Acquiring Residence Permit and Work Permit in Turkey

Acquiring Residence Permit and Work Permit in Turkey

The Initial Steps for People Looking for New Opportunities, Better Education, Successful Career Paths and a New Era for Their Lives in Turke


Turkey poses an opportunity for people looking for new opportunities, better education, carrier paths and a new era in their lives, including buying real estate in Turkey for living or renting out. The well established health sector, material production expertise, high ranked educational institutions and the multinational corporations still operating in Turkey offers attracts many of the foreigners to the country. Regardless of any motivation, moving to Turkey will require some previous knowledge and paperwork to happen. The foreigners who want to stay longer than a touristic visa period and/or work in Turkey need to acquire the necessary permits: Residence & Work Permit.

So, let’s take a closer look at the  residence and work permits in Turkey.

What is a Residence Permit?

A residence permit is a document issued for a foreigner who wants to stay longer than the defined visa duration or visa exemption period. The conditions on the permits are regulated bu the to the Law No. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection. Every foreigner who does not have a Turkish Citizenship and want to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days, a residence permit will be required. This includes students, researchers, employees, foreigners married with Turkish citizens but not yet acquired a Turkish citizenship and foreigners buying property for sale in Turkey.


The applications can be made online ( or to the provincial branches of the Directorate General of Migration Management. The applications made within Turkey must be presented to the Directorate of Migration Management branch located in the city you want to live in. The application can be issued by the foreigners themselves, legal service provides or any other party with the law of attorney.


As a general requirement, the applicant must have a passport or a substitute document that can replace a passport with an expiry date at least 60 days longer than requested residence permit end date and a health insurance document. The applicant also must prove and declare the sufficient regular & irregular income sources they have. Foreigners who own real estate in Turkey must provide their title of deed.

Every applicant must decide which type of residence permit to apply for beforehand as the necessary documents required vary depending on the type of the permit.

Let’s look at what are the different types of residence permits are and walkthrough each of them.

The types of residence permits are:

  • Short Term Residence Permit
  • Family Residence Permit
  • Student Residence Permit
  • Long Term Residence Permit
  • Humanitarian Residence Permit
  • Residence Permit for Victims of Human Trafficking

Short Term Residence Permit

The short term residence permit is given to 14 different categories which include:

  • Foreigners visiting Turkey for the purpose of scientific research
  • Foreigners who buy or rent real estate in Turkey 
  • Foreigners establishing business connections
  • Foreigners participating at an in service education programme
  • Foreigners participating in student exchange programmes
  • Foreigners visiting for tourism
  • Foreigners visiting Turkey for health treatment
  • Foreigners required to stay in Turkey according to legal authorities
  • Foreigners who lost their family residency
  • Foreigners participating in Turkish Language courses in Turkey
  • Foreigners participating in interships, researches and courses over public institutions
  • Foreigners graduated from a Turkish university and still within the 6 month period since their graduation
  • Foreigners who are going to invest in Turkey, their spouses and their minor children
  • Foreigners with a Northern Cyprus citizenship

What is the maximum duration of a Short Term Residence Permit?

The maximum duration of a short term residence permit is 2 years.

Family Residence Permit

Who can apply for a Family Residence Permit?

  • Foreign spouses
  • Their or their spouses’ minor foreign children
  • Their or their dependent foreign children of the Turkish Citizens, of foreigners with residence permits, of refugees, of the individuals with Temporary Protected Status can apply for a family residence permit.

The maximum duration of a family residence permit can be 2 years.

Student Residence Permit

Who can apply for a Student Residence Permit?

The student residence permit are granted for foreigners:

  • Foreigners enrolled in a higher education programme in Turkey
  • Foreigners recieving primary and secondary education
  • Foreigners recieving their specialty in medicine and dental school in Turkey

If the study period is less than 1 year, the student residence permit cannot extend the period of the study period.

Long Term Residence Permit

Who can apply for a Long Term Residence Permit?

  • The foreigners must have stayed in Turkey for at least 8 years continuously.
  • The foreigners must have not recieved any social assistance from the state in the last 3 years.
  • The foreigners must have a sufficient and regular source of income to provide for themselves and their family.
  • The foreigners must have a valid health insurance.
  • The foreigner's residence must not pose a threat to public order and securit if granted.
  • The foreigner must not be a refugee, a conditional refugee, a subsidiary protection holder or a humanitarian residence permit holder.

Humanitarian Residence Permit

A humanitarian residence permit is granted to:

  • It is for the best interest of the child
  • When foreigners cannot be forced to leave Turkey or it is not considered reasonable or possible for them to leave Turkey
  • During the continuation of the applicant’s return to first country of asylum or a safe third country
  • Foreigners who need to stay in Turkey for urgent reasons, for the protection of the country’s intersts, public order and security
  • Foreigners in extraordinary situations

Permit for Victims of Human Trafficking

The permit is granted to foreigners if they are a a victim of human trafficking or there are substantial evidence they may will be. This permit is issued for 30 days and may be extended for 6 month periods but the total duration can not exceed 3 years.



A work permit is granted to any foreigner who want to work legally and reside in Turkey. The residence permit, including the one based on owning real estate in Turkey, does not grant a right to work. The permit is issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and can be applied from abroad or when in Turkey. It is important to note that each application method has different application procedures.

How to acquire a Work Permit in Turkey?

If a foreigner wants to apply for a work permit from abroad, their first step must be visiting the nearest Turkish Consular office. If an application is going to be filed from within Turkey the applications must be made to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. With some minor exceptions, almost all applications are evaluated by the Ministry of Social Security including the ones filed to the consulates abroad.

Foreigners who will apply for a work permit from abroad must first agree with a workplace that operates in Turkey. If an agreement is achieved then the employer must apply for a work permit by submitting the employment contract signed between the employee & employer to the relevant Turkish Consulate. A reference number will then be given to the foreigner by the Turkish Consulate which is processesing the application. The employee must notify the employer of this reference number. The employer can now file for a work permit application for the employee. If the work permit application made from abroad is approved by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security the foreigner can apply for a valid working visa and start planning the travel to Turkey. employer will be the responsible party for arranging social security and tax payments. The foreigners with an approved application must enter Turkey within 180 days after the date the work permit is granted.

Do I need  to acquire a Residence Permit if I am granted a Work Permit?

A granted work permit also counts as a residence permit as long as the period they are valid for.

If I quit my job after before my Work Permit expiry date can I work elsewhere?

With each sector and field of expertise, the methods and principles of the work permits issued to the foreigners vary. Additionally, the work permit is issued specifically depending on the contract signed by a specific employer and employee. So, if the agreement is cancelled the permit will be invalid and will prevent you from working elsewhere.

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