Oh No! It’s Residency Stamp Renewal Time Again
By Pam Kennedy
Water, biscuits, good book or in this case Kindle, wet wipes, tissues (substitute for lack of loo paper), glasses, stamps, passport and relevant paperwork, have I got everything to ease the mind and make my ordeal less painful I ask myself?
You would think that I am on a trip somewhere exotic and exciting, but alas no. This is a trip that I have dreaded every year due to past experiences; my now bi-annual trip to the Immigration Department in Lefkosa to renew my residency stamp!
The previous day I had girded my loins and gone to Girne police station as had been the way in the past. Again I had my picnic with me and was totally surprised when entering the office to see only 3 people waiting. No number was required and so I sat for all of 15 minutes. The policeman went through my papers and then announced ‘no blood test, go to Lefkosa with papers’. Err but you usually take them and send them on and I go to Lefkosa in 3 weeks, I thought. Where had I been this year? The procedure changed in January and now the ‘over 60’s’ go straight to Immigration with their papers, why did I not know this, duh!
It’s 9am the next day and dogs have been fed, watered and given toys to play with just in case we are away most of the day. We arrive in Lefkosa at the Immigration Department at 9.45am delayed by a lorry that had broken down right at a very awkward junction; the worst possible place to break down due to the confusing traffic flow. In the door, up the stairs and into the Residency Permit office to get a number from the nice chap who is in charge of number allocation. And our number is 62! My heart sinks as we toddle off to the adjacent waiting room. However hopes fly high again as the digital screen announces that already number 58 is being processed. Within 20 minutes we are at the desk in the Residency Office talking to John, handing over the paperwork and completing the Application for Residency Form. Presented with the bill for 455TL for 2 years residency stamp we are off again down the corridor to the Pay Office, then back to John, hand over 9TL in stamps and 1 minute later I have my residency stamp valid for the next 2 years, it is now just 10.20am! Is this a miracle or was it just a quiet day I wonder. No, it is a much improved system.
So to those out there that have arrived in Lefkosa at the crack of dawn, signed on the list by the steps whilst waiting for the office to open, waited patiently or not so patiently in crowded corridors, take heart, the process for the over 60’s is so much easier and stress free. You don’t have to plan 3 weeks ahead as you can renew your residency stamp on the day before or on the day of expiry. In fact John did query with us why we had come to pay early. We told him we were travelling soon, but the real reason was we did not know the system had changed so much and had allowed the 3 weeks for paper processing as had happened in the past.
Well done to BRS (British Residents’ Society) for helping to improve the procedure for the over 60’s and well done to the policy makers at Immigration for streamlining what had been a bloody awful system. The paperwork now required if you are renewing residency and you are 60 or over (as at 18th July 2013):
1. Passport and photocopy of passport (photo page and current residency stamp page)
2. Income and bank details
3. Muhtar letter
4. Photocopy of Kocan/Sales Agreement/Tenancy Agreement
5. 9TL in government stamps.
P.S. If you are 59 you can still ask for a 2 year residency stamp to take you through your 60th birthday year.