At last! Over two months after I first submitted my application to the Turkish Consulate in London I have finally got my work visa, residency permit and, less excitingly, tax number.

Now I can pay tax

It seems I’m not alone in wanting to move here. At all stages of the process the officials I encountered told me they were overloaded with people applying for residency in Turkey this year. I noticed this for myself when I tried to book an appointment at the police station to process my residency permit after my work visa had come through.   There was nothing available for nearly a month.  And, on the day of my appointment, I thought I’d get ahead of the game and arrive 45 minutes before the gates opened at 8.30, only to find that around 150 other people had had the same idea. And so I joined the queue and began a long wait, surrounded by people waving forms and passports, looking at their watches and communicating in a babble of different languages, and keeping an eye out for people trying to slip past me – this was a Turkish queue, not an British one which tends to operate on a “may the best man win” system rather than depending on an orderly line.

Over an hour and several elbow barges later I finally made it to my counter. The policeman manning it told me that around 300 people came to apply for residency permit at that station alone every day.    They include Chinese, Central Asians and, a new phenomenon, increasing numbers of western and central Africans from countries such Sierra Leone and Nigeria.  Looking around me I could see he had a point – I was surrounded by people from all over the world.

Mission accomplished at the Emniyet

So, Istanbul is now my home for the year.  And my workplace.  I’ve started a full-time position at Al Jazeera Turk, a news and documentary channel which is due to open soon.

Here’s an article which tells you a bit more about what I do and how I got here…..In fact I’m not Creative Director as the article says.  My offiical title is Manager, In House Productions.   I think this title is a bit misleading since it sounds a deeply uncreative role – which it isn’t – and I spend a lot of my time working with independent companies from whom we commission documentaries, not just the in house team.  But in terms of my passion for Turkey and my long-held desire to live here the article is spot on!

Moving to another country – Sorority Article