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Marcus Tirkel

Staying over two 90/180 periods - do I need a residence permit?

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Dear forum,
I’m from Sweden and moved to Istanbul together with my girlfriend to join her for her exchange semester at the Istanbul Technical University. The 90/180 rule applies to me as a tourist, however, as I have been entering and exiting the country several times this year (and will at least 2 more times this year) I am not sure how to count and whether I will need a residence permit or not.

I already went here on April 18th for vacation and stayed for 11 days. On the 28th of August I came back to Turkey with my girlfriend for her school start, exited again for a week, and then came back again. I will leave again on the 28th of October and in total I will then have spent 67 days in Turkey (including the days in april). Thing is, if we count from 18th of April (my first entry) and 180 days onward, that period would end 14th of October.

Does this mean, that by my time of re-entry to Turkey (which will be on the 2d of November), a new 180 day period will start of which I can utilise another 90 days of stay on a tourist visa?

All the best,

Marcus

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Hi Marcus,

To count the days you've been in Turkey and how it affects you, find a "Schengen visa calculator" on Google. You can also download it as an app for your smart phone. It's called a "Schengen visa calculator" because it is designed for those countries who follow an agreed visa regime in Europe, however Turkey also uses these rules in it's visa regime.

You can use it to enter all of your entries into and exits from Turkey. The calculator will tell you how many days you have been in Turkey during the previous 180 days and how many days you have left.

Being from Sweden, you are restricted to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. This 180-day period is always counted back from "today." It doesn't re-set if you leave Turkey and return. No matter how many times you come and go to and from Turkey, or if a person gets a new visa in the case of people who require a visa. It is always a maximum of 90 days during the 180-day span on the calendar which starts 180 days ago and ends on whatever day "today" is when the calculation is done.

If you want to stay longer than the rules allow, you must apply for a residence permit. You can do this any time within 60 days of reaching your maximum amount of days in Turkey.

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Dear Ken,

Thank you for your answer, that clarifies a lot to me. The only thing I don't understand is your last sentence: "...you must apply for a residence permit. You can do this any time within 60 days of reaching your maximum amount of days in Turkey". Do you mean I need to apply before I have 60 days left? Or do you mean I can apply up to the last day before my days are finished? (I have heard the latter version, where as long as the application is received before your maximum days are reached, you will be fine)

All the best,

Marcus

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Do you mean I need to apply before I have 60 days left? Or do you mean I can apply up to the last day before my days are finished?

Yes. To make things simple, let's say you have a 180-day visa which allows you to stay for up to 90 days. So you come to Turkey and stay for all 90 days in a row. After you have been here 30 days, then you are within 60 days of the end of your time allowed in Turkey. So you can apply for a residence permit. Or, you can apply at any time from that 60-day mark until the day just before your visa runs out. Don't wait until the last day though. If you have any difficulties and can't get the application done in time you'll have to leave the country.

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I have heard the latter version, where as long as the application is received before your maximum days are reached, you will be fine

That's correct. The only problem is if you have to travel before you go to your appointment. Even though you will be legally in the country with the downloaded and printed residence permit application, if you have to travel for some reason, you will have an expired visa and no residence permit.

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Thank you Ken, this is very helpful. Actually, as to your last comment about leaving the country, that's a question that popped up as well. Because I will actually need to leave the country for a week by the 2 december (by then I will have 3 days left on 90 days). Before then of course I will have applied (my application will be sent in a weeks time). Now the question remains: if they have not processed my application before I leave in december, will that affect my application somehow? Meaning, can you leave/enter the country while the application is processing if you still have time left on the 90/180 visa? Or can I still enter the country in december with 3 days left and an application processing? I guess they may have questions at the airport and want to see that I will exit in 3 days if the application has not processed...

Finally, I'm starting to realise the time is tight. Do you have any insights as to how to speed things up? Maybe hand in my application in Nevsehir Cappadocia as I'm going there next week. or are there any firms that can help with express applications? Thank you!

 

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The figures shown within that link are wrong....

The residence Permit fee is $80 for one year ,also if you convert the card fee of $ 30 that equates to 176.50tl where the actual cost for the card is just 89 tl.

As for the private health insurance the annual premium is age related so i cannot see how they can state any cost until they know your age. ..looks like a bit of a rip off.

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I don't know exactly how the dates will work for you, but if you apply 60 days before your visa expires, there's a good chance you'll be able to attend your appointment before you have to leave, and have as much time as possible left on your visa. At the end of your appointment, they'll give you a Residence Permit Application Document, which serves as a temporary residence permit until you get your card. That keeps you legal in Turkey after your visa expires, and with that you can leave the country for up to 14 days and return, as long as you also have the receipts for the payment of the fees as well.

However, if you're in Istanbul, they may just give you a letter which says you have applied, but it isn't a Residence Permit Application Document. 

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Meaning, can you leave/enter the country while the application is processing if you still have time left on the 90/180 visa? Or can I still enter the country in december with 3 days left and an application processing?

Yes. If you still have time left on your visa, you can go and come as much as you want. That's what I was referring to about applying as early as possible, the more time you still have left on your visa the better, because you're covered by your visa if you have to travel before your appointment.

To anticipate a question, I'm in Antalya, and when I applied for a residence permit extension recently, I was able to book an appointment in the following week. The only problem might be if you're in Istanbul, where they're a lot more busy, and you may not be able to book an appointment in such a short time. If your visa runs out before your appointment and you have to travel, it's a more complicated hassle than I want to get into here.

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Maybe hand in my application in Nevsehir Cappadocia as I'm going there next week. or are there any firms that can help with express applications? Thank you!

You have to apply at the DGMM office where you are going to live. And, according to a conversation I recently had with the DGMM office in Antalya, you can't change your address until after you receive your residence permit card. 

The firms I know of don't get any preferential service. The DGMM is in no way connected to any of these private companies.

Good catch, Redders... I met the owner of the company who runs that website earlier this year. Apparently they process a huge number of residence permits every month here in Antalya. I had also seen this on their price list and asked him about it. Apparently, what they're doing is charging a "flat price" for the service. It's not the actual prices which are charged by the government or the insurance company, it's what you pay them. My impression was that they did this to keep things simple, because the residence permit fee varies according to nationality and exchange rates, and the insurance cost varies according to age, and it is less confusing to just have one fixed number.

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Hi there,

A new question popped up regarding above as I'm now in a new related situation. My tourist visa has now expired and I have applied and received a time for my appointment in February. However, I do want to leave Turkey during Christmas and was wondering if this is possible. Does the 15 day rule apply before I had my meeting?

 

All the best,

Marcus

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If your visa is expired, and you don't yet have the Residence Permit Application Document that you would get at your interview, you have nothing to re-enter the country with. Additionally, you would have to pay a fine for overstaying the visa you entered with. 

If you decide to leave and return anyway, if your visa is expired, you will need to get another one. Since you have stayed more than the 90 in 180-days allowed on your previous visa, you can't start racking up days on your new one, either, because buying a new visa doesn't re-set the days allowed to zero.

So if you get a new visa, and re-enter Turkey, then when you enter, you should be offered a document called a Şartlı Giriş Belgesi, which means "Conditional Entry Document." You'll get it from immigration control. On that document, you will declare that you will apply for a residence permit within ten days. Even if you've already done that, you'll probably still have to fill out that form.

One problem is that Turkish airlines will not let you fly to Turkey without a valid visa. Your new one will be valid, but you'll have exceeded the number of days allowed in Turkey on the visa. I haven't called Turkish Airlines to verify this or get the details, so you should call them and explain your situation, that you have overstayed but have already applied for a residence permit, and verify that they will fly you back to Turkey in that situation.

And if you do it, please come back and let us know how everything went. :)

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Dear Ken,

as always, thank you for your elaborate answers!

As i’m Swedish I receive Visa upon arrival and to my knowledge i cannot apply for one in advance.  Turkish airlines never check visas from Sweden(due to visa on arrival policy i think) so the control will be on the border.

Also went to immigration office now and they also confirmed they cannot grant me exit without the meeting having taken place.

However, they still told me I can leave and when I come back I just pay the fine and re-enter. Don’t know how much I can trust that info but I would be totally fine paying a fine if I was sure I could enter. So to my understanding the process would look something like this:

1) I exit Turkey and as I have now "overstayed" my Visa I will pay a fine (how big I'm not sure?)

2) I enter Turkey again within 2 weeks. On the border I pay a fine again (?) and ask for Şartlı Giriş Belgesi.

3) Hopefully they let me in and I apply on e-ikamet anew (so I cancel my previous application and randez vous?) 

I have no problems paying the fines (unless they are really high of course), my only concern is whether they will let me in or if I risk being turned away and put on the next flight back home.

Many thanks,
Marcus

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3) Hopefully they let me in and I apply on e-ikamet anew (so I cancel my previous application and randez vous?) 

Don't cancel your current application. The application has nothing to do with your visa, and it won't be canceled just because you've left the country. Since your interview is in February, you won't be receiving any SMS messages that you would need to be in Turkey to receive, so you're okay there as well as long as you're back in time to go to your appointment. You can check on your current application when you come back if you want. When you go to the e-ikamet website, there is an option to check on your current application by entering the application number. So you can do that and see that it has been submitted and is pending an appointment. Anyway there is no need to cancel or do anything else as far as your residence permit application is concerned. Just go out of Turkey and return, then go to your appointment as if you had never left. Just to be clear...the şartlı giriş seems to be written assuming that you haven't applied. It is still used even though you have applied. It doesn't mean you have to cancel the first application and make another one.

Explain your situation to the immigration officer when you leave. While technically they can issue a ban for 90 days if you have overstayed more than ten days, that doesn't mean they'll give you one. Take your printed application form and the receipts for paying the fees so you can show them that you've applied for a residence permit, and that your application is in progress. If you do that, I see no reason why they would ban you, even if your overstay is more than ten days. Then after you come back, your current application form will still allow you to be in Turkey until your appointment day.

There won't be any fine when you return, since you will have already paid it.

Regarding the visa, I'm now seeing on the website for the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Swedish citizens enter Turkey on a visa exemption, that is, with no visa at all. But the the visa exemption still follows the of 90 in 180 days rule. So please disregard what I said previously about getting a new visa.

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Thank you! 

To update you, I also met with an agent for Securance Sigorta (my insurance company, also offering some consulting and help with applications) and he said I should indeed cancel my application before I go to the airport and pay the fine. He even offered me to do this directly but I said I would do it myself. I am inclined to believe your version however. The way I see it, if they chose to cancel my application because I overstayed, then be it. I will pay the fine, have my application voided and come back and apply anew (unless they put a ban on me and don't let me in).

To give you more context, my partner is studying here in Istanbul and finish her school mid-January so we will be leaving again anyways by end January latest (so again before any randez vous can take place). I assume the worst thing that can happen the second time is a new fine being issued and a ban to enter the country for 90 days, which will not be a problem :)

Will bring all the papers, receipts and have my Turkish friend ready on the phone if problems would arise. I will be travelling with my partner who already has her papers in place so that should further speak to our advantage I think :)

I will definitely keep you posted on how it all went :)

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The way I see it, if they chose to cancel my application because I overstayed, then be it.

You can't overstay if you have an appointment and you have the application form. You just can't use the application form to re-enter the country. There is no system which tells the Directorate General of Migration Management that you have left the country or returned. You're simply in the system waiting for an appointment, and it will stay that way until you go to your appointment, or miss it. You can always call the helpline at 157 and ask them. :)

 

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Well, yes, that is correct. The only thing I'm puzzled about then is why they told me at the migration office+the insurance agent that I will pay a fine if I leave before my appointment, the insurance agent even recommended me strongly to make sure I got to pat the fine when I leave so that I don't get problems when I come back (see also this for a worst case scenario where they would not only issue a fine but also a ban : https://yabangee.com/residence-permit-frequently-asked-questions/#9  )

Related to this, would you show your existing application upon leaving the country and telling them that you aim to come back? Because if I do, then maybe the risk is that they will argue that I am not allowed to leave/come back on that documentation and issue a ban. If I just show up on the airport and excuse myself that I overstayed, pay a fine and then when coming back, ask for a visa on arrival and conditional entry, and promise that I will apply within 10 days if that is what they demand. If my application has not been voided I don't need to do anything of course. I will just show that original application and scheduled appointment when I leave the country again by mid January and then cancel it once I'm home in Sweden.

 

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It's because border control and the DGMM are not connected. They are two entirely different organizations.

As far as the DGMM is concerned, everybody should just stay in the country during the time after their online application and until their appointment. And if you still have a valid visa or residence permit, you can still go and come as much as you want, as long as you're at your appointment on time. Also, there's no way the DGMM is going to start giving out documents which act like visas to anybody and everybody who applies for a residence permit and sets up an appointment. There is no way for them to even know who the person is at the other end of the system. Anyway the DGMM officials aren't going to give anybody anything to leave and enter Turkey, other than the use of the printed application form, until they meet that foreigner, in person, verify who they say they are, etc.

Then there's border control. All they know is that your days in Turkey are over the limit, and you're still in Turkey, where you can stay with your application form until your appointment, but for whatever reason you're leaving and want to come back again. And you don't have a valid visa exemption, visa, or a residence permit to re-enter. And for all they know, you may never even come back again. So while it might not be convenient for people in the situation we're discussing here, there is zero incentive for either government agency to change the laws just to make it easier for people to leave and come back with no visa or residence permit. 

That's my interpretation of it. :)

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the insurance agent even recommended me strongly to make sure I got to pat the fine when I leave so that I don't get problems when I come back

Yes, of course. You have to pay when you leave, or you will be banned for not paying the fine.

In  the link you provided, technically, they're right in saying you can't leave Turkey. Nobody should plan or expect any travel during this period, and it is why everyone should apply for a residence permit as soon as they can, so if they have to leave and return they can do so with their still-valid visa, and this situation doesn't happen in the first place. But if you must leave anyway, well, that is what we're talking about.

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Related to this, would you show your existing application upon leaving the country and telling them that you aim to come back?

I suggested this since your overstay will probably be over ten days, and if they can see evidence that you've applied for a residence permit and will be returning, they will be far less likely to ban you. The chances of a ban are probably very small, but just in case you should show them that you have applied and will be returning, and that you have an appointment with the DGMM in February.

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Because if I do, then maybe the risk is that they will argue that I am not allowed to leave/come back on that documentation and issue a ban. 

You're not trying to leave or re-enter with the residence permit application form. It is worthless for that anyway. Its only use is, while you are still in Turkey, to show to the police along with your passport to show that you are waiting for an appointment. In no way was it ever meant to serve as a visa or an border entry document of any kind. I'm suggesting you take it with you only to show the border control people that you have an appointment in February. That way, they will be less likely to ban you and you can return.

Anyway it looks like you have a good grasp of how it works now. Just leave the country and pay the fine for the overstay, come back and enter with the şartlı giriş belgesi, then go to your appointment in February.

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Hi Ken (and everyone else who reads this :) )

Just wanted to update you on what happened (i'm back in Istanbul so all is good :) )

As you said Ken, I needed to pay a fine when I left the country. That fine was quite high (more than 800 TL) and the reason for that was that it also included the cost for a Visa (as a Swede I did not have to pay for a tourist visa, so when overstaying I had to pay this extra amount for the Visa including the fine). I got the receipt and upon showing it on my return I was granted entry and had to sign the şartlı giriş (saying i have to apply for e-ikamet withing 10 days, and which is not a problem because I already did and awaiting my appointment in february).

An interesting and somehow confusing anecdote from another Swede (who was also here to join for his girlfrirends exchange semester at the same program as my girlfriends) is that his appointment was on the 31 December and he had to go back to Sweden on the 2d January. So at the appointment he explained the situation and they gave him  the "exit papers" for which he had to pay. But once at the airport, they refused to accept his exit paper so he had to pay again! 

Lastly, I am myself leaving in 2 weeks and this time for good (until I'm back again as a tourist in the future :) ) I still won't have attended my appointment but I do have the receipt for paying for the fine and the Visa. I guess that should be enough for them not to fine me again? I guess you never know given my anecdote above...but if you have any more perspectives/tips to share they are always highly welcome!

All the best and Happy New Decade!

Marcus

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Hi Marcus! Well thanks very much for that update. I'm not so familiar with the rules for foreigners who can enter without a visa and what happens in such cases. I hope you don't mind giving me a bit of an education! :)

Was that a "single entry visa fee" they charged you?

Was it the receipt for the single entry visa fee you had to show when you returned? I can't figure that one out, since if they let you leave and there was no ban, I would assume you would be free and clear, and not show anything receipts when you returned. I would think you could just come back and sign the Şartlı Giriş Belgesi (Conditional Entry Document) and that's all.

Concerning your friend, this may also be something I've never heard of before. Normally after an appointment, in Istanbul, they give you one of two documents:

  1. An İkamet İzni Müracaat Belgesi (Residence Permit Application Form) which has the foreigner's photo on it. It serves as a temporary residence permit, has a start date and an expiration date with 90 days validity. With that the foreigner can exit Turkey for up to 15 days and return without a visa by showing that document and the receipts for paying the residence permit fee(s).
  2. An Application Received Communique, which is an untitled document saying only that the foreigner's residence permit is being processed. There's no rights to leave Turkey and return with this. If the foreigner leaves, they have to return with an e-visa or sign a Conditional Entry Document when they return. In the cases I've heard of this being issued, the foreigner had plenty of time left on their current residence permit or visa, so they could depart and return with that.

I've never heard of anyone having to pay for an "exit paper." So I'm curious about what this could be.

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Lastly, I am myself leaving in 2 weeks and this time for good (until I'm back again as a tourist in the future :) ) I still won't have attended my appointment but I do have the receipt for paying for the fine and the Visa. I guess that should be enough for them not to fine me again? 

The only thing I've read (in the official rules) about this is that if a foreigner misses their appointment, their application is canceled. If they're still in the country, and have no time left on their visa or current residence permit, they have to leave in ten days. I've never seen anything about a penalty if someone is out of the country and then returns as a tourist. But the visa system and the residence permit system are two completely different things, so I don't see why that would have any effect on a future visa. As long as you haven't been in Turkey for more than 90 days in the previous 180 days, you should be fine, and should be able to enter Turkey again as a tourist as if nothing had ever happened.

One thing I think you should do is, after you leave, cancel your appointment. That way it will leave time for another foreigner to have their appointment, and would be a nice courtesy for the DGMM and whatever immigration official is assigned for the appointment. You can call the DGMM from outside of Turkey at +90 312 157 1122, and cancel using the application number on your residence permit application form.

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Hi Ken,

apologies for late response.

Anyway, I clarified with my friend about what happened. So he went for his randev vous and this was 2 days before he was actually leaving the country. He explained the situation to them and they told himto pay 567 TL to get a Visa. The paper he then got from then was only that he had been to the meeting and was now waiting for the permit. Once at the border they said that this paper is not valid to leave the country on and he had to pay another 1000 TL for 35 days of overstay. So somehow he was given no valid proof from e-ikamet that he had payed for a Visa already....maybe the point was that the 1000 TL was only the fine that he would have had to pay anyway. What's puzzling is that the could not avoid the fine, although they said at the meeting that he would.

I'm leaving on tuesday next weeka and not returnong the nextcoming 3 months at least. Already payed a visa and a fine of 800TL when I went out for Christmas. Hope they won't fine me even more when I try to leave again.

 

Cheers,

 

Marcus

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It sounds like he went into "overstay status" after he applied online for his residence permit. Which would be okay because the Residence Permit Application Form you download and print after you finish the process keeps you legally in Turkey until your appointment day. On the appointment day, after the appointment, they usually give you a Residence Permit Application Document which serves as a residence permit until the card comes in the mail. Normally with that document, you can leave the country and return for up to 15 days as long as you have your receipts for payment of the residence permit fees.

But in Istanbul, they're so busy that they just issue a piece of paper on which they acknowledge your application has been accepted and will be evaluated. You can't leave the country with it and return. So it looks like because your friend was leaving with that piece of paper instead of the Residence Permit Application Document, he was considered an overstay and got fined.

I'm sorry to hear about the situation, but grateful to you for getting back to us on this... now I have a better idea of how it all works! :)

And good luck to you with your departure and return, I hope it is completely smooth and fine-free.

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