreigners who have valid residence permits, foreigners who own secondary-protection status, refugees and persons who lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining renunciation permit. Family residence permits will be issued at most for two year terms on each application. In the case of marriage with more than one partner, only one partner might be granted with Family Residence Permits. However children from the other partners are granted with Family residence permit. In addition, both partners of marriage should me aged 18 years old or above. In granting Family Residence Permit to the children, if dual guardianship is exists, consent of father or mother who also has parental right is sought. Children with family work permit may continue their primary and secondary education without having student residence permits. Spouses or children, in order to apply for Family Residence Permits should have passport which is valid for at least 60 days beyond requested residence permit period. Those foreigners who resided in Turkey at least three years and turned to 18 years old might apply for transition from Family residence permit to Short-term residence permit.
In the case of divorce with Turkish citizen partners, foreigners have resided in Turkey at least three years with family residence permits might be granted with short-term residence permit. However in the existence of court decision on domestic violence, three years duration is not considered for divorced foreign partner.
In order to be eligible with Family Residence Permit following conditions should also met. (i) to reside in Turkey at least one year with valid residence permit, (ii) to have monthly income not less than Turkish minimum wage which is also no less than one third of minimum wage for per household members, (iii) to have suitable accommodation conditions in Turkey in line with general health and security, (iv) to have medical insurance which covers all household members, to prove not convicted with any domestic violence or similar crimes within 5 years prior to the application date and (v) to be registered with TurkishAddress Registration System.
- Student Residence Permit
Student residence permit is granted to those foreigners who will be enrolled to the graduate, undergraduate or two years associate programs in the Turkish higher education institutions. Those foreigners who will study in primary or secondary education programs, with the consent of their parents, might be granted with student residence permit at most for one year terms on their each application. Student residence permit does not grant any rights about residence permits of parents and other relatives of the foreigner students. Period of student residence permits can not exceed duration of education.
With the new Law on Foreigners and International Protection, different than current rules regarding to the employment of foreign students in Turkey, foreign students can work in Turkey legally after obtaining work permit. However foreigner students who are enrolled in the undergraduate or two years associate programs can start working in Turkey after completing their first year of study. Moreover only for foreigner students who are enrolled in the two years associate programs, working hours can not exceed 24 hours in a week. Applications of foreigners who are subject to the deportation or entry ban decisions will be rejected.
- Long Term Residence Permit
A foreigner may be eligible for Long Term Residence Permit for indefinite period of time, if have been residing in Turkey legally and uninterruptedly for 8 years with valid residence permit. However those foreigners who are classified as refugee, conditional refugee or those owners of residence permits for humanitarian purposes or those who are under temporary protection are not be eligible to apply for Long Term Residence Permits. Additionally in order to be eligible for Long Term Residence Permit foreigners also need to meet with the following criteria. Accordingly foreigners;
- Should not be granted with Social Help within last three years,
- Should have adequate and regular resources for personal or family livelihood,
- Should have valid health insurance,
- Should not be considered as a threat to public order and security.
In the case of staying outside the Turkey for any reasons except health, education and compulsory public service for more than one year, Long Term Residence Permit might be cancelled.
5. Humanitarian Residence Permit
In the following circumstances Humanitarian Residence Permit might be granted at most for one year. Residence permit on humanitarian grounds can be extended.
a) If the highest interest of child is in question
b) In the case of departure of foreigner from Turkey is not reasonable and possible, even if the foreigner is subject to the deportation or entry ban decision.
c) If the deportation decision may not be taken due to provisions of article 55 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection.
d) During the legal actions taken against to the deportation decisions or not allowed international protection applications.
e) During the returning process of international protection applicants to countryoffirstasylum or third safe country.
f) For those foreigners allowed entering Turkey for the sake of state interests or public order and public security. (if the grounds for applying another type of residence permit is not available)
g) In exceptional circumstances.
Holders of Humanitarian Residence Permit should register themselves to the Address Registration System within 20 days after they granted with residence permit.
- Residence Permits for the Victims of Human Trafficking
A foreigner who is victim of an offence related to Human Trafficking might be granted with 30 days valid residence permit for reflection and for him or her to decide whether to take action against the perpetrator(s) of the offence. Residence permits for the Victims of Human Trafficking might be extended at most 6 months periods, however extensions can not exceed three years.
[box type=”info”] As per article 125 of the New Law, except provisions regarding to the establishment of General Directorate of Migration Management under section 5, all other provisions shall enter into force one year after the publication date. [/box]
 Article 28 of the Law no. 5091 on Turkish Citizenship specifies the rules regarding to the rights accorded to those who lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining renunciation permit.
 For those foreigners coming to Turkey for scientific research, for those persons who lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining renunciation permit and for those foreigners married with Turkish citizens, one year rule is not applicable.
 As per article 55 of the law on Foreigners and International Protection, in following circumstances, following foreigners will not deported even if deportation decision is taken against them. (i)In the Risk of being subject to death penalty, torture or inhuman and degrading treatment in the country where the foreigners will deported, (ii) In the case of travel prohibition due to Serous health problems, age and pregnancy (iii) During the medical treatment of serious illnesses and if there is no opportunity of medical care in the deported country. (vi) Victims of Human Trafficking, during the victim support process. (v) Victims of physiological, physical and sexual offences, during their treatments.[box type=”download”]