Last week my wallet was stolen. It contained my passport, my Turkish residency permit, my PA driver’s license, credit cards, ATM cards, and more.
I don’t want to get into all the details, but let me say this to my American friends who are wondering why I was carrying my passport – you need it much more than you would at home. For example, when checking into a hotel, they will not accept my Turkish ID.
Anyway, happy that I didn’t have much cash in there, and sorry that my friend was punched during the incident as we almost caught the guy, I set out to replace my items this week.
Yesterday I filled out the forms to replace my driver’s license. I couldn’t finish it on my own. I had to mail it with a check. So I forwarded it to my sister who finished the deal. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a waste of money. My license will expire in 8 months. If less than 6 months, I could have just gotten a new 4-year license. Instead, my replacement will be valid until July. Then I will pay again.
The theft occurred the night before Thanksgiving, so I couldn’t call the Embassy until Friday about my passport. I made an appointment for today and gathered everything I could to prove my identity. Luckily, I had expired passports, copies of my stolen documents, and marriage certificates (by that I mean American and Turkish – only one marriage!) Having no access to my Turkish bank cards which take 2 weeks to replace, or to my main US account having lost that card too, I was able to pay for the passport with a rarely used US bank card at the Embassy. Now I am just hoping the passport comes before my trip home. It will be close.
Then I went to the main police station to see what I could do about the residency card. They have very little information about it on their website. But I assumed it would not be easy. I was right.
First, you can’t get one without a passport. A copy of the passport will not work. And you must first fill out a form to report the passport stolen (which was not told to us by the police the night it was stolen. We spent 6 hours with the police that night, and they told us we didn’t need to do anything else. I could write a whole book about the events of that night as they shuttled us back and forth between stations. Nice people. Completely inefficient. And . . . )
So once I get my passport, I will proceed with the residency card replacement. But here’s what they REALLY don’t tell you. The replacement fee is the price of the booklet, plus half of the original costs. The booklet is 149TL. Last year, we paid for a 3-year permit, 1942 TL. This year the permits went down to about $200 for a 3 year period. The fact that we paid over 1700 TL more doesn’t matter. We will still have to pay half the original fee, plus the book, a total of 1120TL for two more years.
So they screwed me by having me pay for 3 years, and then lowering the fees substantially the second year with no reimbursement for those of us who purchased for multiple years.
Then they screwed me by charging me 1120TL for having my residency permit stolen from me.
The cop literally laughed in our faces as he explained the costs to my husband and me. I could have punched him in his face.
I should have punched the thief in his face.
Moral of the story: It does not matter what the law says. I will NEVER carry my passport or my residency permit again. My driver’s license is much cheaper to lose. And I will punch whomever I want in the face.
Passport $135 (screwed by paying more than a new or renewed passport)
Residency Permit 1120TL (screwed, screwed, screwed)
PA license $13.50 (priceless)
After all that screwing, you would think I would be smiling.