In the last few weeks Turkish immigration authorities have begun to reissue the controversial visa stickers prompting fears that this is the first step to introducing a new restricted stay for tourists in Turkey.
Last June 2010 the Turkish immigration authorities started issuing new style tourist visa stickers at all their ports of entry to Turkey. The stickers contained new wording that suggested that individual visa holders would be restricted to a stay of 90 days in a 180 day period. The issue of the new sticker created a month of speculation, gossip and conspiracy theories as to what the wording would mean.
On 14 July the reason for the change was officially announced and new restrictions were brought in for holders of the new style stickers. The changes would restrict the stay of citizens from 58 countries in Turkey.
However, the Turkish authorities had failed to consult on the changes and foreign embassies including the British embassy met with the Turkish government following complaints they had received from their foreign citizens. The meetings resulted in a u-turn and a promise that if changes were introduced in the future a notice period of 3 months would be given.
A promise was also made that there would a review of the high costs of the residence permit for long term foreign residents in Turkey. DON’T COPY – LINK TO WWW.FETHIYETIMES.COM
Old Style 90 days
Despite the overturning of the visa changes some foreign citizens who has been avoiding the then excessive residence permit fees and staying on back to back tourist £10 (15€) visas decided enough was enough and up sticks moving away from Turkey.
In April 2011 true, to their word, the Turkish government announced new residence permit fees. They slashed the costs for an annual permit to just over £50. The price reduction made the old back to back tourist visa renewal a thing of the past, unless that is you could not met the criteria to obtain a residence permit.
Roll forward to this month and the major ports of entry to Turkey are once again issuing 90/180 day Tourist visa stickers. Eye witnesses report that Dalaman Airport and Sabiha Gocken, Istanbul are currently issuing the new style visas.
The British Embassy say that they have not been notified of a change or that the 3 month consultation period has begun. They also say that for the moment the old 90 day visa rules still apply despite what the new stickers say.
Could it then be that the authorities have just run out of stickers? That seems unlikely and more likely that it is more efficient for printing costs.
But why issue an official document with wording that isn’t valid? No wonder everyone is puzzled.