Residency Permit

If you intend to settle in Turkey, either as a long-term or short-term resident, there is a requirement for you to obtain a Residency Permit. Carrying out the prior preparation for the application will make the granting of this Permit much smoother and could also make the application time shorter. There are some pre-conditions to an application, and if you can show that you own property in Turkey, or that you have an investment in a business or employment-based scheme, this would be additional evidence for your application.

A Turkish Residency Permit is valid for two years, but it may be extended if you maintain the ownership of property of the investment in business interests.
Family members are also required to apply for the correct documentation to live in Turkey – this in the form of a Family Residency Permit. If you have a Residency Permit already, this can be used as a point of reference when applying for a Family Residency Permit.

Alternatively, if you have stayed in Turkey for at least 184 days in one year, and you can demonstrate that you have paid Residency Tax for that period, you are also eligible for a Residency Permit.

You will still need to demonstrate that you are financially stable and able to support yourself and your dependents.

After having stayed in Turkey for over eight years on a legal residency basis, you can also apply for a long-term Residency Permit. The long-term Residency Permit will allow you to remain in the country indefinitely and will grant you enhanced rights to support your life in Turkey. To be successful in acquiring a long-term Residency Permit, you should not have received any type of government aid for the three years before the application is submitted, and also to be able to show that you have a clean criminal record.

However, if you forego the long-term legal Residency Permit, you can opt for a citizenship application after five years of legal residency. Citizenship application has the following requirements before approval may be considered:
  • Provide proof of tangible ties to the country
  • Not convicted of any crimes
  • Not have a record of any serious infectious disease
  • To have sufficient income to support yourself and dependants
  • Be able to prove command of spoken Turkish language in an interview
  • To prove financial independence, the foreign applicant should deposit a minimum of $500 in any local Turkish bank, and this should be valid for three years.

As mentioned, there are various categories of Residency Permits, all are laid down by the Turkish Immigration Department and the exact regulations are detailed on their section of the Turkish Government website.

All applications for Residency Permits should be supported by documentary proof. This can be in the form of property ownership documents, invitation to work documents and medical insurance certificates. Other documents applicable for a Residency Permit can include the following:
  • An authorised copy of valid passport
  • Marriage certificate (where applicable)
  • Proof of property purchase and ownership
  • Invitation to work letters
  • Health insurance certificates
  • Four passport photos (check the size and other requirements on the Immigration Department page of the Turkish Government website)
  • Original and Copy of Birth Certificate
  • Evidence of income to support self and dependents

Types of Residency Permit

1. Short-term Residency Permit

If you wish to apply for a short-term Residency Permit in Turkey, you should have a valid reason; some of the common reasons include studies, tourism, business, or visiting through a company’s invitation. To support this, the Directorate of Immigration will request documentary proof, such as for students, a letter of admission to the place of study.

Once a short-term Residency Permit is issued it remains valid for 24 months and is automatically invalid after six months if not used after issue. The procedure for the application for a short-term Residency Permit starts with filling out the application form and providing the documents required. You should hold a valid Insurance Certificate for all applications to cover any medical emergencies. Extension of a short-term Permit is possible but should be made at least two months before the expiry date.

2. Long-term Residency Permit

There are currently almost six and a half thousand foreigners that have resided in Turkey for more than 8 years and that have applied for the Long-Term Residency Permit. These have all initially applied for the Short-Term Residency Permit, and then converted that following the guidelines laid down by the Immigration Directorate. Long-Term Residency demands the same documentary evidence as Short-Term Residency, but as a place of residence has been established for this length of time, it should prove easier to supply.

Again, an application for a Long-Term Residency Permit still requires proof of a clean criminal record and the ability to continue to support both the applicant and all dependents. With this Permit, multiple privileges will be conferred on the Permit holder, such as the right to vote, to be elected, and a customs duty exemption of vehicle imports (amongst others).

If a Long-Term Residency Permit holder leaves the country for more than a year, the permit can be revoked. There are some extreme cases (health, study, public service) where this can be waived – again, reference should be made to specialist official sources to ensure that this is properly understood.

As with all applications, if the person is assessed as proving a threat to the public and security of the country, this Permit will be revoked. Revocation is authorized at Governor level and is subject to appeal via Consulates.