Pursuant to Press legislation in Turkey, foreign nationals who work for Press entities as Journalists and similar assignments can apply for a temporary or permanent press card regardless of their entity having a representative in Turkey. This article will focus on a long-term press card application process for foreign nationals.
STEPS OF PRESS CARD APPLICATION PROCESS:
- PRESS VISA APPLICATION (TURKISH GENERAL CONUSLATE/EMBASSY ABROAD)
- PRESS CARD APPLICATION IN TURKEY (DIRECTORATE OF COMMUNICATIONS)
- PRESS RESIDENCE PERMIT (MIGRATION DIRECTORATE)
- ADDRESS REGISTRATION (POPULATIONS REGISTRY)
The entire immigration process of a foreign Press Member takes approximately 4 - 5 months. Note that this estimate can vary according to the processing times/workload of the Turkish Consulate and the Directorate of Communications. Applying for the press visa takes approximately 6-8 weeks depending on the backlog of the particular consular post. Upon visa issuance, the press member must apply for a press card domestically which takes 5-8 weeks. After issuance of the card, the press member must apply for a residence permit based on his/her press status which takes 2-4 weeks. Lastly after issuance of the residence permit the press member must apply for an address registration for their residential address. Therefore the average timeline for these four steps is approximately 4-5 months total. Below are the steps in more detail.
STEP 1: PRESS VISA APPLICATION
The first step of the Press Card application process is applying for a Press Visa from the Turkish consular post outside Turkey. Regardless if applicant currently lives abroad or resides in Turkey with a Residence Permit, the Press Member must first be issued a Press Visa and enter Turkey with this visa in order to be able to apply for Press Card in Turkey.
Press Visa applications can only be filed at the Turkish consulate in the applicant's country of legal residence or nationality. Online visa appointments can be obtained by completing an application form on MFA's website: https://www.konsolosluk.gov.tr/. This on-line system is not to be confused with Turkey's e-visa system for visitors. The visa application is logged-in and support documents are uploaded into the system. The applicant's visa appointment date may then be scheduled. The second step is an in-person consular interview, where applicant must bring original copies of all application and support documents, including:
- Passport copy, and the original passport;
- One passport size photo;
- Original signed assignment letter;
- Signed version Pre-Visa application form;
- Visa application fee;
- If the person applies from a country other than of his/her nationality, then his/her valid residence permit or evidence of legal status in the country of residence;
- Police clearance document from country of nationality and/or country of residence (depends on consular post)
Additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the consular officers. Adjudication at a consular post familiar with Press Visas can be approximately 2 weeks, however many posts are not experienced in this visa category and may ask for guidance from the Ankara General Directorate of Communications. This can cause a delay of up to 2 months.
Following the approval of the Press Visa, applicant is usually notified by the consulate to visit the same consular post for visa collection. Most consular posts issue a press visa as single-entry. Therefore once the applicant enters Turkey, they cannot depart until they receive their Residence Card (see step 3) or exit document.
STEP 2: PRESS CARD APPLICATION
Following entry to Turkey with the single-entry Press Visa, applicant must then promptly file an online application for a Press Card (PC) by creating an account at the Directorate of Communications system. If the applicant ever previously had an account with the Turkish Directorate of Communications, the same account must be used for the filing. The Turkish Directorate of Communications' online system for Press Members can be reached from https://akreditasyon.iletisim.gov.tr/Account/Register. Required documents include:
- Copy of passport biographical page, Press Visa page, and page showing entry stamp to Turkey;
- Press Card Application Form (prepared online);
- Assignment Letter signed/sealed by Employer outside;
- Introduction Letter issued by the Embassy/Consulate in Turkey of the Country of nationality of employer's headquarters; (not needed if the employer is established in Turkey)
- Examples of applicant's professional work (recent – at least 3-4 works);
- Applicant's confirmed residential address in Turkey;
- Turkish Phone Number
Please also note that it's at the Directorate of Communications' discretion to ask for additional documents. Upon filing, press cards are generally adjudicated within 5 – 8 weeks (though adjudication time varies widely annually) and must be retrieved in person by the applicant.
STEP 3: RESIDENCE PERMIT (BASED ON PRESS CARD)
Once the applicant receives his/her Press Card he/she must promptly file a Residence Card application. The application must be filed with the Migration Directorate in the city where the press member resides in Turkey. Residence Permit (“RP”) applications are filed via an online system: https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/. Required documents include:
- Original Passport (copy of all pages)
- Original Press Card (and a copy), if any.
- 4 Biometric Photos
- Notarized Copy of Applicant's residential Lease Agreement
- Local Private Medical Insurance
- Copy of Assignment Letter signed/sealed by Applicant's Employer outside Turkey.
Note that the Migration Directorate officers have discretion to require additional documents during filing including a legalized police clearance. Applicant must be present at filing, however the card, upon approval, will be sent to their home address by Turkish Post within approximately 3-4 weeks from filing. Press Cards and therefore Press Related RP's are issued only until end of the calendar year regardless of the date of filing. Lastly, as opposed to other Short Term RP categories, RP based on Press membership benefits from certain exemptions including the ability to do a walk-in application without waiting for the appointment (which is generally backlogged), as well as immediate issuance of an exit document (travel permission while waiting for the RP Card to be delivered).
STEP 4: RESIDENCIAL ADDRESS REGISTRATION
Once the applicant receives their residence card, they're required to register their residential address with the Directorate of Populations Registry (or Migration Directorate in some locations). This must be completed in the jurisdiction where he/she resides in Turkey within 20 business days.
- During processing of the visa application, travelling to Turkey is not recommended. However, if there is a need to travel to Turkey while the Press Visa application is pending applicant must ensure that they are in Turkey solely for touristic/house hunting purposes and do not start engaging in any productive work in Turkey.
- Press Cards and Press-Related Residence Permits for foreign nationals and their dependents are issued for a maximum duration of one year and must be renewed at the end of each calendar year.
- Note that once the employee departs Turkey at the end of their assignment, the original press card must be returned to the Press Directorate and a cancellation petition must be filed within 30 days.
- Temporary Press Cards (up to 90 days assignment) can also be sought for foreign Press Members who will not be working/residing full Time in Turkey. Temporary Press Cards are adjudicated for up to 90 days. The standard process as confirmed by the MFA for foreigners who will apply for a Temporary Press Card in Turkey is to enter on a visitor status, and immediately before starting any journalist activities, to file for a Temporary Press Card domestically. Some Turkish Embassies (i.e Washington D.C) gives the option for applicants to file via the embassy/consulate abroad.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.