What They Don’t Tell You About the Turkish Residency Permit . . .

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.

13 thoughts on “What They Don’t Tell You About the Turkish Residency Permit . . .

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  1. Blimey, Terry! What a tale of expensive woe and tribulation. Then to have it compounded by the system – what a drag.
    Had the business with the res. permit ourselves – TL4296 each for five years – two months later it was reduced to next to nothing. Oh well! Try and be philosophical – not much else any of us can do.

  2. God, I’m so sorry. This is awful and the authorities don’t ease the pain. In fact, as you have shown, they make it worse. Coming from the UK where it’s not mandatory to carry official ID, it came as quite a shock to me when we moved here. To be honest, we rarely carry either a passport or residency permit when we’re out and about. We keep them locked away in a safe. Bodrum is a tourist town so we can get away with it. They only come out for official business, trips back to the UK and the odd road trip here.

  3. Terry, you crack me up – love your articles – sorry you had to go through all of that! That thief better hope he never runs into you again 😉 Hope to see you when your home for Christmas!

  4. Terry. So sorry to hear about this. Can hubby speak to someone higher up about the cost etc? That is ridiculous.

    Re the passport, I had this issue when my friend was stopped and told that she could be fined for carrying no identification with her. The police man was very instant that if Turkish people had to carry their kimliks, foreigners had to carry their passport. I then checked with the district police station and they said that foreigners were fine to carry around a passport copy instead.

  5. Dear Friends, Thanks to all of you for your kind words. A theft like this is more of a big hassle than anything else to me. Luckily, I learned long ago not to take these things personally. Therefore, I do not live in fear of it happening again, or being hurt, or anything like that. I am fine. I am always happy to get good advice – such as the fact that I can carry a copy of my passport and not the original. That is good to know and I will definitely try it. I should note, however, that a copy of the passport does not work when trying to replace the residency card. They want to see the original! I am sorry to hear that many of you suffered financially, as I did, in buying a long term permit just before the fees went down. Things are different here for sure! That would have been in the news at home many many months before it happened, so we would have known better than to pay for more than one year. As a US lawyer, I am very interested in learning how laws are created and enforced here. It’s often very “crazy” to me. But again, it’s just my personal comparison.

    I actually did have my Turkish speaking husband with me, both dealing with the police the first night (they kicked him out of the office but I forced him back in later) and yesterday when trying to get a new permit. At one point, I called a friend at the Danistay, a judge of the Supreme Court. He did make some calls, and apparently, although the laws were changed regarding the fees, the law regarding a lost or stolen card was not changed. It is considered a “valuable paper” and you are penalized by paying half the value, that is, half of what it cost you to purchase it. There are no distinctions made between losing it or having it stolen, other than you must provide the police report if it was stolen.

    As for the police, most were very friendly and a few were helpful. But the process is extremely time-consuming, mostly due to the fact that the police do what they want when they want (after tea and cigarette breaks) and because their computer systems SUCK! And the cop at the Yabanci desk at the main station, next to Anka Mall, was the same guy we dealt with last year. I just learned that it is illegal for me to say anything nasty, whether it is true or not. So I will leave it to your imaginations . . . and I will talk to my judge friend about him!

  6. T.
    I was so hoping that this would have been simpler for you.

    Frustration is one of tose things that is hard to let go. Thank God Turkey is a Democracy. I could not imagine what you would be going through if it were not.

    Still praying for an “on-time” passport.

    Love you,


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