Do I need a specific passport to travel abroad to participate in EU projects?
Türkiye is not part of the European Union, so Turkish citizens cannot benefit from the freedom of movement rights that EU citizens enjoy, among them the possibility to travel with an ID card in the so-called Schengen area.
Turkish citizens need a Passport to travel abroad – except in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, where an ID card is all you need to enter.
In Türkiye, there is not only one type of passport for its citizens; according to Article 12 of the Passport Law (Law 5682, 1950 and followed amendments), there are four types issued on behalf of the Republic of Türkiye.
A clear hierarchy exists among them, from the ordinary to the diplomatic: each passport has its advantages and characteristics, and you can distinguish them from the colour.
Let us look briefly at the differences:
I -Ordinary passports – Colour: MAROON
A regular/ordinary passport (the maroon passport) is a type of passport given to Turkish citizens who meet the requirements. They are issued by:
- The Ministry of Interior
- governorships according to the authority of the Minister of Interior,
- the Consulates for people residing in foreign countries
Regular passport holders can enter countries not requiring a Visa directly by using their passports. According to the demand, the passport duration is from 6 months to 10 years.
If you have completed the requirements and documents to apply for a regular passport, you can directly apply to the district registry offices with or without an appointment.
To apply for a regular passport, you must complete the following documents:
- Republic of Turkey ID card or temporary ID card
- Fee receipts (students under the age of twenty-five are exempt from the passport fee)
- Two biometric photos
- Student certificate not exceeding 60 days (required for students wishing to get a regular passport)
- Certificate of consent for minors or persons with disabilities
- Previous expired passport (if applicable)
II – Passports with service stamps – Colour: GREY
The Grey Passport, or Service Passport, is issued to: “people who cannot be given diplomatic or special stamped passports under this law when they are sent abroad by the Government, special administrations or municipalities for an official duty (or government-related purposes)”.
Those who work in civil servant status in international organizations of which Türkiye is a member and those assigned by the Turkish Aeronautical Association and the Turkish Red Crescent Society are eligible for the same type of passport.
The spouse of a service passport holder and their children (if unmarried and unemployed, live with them even if they are adults and continue their education until they reach the age of twenty-five) can receive a passport valid for the same period as the rightful holder.
The duration of the service passport covers the length of the task. Those with grey passports cannot use this passport after their service. The grey passport is usually issued for one year and includes a visa for the country to be deployed. After the task ends, it has to return to the issuing institution
Turkish embassies can issue these two kinds of passports under the consent of the Ministry of Interior (and the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
III – Passports with special stamps – Colour: GREEN
The green passport, or special passport, is also granted to a particular category of Turkish citizens; according to the same law: “Former members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, former ministers and first-, second-and third-degree cadres of (…) public servants (retired too)”, as to non-metropolitan mayors and academics with at least 15 years of experience.
This passport is released when they go to foreign countries for an official duty. Moreover, it is issued to the spouses of these passport holders and their children if unmarried, unemployed, live with them even if they are adults and continue their education until they reach the age of twenty-five.
The green passports allow the holder to travel visa-free to most EU countries and several other countries and are issued for 10 years according to the parameters set by the Ministry of Interior.
A special passport is only issued to persons with civil servant status in a government organization and registered with the Pension Fund.
- Former members of the Parliament and former ministers,
- Civil servants and other civil servants who are in first, second and third-degree positions or retired,
- Metropolitan provincial and district presidents (during their tenure),
- Former mayors who retired in the first degree,
- State athletes,
- Privatized Turk Telekom, T.C. Ziraat Bank, Halk Bankası, and Emlak Bank employees, under certain conditions,
- Businessmen who have exceeded a fixed export rate under the “Principles for Issuing Special Passports to Exporters” issued in 2017,
- Children under 25 and spouses of civil servants are eligible for green passports
Special (GREEN) and Service (GREY) Stamped Passports are issued by the Ministry of Interior upon the application of the authorized chief of the office to which the requester belongs.
IV– Diplomatic Passports – Colour: BLACK
The above-mentioned Turkish Law on Passport states that: “Diplomatic passports are given to those who go on a temporary mission or travel, for one trip or a maximum of two years, depending on the nature of their mission or travel, and to those who go on a permanent mission for a period to be determined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”.
We talk about high-level officials of the State or people sent abroad on behalf of the State.
Law provides the possibility to give diplomatic passports to the spouses of those eligible to obtain them if their titles or duties continue.
Moreover, their children (under the same conditions mentioned above) can obtain this passport if they are unmarried, are unemployed, live with them even if they are adults or continue their education until they reach the age of twenty-five.
Diplomatic passports are not subject to fees or charges and allow holders to enter many countries without visas.
NB: Unless you already own one of the last three passports – or meet the requirements to apply for them – you will need a Visa to attend most of the EU projects abroad (check here the list of countries for which Turkish citizens do not require a VISA).
The standard procedure for an EU Visa ranges from 30 to 60 days.
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