How to apply for asylum in Turkey?

For seeking refuge in Turkey you have to submit an asylum application. The Directorate-General for Migration Management (DGMM) receives your asylum application. People who have escaped or left their home country due to war or persecution. And can’t return to their country. They have the right to apply for asylum in Turkey.

DGMM is the official body that checks and decides on asylum applications. DGMM determines whether you cannot return to your home country. And whether that is because of war, persecution, or other human rights violations. They approve your application if they conclude that you are unable to return home in safety. The approval gives you international protection status through the government of Turkey.

An application filed for asylum is ‘international protection’ according to Turkish Law. Often people are in confusion about how to apply for asylum in Turkey, so read more below.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Turkey assists some asylum seekers. Those are all people who are not from Syria or from Europe. UNHCR carries out refugee status determination (RSD) processes for these asylum seekers.

If the UNHCR recognizes any non-Syrian individual or family as refugees in Turkey. UNHCR tries to resettle them in another country.

How to apply for asylum in Turkey

According to the Turkish law if you are unable to return to your country due to fear of the following reasons:

  • persecution of your race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or social group
  • indiscriminate violence arising from international or domestic armed conflict
  • you are at risk of death, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, or punishment.

In such conditions, you have the right to seek asylum in Turkey. The government of Turkey affirms this international protection status.

The DGMM will interview you on why you left your home country and why you are afraid to return.

The DGMM also analyzes the situation in your place of origin. And it considers the challenges faced by people with similar profiles. So the DGMM determines how your unique circumstances fit into the scenarios above.

The asylum application process in Turkey

You register at any Provincial Directorates of Migration Management (PDMM) in Turkey.
Turkey will not prosecute you for illegal or irregular stay if you apply for asylum. Provided you give a justified reason for your entry. After making the registration with PDMM according to the law you can live in the city assigned.
After registration, you, and your family, receive an International Protection applicant ID. With this ID you and your family members can stay in Turkey with an ID document. On the document, you receive the print of an individual foreign number for each of the members. This ID number grants access to a set of rights and services in Turkey to you and your family.
The law obliges you to maintain regular contact with PDMM. It is possible by reporting to PDMM at regular intervals by signing yourself. You get notification of the scheduled time for signature duty.

Following signature, duty is important. Unless you give valid reasons for not being able to fulfill the signature duty. PDMM will consider your application withdrawn. They issue a decision that you can appeal in court. Thus try to sign on time to avoid deportation and court procedures.

Status determining process conducted by Turkish authorities

Turkish authorities have the primary responsibility to receive and assess international protection applications.

During the time of registration with PDMM, you need to provide information for

  • leaving your country of origin
  • your experience following the departure
  • events leading to the application.

As per law, you will have an interview in person within 30 days from the date of registration. Though it may sometimes take place later. It is important to be present at PDMM at your scheduled interview time. You will have extra interviews if considered necessary. DGMM protects the confidentiality of your identity and the information provided.

DGMM should assess applications within 6 months after registration. But sometimes it takes longer. DGMM takes decisions on an individual basis. Families apply for asylum with a single application. The decision made will be valid for the whole family. DGMM decides considering personal circumstances and current conditions in the home country.

Appeal procedure

If an application receives a negative decision. Or the PDMM considers it withdrawn. Then you can appeal the negative decision if you want. You need to submit your appeal within 10 days. You submit it to the International Protection Evaluation Commission. It can be also submitted to the administrative court within 30 days. If the application is in the accelerated process or inadmissible. Then you can appeal to the administrative court within 30 days. If you fail to appeal a negative decision within that time a negative decision will be final.

Can I apply for asylum in Turkey by myself?

For seeking asylum in Turkey you need to approach DGMM and request asylum. DGMM is the Turkish government agency responsible for the protection of refugees.

How do I register for asylum in Turkey?

PMM is the national authority entrusted by the law on foreigners & International protection. It handles the registration and the processing of applications. UNHCR provides support to PMM during the formation, registration, and referral process.
Turkey is one of the original signatories to the 1951 refugee convention. Turkey adopted the convention with geographical limitations. So Turkey gives full asylum status only to people from countries that are a member of the Council of Europe. For those coming from outside zone grants limited protection. It will be in the form of temporary statuses.


The above cover image is somewhere in Kayseri, Turkey. Photo by Ömer Haktan Bulut on Unsplash