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No more tourist extensions for short-term residency in Turkey!

On December 2, 2019, the Immigration Authority issued a new decision concerning touristic residence permit extensions, which has been published on the Immigration Authority's website.

Beginning January 1, 2020, the Authority will change its review process for applications for touristic residence permit extensions, as a result of this decision and accompanying notice. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this directive has been on hold since March 2020.

With the new review process, the Authority has stated that it will no longer accept touristic residence permit extensions for those who have stayed one (1) year (certain countries are exempt from this new process; the full list can be found below) unless the applicants can provide a valid reason for the extension other than for touristic purposes.

As a result, from January 1, 2020, foreigners will no longer be able to extend their touristic residency permits for more than one (1) year.

The judgment came as a shock to touristic dwelling permit holders, who were left in a state of panic and confusion. The main reason for this is the decision's timeliness since the Immigration Authority only gave permit holders a 29-day notice before the new review process went into force, leaving them with very little time to comprehend the information and explore other options for acquiring a new residence permit (other than touristic permits).

The Turkish Immigration Authority justifies its decision by claiming that foreigners were abusing the touristic permit scheme, with a significant number of foreigners applying for touristic residence permits and then applying for continuous extensions to stay in Turkey indefinitely and work illegally.

However, as previously stated, this new assessment process and extension restriction for touristic permits does not apply to all foreigners, as select nations are exempt from it. According to the Immigration Authority's decision, the new regulation will not apply to citizens of European Union and OECD nations, as well as Russian and Chinese people, and foreigners from these countries will be eligible to request a touristic permission renewal after January 1, 2020.

The following is a complete list of exempted nationalities and countries: Full List of Exempted Countries

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States

Certain Conditions Apply.

Foreigners who are not nationals of one of the countries listed in the above table and hold valid six-month permission (first permit) will be given an extra six-month extension under the new review process, which will begin on January 1, 2020.

Foreigners possessing a twelve-month touristic residence permit (for the first time) will not be able to extend their touristic residence licenses unless they can provide a compelling cause for doing so. Those impacted will be required to leave the country and return for a period of twelve months.

Alternative Methods for Extension of Stay

As a result, a foreigner can still apply for a residence permit extension by switching the type of permit from touristic to one of the other permit types (such as to permit based on real-estate acquisition). Another alternative is to apply for a work permit from the Ministry of Labor, which will also grant you a work permit. Please read our post on work permit applications for more information. Creating a firm and making commercial investments can be another way to extend your stay, and it can even aid you with work permit applications (there are certain exemptions provided for work permit applications of company shareholders). Here you can find thorough information on investing and forming a company in Turkey.

Although the new review system and restrictions on touristic permit extensions came as a shock, there are a variety of other options for foreigners looking to extend their stay in Turkey. However, because these procedures are often extremely complicated, it is recommended that they obtain professional assistance from reputable specialists in order to avoid any consequences, including deportation and a re-entry ban.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any additional information or support.

This law was repealed in March 2020 and is no longer in effect.