Temporary Protection for Syrian Refugees in Turkey
last update: October 2016
The “temporary protection” (TP) regime establishes a safeguard against the return of individuals under “temporary protection” to Syria against their will for those registered with Turkish authorities. Finally, the “temporary protection” enables registered individuals to access fundamental rights & entitlements including health care services, education, social assistance and interpretation.
Syrian citizens, refugees coming from Syria and stateless people coming from Syria can apply to TP.
The Directorate General of Migration Management (“DGMM”) is the main responsible body for the registration of all individuals under the “temporary protection” regime.
However, the actual locations for registration may differ. For instance, in some provinces, the DGMM cooperates with the Foreigners’ Police branches and thus you can approach these bodies for the purpose of registration. In any case, you may consult with the local office of DGMM or a local NGO to learn about the registration location for you.
In some cases, particularly in provinces where there are high concentrations, you may be provided a registration appointment. We strongly recommend you to obverse the date and finalize your registration at your earliest convenience.
When you first apply to registration centers, you will be given pre registration paper. There you will have limited access to services. After the security check is finished, you will be provided with temporary protection ID card which includes an ID number that starts with 99 which will allow you to access public services. In some situation the finalization of security check can reach up to 7-8 months.
You shall be provided a “Temporary Protection Identity Card” upon the completion of the registration. This document is free of charge and shall bear your photo and basic identity information. e ID card shall also contain your Foreigners’ ID Number starting with 99.
The Temporary Protection Identity Card is not a substitute for a residence permit or any other equivalent documents. This card also does not allow its bearers to obtain long-term residence permits and does not grant Turkish citizenship. However, the Temporary Protection Identity Card legalizes your presence in Turkey and the Foreigners’ ID number on this card will be the key to accessing fundamental rights and services including the right to health care services and the right to education. Moreover, you may enter into contracts, including service contracts for such services as telecommunications (i.e. cellular phone, internet), with your Temporary Protection Identity Card.
The Importance of Registration:
Registering with Turkish authorities shall first and foremost enable you to remain legally in Turkey. You will also be able to access public services granted under the “temporary protection” regime upon being registered. If you have arrived to Turkey irregularly or do not have a valid travel document or residence permit and if you are not able to obtain any of these, you will be required to obtain an exit permit when you leave Turkey based on resettlement or family reunification. Obtaining an exit permit under these circumstances is only possible with registration. Finally, registration is also stipulated as an obligation for those falling under the scope of “temporary protection.”
You do not have any obligation to go to camps after being registered. However, please be aware that in general you shall be able to benefit from rights and services provided under “temporary protection” upon completing registration.
If Turkey refuses to take you under TP for various reasons please contact and experienced NGO.
The ID Numbers:
The ID which bears the number starting with 98 is officially known as a “Foreigners ID Card”. This card demonstrates that you have registered with Turkish authorities and therefore legally reside in Turkey. However, in order to avoid any difficulty in accessing rights & entitlements, you are required to obtain a Foreigners ID number starting with 99. You may visit the website of the DGMM at www.goc.gov.tr and obtain your Foreigners ID number by entering your previous number starting with 98.
Reunite with my family members who are still in Syria:
Individuals who have registered with competent authorities under the “temporary protection” regime have the right to bring a claim for family reunification. As per the Temporary Protection Regulation, these claims can only be made by a spouse, minor children or dependent children of any age. Applications for family reunification should be made to DGMM as it is the main responsible body for receiving and assessing the claim and where necessary shall cooperate with other relevant institutions.
Camps in Turkey:
Currently, there are 25 camps- which are officially known as temporary accommodation centers- across 10 provinces in Turkey. However, these camps fall behind in meeting the current volume of demand. us, the final decision in admitting an individual to a camp shall be made by the Directorate General of Migration Management who works in coordination with governorates. According to the Temporary Protection Regulation, the responsible authorities are under the obligation to take your family situation and your special conditions into account while making the final decision for admissions. You may apply to AFAD who is responsible for the management of camps or to governorates in these provinces for such demands.
The right to seek asylum in another country:
Persons benefiting from “temporary protection” in Turkey may benefit from resettlement, humanitarian admission and other forms of resettlement. Yet, these options are only available for the most vulnerable individuals and even the available places for these individuals are limited. UNHCR Turkey cooperates with Turkish authorities and other countries to facilitate this process. Please be informed that the final decision is not taken by UNHCR, but by those admitting countries.
Please also be informed that all UNHCR procedures including resettlement are free of charge. We therefore strongly advise you to not to believe persons who promise resettlement in return for money or any other financial benefit. see practices are clearly fraud. Also please keep in mind that if you personally approach the UNHCR, they will not register you. The UNHCR only registers those vulnerable people under TP directed to them by NGOs and the DGMM.
Another possibility for going to a third country is through family reunification. Demands for family reunification should be made directly to consular representations of these countries in Turkey. Procedures for family reunification do differ. Yet, many countries may require the family member in the third country to initiate the process and most of them only accept nuclear family members- i.e. spouse and children below the age of 18.
Finally, if you have a valid travel document and a valid visa, you may also travel to a third country. Being registered under “temporary protection” is not a barrier provided that you fulfill these requirements. Yet, if you do not have a valid travel document or if you have entered Turkey through irregular channels, you shall be required to obtain an exit permit from Turkish authorities before you depart from Turkey for the purpose of resettlement or family reunification or any other similar channel.
Apprehended during the attempt to cross to another country and now currently in detention:
Attempting to leave Turkey in an irregular manner is one of the grounds for deportation. You may also be detained for this reason. Yet, applicable legislation as well as international agreements of which Turkey is a State Party requires Turkish authorities not to deport persons in need of international protection. This is known as the principle of non-return and it is prohibited to send persons to any place where he/she shall be at risk of serious human rights violations. If you are detained for irregular attempt to enter to or exit from Turkey, you may reach the office of Refugee Rights Turkey (see contacts: http://www.w2eu.info/turkey.en/articles/turkey-contacts.en.html) and benefit from our information, counseling and assistance services.