Friday, February 18, 2011

Irish Tourist Visa for a Turkish National

Sean and I invited our friend Metin, the caretaker on our complex to come and visit us for Christmas.
He has become a great friend to us over the years. His life can be difficult because his job involves being on call 24/7 especially in the summer season. I love Turkey but the one thing that annoys me more than anything, is the class system.  Everyone has their place and there they must stay. Metin has gone out of his way to help us, especially in the early years, learning the ropes, learning the language, and learning to cope with driving on Turkish roads!
We began a whole new learning curve, how to apply for a tourist visa to Ireland.
The first thing was for Metin to apply for his passport. So we began the process at the beginning of last year. He got his photos taken and then went to the police station on the seafront in Bodrum to see what he had to do.He asked me to come with him and so I went.....the first and last time I'll do this.
I said I'd wait for him outside but he wanted me to come in. I hung back, I was mortified, a young Turkish man applying for a passport with a middle-aged blonde woman hanging around in the background!
We decided to send the application in at Easter, it would give him plenty of time to organise leave and cover for work.
The website for Immigration Services warn that applications should be made at least 8 weeks prior to the visit, so we were well inside the limit.
We spent our fortnights holidays at Easter helping him to gather the endless paperwork required. Everything, including bank statements had to be translated to English, a very expensive business for him. In the end everything was ready and sent to the consulate in Istanbul. All we had to do now was wait for 6-8 weeks for the decision.
However the weeks passed and in spite of anxiously checking the website every Tuesday there was no decision.
Eventually, 14 weeks later, his passport came back, with the receipt for the application, but no visa.
The surprising thing was there was no  reason for the refusal.
So the next day I asked him to ring the embassy to find out on what grounds his application had been refused.
The girl there told him his application had been made too early, and to apply again. This would involve new documents and new translation, which cost 600 lira the first time plus the cost of reapplying. He then asked why the decision hadn't been uploaded to the website. He was calmly told they hadn't processed his application because it was made too early.
Metin did not want to apply again because it was too difficult and too expensive but I told him to leave it to me.
I rang the consulate and asked to speak to the consul. He wasn't there but I was told when he should be there. But, no luck next time either.
Eventually I was asked why I was ringing. I explained the story to her. I then went to update Metin. and ............he was on the phone. The consulate rang him. They miraculously found his number ( he had used my phone earlier) and rang him to say to apply 8 weeks before he wanted to come and he needn't pay the fee. He was also asked what our jobs were. I now knew that we were in a great position.

I rang again, the next day to speak to the consul. And again he was not there, but I was told they had sorted everything out with Metin. He just had to apply again, there would be no fee.
I told them (in Turkish) that they had taken Metin's money but hadn't processed his application and I was taking it further. He should not have to reapply with all the expense that involved! The amazing thing thin was they understood me! Sean was beside me, when I put the phone down he was looking at me with his mouth open. "Where did your Turkish come from," he asked, " I didn't understand a word but I was terrified"

Not having any success reaching the consul in Istanbul, I rang the embassy in Ankara. I spoke to the first secretary, who was extremely helpful. To cut a long story short, Metin had his visa in two days. He now thinks I walk on water, but I reckon I need to lose a little weight before I try it.

A list of the document required include:
A letter of invitation,
A letter from employer to state you are employed and will return to the job.
6  months bank statements - no lump sum lodgements to cover the holiday will be accepted
6 months social insurance payments
previous 3 months payslips
Copy of hosts passports including visa stamps
Details of your family
Evidence of property owned or rented...................



  2. Wow! You rock! What an ordeal to have to endure. I hate bureaucracy, and this sounds like it was a pain in the wazoo to get through. So glad it all worked out. :D
    ~cath xo

  3. It sounds every bit as difficult as a Mexican applying for a visa to the U.S. 80% are declined for no reason at all - and no money back.
    I'm delighted that you were able to help Metin get his visa and that your Irish authorities are more lenient or less demanding than Americans. However, without your help, it's doubtful he would have been given any permit at all.

  4. Wow! Your Turkish must be amazing! You'll have to tell me how long you study for each week, what books you use and what homework you do. You could probably teach Turkish at this stage!! You are an inspiration!!

    1. Hi Noreen I'm just a chancer who loves to talk. Most of my neighbours speak only Turkish so it is a case of necessity. I went to classes once a week in Trinity for four years and learned the basic grammar which I forget when I'm talking. My spoken Turkish really improved when I started speaking with native speakers on Live Mocha. They would correct my grammar sometimes. I have become friends with some of them and we speak on MSN or Skype. So even when at home in Ireland I speak Turkish at least 3/4 times a week. This has expanded my vocabulary. My sentence structure is very basic. I have bought childrens books and Fono do a serious of Turkish/English books, each page is in both languages which is helpful.


Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment and tell me what you think.