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Turkey - Visas

You are required to have a valid passport when visiting Turkey. The passport should have more than 90 days’ validity. It is advisable to renew your passport before the move or trip if your passport is within 6 months of its expiration date.

The length and reasons for your trip determine whether you need a Turkish visa. This is also determined by your country of origin because some have signed visa exemption agreements that allow their citizens to visit Turkey without a visa for up to 3 months. However, other nationalities have to obtain visas at a fee at their entry points into Turkey. All this information can be obtained at the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs.

The Turkish Immigration Process

It is important to know all the required documentation before traveling to Turkey. Specific permits are required for different reasons such as work and school. They include:

• Visa - Visit the Turkish embassy or consulate in your home country to apply. It is recommended to do this early because it may take a while for the visa to be processed.
• Work and residence permits - this is for those who intend to work in Turkey. These permits can be applied for at the Turkish Embassy or consulate in one’s home country.
• Additional information - proof that you can pay for a return ticket to your country may be required.

Applying for a visa that allows multiple re-entries is advisable for those planning to leave and return to Turkey for vacations or business. Verify that you have all the requirements before submitting your application. Ask as many questions as possible to relevant authorities if you are unsure about certain things, instead of making mistakes on your application.

Visa types and application requirements

You will be required to apply for a visa if you intend to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days. The visas are either single entry or multiple entry. Visas obtained at Turkey’s entry points are single entry. Student and work visas mostly cover multiple entries. Visas cover specific activities and one has to apply at the Turkish embassy in their home country. Common materials required during application include:

• A passport that is valid for more than 90 days after the required visa
• 2 passport size photos
• An invitation or employment letter
• A return ticket or proof of financial capability to purchase one
• Proof of financial capability to support yourself for your entire stay
• A visa processing fee that depends on the visa type and one’s nationality

Tourist visas

These are single entry visas that are valid for up to 90 days. They are issued to travellers who are not eligible for visas at the entry points. Obtaining a visa at the border does not allow you to leave and re-enter Turkey. These visas may be applied for at the Turkish Embassy or consulate of one’s home country.

Business visas

These visas are very similar to the tourist visa. They are issued for up to 90 days and are valid for single entry. They are issued to travelers visiting Turkey temporarily for business meetings, conferences, and lectures. You will be required to provide proof that you actually own or operate a business when applying for this visa, such as a letter or document from your employer.

Student visas

This type of visa is applied for by students after they enroll in a Turkish university, school, or language class recognized by the Turkish Ministry of Education. A letter from the school proving admission is required for you to be issued with this type of visa.

Upon arrival, students are required to register with the local police department to be issued a residence permit. This should be done within 30 days. These visas and permits allow for multiple exits and entries from Turkey. Student visas are valid for up to a year and should be renewed before they expire.

Residence visas

You can apply for this type of visa if you intend to stay in Turkey for a significant period. It is advisable to apply for this type of visa at least two months before the intended date of departure. This visa does not allow the holder to work in Turkey. Therefore, you will be required to provide proof that you can support yourself for your entire stay.

Work visas

Apply for a work visa at least 2 months before your intended date of departure. Your employer should also send some documents to the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS). Submission of these documents starts one’s application for both the visa and the work permit. You will be required to pay visa-processing fees. In addition, students are required to apply for a residence permit before they can start working in Turkey.

Research visas

This is the type of visa for people who intend to conduct various studies in Turkey. Applicants are required to submit the required documents as well as visa processing fees. You only require a letter from a recognized Turkish institution or museum and the standard application materials to apply for a research visa.

Film visas

Filming a commercial or documentary in Turkey requires approval from the culture and tourism ministry. This visa cannot be obtained from the consulate. Shooting for personal and non-commercial videos does not require visas.

Applying for a residence permit

This is for people who intend to stay for more than 90 days in Turkey. There are many types of residence permits, each with their own eligibility requirements.

Renewing your residence permit

This should be done at least 60 days before the expiry date. You will be issued with a document as proof of pending application for renewal. This document will allow you to stay in the country even when your permit has expired. Do not deceive the authorities to prolong your permit as it may lead to deportation or prison terms.

Applying for another residence permit

You may be required to apply for another residence permit in some cases. Expats who have lived in Turkey for more than three years can apply for a residence permit.

Long-term residence permit

The following requirements have to be fulfilled for you to be issued with a long-term residence permit:

• 8 years of continuous residency in Turkey
• Proof that you can finance your entire stay in Turkey
• Valid health insurance (for applicants under 65)

Read more about this country

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