Life as a refugee

Not as easy at it seems

Registering as a refugee in Türkiye can be a complicated process - Rawan tells her story.

Updated 25 Oct 2022

Fleeing to Türkiye from Syria

Fleeing to Türkiye from Syria

Registering your personal details in the government system may sound easy, but it was not the case for Rawan. She fled to Türkiye when her house was destroyed by the conflict in Idlib, Syria, in 2012. She spent the next years living in a camp, only to move when the camp closed in 2018. Afterward, she moved to Kilis, where her husband had a hard time finding a job, so they decided he would go back to Syria to work there.

“He wanted to support our children. It is still unsafe for them to live in Idlib because the conflict is ongoing, plus many schools were destroyed, so Türkiye is the only option for us at present.”

Family seperated

Family seperated

Her husband kept working and sending money to the family for a year before their rental contract expired and they had to move to another apartment and register the children in a new school. Under Turkish law, all residents - whether they are locals or foreigners - have to register their address details.

Rawan tried to do so but she was surprised that there was a mismatch between the family registration number in her children’s documents, and the local civil registry directorate needed her husband to be present in order to correct that information.

But Rawan’s husband was not able to enter Türkiye. Not only could she not register her children’s address details, she also risked seeing their identity documents cancelled altogether, which would mean not being able to enroll them in school or even receive healthcare. 

Legal aid to refugees

Legal aid to refugees

One of her friends suggested going to the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). Funded by EU humanitarian aid, DRC’s legal team supports refugees in Türkiye through counselling services, translation and administrative support.

DRC’s legal team provided Rawan with information, and helped her and her husband apply for a request to correct the information on her children’s documents.

As a result, the family number was corrected, and she was able to move on with the address registration process.

The situation remain unsafe in Syria

“I felt relieved. I was so frustrated and did not know what to do, but DRC helped me. I am happy now that my children can go to school."

"There is a conflict back home and the schools are destroyed. I want to use our time in Türkiye so they can get the best type of education until the war is over and we can go back to our home in Idlib.”

The situation remains unsafe in many areas in Syria, and many hospitals and schools have been destroyed.

Refugees fleeing the war often have to navigate complicated processes that they do not understand because they don’t speak the language or are not familiar with the system.

Through accessible information and legal support, DRC is working to ensure that refugees are not deprived of their rights. 

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