10 July 20240




There are six different types of residence permits available for foreigners who will stay in Turkey for more than the visa duration, the visa exemption period, or 90 days. These permits are categorized as short-term residence permit, family residence permit, student residence permit, long-term residence permit, humanitarian residence permit, and residence permit for victims of human trafficking and the most applied types are long-term and short-term residence permits.

To apply for a residence permit, a foreigner must submit a request through the e-residence system, gather all required documents for the specific permit type, pay the necessary fees, and fulfill the conditions of the requested residence permit. You can find the list of required documents for each type of residence permit via this link.

You can access the mandatory payment amount for the residence permit document as determined by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance for the relevant year, the table showing residence permit fees by country, and the list of countries exempt from this fee via this link.

It is crucial to note that as of the assessment made in October 2022, residence permit applications have been closed for the districts of Fatih, Esenyurt, Avcılar, Bahçelievler, Başakşehir, Bağcılar, Esenler, Küçükçekmece, Sultangazi, and Zeytinburnu.


The conditions for having a long term residence permit is regulated in Article 43 of the Foreigners and International Protection Law No. 6458 (“Law on Foreigners”):

  1. Having continues residence in Turkey for at least eight years
  2. Not having received social assistance in the past three years
  3. Having sufficient and stable income to maintain themselves or, if any, support their family
  4. To be covered with a valid medical insurance
  5. Not to be posing a public order or public security threat.

Foreigners who meet the conditions set by the Ministry and apply accordingly can be granted long-term residence permits, regardless of whether they meet the first four conditions mentioned above.

It is also important to note that refugees, conditional refugees, individuals with subsidiary protection status, those with humanitarian residence permits, and those under temporary protection are also eligible to transition to a long-term residence permit.

The long-term residence permit is issued indefinitely, but it can be canceled by the governorates if the foreign national poses a serious threat to public order or public security, or if they stay outside Turkey for more than one uninterrupted year for reasons other than health, education, or compulsory public service in their home country. Canceled long-term residence permits can be reapplied for from within or outside Turkey. For such reapplications, the requirement of having continues residence in Turkey for at least eight years with a residence permit is not sought, and these applications are prioritized and concluded within one month at the latest.

Foreigners with a long-term residence permit enjoy most of the rights granted to Turkish citizens, with certain exceptions. They are not entitled to rights such as compulsory military service, voting and being elected, entering public service, importing vehicles tax-free, and other rights regulated by specific laws. The use of these rights is subject to the relevant legal provisions.


Obtaining a short-term residence permit is also subject to certain conditions, similar to the long-term residence permit. These conditions are outlined in Article 32 of the Law on Foreigners and are regulated as follows:

  • Submitting supporting information and documents related to the purpose of stay in Turkey
  • Not to fall within the scope of Article 7
  • To live in accommodation conditions that conform to general health and safety standards
  • Upon request, to present criminal record certificate issued by the competent authorities in their country of citizenship or legal residence
  • Submit information on their address of stay in Turkey

In addition to these conditions, a foreigner must also be one of the individuals eligible for a short-term residence permit as specified in the relevant article of the law. These individuals are defined as follows:

  • Arrives to conduct scientific research
  • Owns immovable property in Turkey
  • Establishes business or commercial connections
  • Participates in on-the-job training programmes
  • Arrives to attend educational or similar programmes as part of student exchange programmes or agreements to which the Republic of Turkey is a party to
  • Wishes to stay for tourism purposes
  • Intends to receive medical treatment, provided that they do not have a disease posing a public health threat
  • Is required to stay in Turkey pursuant to a request or a decision of judicial or administrative authorities
  • Transfers from a family residence permit
  • Attends a Turkish language course
  • Attends an education programme, research, internship or, a course by way of a public agency
  • Applies within six months upon graduation from a higher education programme in Turkey
  • Does not work in Turkey but will make an investment within the scope and amount that shall be determined by the Council of Ministers, and their foreign spouses, his and her minor children or foreign dependent children
  • Citizen of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

A short-term residence permit can be granted for a maximum period of 2 years each time, except for foreigners who do not work in Turkey but will make an investment within the scope and amount determined by the Council of Ministers, as well as their foreign spouses, their own or their spouses’ minor or dependent foreign children, and citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The short-term residence permit application may be rejected or an existing permit may be canceled or its extension request denied if the conditions stated above are not met or cease to exist, if it is determined that the permit is being used for a purpose other than its intended one, if the foreigner has a valid deportation or entry ban decision, or if there is a violation regarding the duration of stay abroad.

While the types of residence permits and the conditions to be met are as explained above, it is highly beneficial for a foreigner to start or carry out the application process with the assistance of a lawyer. This is due to the need for many practical and legal details, such as determining which residence permit to apply for, ensuring all required documents are collected completely and accurately, verifying whether the conditions are truly met, or identifying the methods to fulfill the conditions. A lawyer’s help can prevent the individual from facing any grievances and ensure the process is conducted more correctly, quickly, and smoothly.


Work permit applications can be made both domestically and internationally, as well as through authorized intermediary institutions. If the required documents are incomplete when submitted to the Ministry, a specific period to complete the missing documents will be given to the applicant. Applications from individuals who submit complete and accurate documents are processed within 30 days.

Foreign individuals working in professions requiring professional qualifications, such as health and education services, must obtain pre-approval from the relevant ministries.

Another important point to note is that, according to the Law on Foreigners, a work permit substitutes for a residence permit. Therefore, a foreign individual with a work permit has the right to stay in Turkey without needing a residence permit for the duration of their work permit.



Foreigners whose work permit applications are evaluated positively are granted a work permit for a maximum duration of one year in their initial application, provided that they work in a specific job at a certain workplace belonging to a real or legal person, or a public institution or organization, without exceeding the duration of the employment or service contract. Foreign individuals who wish to extend their work permits must submit their extension application at least 60 days before the expiration of their work permits, and in any case, before the expiration of the work permit duration (International Labor Law, Art. 7). Otherwise, the extension application will be rejected by the Ministry.

If the extension application for the work permit is evaluated positively, the extension periods vary depending on whether the foreigner works for the same or a different employer. If working for the same employer, the extension can be up to 2 years for each subsequent extension, and if applying to work for a different employer, the application falls under the scope of Article 7 of the International Labor Law.


Certain foreign individuals who meet specific qualifications are eligible to apply for a permanent work permit. Foreigners who have long-term residence permits in Turkey or have had legal work permits for at least 8 years are granted the right to apply for a permanent work permit.

Foreigners with a permanent work permit are entitled to the rights explained in the long-term residence permit section above.


Professional members of foreign professions may be granted an independent work permit, subject to the fulfillment of special conditions specified in other laws. The educational level, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, impact of activities or investments in Turkey on the country’s economy and employment, and, if a foreign partner in a company, the capital share, along with other factors determined by the Ministry in line with the recommendations of the International Labor Policy Advisory Board, are taken into account during the application process. Applications are evaluated based on these criteria.

            TURQUOISE CARD

In the Turquoise Card program, individuals with internationally recognized academic achievements or those who have excelled in a field considered strategically important for our country in science, industry, and technology, as well as those who make or are expected to make significant contributions to the national economy through exports, employment, or investment capacity, are evaluated as qualified foreigners.

Turquoise Card holders enjoy the rights provided by a permanent work permit.

The spouse and dependent children of a Turquoise Card holder are also granted a document indicating their status as relatives of a Turquoise Card holder, which substitutes for a residence permit.


The work permit application, whether submitted by a foreign individual or a company, is subject to specific criteria. The evaluation criteria that must be met by both the employer and the foreign individual as stipulated in Article 13 of the Regulation on the Application of the Law on Work Permits for Foreigners are outlined. This information note focuses on the most important criteria, listed as follows:

  1. At least five Turkish citizens must be employed in the workplace where a work permit is requested. In the case of multiple foreigners applying for work permits in the same workplace, after the first foreigner is granted a work permit, a separate employment of five Turkish citizens will be required for each subsequent foreign national. If the applicant foreigner is a partner in the company, the requirement of employing five people is applicable for the last six months of the one-year work permit issued by the Ministry.
  2. The paid-up capital of the workplace must be at least 100,000 TL, or its gross sales must be at least 800,000 TL, or its export amount for the last year must be at least 250,000 US Dollars.
  3. The foreign partner applying for the permit must have a capital share of at least 20%, with a minimum of 40,000 TL.


The ways and conditions for a foreign individual to acquire Turkish citizenship are regulated in Law No. 5901, the Turkish Citizenship Law (“TCL”). The acquisition of Turkish citizenship can be divided into two categories: the general route and the exceptional route.

The conditions for acquiring citizenship through the general route are stipulated under Article 11 of the TCL as follows:

“a) Being of legal age and mentally competent according to their own national laws, or if stateless, according to Turkish laws,

  1. b) Residing continuously in Turkey for five years prior to the application date,
  2. c) Confirming the decision to settle in Turkey through their actions,
  3. d) Not having any diseases that pose a danger to public health,
  4. e) Having good moral character,
  5. f) Being able to speak sufficient Turkish,
  6. g) Having sufficient income or profession to support themselves and their dependents in Turkey,
  7. h) Not having any circumstances that would pose a threat to national security or public order.”

In accordance with the provision specified in clause (b) of the relevant article, the foreign individual may stay outside of Turkey for a period not exceeding twelve months within the five-year period mentioned (TCL Art. 15).

The conditions required for the exceptional route are regulated under Article 12 of the TCL as follows:

“(1) With the decision of the President, foreigners specified below may acquire Turkish citizenship provided that they do not pose a threat to national security and public order:

  1. a) Individuals who have brought industrial facilities to Turkey or who have rendered or are deemed to render extraordinary services in the fields of science, technology, economy, social, sports, cultural, or artistic areas, and for whom reasoned proposals have been made by the relevant ministries.
  2. b) Foreigners who have obtained a residence permit pursuant to Article 31(j) of Law No. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection dated 4/4/2013, holders of Turquoise Card, and the foreign spouse, as well as dependent children, of the holder.


One of the most preferred exceptional routes nowadays is acquiring Turkish citizenship through investment. For a foreign individual to apply through this route, they must have obtained the short-term residence permit as explained above, the investment to be made must fall within the scope of the prescribed investment types, and obtaining a suitability certificate from the relevant authorities along with the decision of the President is required.

Foreign individuals can apply for Turkish citizenship through various types of investments, including:

  1. Fixed capital investment
  2. Acquisition of real estate or making a promise of sale for real estate
  3. Creating employment
  4. Depositing money into a bank account
  5. Investing in government debt instruments
  6. Investing in real estate investment trusts or venture capital investment funds
  7. Investing in the individual pension system


Foreigners who wish to work in Turkey need to apply for a work visa at the Turkish diplomatic missions in their own countries. During this application process, it is sufficient to present the document demonstrating that the employer will employ the foreign individual, the visa application form, and the passport. The application is evaluated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. Work permits also serve as residence permits.


For foreigners, all these processes can be highly detailed and bureaucratic. Additionally, transactions may need to be conducted not only at official institutions like the tax office and land registry but also at local and smaller-scale institutions where staff may not always have foreign language skills. This can lead to communication issues, making the process more complex and lengthier for the foreign applicant.

Furthermore, it is crucial to seek professional support due to several factors which can be challenging for a foreigner to manage alone: the risk of deportation resulting from negligence or failure to follow the correct regulations on time; the frequent changes in relevant regulations based on Turkey’s sociopolitical situation; the possibility of application rejection due to even a single missing document; and the annual changes in districts closed to residence permit applications and the minimum requirements for residence permits, as noted in this information note.

Given that there are additional procedures not listed on websites and not accessible online, and considering the frequent changes in Turkey’s foreign policy, legal assistance is vital for successfully navigating this process.

Legal Intern Naz Torbaoğlu

Matters included in this information note are not legal advice and cannot be understood as legal advice. You can always contact us to get legal advice.

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