Today I got the paperwork for my residency permit approved.
When I first started planning this walk oh-so-long-ago, a residency permit was not going to be necessary. Turkey had a 90-day tourist visa, and when your 90 days ran out, all you had to do was take a bus to one of the neighboring countries, come back to Turkey the next day, slap down another $20 at the border, and get a new visa.
This was a very common practice amongst foreigners when I first lived in Turkey (from 2003-2009), so common that when you said the phrase, “I need to do a border run,” foreigners knew exactly what you meant, because they had probably done one recently themselves.
However, this year Turkey changed to a 90/180 visa, which means you can only be in the country 90 of every 180 days. The days of the border run are over. If a 90/180 won’t work for you, you need to convert to a residence permit. This is what I’ve been needing to do.
The residence permit application requires that you show proof of residency (a rental contract, for example). Since I am rarely in the same place for 24 hours these days, it was hard for me to clear that hurdle.
Fortunately a follower of the walk works for the Office of the President in Ankara, and she and her colleagues helped smooth the way for my application. I owe them a huge debt of gratitude. Thank you Esra and the folks at the Office of the President!
Since a few things have changed since my last residence permit (I am no longer married, my address is different, stuff like that), they need to print up a new residence permit booklet. The booklet won’t be ready for me to pick up for another ten days or so, so I’ll head back out on the road and get some walking done. Believe it or not, I miss camping by the side of the road. Also, I want to descend from the Central Anatolia plateau before it gets too cold.
When the booklet is ready I’ll have to come back to Istanbul to pick it up in person, which is kind of inconvenient, but I’m happy to do it because it will keep me legal, and I’ll have another chance to wash my clothes in a machine. Small pleasures.