Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | July 27, 2010

molly’s cafe: how to get a residence permit

today i picked up my renewed residence permit.  i had been totally dreading renewing it, as i had been hearing various accounts from it being very easy to very difficult. i heard the system had changed and not always for the better.  the last time i renewed it, i just went to the emniyet, walked in, and a couple of hours later i was done, except for picking up the little booklet a couple of days later.

money money!

in fact, a friend of mine renewed his last week and he had to go four times.  he went one day and for some reason had to return the next day.  i asked him if he had paid and he said they hadn’t said anything about paying.  duh.  i had been telling him that it was going to cost about 1200 lira for 2 years, but he did not listen, evidently.  the second day he read 750 on the form and thought it meant 750 lira– though why he would be so special, i do not know.  it turned out that it was 750 pounds, which is about 1500 lira.  he had to borrow money from the young man who was helping him through the process.  then  when they went back a few days later to pick up the booklet, they sat for several hours and did not get it.  they went the next morning and finally got it.  this was a case of the blind leading the blind, i think.

emniyet mudurlugu

for me, it was fine, amazingly enough.  i had all my documents (photocopies of passport, residence permit, the forms printed from the website (, bank statement saying i had the equivalent of $7200 for the two years, and photos). i had made a reservation on the website.  it used to be that you went and had the forms filled out there at a cost of 10 lira.  there were always lineups and it took a long time.  this time the forms were filled in online, though they had to be printed out with a coloured printer.  each person got a number for a certain time.

my appointment was at 1:00 and i was number 204.  when i got there just after 1, they were already at number 155.  i had a chance to go out for a cigarette and read a few pages of the book i had cleverfully brought, but mostly i sat around for the better part of an hour.  when my number was up, i handed over my documents, which were shuffled a bit, but they were all there.  i was told to go down and pay  my 1239 lira, get the receipt (which i can’t find now to be sure of the exact price), and take it back up to the same woman officer.  she gave me a paper and told me to come back the following tuesdayat 2:00. the whole process had taken about two hours.

today i went, gave my paper, signed a form, and had my new ikametgah in my hand within 5 minutes.  easy.

now the law about endless border runs has changed, so i am sure the emniyet will be very busy issuing new residence permits.  many foreigners i know here have been doing border runs every three months to renew their visitor’s visas, and doing this for years.  most of them are working, albet illegally.  now if a person overstays, they may have to pay a fine and/or they may have to stay out of the country for a certain amount of time.  look at this link: Visas for Turkey | Expat Arrivals

the biggest hurdle for most people is showing the amount of money they need ($300/month). the catch 22 is that you often need a residence permit to get a bank account and it is often assumed that you need a bank account to show you have enough money for a residence permit.  however, it is my understanding that you can change your money at a doviz to show that you have enough money, as long as somehow your name is on the receipt.  if you don’t have enough money, you borrow it from a friend or boss, get the receipt, and immediately give the money back.

so there are ways to handle the bureaucracy here.  when i get finished with the cafe bureaucracy, i will tell you all about that too.



  1. Glad you got your resident’s. Hopefully all sorts of requirements will fall in to place eventually. Maybe just marry a rich Turk–as if you haven’t researched that one.

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