Every yabancı has at least one tale of woe and regret when it comes to residence permit applications in Istanbul. I am no exception.
After passing through the application process without a hitch, I was given a piece of A4 paper saying that I now officially had a residence permit. However, as most readers will know, I needed to wait up to two months for my actual residence permit card to be mailed to me. While waiting for this card, I couldn’t leave Turkey for more than 15 days.
Two months passed, and I was still waiting. By this point, I had been booked on a work trip to the USA for three weeks – leaving in a week. Panic ensued once I realised I only had a week left in which to get the card or I would face serious problems on my return to Turkey. So off I went to my favourite of Istanbul’s municipal offices (with so many to choose from!) to enquire as to why my residence permit had still not arrived.
After waiting 45 minutes, someone took me into an interview room, and asked my name. I said it. As a look of perfect recognition crossed his face, extremely unexpected, I became quite concerned.
“Oh riiiiiight!!!! It’s you!” he exclaimed, and beckoned me into the photocopying room. There, he pulled out a drawer and handed me an envelope.
Printed on the envelope was my full name, address and a stamp. Inside it was my new, shiny, and very much untouched residency permit card.
“Congrats!” he beamed. Asking the obvious question was needless, I realised, but I just couldn’t help myself. “But I don’t get it… The envelope has my whole address on it… Why would you not have sent it to me?”
He pondered for a moment. “I don’t know, really. I guess we just didn’t.” Unsatisfied with this answer, I pressed further. “But what if I hadn’t come here to get it? Would it have just been in that random drawer forever?”
His answer? “Yeah, probably. Anyway, welcome to Turkey!”
Slightly bewildered, I left a proud resident of this utterly confusing nation.
Awkward Tales from the ‘Bul is a series of the funny, strange and utterly confusing experiences we experience in Istanbul.
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