How to apply for residency in Turkey
If you are planning to settle in Turkey as a long-term or short-term resident, there are requirements to obtain a Residency Permit that you have to follow. Carrying out the prior preparation for the application will make the granting of this permit much smoother and could also make the application time shorter. There are some pre-conditions to an application, and if you can show that you own property in Turkey, or that you have an investment in a business or employment-based scheme, this would be additional evidence for your application.
A Turkish Residency Permit is valid for two years, but it can be extended if you maintain the ownership of the investment in business interests.
Family members are also required to apply for the correct documentation to live in Turkey, in the form of a Family Residency Permit. If you already have a Residency Permit, this can be used as a point of reference when applying for Family Residency Permit.
Alternatively, if you have stayed in Turkey for at least 184 days in one year, and you can demonstrate that you have paid Residency Tax for that period, you are also eligible for a Residency Permit. However, you will still need to demonstrate that you are financially stable and able to support yourself and your dependents.
After staying in Turkey for over eight years on a legal residency basis, you can also apply for a long-term Residency Permit. The long-term Residency Permit will allow you to remain in the country indefinitely and will grant you enhanced rights to support your life in Turkey. To be successful in acquiring a long-term Residency Permit, you should not have received any type of government aid for the three years before the application is submitted. In addition, you should be able to prove that you have a clean criminal record.
However, if you forego the long-term legal Residency Permit, you can opt for a citizenship application after five years of legal residency. A citizenship application has the following requirements before approval may be considered:
provide proof of tangible ties to the country;
not convicted of any crimes;
not having any record of serious infectious disease
to have sufficient income to support yourself and your dependants
to be able to prove command of the spoken Turkish language in an interview
to prove financial independence, the foreign applicant should deposit a minimum of $500 in any local Turkish bank, and this should be valid for three years.
As mentioned, there are various categories of Residency Permits, all are laid down by the Turkish Immigration Department with detailed exact regulations on each section of the Turkish Government’s website. All applications for Residency Permits should be supported by documentary proof. This can be in the form of property ownership documents, an invitation to work, documents, or medical insurance certificates. Other documents applicable for a Residency Permit may include the following:
an authorised copy of a valid passport;
marriage certificate (where applicable);
proof of property purchase and ownership;
invitation to work letters;
health insurance certificates;
four passport photos (check the size and other requirements on the Immigration Department page of the Turkish Government website);
original and Copy of Birth Certificate; and
evidence of income to support self and dependents.
Types of Residency Permits
1. Short-term Residency Permit
If you wish to apply for a short-term Residency Permit in Turkey, you should have a valid reason; some of the common reasons include studies, tourism, business, or visiting through a company’s invitation. To support this, the Directorate of Immigration will request documentary proof, such as students, a letter of admission to the place of study.
Once a short-term Residency Permit is issued it remains valid for 24 months and is automatically invalid after six months if not used after the issue. The procedure for the application for a short-term Residency Permit starts with filling out the application form and providing the documents required. You should hold a valid Insurance Certificate for all applications to cover any medical emergencies. Extension of a short-term Permit is possible but should be made at least two months before the expiry date.
2. Long-term Residency Permit
There are currently almost six and a half thousand foreigners that have resided in Turkey for more than 8 years and that have applied for the Long-Term Residency Permit. These have all initially applied for the Short-Term Residency Permit, and then converted following the guidelines laid down by the Immigration Directorate. Long-Term Residency demands the same documentary evidence as Short-Term Residency, but as a place of residence has been established for this length of time, it should prove easier to supply.
Again, an application for a Long-Term Residency Permit still requires proof of a clean criminal record and the ability to continue to support both the applicant and all dependents. With this Permit, multiple privileges will be conferred on the Permit holder, such as the right to vote, to be elected, and a customs duty exemption for vehicle imports (amongst others).
If a Long-Term Residency Permit holder leaves the country for more than a year, the permit can be revoked. There are some extreme cases (health, study, public service) where this can be waived – again, reference should be made to specialist official sources to ensure that this is properly understood.
As with all applications, if the person is assessed as proving a threat to the public and security of the country, this Permit will be revoked. Revocation is authorised at the Governor level and is subject to appeal via Consulates.
3. Family Residency Permit
The Family Residency Permit may be available for all foreigners living in Turkey. The concept of citizenship for foreigners is based on those who have a valid long-term residency or citizenship status. Foreigners may have already qualified to legally stay in Turkey and would, therefore, like to invite their spouses and dependents to join them permanently.
4. Study-Internship Residency Permits
Foreign nationals who wish to study at an educational institution in Turkey should obtain enrolment letters from that institution. In this case, a foreign national who enrols in a learning institution on a Study Visa should obtain a Residency Permit in the region or province the institution is located. Any person above the age of eighteen, studying in Turkey as a foreigner, may apply for a Residency Permit. Upon validation of the documents of travel and country of origin, a Residency Permit for the period of study may be issued. After completion of the period of study, either a Residency Permit should be applied for, unless a period of internship will apply, in which case an Internship Residency Permit would be applicable.
5. Humanitarian Residency Permit
If you are in Turkey without an authentic visa or documents, you can apply for a Humanitarian Residency Permit. This is on condition that you are eligible for this category of Residency Permit and only if a deportation order has not been issued against you. This permit may be granted if you are escaping a country due to insecurity or emergency grounds, or you are subject to a deportation order and you are contesting that due to a valid risk to your life in the destination country.
6. Residency Permit for Victims of Human Trafficking
This is another type of Residency Permit available as an option for those foreigners who are categorised as victims of human trafficking. This Residency Permit can only be issued to a foreigner after proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the underlying circumstances relate to the description of human trafficking. It is also possible for the applicant to extend the permit for another 60 days, but it cannot exceed three years. However, in the first instance, it is issued for 30 days. The documents submitted for the other Residency Permits do not apply to the application for victims of human trafficking.