Turkey renews travel permit for Syrians affected by the earthquake in Istanbul

Turkish Immigration Directorate in Istanbul, Turkey - November 2021 (Duvar)

Turkish Immigration Directorate in Istanbul, Turkey - November 2021 (Duvar)


The Turkish immigration offices have begun issuing travel permits for the sixth time to Syrians who are moving from earthquake-affected areas to other states, with the purpose of residing legally in the new state.

Enab Baladi met five families currently residing in Istanbul, who confirmed that they obtained a travel permit for three months on Thursday, May 16.

According to the families who hold temporary protection cards (kimlik) from the states of Hatay and Kahramanmaraş, this permit is the sixth they have received, which they obtained after waiting a day at the Turkish Immigration Directorate in the Beyazit area of Istanbul.

At the same time, earthquake victims shared on social media that the Turkish Immigration Directorate in Esenyurt, Istanbul, refused to renew the travel permit for Syrian families.

Some families mentioned that the staff of the Turkish Immigration Directorate refused entry to those wishing to obtain a travel permit who arrived after 9:15 AM, asking them to return the next day.

Meanwhile, Enab Baladi observed through WhatsApp groups that some families with temporary protection cards from the states affected by the earthquake on February 6, 2023, and residing since then in Turkish states such as Kayseri, Samsun, Bursa, and İzmir, were unable to renew their travel permit.

In Kayseri, Faten (who preferred not to disclose her last name for personal reasons) told Enab Baladi that she went with her family of five to renew their travel permit, but the staff refused to renew it.

An employee at the Turkish Immigration Directorate in Kayseri presented Faten’s family with two options: either transfer the Kimlik registration to the same state or return to the Hatay state where they resided before the earthquake, leaving the family in a state of confusion.

Travel permit

Since the earthquake that struck northern Syria and southern Turkey on February 6, 2023, Syrian refugees in Turkey have struggled with the issue of renewing travel permits upon expiry, amid the absence of a consistent mechanism among the Turkish immigration directorates.

Syrians residing in southern Turkey were forced to change their cities and move to other states.

The Turkish Presidency of Migration Management previously canceled the travel permit between Turkish states except for Istanbul, for Syrians residing in affected areas, to later amend its decision allowing Syrians to stay in Istanbul.

Syrians without a travel permit are subject to detention by the Turkish authorities because they hold a temporary protection card issued by a different state than their place of residence, and then face several days of detention and deportation to a matching state or another state with a financial penalty.

Since 2016, Syrians in Turkey are prohibited from leaving the states they are registered in, or residing in other states without a travel permit issued by the Turkish immigration directorates.

According to the latest official statistics released by the Turkish Presidency of Migration Management on May 9 of this year, there are 3,115,336 Syrian refugees under temporary protection residing in Turkey.


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