Expats in Turkey confused and stranded due to new rules

Published:  2 Jul at 6 PM
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Turkey’s newly-introduced residency permit and health insurance rules are causing chaos amongst expats due to horrendous paperwork-processing delays.

The new residence permit laws require an ikamet via an appointment with the local police office, but no slots are now available before October 2014. Of the 40,000 British expats living in the country, many hundreds now have expired visas and permits, and are unable to leave on business or for urgent personal reasons.

Should expats attempt to leave the country temporarily without their renewed ikamets, they can be refused re-entry for 90 days and fined by airport police. The ban on re-entry is non-negotiable as the system is now computerised, and has already affected a number of expat residents.

The delay is being caused due to the implementation of a new department set up to deal exclusively with foreigners’ residence permits. In the meantime, expats who have managed to get appointments with the local police office are reporting that authorities are interpreting the new laws in an inconsistent manner.

Documents to be presented are a Turkish bank statement showing a deposit of $500 for each residential month, a fully-paid up annual private health insurance policy and notarised proof of address. Expats are saying that unlisted documents such as earthquake insurance on a rented property are also being demanded, and those contacting the British Consulate for assistance say replies were not received in time to ensure they could leave without problems.

Many UK citizens living in Turkey’s coastal resorts are over the age of 70, at which Turkish health insurance companies no longer offer cover. International health insurance is far more expensive, making compliance with the new law likely to cause financial disasters for older retirees.
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