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Getting a residence permit in Turkey

Updated on September 29, 2016

How to Stay Long Term in Turkey

Turkey is a great place to visit - but be careful - it will capture your heart and might give you the desire to live here long term.

Turkey grants tourist visas to people from many countries for up to 3 months. Some are free, while citizens of some countries pay a visa fee at border gates. It is usually on a reciprocal basis, so if Turks have to pay for a visa for your country then you need to pay to visit Turkey. Visitors from other countries will need to apply for a visa in advance. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs lists visa requirements for each country on their website. Consult your local Turkish embassy or consulate for more information.

To stay longer in Turkey for tourism, study, work or retirement, you need a residence permit (called an ikamet in Turkish). Depending on your circumstances, you can get residence from 1 month to 5 years.

Everything is changing

During 2014, the processing of residence permits in Turkey is changing from the Foreigners Department of the Turkish National Police to the General Directorate of Migration Management. All of the below information is out of date and different rules and procedures may be in place. I will provide a full update of the situation in November after I renew my residency.

Health and Social Security Insurance

One of the recent developments relating to residence permits is that Health and Social Security Insurance cover is required if you have been in Turkey for more than 1 year on a residence permit. You will need to register with the Turkish social security system and pay premiums into one of their schemes if you do not have insurance cover.

Where to apply

You usually apply for visas outside of Turkey, though passport holders of many countries can buy a tourist visa when they enter Turkey.

To stay for longer than your tourist visa allows or if you are coming to Turkey on a work or student visa, you apply for a residence permit in Turkey.

To get a residence permit, you apply at the foreigners department at the central police station in major cities. The rules and procedures may be different in each area. Places with few foreigners may not have a foreigners department and so you may need to travel to a larger city.

The offices are usually open weekdays from 9am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm. The cashier may close earlier (4:30pm in Izmir).

Istanbul has recently implemented an online appointment system.

Busy times are the beginning of the academic year.

Expect to wait.

Take a book or something to do while you wait in the queue. You could be there for almost 3 hours at the busiest times.

Interior Ministry relaxes residency, work permit rules for foreigners

Read the latest news on changes to residency and work permits from Today's Zaman

What you need for a residence permit

If you bring the following, it may save you several trips.

  • Passport and photocopies of the pages with your photograph and your last entry stamp
  • Previous residence permit (if renewing)
  • A recent bank print out showing you have sufficient funds in Turkey. Approximately 900 USD per year. Alternatively, currency exchange receipts.
  • Cash. You need about 150 Lira per person for the blue residence permit booklet (first time and when it is full). Citizens of most OECD countries need about 80 USD per person for a one year residence permit. You will pay in Turk Lira based on the daily exchange rate. Citizens of different countries may have different fees. Children enrolled in schools are free.
  • Passport sized photographs. At least 5 or 6. For renewals less are required. Tell the photographer they are for an ikamet so they give you the right size.
  • Any visas or paperwork related to your visa (work permit, proof of educational enrollment for students, etc.)
  • Two forms. Both are available from the foreigners department desk and ask similar information - Your Name (as in your passport), Your parents' names, Passport information, Place and Date of birth, Nationality, Religion, Previous residence permit information, Address, Telephone, Email, Reason for requesting residence.
  • Marriage certificate (for married couples) translated into Turkish. This was required previously, but this year it was not required.
  • Birth certificate (for a foreign baby born in Turkey applying for their first residence) in Turkish

Warning: Rules may change without notice!

Each year that I have renewed the residence permits for my family, there have been extra papers required or slightly different rules. Be prepared to have to visit the foreigners department several times per application.

What happens during the process

What to expect when you are applying for a residence permit. This process may vary for different locations in Turkey.

  1. You may need to wait a long time in a queue. The office may be full of people, but there will be only two or three who can actually help you with the application. The Izmir office recently installed a queue system similar to the banks, where you get a number and wait until is is displayed on a screen. Before you visit or while you are waiting, fill in the forms and present all your documents to the foreigners department desk.
  2. You may be sent to another desk to get a printout of information about your latest entry from your passport. Take this back to the foreigners department desk.
  3. They will check you have all the required paperwork and will send you to another office get it dated, stamped and signed. You may be asked for more paperwork. At this point they may ask for money for the blue residence permit book (first time). They may also give you a slip of paper for the cashier.
  4. Go and get the stamps and signature.
  5. Take the stamped documents back to the foreigners department desk. They will keep your passport and documents and they will give you a slip of paper for the cashier.
  6. Go and pay the cashier the amount on the paper and collect the receipt. You will need your tax number for the cashier.
  7. Hand over the receipt to the foreigners department desk. They will give you a slip of paper with your name and the date. Keep this safe because you need to bring this back to collect your permit next week.
  8. One week later. Return to collect your residence permit and passport. You need to sign a couple of forms to indicate you have received them.
  9. A few days later. Expect a visit at home from a local police officer to confirm your residency. They may ask your neighbors about you. If you are not home, they will leave a note and you will need to go to your local police station to answer questions about your residency.

Having a baby?

Children born to foreigners in Turkey have only 30 days (instead of the usual tourist visa of up to 90 days) to get a residence permit so you need to apply for their citizenship and passport with your own country as soon as possible.

When the child leaves Turkey for the first time there may be confusion as to where their entry stamp is in their passport. Make sure you have their ikamet too for passport control.

Our baby's first ikamet experience

Our daughter was born in Turkey in 2005. We discovered late that we needed to apply for her residence permit within the first month and so we had to pay a small fine for the period from 1 month after her birth until the date stamp on the residence permit application. The police at foreigners' department were OK with having to wait for her citizenship documents and passport to come. Having the application started was important for them.

Without a passport she could not leave the country, but also could not get an ikamet until it arrived. Delays with getting a photo that met the new biometric passport requirements and holidays in our home country meant our daughter was a stateless person for few months.

When our daughter turned 5 years old we had to get a new passport for her and renew her ikamet again.

Check your passport expiry dates

You ikamet can only be issued for as long as your passport is valid.

If your passport will expire soon, you might want to renew it before you apply for the residence permit.

Updates

My personal experiences

Police visit

11 December 2012

To follow up my last residence permit renewal a police officer visited my apartment today for the routine check to confirm that I live here.

Another renewal with long waits

17 October 2012

My residence permit is currently being renewed. I visited the foreigners department just after lunch on a Wednesday and waited 2.5 hours in the queue. I was missing a document and the photos I had were too big so I had to return a couple of days later to wait another 1.5 hours in the morning. With the Kurban Bayram and Cumhuriyet Bayram holidays, and the large number of people they were processing, I was told to come back in a month. Current price for holders of OPEC country passports 1 year renewal = 85 USD.

New passport

16 August 2012

We went to get our son's eyes tested and discovered that the universal health system in Turkey, administered by SGK requires a current residence permit. Our son's permit was only valid to the expiry date of his passport and his passport was recently renewed. We spent 1 hour waiting at the Foreigners Department and had to come back the next day to wait another hour to submit a document proving his school enrollment and signatures from both parents. His residence permission will be extended until we renew our permits for the whole family again in October. After 10 working days we expect to get the permit back and will then go to SGK to update his documents there.

Permit Renewal

27 January 2012

In October, I renewed my residence permit. Paperwork requirements were similar to previous years but the fees were greatly reduced. Today the police visited to confirm the details.

Reduced fees

4 April 11

There have been some reports of people paying reduced fees to renew their residence permits in Turkey. Turkey has reciprocal arrangements with some countries so the reductions might only apply to certain countries. Check the current pricing with the foreigners department when you apply.

Renewed my daughter's residence permit

9 March 11

My daughter's new shiny passport arrived last month and about 10 days ago I took it, her residence permit that was expiring, two photos and proof she was still in school to the foreigners department. I filled in two standard forms and got a photocopy of the first page of her new passport and handed everything over. They gave me slip of paper with my daughter's name and the date. Today I took the slip of paper in and signed that I had received the passport and residence permit back. An easy and straight-forward renewal this time.

My daughter can now stay in Turkey with the whole family until our permits expire again in October.

Passport expiring

14 February 11

My daughter's passport expires at the end of the month. When we renewed her residence permit a few months ago, they could only issue it for time left on the passport. So about a month ago we took the photographs and filled in the forms for her passport renewal and sent them away. Her new passport arrived back last week and so we will go through the process for her again. We expect her residence will be extended until October to synchronize with the rest of the family.

Visiting the local police station

27 January 11

Five weeks after I picked up my residence permit I got a message from the local police station to go and visit them to show my passport and ikamet and answer some questions:

  • Where did I live?
  • Who lives with me?
  • Am I working?
  • Where does my money come from?

They had tried to visit me but I was out. There was a week of holidays between getting my residence permit and the visit. Usually the home visit is closer to the time of the residence permit being issued.

Picked up my renewed residence permit today

28 October 10

After a short wait in the queue, I handed over the slips of paper I got on the last visit, told the clerk which country I am from and she found my passport, residence permit and paperwork. I signed two papers to indicate I had received my residence permit book and passport back and now I can stay in Turkey until this time next year.

TC Kimlik Number?

The TC Kimlik Number is your Turkish national identity number.

You can get the TC Kimlik No for foreigners from this page on the Ministry of Interior website. Enter your year of birth in Doğum Yılı and Residence permit number in İkamet Tezkere No.

Leaving Turkey?

Take your ikamet with you. Passport control will want to see it especially if you have stayed longer than you are allowed on your tourist visa.

Share your experience or tips for getting a residence permit in Turkey.

Share your experience

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    • profile image

      iresidence 2 months ago

      This is very useful information. If you need help on application iResidence can help you http://ResidencePermitTurkey.com or WhatsApp +90 530 1130728

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 2 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      When you file your application you get a date stamp. Your visa should be valid at this date or you might need to pay a fine.

    • profile image

      MHD 2 years ago

      If my last entry date to country is different than the appointment paper what shall I do?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thank u for share

    • Travel Shepherd profile image

      Michael Shepherd 4 years ago from Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland

      Hmm, sounds much easier than I would expect from other countries that I am familiar with, especially Greece.

      Cheers,

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Am from Ghana and ı lıve ın Istanbul, ı want to get the resıdence permıt but ıt seems they don't ıssue the resıdence permıt agaın someon should help me get thıs permıt.....

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm from IRAN and my family wants to come to turkey and live there.

      If I register my son in kindergarten, will it possible to get residence permit in turkey?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Leave Turkey for 24 hours and come back. You'll have another 3 months then :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We recently bought a villa in Didim and then went about getting a residence visa, we were given the name of a local guy who picked us up and took us to the local police station we filled in a couple of forms then walked 100 m

      etres to the local tax office,paid our fees and filled in another simple form, back to the police station, the policeman didn't speak any English hence the need for the local guy, he stamped our papers and told us to come back in 2 days, this all took 50 minutes and we collected our residence visas 2 days later.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @petermurray: Hi... Can you help... My visa is about to expire and I am looking to extend it... How much am I looking to pay for this? I only need to extend it for a few months...

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @webmiep lm: I have been living in Izmir since 2003

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm samuel from Nigeria serving presently in the Nigeria police I like to stay and work in turkey police and marry over there how do I get help for this I'm a gallant man indeed can handling any types of arms. this is my email. ssambrew@yahoo.com.

    • profile image

      gracielapischner 5 years ago

      istanbul is the best city and where i like to work

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      hi i am saleem i want to come in turkey for study and working can someone guide me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: How can help me if i am living Residence in Romania But from Pakistan . I want to make business there in istanbul so for that i need long term visa or Residence permit Kindly guide me . what i ve to do if i am out of turkey and how much it cost me with including ur fees . Best Regards . My E mail address is aarianrais@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, I am still legaly married in my country and because of this i can not get marry with my turkish boyfriend. I am 2 months pregnat and my question is : after my child is born can I apply to for permit resident so i can stay legaly in turkey and been able to work?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I can help everyone who wants to get residence permit in Turkey, I can get it in 2 days max. Pls contact me from this number : 00 90 531 426 80 24

    • webmiep lm profile image

      webmiep lm 5 years ago

      A very useful lense aout Turkey. My husband and I are preparing to move to Fethiye. Where in Turkey do you live?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      How does someone get an e-appointment for residency in Istanbul when the appointment system says it is FULL till August? As of today, we are at our last day on our visitor's visa in Istanbul. I went to the Polis department in Aksaray where you are supposed to apply for residency and they gave me a web address to log in and schedule an e-appointment but its full. Is this a joke or what? OKAY GUYS, IS THERE ANOTHER WAY AROUND THIS? IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO GET RESIDENCY THAN GOING THROUGH THE E-SYSTEM?

      If there is any kind of help you can provide would be excellent with applying for residency... where would we go other than the polis department in Fatih? We are staying in Aksaray.

      If you have a contact or know someone please let me know. I'll post these same questions on the website.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Right guys - here is an update........

      Our local Yabanci Polis (YB) say that is it NOT possible you cannot cancel your permit. The head of the Mugla YB (Mehmet Akif) say thet it is NOT possible. The Director of YB for Turkey (Semra no sirname) say that you CANNOT CANCEL your permit.

      Our lawyer has done some asking and says that it is possible BUT we can only canel in Fethiye not in any other region as this was where tohe permit was issued!

      Result so far - WHO KNOWS!!!!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      can i still get a tourist visa in turkey even i stayed there already for 3 months in a year?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I went to Turkey and my 90 day visa was about to expire, ı booked the appoinement for the residency permit which ıs ın june, but there was an emergency and I had to return to the uk before the appointment date.I am going back to Turkey in July, will I have problems? (I still have my printed out appoinment documents)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      If i have a residence permit do i still need to have a visa? if i go out of Turkey and come back after the holidays

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Can anyone help me please. I am currently visiting my office in Istanbul every month for 3 weeks at a time , returning home to the UK for a week per month. I will do this for 2012. What sort of Visa do I require? I am living in a Hotel so have no fixed address as such and I am paid in the UK

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      How does one go about changing from a student visa to a work visa if you are in Istanbul currently? Help!!

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @anonymous: Hi Lara,

      One of the options on the forms for applying for residency is to cancel an existing permit, so visit the foreigner's department to do this and then they will probably give you something to take the SGK to leave their system.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Any body any idea how we cancel a residency permit - we are planning to leave and do not want to risk being charged for SGK payments........

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @Armagan: Yes see my lens about Living in Turkey : Housing

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @anonymous: Hi Kelly, in the past you could renew every 3 months by exiting and re-entering Turkey, but the rules have changed. So when you arrive in July you will probably get a tourist visa allowing you to stay for 90 days within 180 days with multiple entries. To stay longer you will need to apply for a residence permit before your visa expires.

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @anonymous: Hi Claire, when you arrive in Turkey, open a bank account in your name (you will probably need to get a tax number first) and deposit as much money as you can into it (you need to show at least 900 USD per year) and then get a bank printout. If you were married, you would need to show your partner's bank account AND your translated marriage certificate.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i would like the same info as claire, below, really? I am moving to turkey in july but returning to britain in September for one month, i am not sure if i didn't get my residency permit until september would i be allowed back into Turkey. I am a little confused about the tourist visa, it lasts 3 months, then can we just renew?

      any help would be appreciated :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      can anyone advise please. i am moving in May to Turkey and will apply for residency. As I am not married but will live with my Turkish partner, he wants to support me and I am confused as to whether he can do this wthout being married yet. I have funds to pay for the permit but do not know if he is allowed to support my stay? can anyone help with this as I cannot find more information.

    • profile image

      Armagan 5 years ago

      A property in Turkey can bring a lot of benefits in these kind of suitations.

      http://www.squidoo.com/istanbul-property2

    • DonD LM profile image

      DonD LM 5 years ago

      Excellent info on how to get a residence permit in Turkey. I enjoyed reading your lense.

    • jackscott lm profile image

      jackscott lm 5 years ago

      Excellent advice. We live in Turkey and are residents. The rules seem to change year on year. The latest change (soon to be implemented, I understand) is that visitors entering on a tourist visa will only be able to stay for 90 days within any 180 period. Effectively this means that people who visit Turkey frequently (those with holiday homes here, eg) will have to apply for residency.

    • petermurray profile image
      Author

      Peter Murray 5 years ago from Izmir, Turkey

      @TeacherSerenia: My wife is a kiwi. Like most kiwis we like to travel and Turkey is close to Europe but at the same time has a wonderful different culture, friendly people and amazing food as well as many business opportunities.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

      I am very curious as to why you are living in Turkey? Are you married to a Turkish citizen? IF yes then of course you would move to Turkey. If not then, is your wife a kiwi like youtself. If that is the case then WHY did you choose to move to Turkey? I emigrated from NZ to Canada because I married a Canadian citizen.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      SUPER Useful Lens!

    • suneclipsea profile image

      suneclipsea 5 years ago

      Do you have the same info but about Spain?

    • trustytraveltip1 profile image

      trustytraveltip1 6 years ago

      Great lens-getting a Turkish residency permit is a real challenge unassisted. Very informative. Come and checkout our pages about Turkey too!

    • sirkeystone lm profile image

      sirkeystone lm 6 years ago

      Very interesting. I have never been outside of the US and Canada, but I have been thinking of going to Brazil or certain places in Europe or Southern Russia. Turkey has been an interest too. Thanks for putting this information together.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      interesting and informative lens.