If you've looked into applying for a residence permit in Turkey, you've probably already heard of the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü. You may also have heard it called the Göç or Göç İdaresi, or the immigration office. What they're referring to is the Directorate General of Migration Management.
What is the Immigration Office?
The Directorate General of Migration Management (or immigration office) is a Turkish government organization under the Department of the Interior. It processes residence permit applications and issues residence permit cards, implements immigration policies, and provides protection for refugees and victims of human trafficking. The immigration office carries out its responsibilities under Law 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection.
Immigration Office Provincial Capital Offices
There's an immigration office in the capital city of every province in Turkey. These offices handle everything regarding residence permits, including receiving residence permit applications and conducting interviews. While they fall under the authority of the main headquarters in Ankara, the provincial offices have a lot of autonomy in deciding how to implement local procedures. For that reason, the rules and requirements for residence permit applications may differ from province to province.
District Immigration Offices
There are also immigration office branches in smaller districts that have a high number of foreigners. These branches are under the jurisdiction of the main provincial office and handle routine requests such as first-time applications and interviews for short-term residence permits. There are branch offices in various districts of Istanbul, and also in Alanya, Bodrum, Didim, Fethiye, Kemer, Kuşadası, Manavgat, and Marmaris.
Which Immigration Office You Need to Go To
When you're completing your residence permit application using the immigration office's online application system at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/. The system will give you the date and time of your appointment and the address and contact information for the immigration office where you need to go for your appointment. When you download and print your İkamet İzni Kayıt Formu (Residence Permit Registration Form), you'll also see this information printed at the bottom of the first page. So if you take a taxi to the local immigration office, give the taxi driver that address.
After you've submitted your residence permit application during your interview at the local immigration office, the immigration office headquarters in Ankara will create your residence permit card and give it to the PTT (national postal system). The PTT will then deliver it to your address by registered mail.
During your residence permit application appointment, you'll meet with an immigration specialist. The immigration specialist will go over your document package and make sure everything's in order. They'll probably ask you a few questions, such as "do you intend to work?" "Is anyone else living with you?" "Why did you decide to live in Turkey?"
The immigration specialists aren't there to "screen you out" or look for ways to disqualify you. Their main concern is to make sure foreigners who come to Turkey obey the law and don't work illegally. They also focus on each person as an individual, and each person's situation, rather than on their national origin.
The Immigration Office Helpline (YiMER)
You can call the Yabancılar İletişim Merkezi (Foreigner's Communication Center) for free at 157 from any phone in Turkey. The international number is +90 312 157 1122. Press 2 for English. YiMER and its immigration specialists should be your primary source of information. They can help you with any problems or questions you have.
The immigration office has smartphone applications you can download at either the iTunes store or the Google Playstore. Just search for "Göç İdaresi" and download the app.
The immigration office also maintains pages on Facebook and other social media, where you can see the latest news and updates. Here they are:
On YouTube, you'll also find a variety of videos which explain the application process for various types of residence permits.
Assistance and Support
Residence Permit Application Assistance: With this service, a representative of Mertsel Insurance completes your online application and gets an appointment for you within 24 hours. They help you get the documents you need for your application package, and also provide insurance policies for residence permits.
Foreigner Communications Center Help Line: The immigration office also has a helpline you can call with any questions you might have. Just call 157 from any telephone in Turkey. If you're outside of Turkey, you can call it at +90 312 157 1122. Be sure to have your passport, application number, and your visa information ready.
Turkey Central Residence Permit Forums: Do you have a question? Search our residence permit forum to see if your question has already been asked and answered. If it hasn't, feel free to open a new topic.