Depending on your nationality, you may require a residence permit/work permit/visa to live in Turkey, make sure you understand your situation and organise the relevant paperwork before you go!
What do you need to enter and live in Turkey?
No matter who you are or where you are from you will need a valid passport from your home country before you are allowed entry into Turkey. Your passport should be valid for at least 90 days upon arriving in the country. It’s a good idea to consider renewing your passport 6 months prior to its expiry date to avoid any complications. Only UK diplomats are exempt from requiring a Visa and are allowed entry into the country for up to 90 days, everyone else must have a Visa. Only citizens of the following nations are allowed in for up to three months without a Visa; Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland.
Before you apply for a Visa be aware of all the documentation you will be required to present.
Common application materials are listed below:
- Passport (valid for 90 days longer than the requested visa).
- Application form.
- Two passport-size photos.
- Letter of invitation or employment.
- Proof of health insurance.
- Proof of a return ticket or the financial means to purchase a return ticket.
- Proof you have financial means to support yourself during your stay.
- Visa processing fee (varies depending on visa type and your nationality.
Types of VISAs
There are many different types of Visa’s for Turkey so we will cover the ones most associated with expats.
As an expat you will most likely be hoping to spend more than 90 days in the country which means you will need to apply for a residence Visa. You will need to apply up to two months before arriving in the country to allow plenty of time for processing. Be aware that you are not allowed to work in the country if receiving a residency Visa. Make sure you have enough cash to be able to support yourself for the duration of your stay.
To be able to work in Turkey you need both a work Visa and residency Visa. People normally go to the country already employed by an international company, if that’s the case for you then ensure that your employer sends the correct documentation to the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Once the application has been approved you will then have to pay the work permit and Visa processing fees. Once in the country you will have 30 days to apply for a residency Visa.
Every foreigner working in Turkey is required to be in possession of a valid work permit as well as a Visa. These permits are issued by the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security or MLSS. It’s highly advised that you submit your visa application materials concurrently with your visa application. Your employer should send the required documents to the MLSS. If you have lived and worked in Turkey for five years without interruption then you will become eligible for an independent work permit, which allows you to work as a self-employed individual.
How to become a resident
To be eligible to become a Turkish citizen you need to be of adult age and lived in Turkey for five years with an interruption of less than six months. If married to a Turkish national or a foreigner born in the country, this is reduced to three years. You mu not have a criminal record and you must have sound mental and physical health. You must also prove that you can support yourself financially. Your chances of being accepted can be improved if you show that you contribute to the country, i.e. working for a Turkish company.
To apply for Turkish citizenship, you need to bring the following documents to a local government office (usually a town or city hall).
- Valid passport.
- 4 passport-size photos.
- Documents proving your relationships with your spouse and children (if applicable).
- Certificate proving you are in good mental and physical health.