WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE CURRENT VISA/VISA EXEMPTION OR RESIDENCE PERMIT OF A FOREIGNER ARE EXPIRED DURING COVID-19 IN TURKEY?
One of the most popular question and the conflict arise in all the countries including Turkey nowadays is that what will happen if a person’s duration of visa or visa exemption or the residence or work permit are expired in Turkey during COVID-19 while all the international flights are suspended and the borders are closed.
Some countries announced that the visas of the foreigners in their country will be extended until a further date which will allow the visitors to stay in that country legally. However from Turkey’s side, there is not any official announcement made until today regarding expiration although there are some decisions made on some countries and these counties lead their citizens to contact to their Embassy or Consulate in Turkey to make them aware of their current situation.
The Article 11 of Code on Foreigners and International Protection is stated as follows: “Foreigners wishing to stay in Turkey for up to ninety days shall obtain a visa that indicates the purpose of their visit from the consulates of the Republic of Turkey in their country of citizenship or legal stay. The period of stay in Turkey provided by the visa or visa exemption cannot exceed ninety days within a period of one hundred and eighty days.”
Based on this Article, it will be considered as expiration if the visitor stayed in Turkey more than 90 days in 180 days with their visa or visa exemption and under normal circumstances they must leave Turkey before the expire date of their visa or their duration with visa exemption. Even there is not any official announcement we believe in that the visas under COVID-19 situation will be considered as force majeure in Turkey and Republic of Turkey will protect the rights of the foreigners who overstayed in Turkey. However we would like to state regarding the information received from the Call Center of Foreigners that these visitors must leave Turkey once the international flights are allowed again which are suspended until May 20 at this moment and the arbitrary overstays will not be considered under force majeure.
Regarding the residence permit applications in Turkey based on the Article 22 of Code of Foreigners and International Protection, the statement of “..when it is not reasonable or possible for the foreigner to leave Turkey” is stated under the main title of residency. It is clear that the visitors can apply for the short-term residence permit (or any other permits if they fulfill their requirements) to secure their stay in Turkey during COVID-19. The Immigration Office accepts the applications but delayed the appointments between June and August. This situation can be changed due to any announcement from their side.
Under this uncertain timing of COVID-19, it will be beneficial for the visitor to contact a legal advisor to evaluate their situation of overstays of visa or residency in Turkey or to take necessary steps to secure their stays. We kindly would like to state that it will be our team’s pleasure to help and support you in Turkish, English, Arabic and French.
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