Many foreign nationals will need a visa to enter Turkey. The standard Turkish tourist/visit visa is valid on a multiple-entry basis for a period of up to 90 days in a 180-day period. Some cruise ship passengers, who arrive at sea ports to visit as tourists, may be exempt from needing a visa, assuming they have an eligible passport and are staying for less than 72 hours.
You can apply for your visa at your nearest embassy or consulate, or you can obtain an eVisa online. An eVisa costs around $35, plus a small service fee, which can be paid by credit or debit card. If you decide to apply for an eVisa, you must do so at least 48 hours, and up to three months, before you travel. It is always advisable to carry a printed copy of your eVisa, in case there are any technical errors.
An eVisa is only valid for the purpose of travel, tourism, and commerce. Be wary of using unauthorised websites, which could charge additional fees or issue fake eVisas. You can visit the official government website here.
If you are planning on remaining in Turkey for a period of more than 90 days, you can apply for a long-stay visa before you travel. Alternatively, once you are in Turkey, you can obtain a residence permit from the local authorities, so long as you do so before you have been there more than 90 days.
If you are entering Turkey by crossing a land border, be sure to check that your passport has a dated entry stamp, before you leave and continue your journey. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you enter Turkey, and that there is a full blank page available for the entry and exit stamps.
There are several visa categories in the Turkish visa system, each of which covers a number of circumstances. These are:
The tourist/business visa category encompasses:
• Touristic visits
• Single transits
• Double transits
• Business meetings/commerce
• Sportive activities
• Cultural artistic activities
• Official visits
• Visits to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
An official visa is for someone who is visiting Turkey in an official capacity. This type of visa is most commonly used by diplomats, but can also be used by those assigned for duty and couriers.
The student/education visa doesn’t just cover those studying at university. It also covers:
• ERASMUS internships
• AISEC internships
• Turkish language courses
• Other education courses
• Studying in a certified education institute in Turkey
• Studying in a certified education institute in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
A Turkish work visa is essential for those wishing to legally work in Turkey. It supports a variety of careers and trades, such as:
• Lecturers and academics
• Approved sportspersons
• Assigned artists
• Free Zone workers
• Assigned journalists
• Montage and repairman purposes
• Other special conditions of employment
There are a few visas available for those entering Turkey that fall under a miscellaneous category, labelled “Other”. Such purposes include:
• Archaeological excavation and/or exploration
• Researching and filming documentaries
• Persons working as a tour operator / tour representative
• Medical treatment
• Family reunification
• Freight visas
• Seafarer visas
For all visas other than those issued for tourist, business or commerce purposes, which can be done online, applications must be made at your local embassy or consulate.
Every foreigner who intends to work in Turkey will require a valid work permit. Work permits are issued by the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security (a.k.a. the MLSS). In order to obtain a work permit, you will need to submit an application to your nearest embassy or consulate in your home country prior to travel, and your employer will file a submission with the MLSS.
In some circumstances, you may be able to apply for a work permit while you are in Turkey. Usually, foreigners who have already been issued a residency permit, which has at least six months’ validity left on it, will be able to apply for a work permit from within Turkey. Foreigners visiting for tourism purposes will not be eligible.
You will need to have an employment contract or job offer in order to be approved for a work permit.
If you have continuously and legally worked in Turkey for a minimum of five years, you will be eligible to apply for an independent work permit. An independent work permit will allow you to work as a self-employed individual. These types of permits must be applied for at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Ankara.
Eligible foreigners intending to be in Turkey for more than a 90-day period can apply for a temporary residence permit; this must be done within 30 days of arrival.
In order to be considered eligible for permanent residency status in Turkey, foreigners must have legally and continuously resided in Turkey for a minimum period of eight years.
You may also be able to apply for permanent residency if you start a business or purchase a property in Turkey. There is no minimum investment required to do this, you just need to show sufficient evidence that you legally own a property or are running a business, and that you have sufficient financial means to live in the country.