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Visa or Residence Permit Overstays in Turkey

Ken Grubb

Most visa or residence permit overstays are minor issues, involving a foreigner forgetting when their visa expires or accidentally staying longer than their visa allows. Short overstays only involve a fine on departure. But longer overstays can include a re-entry ban of three months to a year. Very long overstays (for years) can incur a ban for up to five years.

Typical Reasons for Overstaying

Besides a validity period (the time from the date your visa was issued or activated to its expiration date), every visa also has a limit on the number of days it allows the visitor to be in Turkey.

For citizens of many countries, including European countries, the U.K., the USA, Canada, and Australia, an e-visa has a validity period of 180 days, and it allows the traveler to be in Turkey for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. This is called the "90-in-180-days rule."

If your visa goes past its validity period, or if you've been in Turkey for more than 90 days in the previous 180 days, you'll be in overstay status. Visas of other countries have a different validity period and number of days allowed in Turkey. Read you visa to learn the rules.

Visa Overstay Fines

If you stay in Turkey beyond the expiration date of your visa or remain for more days than it allows, you may be fined at the airport or other border gate when you leave Turkey.

The calculation of your fine will depend on your nationality and the length of your overstay. The total fine amount consists of a penalty for the first month and additional months of overstay in U.S. dollar equivalents. There will also be a fee for a single-entry visa and the amount you would have paid for printing your residence permit card if you had applied for one (which you should have!).

Here's what citizens of European countries, the U.K., the US, Canada, Australia, and many other countries can expect to pay. If you're not from one of these countries, the following should give you a general idea of what you can expect to pay.

Overstay Fine Amounts

First Month Overstay: $50 USD (equivalent)

Additional Months Overstay: $10 USD (equivalent) per month

Single-entry Visa Fee: ₺1,033.60

Residence Permit Card Printing Fee: ₺160

How the Fine is Calculated

The fines for the first and subsequent months of overstay are self-explanatory.

The Turkish government also charges a single-entry visa fee and a residence permit card printing fee, which are fees you should have paid if you had obeyed the law. It's also a way to ensure there's no financial incentive for foreigners to overstay their visas.

Why You Must Pay a Single-entry Visa Fee

The single-entry visa fee is paid during the residence permit application process by citizens of countries who have a visa exemption. Because you'll be in overstay status, you'll have no valid visa, so you'll have to pay for one as part of the penalty.

You'll have to pay this fee no matter what kind of visa you used to enter Turkey, and even if you're visa-exempt.

Why You Must Pay the Card Printing Fee

If you'd followed the law and applied for a residence permit, you would have paid this fee. So even though you won't receive a residence permit, the Turkish government isn't going to let you get out of paying a fee you should have paid anyway. Thankfully, they don't also charge the residence permit processing fee, which is a much higher amount.

Turkey Residence Permit Overstays and Fines

The fee calculation works the same way with residence permit overstays. Once your residence permit expires, if you haven't applied for an extension, you'll have ten days to depart Turkey or pay a fine when you leave Turkey.

Instead of Overstaying Your Residence Permit, Consider Leaving Turkey and Returning with a Visa

If your residence permit expires, you can leave Turkey, buy an e-visa, and return the next day. After you return with your e-visa, you can apply for another residence permit.

Turkey Re-entry Bans

If you're caught by the authorities more than ten days after your visa or residence permit expires, you may be arrested, fined, deported, and even banned from re-entering Turkey for three months to a year. If you have an excessive overstay (involving years), you can be banned for up to five years.

For short overstays over ten days, the Turkish police can be quite lenient. They may tell you that you must leave Turkey and take no further action. But don't count on it.

Turning Yourself In

If your overstay is an excessive one, it's much better to turn yourself in to the authorities than to get caught. Before you do so, it's probably a good idea to contact your country's embassy or consulate first, then let them arrange it.

According to Article 9/4 of Law No. 6458, Foreigners and International Protection, if you turn yourself in to the authorities and make arrangements to leave Turkey before you get caught, your re-entry ban will be a maximum of one year.

How to Know If You're Banned from Re-entering Turkey

If you were banned, the immigration officials should have notified you about the ban and the duration of the ban. And just because you're able to get an e-visa doesn't mean your ban has been lifted. You'll still be stopped at the airport or border gate and sent back home.

If you think you're banned from re-entering Turkey, contact a Turkish embassy or consulate and ask them to check your status.

Having a Ban Lifted

You may be able to have your ban lifted if you apply to a Turkish embassy or consulate and pay an application fee. The Turkish embassy or consulate will forward your application to the ministry of the interior in Ankara, who will decide if the ban should be lifted. If you were banned because of a failure to pay a fine, you must pay it at the Turkish embassy or consulate before you can do anything else.

Be Polite and Respectful to Border Control Officials

Some travelers have reported having overstays of several months, then after being polite and respectful to the border control officer involved, receiving a lower fine than they expected, without a deserved re-entry ban. On the other hand, some travelers have been angry and disrespectful, resulting in a higher fine and a re-entry ban.

So when you're interacting with border control officials about your overstay, by all means, be polite!

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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