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Hello everyone,

I have been experiencing ikamet renewal woes, and wondering if anyone can help. My last ikamet expired on January 1, and I tried to start the renewal process online on December 31. The system gave me an application number and seemed to register my application, but it never reached a screen at which the system told me how much money to pay or gave me a form to print. I thought that with the new online system maybe it would take a few days and that the Göç Idaresi would email or text me. I just checked again and found that the system has no record of my application, and when I went to the Kadıköy Göç Idaresi office they told me to start the process again online. Now I see that I cannot use the Renewal process, as the system is telling me to start again as if applying for an ikamet for the first time.

My questions are:

1. If I start the process online today, will that "freeze" the number of days that I have overstayed my ikamet? I am planning on showing them a copy of the email that shows I tried to apply for renewal on Dec. 31, the day before my ikamet expired, but of course there's no guarantee they will be receptive. I'm wondering if I should just leave the country now and then come back with a tourist visa and then apply for an ikamet as a first timer, or if I can stay here and continue the process. I would hate to get an interview two months from now and find out that they consider me to have overstayed my old ikamet by a full two months!

2. Once an ikamet application is filed online, how many days can one leave the country? Last year one could spend up to 15 days out of Turkey while waiting for a new ikamet. Is that still true? And can one leave before the interview for those 15 (or however many) days, or can one only leave after the interview, while waiting for the ikamet to arrive?

3. Finally, I have read online that if you overstay an ikamet by 10 days or more you can be banned from the country for a period of time. Is this still true?

Thanks to anyone who can share any advice or guidance.

 

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I assume you gave the DGMM your application number and they checked that, and found there was no such number in the system. If not, you should do that first.

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1. If I start the process online today, will that "freeze" the number of days that I have overstayed my ikamet? I am planning on showing them a copy of the email that shows I tried to apply for renewal on Dec. 31, the day before my ikamet expired, but of course there's no guarantee they will be receptive. I'm wondering if I should just leave the country now and then come back with a tourist visa and then apply for an ikamet as a first timer, or if I can stay here and continue the process. I would hate to get an interview two months from now and find out that they consider me to have overstayed my old ikamet by a full two months!

I would call 157 and talk to one of the immigration specialists about that.

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2. Once an ikamet application is filed online, how many days can one leave the country? Last year one could spend up to 15 days out of Turkey while waiting for a new ikamet. Is that still true? And can one leave before the interview for those 15 (or however many) days, or can one only leave after the interview, while waiting for the ikamet to arrive?

You can get a paper which allows you to leave the country for up to 15 days, but only after you have attended your residence permit appointment. Before your appointment, you can only leave and return on your current visa or residence permit. If that's expired, then you would have to leave, pay a fine, and return with a new visa. There are no provisions for leaving the country on expired documents before the appointment.

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3. Finally, I have read online that if you overstay an ikamet by 10 days or more you can be banned from the country for a period of time. Is this still true?

Yes. You'll most likely be fined. Whether you're banned or not seems to be up to the immigration police, which is a different entity from the DGMM. If you are in danger of this, you could explain your situation at the border gate when you leave (allow plenty of extra time for this). They are known to be flexible on what penalties to assess and can make the decision on the spot.

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Thank you so much for your reply! Very helpful. Yes, I went to the DGMM office in Kadikoy, and they confirmed what I had found online: the system had no record of my application for renewal. So, I will cross a border soon and hope for the best.

A few more questions for this thread: I will probably take an Ulusoy night bus to Thessaloniki rather than fly abroad, as last minute flight tickets are looking expensive. Can I pay my fine for overstaying an ikamet at the border as a passenger on a bus exiting the country? Do I need to have US dollars or Euro to pay the fee, or can I just bring Turkish lira? And I will have overstayed by 9-10 days when I leave. Does anyone know what the maximum fine might be?

Thanks again for your help! 

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Taking a bus over the border - we took a day bus Alexandropolis (Dedegas or something similar in Turkish) a few years ago and that's a lot less time on the bus. If you choose this route make sure you ask the driver where the pick up point for the returning bus is for the next day. It is definitely not where they drop you off. We spent half the next day trying to find out. If you expect to pay a fine at the border try to muscle your way into first in line to show your passport. They will probably take you to another room to pay the the fine. All the other passengers will have to wait until you're done. You don't want that process starting when they're back on the bus ready to go.

I'm assuming you'll need to get a tourist visa to come back in on.

Looks like because of the break in time from your old ikamet you'll be treated as a new application. Did you start applying on 31st Dec ? This does seem a bit late if your expiry is on 1st Jan. I have heard from 2 sources that the system is currently not giving out any appointments in Istanbul. Someone has been trying for 2 weeks and their 90 day Tourist Visa runs out about now and if they don't get their appointment booked they'll have to leave and won't be able to come back for 3 months.

Some unrelated updates - we've been trying to pay our Ikamet Fees at Ziraat and Vakif Banks and when arriving at the counter they say "no problem". But once they key some stuff into the computer they say they can't - I think it's something to do with the new year and the fact that the card fee has now gone up to 63TL (on the system) but the printed form says 58.50TL (last year's price) - so that's enough for them to say no. So we paid at the Kadikoy Vergi Idaresi (very friendly memur) but we were charged the new price. The other fee $80 in TL stayed the same.

BTW the Uskudar Vergi Dairesi closed for good on 5th December.

A few of our friends have been in and out of the main Fatih Goc Idaresi in the last 2 weeks and the place is just in total chaos. There are so many people being asked to come back with extra documents (usually to do with children's applications) and the problem is the officials tell the parent what is needed, the parent goes and gets it, hands it in and then they say it needs notarising. Our friend is trying to get Ikamet renewals for 2 children and the requirements are totally different (different officials).

What this means is that half the people are in a ticketed line for appointments and the other half are trying to muscle in without a ticket just to hand in extra documents. Tempers are getting frayed,

 

 

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Thanks for your reply, Graham. It is true that December 31 is a late date to start the ikamet renewal process, but unfortunately, I don't have much of a choice. I get my health insurance through my partner's work, and her office provides coverage for a year beginning on January 1. I need to mail the letter from the insurer, a letter which usually only arrives around January 3 or 4th, within 5 days of filling out the online application, meaning that I have to wait until the last minute to start the process every year. This year it didn't work out!

 

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Hi again Matteo

I am not completely sure in your situation whether you need to leave the country, It might be worth a call to 157. I'm sure I've heard of others who for one reason or another have missed the anniversary date and ok they were told there would be a fine but applied again without leaving,

Graham

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One more question:

Ken, you said that one cannot get the piece of paper giving you permission to leave the country for 15 days until after attending the appointment. Is that based on current information? Graham, is that something that you have heard too? I'm just asking because last year I recall that you could download a pdf after completing the online process stating that this person has applied for an ikamet renewal and has permission to leave for 15 days. I guess it has changed, but given that the 'system' (for lack of a better word) changes so often, I just wondered if anyone has an up to date confirmation that one must wait until after the interview (if one ever happens) to get permission to leave.

Thanks again!

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Matteo

Once you get to the end of application process online you get given one of two options - ask for an interview date and time (no choice in the date) OR Print your application - but not both of these options. If you are one of the very few who can print and post in the application you can do that otherwise it's a question of taking the interview. Until the end of 2015 or thereabouts (at least in Istanbul) for renewals everyone was able to print and send the stuff by PTT and it is true at that time you could print an extra PDF that gave you the 15 day dispensation - you had to attach a copy of your receipts. 

So few people are able to print and send in these days I don't know whether an extra PDF suddenly becomes available. But in your case you will now be treated as a first-timer and you will have to go for an interview which I think is the only place you can get this extra form - if you think you'll need it ask for it and take an extra copy of receipts.

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Dear Graham,

Thanks for the suggestion that I call 157 and ask if I can remain, and I will give them a call and ask if they have any information that would be of use. However, it seems unlikely that I will be able to stay, as I have a trip to the US booked for Feb. 15-March 2. I initially booked the trip thinking that, like last year, I would be able to obtain the permission to leave Turkey for 15 days while waiting for the new ikamet. Now that I have both had my application disappear/fail to be recorded, and I find out that I can't get the permit to leave the country for 15 days until after an interview (which seems unlikely to take place before Feb. 15), I think my only recourse is to hop a border and come back with a tourist visa, allowing me to enter and exit the country without a hassle. Of course, the snowstorm happening now is making even that look complicated - I hope there will be blue skies by Monday, when I'm planning on making my escape!

Also, for what its worth, I was told at the Göç İdaresi office in Kadikoy that everyone trying to extend their ikamet needs to go for an interview. This, of course, might not be true, as you usually hear something different from everyone you talk to in the system.

 

 

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I am trying to help a friend renew her ikamet. the online system seems to have an IT problem, I have tried to call 157 (from Turkey) but the number does not ring out. is there a prefix that I need to add to the 157 number? eg 444 or something?

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Hi IbrahimAbi , there is no prefix to the 157 number.
There's been I.T. problems with the online application site for over a year now.

Most times putting the site page into Turkish works & often allows the applicant to continue & complete .

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Thanks Redders, for the first 5 attempts I could not get the 157 number to ring out, eventually, a bit later it did. The chap I spoke to suggested flipping into Turkish (I could do that without starting again), that solved the problem, but some of the Turkish as the process proceeded was a bit challenging. We came across a problem with the health insurance but I hope to solve that today. The support staff knew that there was a problem and promised to report the issue, but this has been going on for months.

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