Legal Risks for Foreigners Who Want to Live in Turkey

legal risks for foreigners in turkey

We recommend that foreigners who plan to live in Turkey should seek legal advice from lawyers or law firms that provide services in the field of “Immigration Law” before making their plans. Because residence permit applications, work permit applications, and even applications for Turkish citizenship through investment that are not properly planned can often result in negative outcomes.

Residence permit applications are often rejected without a valid reason. Although it is possible to appeal by legally filing a lawsuit, the likelihood of obtaining a favorable outcome decreases if the application is not properly submitted.

Foreigners who come to Turkey to live or work are granted a residence permit or work permit for a certain period. In this case, renewing the applications is required at the end of each period. Otherwise, foreigners who are not in Turkey legally with a valid permit may face legal risks.

I. Visa Violation

If the permission given to those who have come to Turkey with a visa or who are living with a residence or work permit has expired and they do not leave Turkey, it will be considered as “Visa Violation”.

Foreigners who stay in Turkey for even one day more than their legal right to stay has expired will have to pay a “visa violation penalty” when leaving Turkey. The visa violation penalty is paid to the “Visa Violation Office” at border gates or airports. The amount of the visa violation penalty varies depending on the nationality of the foreigner and how much they have exceeded their visa period.

Foreigners who violate their visa but do not want to pay the visa violation penalty upon leaving Turkey will face administrative sanctions preventing them from re-entering Turkey.

II. Deportation Notice

Foreigners living in Turkey based on legal rights such as visa, residence permit, work permit, etc. may be asked to leave Turkey for certain reasons. These reasons may include the foreigner violating their visa, being accused of committing a crime, or their residence or work permit not being renewed. In such a case, the relevant Provincial Directorate of Migration Management issues a “Deportation Notice” to the foreigner, asking them to leave Turkey. If the foreigner does not leave Turkey within 10 days of receiving this notice, administrative sanctions may be applied against them. These sanctions may include a “Deportation Decision” and an “Administrative Detention Decision” decision.

III. Deportation Decision

A “deportation” decision can be made by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management against a foreigner who is not legally present in Turkey, has entered Turkey through illegal means, is alleged to have committed a crime that is against public order but has not been arrested by a court, or has not left the country within 10 days after being invited to leave Turkey. The foreigner who is subject to the deportation decision has the right to appeal this decision through legal means. However, the “administrative supervision” sanction may also be imposed in order to prevent these individuals from fleeing or disappearing.

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IV. Administrative Detention

The Republic of Turkey is a state governed by the rule of law, and therefore, the freedoms of citizens, foreigners, and stateless persons are protected by the Constitution. However, these constitutional protections can be limited by laws. It is at this point that “Administrative Detention” which grants the state the power to restrict the freedom of foreigners, comes into play.

To ensure the forced deportation of a foreigner who has been issued a “deportation” order by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management, the “Administrative Detention” sanction can also be applied. The main purpose of administrative supervision is to prevent the foreigner from disappearing or fleeing. The foreigner who has been subject to an administrative supervision order can be kept in a “Return Center” until they are sent out of Turkey. Therefore, the foreigner’s freedom will be restricted by force. At this stage, if the foreigner wishes, they can file a lawsuit in the Administrative Court, claiming that the “deportation” decision is incorrect, and they can also object to the Administrative Supervision decision on the grounds that it is wrong at the Criminal Peace Court.

As a legal measure, administrative supervision can be applied for a maximum of one year. This is a quite long period. There is a right to object to the administrative supervision order on a monthly basis.

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V. Entry Ban to Turkey

An entry ban to Turkey for a period ranging from 1 month to 5 years may be imposed on individuals who violate their visa duration of stay, have a deportation order issued against them, or fail to leave the country within the legal timeframe despite being called to do so.

BAL Law Firm provides legal services and assistance for our foreign clients regarding the legal risks and needs for living in Turkey.

We, as BAL Law Firm, provide legal services to our foreign clients regarding the legal risks of living in Turkey and the legal services they may require. Most of the risks mentioned above relate to legal risks associated with the presence of foreigners in Turkey. In addition, we believe that there are some situations that foreign residents in Turkey should be aware of.

We offer legal services on various matters such as rental and eviction conditions, acts against public order, committing crimes in Turkey and their sanctions, detention, arrest, making false statements, drug trafficking, being a victim of a crime, fraud, theft, cyber crimes, defamation, threats, assault, employment, termination of employment contracts and their sanctions, opening a company and conducting commercial activities, tax obligations, contracts and debt relationships, and debt collection.


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