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I am a Tunisian citizen. A few years ago, I used to hold a Turkish residence permit and I intended to apply for a student visa to TUM (Technical University of Munich). I asked the German Embassy of Istanbul by email if I could apply from either the embassy in my home country or from the one in Istanbul. I was told that "If you live in Turkey and have been living there for at least six months, you have to apply for your student visa at the German Consulate. You cannot apply for it at the German Embassy in Tunisia."

When I asked the German Embassy in Tunisia, I was told "If you are currently living in Istanbul, the Consulate General is responsible for you. You must then apply for a visa there." which doesn't sound like it forbids applying from my home country, merely allows from the country of residence too.

I also checked now their website and it conflicts with they told me in the emails:

When can I apply as a non-Turkish citizen in Turkey?
You can apply for a national visa at the German visa sections in Turkey without Turkish citizenship if your permanent residence is in Turkey. This means that the main focus of your life is in Turkey. It is not sufficient to have a Turkish residence permit or shares in a Turkish company and live elsewhere. Permanent residence is usually established by living in Turkey uninterruptedly for at least 6 months without longer stays in another country at the date of your visa application. Permanent residence is also established without a stay of 6 months minimum if you have a long-term right of residence in Turkey (i.e. as a registered refugee or with a residence permit for family reunion). The Turkish short-term residence permit („Kisa Dönem / Short Term“) – even if issued for 6 months or longer - does not establish permanent residence. In this case, the directive mentioned above for a stay of 6 months minimum applies. Please provide proof of permanent residence in Turkey when applying for your visa.

The problem back then was that national visa applications were handled through iDATA visa center, and iDATA had a separate queue for non-Turkish citizens applying through them in Turkey. While my Turkish friends were able to get an appointment within a week, I was told by iDATA that I had to wait between 10 and 12 weeks just for the appointment, and 8 more weeks processing, which would make me miss the deadline for university registration. If I had the option to apply from my home country, I would probably be able to get an appointment soon too.

I don't see how this makes sense. I was born in Tunisia, and lived a good chunk of my life there, and it is my permanent residence. Doesn't it make sense to allow applicants to apply from their home country in any case?

I am asking this because I am now close to the end of my current work permit in Turkey and I am thinking of not re-applying for an extension just in case I decide to apply for a work visa in Germany or elsewhere.

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    It seems to be clear in all your quotes - if you have been resident in Turkey for 6+ months you must apply from there. "You must apply..." - the word "must" is definite, it is the requirement, not simply allows for it.
    – Midavalo
    Oct 1, 2023 at 15:48
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    That being said... usually you may any time "re-establish" your residence in your country of nationality as long as you have an address there since no permit is needed to live in your home country
    – xngtng
    Oct 1, 2023 at 17:26
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    How do you get from "you must then apply for your visa there" to "merely allows from the country of residence too"?
    – phoog
    Oct 1, 2023 at 22:56
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    "Tunisia ... is my permanent residence place". Well by definition it's not. If you don't live there 6 or more months of a year you are more time somewhere else than there. You might disagree, but that's how it's seen by the law
    – Ivo
    Oct 2, 2023 at 6:36
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    I guess you already had your answer from both official replies but it wasn't the one you were looking for. And no one from this forum will give you a better answer than the German Embassy if you are looking for a ... German visa.
    – Daniel
    Oct 2, 2023 at 10:17

2 Answers 2

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The rules vary a lot from country to country (some don’t care at all where you apply, others are very strict, and some are in between), but for those which require (or prefer) you to apply in your country of residence (rather than of citizenship), the reasoning is that local staff will be more familiar with local customs and regulations, and overall culture.

This means for instance that they will more easily detect forgeries of documents they see very often than documents they’ve never seen, they will be able to better appreciate your standards of living (which have a big influence on whether you are likely to overstay your visa or not), etc.

Some may in some cases have to perform extended checks (call a bank, employer, university…), which is a lot easier when you speak the same language (and know who is likely to give you an answer or not).

Note that some countries which allow you apply for anywhere will actually take longer to process applications made from a different place because they will have to exchange information with local counterparts in the right country.

The whole goal of the visa process is to determine if you are trustworthy. It’s a lot more difficult to evaluate when you don’t have local knowledge.

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If I had the option to apply from my home country, I would probably be able to get an appointment soon too.

Your wording implies: because it is more convenient for you (less waiting time).

The criteria is where your habitual residence is, not where it was in the past or is more convenient for you.

When you leave permanently and return to your home country, you can apply there.

You are not required to wait 6 months.

If the expected duration, after returning, is 6 months, then you can apply.

Note: this rule, as quoted below, only applies to National visas (D visa).


VISUMHANDBUCH

Zuständigkeit deutscher Auslandsvertretungen

1. Nationale Visa (D-Visa)
...
2.2. Definition des gewöhnlichen Aufenthaltes

...
Von einer solchen Verfestigung ist dann auszugehen, wenn sich der Ausländer bereits seit sechs Monaten an dem betreffenden Ort aufhält oder bei Beginn seines Aufenthalts an diesem Ort die voraussichtliche Dauer des Aufenthalts mindestens sechs Monate betragen wird.

Responsibility of German diplomatic missions abroad
1. National visas (D visas)
...
2.2. Definition of habitual residence

...
Such a consolidation can be assumed if the foreigner has already been staying in the place in question for six months or at the start of his stay in this place the expected duration of the stay will be at least six months.

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    @MehdiSaffar Since your Turkish work permit will soon expire (and you must leave), you can try making the application stating that you will return and stay in Tunisia until the visa is approved. Assuming the time for visa approval is longer than the time that your Turkish permit is valid. I have never heard that this world is considered a fair place. Oct 2, 2023 at 13:43
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    While you may be in a time crunch now, @MehdiSaffar, one might reasonably assume you've been planning on going to Germany for your masters for longer than a few days. Therefore, while it's inconvenient now it would have been perfectly reasonable had you started the process a few months ago to ensure you had the visa requirements lined up before you needed to apply. Had you done that, you wouldn't have given a second thought to the requirement to apply from your country of residence. The rule only seems unfair because you didn't plan/act far enough in advance.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 2, 2023 at 15:52
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    @FreeMan While it is recommended to always inquire, there are many external factors (e.g. the unversity's admission timeline). The wait time is often not published and a two-month+ wait for an appointment to submit materials (that will not even be processed locally) through a third-party for profit intermediary should not be defended.
    – xngtng
    Oct 3, 2023 at 7:41
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    @Traveller Then there are countries (or rather their "service" centres) that request your documents before giving your appointment. I don't know if it applies in this case, maybe OP should've asked a few months in advance. But the bottom line is expecting a few months for visa processing may be reasonable; waiting two months just for an appointment (for material submission) was not reasonable to expect (even if after Covid it has become common) and OP should not be criticized for expressing their displeasure.
    – xngtng
    Oct 3, 2023 at 15:07
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    @Traveller Telling people to just "plan in advance" is not helpful faced with the current extended delays that were not common before the pandemic for many countries. The current wait time for a U.S. visa interview is more than two years in Calgary. Should an intl PhD student plan what conference they'll attend before they even finish their Bachelor's? The general advice of thinking ahead is fine; in some specific situations it's not helpful.
    – xngtng
    Oct 3, 2023 at 15:18

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