Turkey: Cruising for longer than 90 days now greatly simplified
Following the introduction of new visa rules in Turkey on 1 February 2012 (see report with details here) which restrict visitors to a 90 day visit in every 180 days, there has been a lot of concern amongst cruisers planning to come to Turkey for the summer.
However, good news arrives just in time for the sailing season from the Ministry of Interior, who have passed new regulations permitting the authorities to issue a residence permit to all persons shown on a transit log using the transit log as "proof of accommodation" rather than insisting on a valid marina/shipyard contract as they have done previously. The residence permit is renewable annually.
The Ministry feel “that the new visa regulation concerning the stay of foreign citizens in Turkey could negatively affect foreigners intending to stay longer in our country, particularly yachtsmen visiting Turkey could prefer neighboring countries.”
The Ministry states; “The Transit Log, delivered in accordance with Maritime Tourism Regulations and approved by the Harbour Master, is the relevant document for the residency permit application of yachtsmen subject to visa or with visa exemption, his spouse, children, crew and other employees of the yacht. As, according to the named Regulations, this document contains all declarations and formalities of the yacht, no further documents (like marina agreement, crew agreement, seaman's license, proof of income) are required.
“It is accepted that yachtsmen could declare their yachts as their residency address, next to addresses of a house, hotel or pension”.
Latest reports from cruisers who have obtained a Turkish residence permit this month, shows that things have become much more straightforward. Fred Hoette of SV Escape Key, reports on his experience:
"The residence visa has been (at least in Mugla province) greatly simplified. It is a fairly simple well-documented process that you can do yourself (in Marmaris with help from the marinas and the cruising community) or you can use an agent. It took ten days in mid-May 2012 to get the visa. It did not require a Turkish bank account, we were not asked for proof of financial viability (though I had documentation) and there were (so far) no other strings.
The so-called "Blue Book" costs 172TL pp (US$101). That's supposed to be a one-time fee. At the tax office we paid 140TL pp (US$82), which is the annually recurring visa cost. This is actually a reasonable cost, even for those of us who only spend the summer here, considering that the prior tourist visa cost US$20 pp per 90 days after which one would either have to take the day ferry to Rhodes (US$65 return) or check the boat and people out and then on return pay for a new transit log (probably US$100 including agent fee).
Our thanks to Jack Marsh for notifying us of this new regulation.