What are the general procedures and legal basis for international protection in Turkey?
International protection covers the status granted for refugees, conditional refugees, and subsidiary protection beneficiaries, pursuant to the national legislation of Turkey. Applicants can lodge their international protection applications with the Provincial Directorates of Migration Management (PDMMs) within the governorates in person. In case you lodge your international protection application with law enforcement units within the country or at the border, your application will immediately be reported to the governorates. Applications for international protection may not be made by a lawyer or legal representative.
However, an applicant can also apply for international protection on behalf of accompanying family members whose applications are on the same grounds. Be aware that consent of the adult family members will be required for applications made on their behalf.
Please be informed that after giving consent to your family member to lodge an international protection application on your behalf, a separate application by you, without presenting any new elements to the case, may be considered “inadmissible” at later stages of the procedures.
Applicants who apply to the governorates for international protection shall not be sanctioned for breaching the terms and conditions of legal entry into Turkey or illegally staying in Turkey, provided that they provide acceptable reasons for such illegal entry or presence. The legal framework does not lay down any time limits on persons for making international protection application. However, you have the responsibility to approach the competent authorities “within a reasonable time”.
The receipt and assessment of applications shall not prevent the enforcement of other judicial or administrative actions, measures and sanctions. Applicants shall not be subject to administrative detention solely for lodging an international protection application.
As an asylum-seekers or refugee, how can I register with the Turkish authorities?
Under the national framework, the PDMM is the responsible authority for receiving and registering applications for international protection. In order to apply for international protection, you should approach to the Governorates in person. If you have any compelling reasons, such as serious medical condition that may not allow you to approach on person, PDMM officials may take your international protection application in your location as well. However, this is only valid for situations when the person is not physically able to approach to PDMM.
International protection applications are received by 81 provinces while permanent stay in some cities is not allowed under the legislation. If you apply at one of the provinces where residence is not allowed, you will be referred to a province where longer-term residence is regulated.
During your application you will be asked to submit in writing the reasons that made you leave your country. You should also submit any relevant documents available to you in support of your application.
You should indicate to the officer who registers you, if you or your family members have any urgent medical needs or disabilities or any special needs, such as being subject to violence or torture. At the time of your application, you will be given by the PDMM officers an information leaflet on your obligations in Turkey and access to rights and services in Turkey.
While applying for international protection, you may request to reside in a certain province which will be evaluated by the PDMM officers. You may be asked to submit a petition indicating your request with the reasons.
You may be registered at the time of your application or may register at a later date depending on the workload of the PDMM. In this case, please approach the PDMM on the registration appointment date given to you.
Following your application for international protection, a document called “Notifications to be made to the International Protection Applicants” will be given to you, in the language you can understand, by the PDMM official.
A separate registration form will be filled for you and for each member of your family. The PDMM officers will record your and your family members’ fingerprints and take photos of each person. Children under 7 are not required to have their fingerprints taken.
During your registration you will be asked questions related to the reasons that made you leave your country. You will be asked to submit relevant documents you may have brought with you, including your identity document that you may brought from your country of origin. Copies of these documents will be taken and the originals will be returned to you. Please note that you have an obligation to cooperate with Turkish authorities and provide truthful information. Any misleading information provided may impact your international protection process in a negative way.
The information you provided during registration will be read back to you. If there is any missing or wrong information, please indicate at the time of registration. You will be asked to sign the registration form and will receive a copy of the form.
Interpretation services will be provided by the PDMM officers. If you feel more comfortable with an officer or interpreter of your gender, during registration procedures, please state this, even if not asked, to the PDMM officers.
“International Protection Registration Document” (bearing foreigner ID number starting with 99) will be issued for you and for each family member. This document is free of charge. This document allows you to legally stay in Turkey and provides access to rights and services available for international protection applicants. The validity period of this document is mentioned on the card. You will have to approach PDMM to extend the card before its expiry date.
After registration, you will be informed of the date and time of your status determination interview. You should register your address with the Provincial Directorate of Population and Citizenship Services within 20 days after your registration. All notifications to be made by the relevant state institutions will be sent to your registered address. In addition, in order to benefit from state services, you have to register your address to Provincial Directorate of Population and Citizenship Services.
You will be asked to present yourself and comply with reporting duty on regular basis at the PDMM. You will be informed of your obligations, including the frequency of the reporting duty, by the PDMM officers. Not complying with the reporting duty without a valid reason for three consecutive times may cause your application to be considered as withdrawn and might lead to a deportation order. If you have a valid reason, e.g. medical problems, you should present relevant documentation to PDMM and inform PDMM
Why should I register with the Turkish authorities?
Registration with the Turkish authorities is the most important way of securing your rights in Turkey. Registration is an important obligation for foreigners in Turkey as it forms the legal basis for your stay in Turkey and allows you to access public services. Registration protects you against forced return to your country. Please note that Turkish state is the sole provider of protection in Turkey and registration is the only way to secure protection in Turkey. If you are not registered, UNHCR, other UN agencies and NGOs would also face obstacles when trying to assist you. Therefore, it is very important that all persons seeking protection get registered with the Turkish authorities.
I have entered Turkey irregularly. When I approach PDMM, will this be a problem?
According to Law on Foreigners and International Protection, persons who apply for international protection within a reasonable period of time shall not be subjected to criminal action for breaching the terms and conditions of legal entry to Turkey or illegal staying in Turkey provided that they present valid reasons for this.
Which documents should I take to PDMM for international protection application?
While applying individually to PDMM, you can submit any relevant document available to you such as identity card, passport, other travel documents, etc. If you or your family members have urgent medical needs, disability or any special need, you can also submit relevant documents (if you have) while reporting these needs to the officer.
Who should I call to seek for help for international protection application ?
To get in touch with UNHCR for individual support and assistance, please contact the UNHCR Counselling Line for refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey. Our counsellors are trained to counsel you on the procedures, rights and obligations relating to your stay in Turkey, details on services available in your area, and advice and information relevant to your individual situation.
The UNHCR Counselling Line can be reached on 4444868 . It is available from 9.00 to 17.00 on Mondays to Thursdays, and from 9.00 to 16.00 on Fridays. You can receive counselling in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and English. Counsellors speaking French, Urdu, Kurdish and Somali are available upon request.
What if I need to be registered earlier for temporary protection?
If you have a newborn baby or a serious condition and need to be registered earlier, please provide the birth report or a doctor’s report to the Foreigners’ Police and the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management; you may then be prioritized for the issuance of your Temporary Protection Identification cards.
What to do in case of exclusion of temporary protection
If during the 30-day period you cannot pass the security check, you will be interviewed by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management prior to any other action. The Directorate General of Migration Management will issue a decision on an individual basis if a person is assessed to be excluded from temporary protection.
Since every administrative decision can be challenged at the Court, persons can appeal against these decisions of the Directorate General of Migration Management through legal procedures.