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Turkey Deportations, Detentions, and How to Avoid Them

Ken Grubb

Foreigners are typically deported from Turkey because they didn't get a residence permit or didn't extend it, then lived in Turkey until the police caught them. While a short overstay involves paying a fine on departure and perhaps a ban of three months to a year, a long overstay can involve detention and forced departure, and a five-year ban.

Deportations are carried out by the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management, or immigration office).

Reasons You May Be Deported from Turkey

You may be deported from Turkey if you:

  • Are convicted of a crime resulting in imprisonment.
  • Are found to be a member or supporter of a terrorist or criminal organization.
  • Use forged or fake documents when entering Turkey or when applying for a residence permit
  • Work in Turkey without a work permit or make a living through illegal means.
  • Pose a threat to public order, safety, or health.
  • Stay in Turkey for more than ten days beyond the validity period of your visa or visa exemption, or if your visa or visa exemption is canceled.
  • Apply for a residence permit more than ten days after your previous residence permit has expired and don't have a valid reason for your overstay.
  • Remain in Turkey after your residence permit is canceled.
  • Enter or exit Turkey illegally.
  • Enter Turkey while banned from doing so.

Administrative Detention

You can be physically detained and placed in a detention facility if you:

  • Are an escape risk.
  • Have violated the laws concerning the entry and exit procedures of Turkey.
  • Have used forged documents
  • Didn't leave Turkey by a date on which you were ordered to leave.
  • Pose a threat to public order, safety, or health.

Maximum Detention Period

The maximum detention period is six months. It can be extended if you have no documents showing your country of origin, if such documents are fake or have been forged, or if your uncooperativeness causes the court to be unable to make a decision.

Release from Administrative Detention

Every month, the provincial government reviews the cases of people in administrative detention. If they find your detention is no longer necessary, they may release you and require you to stay at a particular address and periodically report to government officials.


You can be deported to:

  • Your country of origin.
  • The country you were in before arriving in Turkey.
  • A third country as decided by immigration officials.

Travel Expenses of Deportation

If you're deported, you'll be responsible for your travel expenses. If you can't pay them, the immigration office will. You'll have to repay the immigration office before you'll be allowed to enter Turkey again.

What to Do if You Have a Long Overstay

Don't wait until you're caught. It just takes a policeman asking for your ID card or someone calling the authorities to bring an unpleasant end to your stay in Turkey.

If you meet any of the criteria above for deportation, contact your country's embassy or consulate. They can assist you in turning yourself in and leaving voluntarily.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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