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Residence Permits in Turkey

This guide was written by Başak Yıldız Orkun, Managing Partner at Orkun & Orkun (info@orkunorkun.com) in collaboration with Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 15 May 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is about residence permits in Turkey, and which kind you're likely to need if you're thinking of moving to Turkey. It goes into detail about short-term residence permits, and links to detailed guides about longer-term permits.

Introduction

A person wishing to live in Turkey will, in the cases mentioned above, need a special visa authorising entry to the country. However, in other cases, they will merely need a residence permit.

Any person who wishes to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days in a 180-day period requires a residence permit. This is the case whether they wish to stay in Turkey to study, to work, or simply to pass their time during retirement as people who are ‘economically inactive’. See below for more details.

This need for two documents is merely a reflection of the way in which the Turkish visa system is organised. In practical terms, in both cases you will need to produce the required documentation and show that you have a valid basis to be in the country.

However, it’s important to realise that if you are a person who requires a visa to enter the country (whether to work or to study) you will also need a residence permit.

Applying for a residence permit

The process for dealing with applications for residence permits was modified in 2015 and then again in 2017 with a view to making things more consistent throughout Turkey. It is not clear that it is succeeded in doing this.

Proof of income

For most categories of residence permit, you will need to show proof of adequate income.

For a single person, this is, generally, interpreted as proof that you have at least the equivalent of the Turkish minimum wage. In March 2017 this was TRY1,400 per month (approx. US$400, €350 £300).

For a person with dependants it is higher: usually an additional one-third of the minimum wage per dependant.

Coming to Turkey as a student

See our Guide to Coming to Turkey as a Student.

Coming to Turkey to work

See our Guide to Coming to Turkey to Work.

Coming to Turkey to start a business

See our Guide to Coming to Turkey to Start a Business.

Coming to Turkey to retire

See our Guide to Coming to Turkey to Retire.

Short-Term Residence Permits

These are the normal residence permits issued in Turkey. They can be issued for a period of one or two years.

A person wishing to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days in any 180-day period can, fairly simply, obtain a Short-Term Residence Permit.

To do this, you go to the police headquarters (Diyarbakır Emniyet Müdürlüğü) in the area where you are living and ask for the yabancı şübesi - the foreigners department. Ideally, go with a Turkish-speaking friend! The police will give you a printed list showing all the documents you need to gather together. Once you have them gathered, go back to the police to make your formal application.

As a general rule, you will need:

It is likely to take anything up to six weeks for your visa to be issued – and that’s assuming you fulfill all the criteria and provide all the correct documents.

Once you have supplied all the paperwork, you need to go to the payments (tax) office (Maliye) and pay for the visa. This will include the admin fee for the visa itself and also the cost of the official visa card.

A 12-month visa currently costs around US$80, and a six-month one US$50.

These are the general rules. However, there are, if fact, several types of Short-Term Residence Permit. Each type requires slightly different documentation.

Foreigners owning immovable property in Turkey

You will need:

Foreigners establishing business or commercial connections

You will need:

Foreigners participating in on-the-job training programmes

You will need:

Foreigners taking part in student exchange programmes

You will need:

Foreigners staying on for tourism purposes

You will need:

Foreigners transferring from a family residence permit

This could be, for example, a person who has reached the age of 18 and so needs his own permit or a couple who are divorcing.

You will need:

Foreigners attending a Turkish-language course

You will need:

Foreigners attending an education programme, research, internship, or course by way of a public agency

You will need:

Extending your Short-Term Residence Permit

Residence Permit extension applications can be submitted online up to 60 days before the expiry of the old permit. 

The application MUST be submitted no later than the expiry date of the old residence permit.

Whilst the application is being processed you may continue living in Turkey perfectly legally.

Long-Term Residence Permits

A foreigner may be eligible for a Long-Term Residence Permit, valid for an indefinite period, if:

If you leave Turkey for any reason except health, education and compulsory public service for more than one year your Long-Term Residence Permit might be cancelled.

Foreigners who are classified as refugees and conditional refugees, or foreigners who have residence permits issued for humanitarian purposes (or who are under temporary protection) are not eligible to apply for Long-Term Residence Permits.

Conclusion

Residence permits can seem a bit confusing at first, but just bear in mind that whatever your circumstance you will need a residence permit, but you may also need a visa. Seeking professional advice is a very good idea, as the best permit for you might not be the most obvious one.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
The Immigration System in Turkey
An overview
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey as a Student
Visa & immigration information for foreign students
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Work
Visa & immigration information for foreigners wanting to work in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Start a Business
Visa & immigration information for foreigners wanting to set up their own business in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Join Your Family
How do you join a family member who already has Turkish residence?
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Retire
Visa & immigration information for foreigners wanting to retire in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey via Residence for Investment
The "golden visa"
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey on a "Turquoise Visa"
The special Turkish visa for people valuable to the country
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey as an Asylum Seeker/Refugee
The rules surrounding refugees in Turkey
Click to see this guide

You may also want to read:

 Description Link 
Residence in Turkey
Government information (in English) about the types of residency permit available for Turkey
Residence in Turkey
Application form for Residence Permit in Turkey
Government application form for residence (non-working) permit in Turkey
Application form for Residence Permit in Turkey
How to Get a Work Permit in Turkey
From the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey
How to Get a Work Permit in Turkey
Citizenship Information for Turkey
Click the 'citizenship' tab.
Citizenship Information for Turkey
Information for Refugees in Turkey
From the United Nations.
Information for Refugees in Turkey

Readers' Comments

 

Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Başak Yıldız Orkun

15 May 2017


 

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