Turkey is in the top 10 countries for the reception of Ukrainian refugees. And it is not surprising, because this country has always been close to our citizens, many Ukrainians have relatives there - expats, friends, acquaintances. Many Turks speak Russian, especially on the southern coast, so in terms of language it is easier for Ukrainians to find a common language with Turks than with the locals in other countries.
However, since Turkey is not a member of the EU and does not grant temporary protection status to Ukrainians, refugees from our country find it quite difficult to understand the statuses and rights that our citizens can get in Turkey for legal stay. In the free access information on protection of Ukrainians in Turkey is also very confusing. To understand how the Ukrainian asylum system in Turkey now works, we talked to Anna Balanovich Er, a real estate specialist at Look-O-More, a Turkish company. Anna directly advises clients on obtaining residence permits (so called residence permits) in Turkey, and helps our citizens now navigate the new country.
Caution: Anna's experience and our advice on the general conversation is based not only on the law, but also on the communication of Anna with our citizens, who have already managed to apply to the Migration Service of Turkey in this situation. Therefore, below we tell you how things work in practice now and urge you to clarify the information directly with the Migration Service of Turkey (Göç İdaresi).
☎️ Migration Service Hotline: 157 of the Turkish number (there are Russian-speaking operators).
Consequently, Ukrainians who left for Turkey in connection with the war can obtain three types of statuses: tourist residence permit (tourist residence permit), humanitarian residence permit (humanitarian residence permit) and international protection status.
What does each of these statuses entail?
1️⃣ Tourist residence permit (Kısa dönem ikamet izni)
This is the most familiar and understandable format of long-term stay in Turkey. You should remember that according to visa-free regime Ukrainians can stay in Turkey for up to 90 days. For those who plan to stay for a long time, the Turkish Migration Service issues tourist residence permits for a period of up to 1 year, but for Ukrainians began to issue even for 2 years.
In addition to the permission to stay up to 2 years, tourist residence permit gives the right to:
treatment in local hospitals with insurance (insurance is purchased separately)
opportunity to buy a car and get a local driver's license
take out a loan and mortgage
to study in a state school.
learn English and/or Turkish for free
start a business
❌ A tourist residence permit does not provide a work and employment permit. Employment permit is issued separately, the particular employer must submit your documents to the Ministry of Labor.
The following documents are required for registration of the tourist visa:
necessarily a valid biometric passport (if you do not have one - you can get a new one or extend the old biometric one in the embassy/consulate of Ukraine);
Children's birth certificate (if you have children), translated and apostilled;
rental contract, certified by a notary. Anna advises to include in the rental agreement all family members living in the house - this will simplify the process of obtaining a permit for them. If the lease agreement did not include any of the spouses at the conclusion - the contract is submitted to the marriage certificate, translated into Turkish and apostilled. If you plan to stay with relatives, friends - you can also certify your premises with a document of guarantee, where the owners of your location will confirm your location;
a tax receipt for the ID card;
In addition, you may be asked for a certificate of one of your utilities - gas, light, etc;
Filling out a questionnaire on the Migration Service website. After filling it out, you will receive a date and time (rendezvous) to come to the Migration Service with the documents.
Tourist visa does not limit your movement in the country, you can leave Turkey and return without hindrance. However, if your application for a visa is still under consideration, and you want to leave Turkey, tell the Migration Service (you can even at the airport), so that the services understand that you will return, and the production of species for you is relevant. Also take into consideration that execution of the tourist visa for one person will cost you from 1000 lira (approximately 2 thousand hryvnias).
Who can receive a tourist residence permit?
- You are planning to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days;
- you want to freely travel around the country and abroad;
- You have a stable income or savings and do not want to apply for a separate work permit.
❌ Who is not suitable for a tourist residence permit?
- you are planning to get a job;
- You have no money to pay for the documents;
- You do not have a place to live;
- You do not have money for health insurance and want to be treated at the expense of the state;
- you do not have a biometric passport (but now the Consulate General in Istanbul resumed the issuance of biometric passports, and the Turkish side has promised not to charge penalties for overstaying a visa-free. That is, if your visa-free visa is coming to an end, you can not worry and wait for the production of a passport, and then apply for a residence permit).
2️⃣ Humanitarian residence permit (humanitarian residence permit) (insani oturma izni)
Humanitarian residence permit is in fact the equivalent of a tourist permit, issued for a year. However, it is issued when you want to receive a residence permit, but for certain reasons you do not have enough complete documents to obtain a tourist permit.
- if the mother left with the child, and the father's consent to take the child out is not formalized. This consent is mandatory for obtaining a tourist visa, and, accordingly, if this document is missing
- children are issued a humanitarian visa. Mom can get either a tourist or humanitarian permit. For children, the cost of view is reduced by 50%;
- Citizens who do not have a valid biometric passport and want to get an analogue of the tourist visa in terms of rights and conditions;
- humanitarian visa also requires a place of residence. But if, for example, a tourist visa without a rental agreement or surety you will not be issued, then the humanitarian will be issued. For example, you live in a hotel, with which you can not have any rental agreement - you can not apply for a tourist residence permit, but the humanitarian can.
The humanitarian view also requires self-administration of health insurance. You can also move freely within Turkey and travel abroad. And as in the case of the tourist visa, humanitarian permit does not give permission to work - for employment is drawn up a separate permit.
You can go to the office of the Migration Service for processing without electronic rendezvous.
3️⃣ International Protection (refugee status) (Ulusrarasi koruma)
Turkey grants our nationals one of the subspecies of international protection, secondary protection. It is essentially a so-called refugee status. This permit is issued for one year, renewable and, more importantly, 6 months after applying for the status, you can work without the need for additional work permits. Also, a nice bonus is that applying for secondary protection is free.
To apply for secondary protection, you can come to the local branch of the Migration Service without an appointment - there is a separate desk Ulusrarasi koruma, there are also English-speaking or Russian-speaking staff.
You need to have:
- a valid passport or other identity document, along with a Turkish border crossing document (issued at the border to citizens without a biometric passport);
- Two biometric photos of each family member;
- Application. You need to write a handwritten application with a detailed explanation of why you are applying for MH status. This application must contain the following information:
- who the applicant is (individual, family members if applying from a family);
- In which city you lived and why you left that city;
- When did you leave Ukraine;
- when and how you entered Turkey.
You must also clearly state in the application that you are applying for international protection status. The application can be written in Turkish, English or Russian. The fastest result will be an application in Turkish.
- proof of address. Such a confirming document may be:
- rental contract for housing;
- a letter from the hotel, if you are staying in a hotel;
- If you are staying with someone, the owner of the apartment must personally confirm this fact and with their permission you will be registered in the system at this address. If the person you are staying with rents the apartment, he/she must bring the rental contract and you will be registered in the system at that address with the permission of the current landlord.
❗ If you have a disability, serious chronic illness or a medical condition requiring immediate medical intervention/treatment, you are a victim of human trafficking be sure to mention this, as it is grounds for expediting the decision-making process.
After the interview, you will be issued an "International Protection Applicant's Certificate" which will grant you permission to stay and use your rights until final secondary protection status is granted. Final status will be granted 6 months after you apply.
What rights does this status provide?
One year legal stay;
The right to work 6 months after the applicant has received his or her permit;
Free public health insurance;
Education in public schools;
Help with housing if you have nowhere to live;
opening bank accounts.
❌ Remember, however, that this status will restrict you from moving in and out of the country. You will be required to stay within the province in which you went for international protection. You can leave the province after permission from the migration office. Leaving Turkey before your final status (the first 6 months after you apply) will invalidate your international protection. That is, at any time you can voluntarily give up international protection and return home, but in this case your status will be lost. Also, the status provides for periodic monitoring by the migration service - once every two weeks you will have to check in there.
✅ Who is suitable for international protection status?
- you are planning to wait out the war in Turkey and do not plan to leave Turkey in the next 6 months;
- you are in a difficult situation and need accommodation;
- it is important for you to enjoy free medical care;
- you want to work (after 6 months).