What is the change? Foreign nationals attempting to obtain residence permits in Istanbul are experiencing persistent delays despite the opening of three new Migration Directorate offices.

What does the change mean? Applicants using Turkey’s new online booking system in Istanbul are often unable to make appointments and, when appointments are available, are usually required to wait for about 90 days. Officials opened new offices in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş, Kadıköy and Beylikdüzü districts, but so far delays have continued.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for residence permits in Istanbul.
  • Impact on processing times: Processing times for residence permits have been significantly delayed. It now takes 90 days to get an appointment in Istanbul and an additional two to three weeks to obtain a residence permit after the appointment is completed.
  • Business impact: The delays may impact businesses with foreign workers hoping to obtain work permits in Turkey on the basis of a valid residence permit.
  • Next Steps: BAL will continue to monitor the delays in processing and report any significant changes.

Background: In May, Turkey moved to have civil authorities at the Migration Directorate, rather than local police officers, issue residence permits. Applicants are now required to book appointments through an online system that has been overloaded, leading to delays. Officials opened the three new offices in hopes of easing the burden on the system, but so far delays are still acute in Istanbul. Other areas of Turkey have not been affected. In Ankara, for example, applicants may book an appointment one or two weeks in advance.

BAL Analysis: Foreign nationals seeking to obtain a residence permit in Istanbul should plan well in advance. Appointment are currently booked until February. Applicants in the Beşiktaş, Kadıköy and Beylikdüzü districts can take advantage of new offices, but these locations are experiencing the same delays as other offices in Istanbul since they all use the same online appointment system.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Turkey. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact