Freedom of movement


Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 14/07/23



The “satellite city” system

Each applicant is assigned to a province, where he or she shall register with the PDMM, secure private accommodation by their own means and stay there as long as they are subject to international protection, including after obtaining status. This dispersal scheme is based on Article 71 LFIP, according to which the PMM rarely refers an applicant to a Reception and Accommodation Centre but generally to take up private residence in an assigned province.

The RFIP elaborates the dispersal policy. It defines the concept of “satellite cities” as provinces designated by PMM where applicants for international protection are required to reside.[1] While new applicants for international protection can initiate their application in a province not listed in the list and may remain there until they are assigned and referred to a satellite city.[2] Stakeholders reported that PMM appearead to have stopped using the concept of “satellite cities” by the end of 2022, and that PMM sometimes is responsible of informing about which cities are open or closed to new registrations.[3]

According to the last available list, 62 provinces in Türkiye are designated by PMM as open/closed cities for the referral of international protection applicants[4] However, they are mostly closed to international protection applications.[5]

Open / closed cities for international protection applicants
Adana Çorum Karaman Sakarya
Adıyaman Denizli Kars Samsun
Afyon Düzce Kastamonu Siirt
Ağrı Elazığ Kayseri Sinop
Aksaray Erzincan Kırıkkale Şanlıurfa
Amasya Erzurum Kırşehir Sivas
Ardahan Eskişehir Kilis Şırnak
Artvin Gaziantep Konya Tokat
Balıkesir Giresun Kütahya Trabzon
Batman Gümüşhane Malatya Uşak
Bayburt Hakkâri Manisa Van
Bilecik Hatay Mardin Yalova
Bolu Iğdır Mersin Yozgat
Burdur Isparta Nevşehir Zonguldak
Çanakkale Kahramanmaraş Niğde
Çankırı Karabük Ordu


In practice, however, not all provinces are available to applicants. It is up to the individual PDMM to decide on the ‘opening’ or ‘closing’ of a “satellite city” and on referrals thereto depending on their capacity. When a PDMM is ‘closed’, it usually processes existing applications to issue International Protection Application Identification Cards and Temporary Protection Identification Cards. The ‘closure’ or ‘opening’ of a PDMM is not officially or publicly notified.

The regulation of the “satellite city” system is not based on publicly available criteria, nor is there an official decision taken in respect of each applicant. In general, metropoles and border cities do not usually figure among satellite cities.

Since there is only one operational Reception and Accommodation Centres with a capacity of 100 places, currently almost all international protection applicants are in self-financed private accommodation in their assigned provinces.

Since PMM took over the registration process there is no official list of open and closed cities for registration of Syrians and non-Syrians but stakeholders can receive information upon request from the PDMM. The situation also changes according to capacity.

Since May 2022, it is prohibited by PMM for any region or area in Türkiye to have a population of foreign nationals that is more than one-quarter of the total population. This includes both people who have made Türkiye their permanent home and those who are merely visiting the country. This rule has been given the name the 25 percent limit or the 25 percent rule. As of 1 July 2022, 1169 neighbourhoods in different provinces are now closed to foreign nationals seeking address registrations for temporary protection, international protection, and residence permits, as well as changes to their city of residence if they are foreign nationals with residence permits or are under temporary or international protection, with the exception of new-borns and instances of nuclear family reunification. Because of this, no non-Turkish national will be able to select any of these 1169 neighbourhoods in Türkiye as their registered address for official matters, nor will they be able to ask the authorities to change their address to any of these places.  In total, 58 got impacted by this new policy and Adana, Ankara, İstanbul, İzmir, Muğla, and Antalya are some of the cities that fall into this category.[6]

After changes to the LFIP in December 2019, the law now foresees an administrative fine for those who provide accommodation to unregistered foreigners even unknowingly. In 2022, property owners who provided housing to undocumented foreigners without a contract were subjected to fines of 26,750 Turkish Lira.  If the property is sealed for three consecutive months, it may be decided to seal it permanently. If the same act is repeated by a hotel, the hotel may be sealed for up to three months and its certificate may be revoked.  In 2022, police operations were widespread in Istanbul, where 13,648 homes were inspected and 684 of them were fined 19,800 TRY for violating article 9 of the Identity Notification Law No. 1774.[7]


Travelling outside the “satellite city” and sanctions

The PDMM has the authority to impose an obligation on applicants to reside in a specific address, as well as reporting duties.[8] In practice, applicants are not subject to strict reporting requirements, but their effective residence in the address declared to the PDMM is monitored if they do not appear before the PDMM for prolonged periods. In this case, the PDMM might conduct unannounced checks.

Any travel outside the assigned province is subject to written permission by the PDMM and may be permitted for a maximum of 30 days, which may be extended only once by a maximum of 30 more days.[9]

As of November 2019, travel permits could be obtained through the online system (E-Devlet) through refugees’ e-accounts. Refugees are expected to get a password from National Postal Services. In 2022, some people continued to have difficulties in accessing the online system still due to language barriers.[10] It was also reported that only 30-day travel permits could be obtained online. The applicant ought to contact PDMM for permits exceeding 30 days.[11]

Failure to stay in an assigned province has very serious consequences for the applicant. International protection applicants who do not report to their assigned province in time or are not present in their registered address upon three consecutive checks by the authorities are considered to have implicitly withdrawn their international protection application.[12] In practice, if the person is not found at their declared address, the PMM may issue a “V71” code declaring that the applicant is in an “unknown location” (Semt-i meçhul) following a residence check.

Furthermore, applicants’ access to reception rights and benefits provided by the LFIP are strictly conditional upon their continued residence in their assigned province. The International Protection Applicant Identification Card is considered valid documentation only within the bounds of the province where the document was issued. They may also be subject to Reduction or Withdrawal of Reception Conditions if they fail to stay in their assigned satellite city.

In practice, however, applicants may be subject to even more severe – and arbitrary – sanctions such as administrative detention in a Removal Centre,[13] with a view to their transfer to their assigned province (see Grounds for Detention). It seems, however, that the rigour of sanctions for non-compliance with the obligation to remain in the assigned province varies depending on the nationality, sexual orientation or gender identity or civil status of the applicant (e.g. single woman) or simply due to the working relationship of the applicant with the PDMM staff. Afghan applicants, for example, often face stricter treatment than other groups. Even where released from Removal Centres after being detained for non-compliance with the obligation to reside in their assigned province, asylum seekers are often required to regularly report to the Removal Centre or to a PDMM in a different province from the one where they reside.

It is possible for applicants to request that PMM assign them to another province on grounds of family, health or other reasons.[14] Requests for a change in assigned province for other reasons may be granted by the PMM Headquarters on an exceptional basis. Where an applicant is unhappy about their province of residence assignment and their request for reassignment is denied, he or she can appeal this denial by filing an administrative appeal with the IPEC within 10 days or filing a judicial appeal with the competent Administrative Court within 30 days.




[1] Article 2(hh) RFIP.

[2] Article 66(3) RFIP.

[3] Information provided by a stakeholder, June 2023.

[4] For the earlier list of cities as of August 2017, see Refugee Rights Türkiye, Avukatlar için mülteci hukuku el kitabı, August 2017, available in Turkish at:, 409.

[5] Information provided by a stakeholder, June 2023.

[6] PMM, ‘Neighbourhood Closure Announcement, 30 June 2022, available in Turkish at:   

[7] Milliyet, ‘Kaçak göçmenlere ev kiralayan yandı!’, 1 April 2022, available in Turkish at:

[8] Article 71(1) LFIP.

[9] Article 91(1)-(2) RFIP.

[10] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2023.

[11] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2023.

[12] Article 77(1)(ç) LFIP.

[13] Information provided by several stakeholder, May 2023.

[14] Article 110(5) RFIP.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of main changes since the previous report update
  • Introduction to the asylum context in Türkiye
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • Temporary Protection Regime
  • Content of Temporary Protection