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Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

Turkey - Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation

Turkish bureaucracy is a challenge even for those who are accustomed to dealing with it. It is strongly advised that foreign nationals consult a reputable local attorney with a proven background in immigration matters before applying for resident status on their own. It is best to contact a Turkish Consulate prior to arrival in Turkey.

Foreigners who wish to stay in Turkey for more than three months are required to apply for a Residence Permit by filling out a Declaration of Intent form. Residence Permits are issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and are generally valid for a maximum duration of five years. The term may be increased or decreased by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, after consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Technically, Residence Permits may only be extended four times. However, with assistance from a well-connected attorney one can generally find exceptions to the rule within the Turkish labyrinth of red tape.

It is far easier to obtain a Residence Permit if one already has a Work Permit. However, individuals cannot apply for a Work Permit. Work Permit applications must be submitted by a company that intends to employ a non-resident foreigner on behalf of that person prior to their arrival in Turkey. The application is made directly to the General Directorate of Foreign Investments and each application is evaluated according to specific criteria where the qualifications of the personnel and the performance of the company are taken into account.

After the Work Permit is issued by the GDFI, the prospective employee must obtain a Work Visa personally from a Turkish Consulate abroad. Once this visa is issued the foreign national must apply for their Residence Permit from a local police department in Turkey within 30 days of arrival. The local police will then forward the application to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Residence Permit applications are generally approved without delay once the Work Permit and Work Visa are presented. The employee is technically not permitted to work until residency has been established.

Documents required to obtain a Residence Permit from local police officials:

1) Passport

2) Photocopy of passport

3) Photocopy of Work Permit provided by the Undersecretary of Treasury

4) A petition written on Company letterhead

5) 4 typed and signed originals of the Declaration of Intent

6) 7 passport-type photographs of the applicant

An exception to the above is a Work Permit issued to a foreign national already resident in Turkey. An example of this would be an employee of a company with a valid Work Permit for that particular company who then accepts a position with a different company in Turkey. These permits are issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security rather than by the GDFI.

For further information contact the Turkish Embassy:

United States: http://www.turkishembassy.org/
United Kingdom: http://www.turkishembassylondon.org/

For a complete list of Turkish Embassies and Consulates:


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