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Obtaining Residence and Work Visas for Turkey

by admin (4/8/2010)

Getting a Residence Visa for Turkey

So you’ve visited Turkey and fallen in love... with the place, with the culture, with that beautiful Turkish man or woman... You love it so much that you want to move to Turkey lock, stock and (smoking) barrel. So, how do you go about it?

If you plan to stay in Turkey for longer than your tourist visa allows (90 days in most cases) – or you want to set up a business, with or without a Turkish partner – you must apply for a residence visa.


How to Obtain a Residence Visa in Turkey

Residence permits can last for a maximum of five years, but may be issued for anything up to that time. If you are an EU national or a national of Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland or the United States, you should find it relatively easy to obtain a residence permit, assuming you can demonstrate that you can provide for yourself.

Applying for a residence visa from inside Turkey: If you are already in Turkey on a tourist visa, you should apply to your nearest police headquarters for residency before your current (90 day) tourist visa runs out.

Applying for a residence visa from outside Turkey: If you are still in your home country, you can make a residency application at your nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate.  

In both cases, you should check ahead of time exactly what they want you to bring with you. As a rule, they will probably ask to see your latest bank statements (to demonstrate that you have enough money to provide for yourself while in Turkey), a reference from a potential Turkish employer (if relevant), the reasons for your intended settlement in Turkey, details of any assets you receive regular income from (ie, a pension) as well as details of any assets held in Turkey. If you are married to a Turkish national, you must take your marriage documents as well. All will help your case. And don’t forget the money for your visa fee!

If you apply for, and are granted, your residency visa outside of Turkey, you must register with the local police within a month of your arrival in the country to obtain your actual residence permit. If you later wish to extend your residence permit, you must apply to the same police headquarters before it runs out.

Fact! A residence permit may be extended up to four times but no longer.

Note: If you, or the head of your household, have already been granted a work permit for Turkey, the residence permit will be extended easily, usually given as a two year permit for the first application. In this case it is little more than a formality.

A residence permit is crucial if you want to take any personal belongings or your car through customs.

Tip: So what happens if you have your residence permit but want to leave the country for a while? The good news is that you can leave the country for up to six months at a time (longer if for medical or studying purposes, but please check with the relevant authorities on specifics) without it interfering with your five year residence permit. At any point while your permit is still in force, you can return to Turkey and do not need to obtain a new permit. Simply show your residence permit at passport control.

Moving house in Turkey? If you have a residence visa and move house, you should inform and register with the police in both the neighborhood you have left AND the one you are going to WITHIN 48 HOURS.

IMPORTANT NOTE – a residence permit does NOT give you permission to work in Turkey. For that you must obtain a separate work visa.

Next >>
Getting a Work Visa for Turkey

1. Getting a Residence Visa for Turkey
2. Getting a Work Visa for Turkey

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