RESIDENCE PERMIT FOR FOREIGNERS

6 different types of residence permits are regulated in Turkish law for foreigners who want to stay in Turkey for various purposes such as working, studying, starting a business, diplomatic asylum, traveling and many more. A foreigner who wants to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days is required to have a residence permit. Likewise, a foreigner who is not a Turkish citizen must obtain a residence permit to stay in Turkey after the visa or visa exemption period expires.

In a nutshell it is legally obligatory to obtain a residence permit for the foreigner:

  • who will stay in Turkey for more than 90 days or,
  • who will stay longer than the visa or visa exemption grants him/herself, for whatever reason.

In this bulletin, we will focus on the most frequently asked subjects about the residence permit that makes it legal for foreigners to stay in Turkey, the people who are required to obtain a residence permit, the applications, and procedures that these people should follow. 

Keywords: Residence permit, law of foreigners, immigration, residence permit extension, residence permit application, short-term residence permit, long-term residence permit, family residence permit,

  1. Types Of Residence Permits in Turkish Law

Residence permits are issued individually depending on the purpose of the foreigner’s stay in Turkey. 6 different types of residence permits are regulated in Turkish law. These are:

  • Short-term residence permit,
  • Long-term residence permit,
  • Family residence permit,
  • Student residence permit, 
  • Humanitarian residence permit,
  • Residence permits for victims of human trafficking.
  1. General Conditions Required to Apply for a Residence Permit

Depending on the duration of the residence permit applied for, the foreigner must have a passport or a document that replaces a passport with a validity of at least 60 days longer than the requested period.

The foreigner must declare that he/she has a sufficient and regular income and for some types of permits, it must be documented together with the amount. The condition can also be considered as fulfilled in cases where he/she has an immovable that generates income in Turkey instead of income, or he/she has enough money in his/her bank account to make a living in Turkey.

  1. Who is Not Required to Obtain a Residence Permit? (Who is Exempted from Residence Permit?)

Foreigners who come with a visa or visa exemption for up to 90 days can stay in Turkey without the need for a residence permit during the visa period or visa exemption.

  • Holders of a Stateless Person Identity Document are also not required to obtain a residence permit.
  • Foreigners who are exempted from residence permit under agreements to which the Republic of Turkey is a party,
  • those who are Turkish citizens by birth but lost their Turkish citizenship by renouncement of nationality and children who are processed with them, 
  • holders of an International Protection Applicant ID or holders of International Protection Status with ID are also exempt from residence permits.
  1. Does a Person with a Work Permit Also Need to Obtain a Residence Permit?

One of the most curious issues is whether a work permit will replace a residence permit. Let us immediately point out that the foreigner who has a work permit or benefits from a work permit exemption does not also need to obtain a residence permit. With this position, the foreigner will also have a residence permit without the need for any other action. However, this should not mean that the foreigner holding a residence permit also has a work permit.

Foreigners who are exempt from a work permit also do not need to obtain a residence permit. For instance, the exemption from the work permit of the foreign national directors of the joint stock companies who are not in Turkey means that they are also exempt from the residence permit.

One of the issues that should be noted here is that work permits issued to international protection applicants, conditional refugees and foreigners with temporary protection status do not replace residence permits.

  1. How to Apply for a Residence Permit?

Residence permit applications are originally made from abroad and, with exception, from Turkey. Applications start online through the e-residence system and are carried out with the delivery of the necessary documents to the competent authority. Applications to be made from Turkey are to the Provincial Directorates of Migration Management; Applications to be made from abroad are made to the Turkish foreign representatives by submitting the necessary documents.

Residence permit applications can be made by the foreigner in person or through his/her lawyer, whom he/she has given power of attorney. (As Solmaz Law and Consultancy Office, we provide the legal services they need in this process to our foreign clients who want to obtain a residence permit.)

The first step of residence permit applications is made online through the e-residence system. It is completed by submitting the necessary documents to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management on the appointment day determined over the internet.

During the application, the residence permit fee and the document fee must also be paid. Payments are made over the internet or from tax offices, cash desks of Treasury and Ministry of Finance or contractual bank counters under certain codes. If the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management accepts the residence permit application, a residence permit card is sent to the foreigner to certify the residence permit.

  1. What is a Short-Term Residence Permit?

A short-term residence permit is a type of residence permit issued to foreigners with certain conditions for a period of no more than 2 years. In practice, it is also seen that it is given for 1 year. The determination of this period is made by the competent authority.

For foreigners who do not work in Turkey but invest within the scope and amounts determined by the Presidency, a short-term residence permit can be issued for a maximum of 5 years. The foreign spouse of the foreign investor, or minor or dependent foreign child of their own or their spouse can also benefit from this right. In addition, citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus can also be granted a short-term residence permit for a maximum of 5 years.

  1. Who Can Apply for a Short-Term Residence Permit?

To obtain a short-term residence permit, the foreigner must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  • Coming for scientific research purposes,
  • Owning immovable property in Turkey,
  • Establishing a commercial connection or business,
  • Participating in in-service training programs, 
  • Coming for educational or similar purposes within the framework of agreements or student exchange programs to which the Republic of Turkey is a party,
  • Staying for tourism purposes,
  • Being treated provided that they do not have one of the diseases that are considered a threat to public health,
  • Needing to stay in Turkey depending on the request or decision of the judicial or administrative authorities,
  • Changing from family residence permit to short-term residence permit,
  • Attending Turkish language courses, 
  • Participating in education, research, internships, and courses in Turkey through public institutions,
  • Applying within six months from the date of graduation for those who have completed their higher education in Turkey,
  • Making investments within the scope and amount to be determined by the President for those who do not work in Turkey and their foreign spouse, or minor or dependent foreign child of their own or their spouse,
  • Citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
  1. Documents Required for Applying for a Short-Term Residence Permit
  • Residence permit application form.
  • Original and a copy of passport or substitute document​.
  • 4 biometric photos.
  • Supporting information and documents related to the purpose of stay in Turkey.
  • If requested, a document showing the judicial record issued by the competent authorities of the country in which he/she is a citizen or legally residing.
  • Address information to stay Turkey.
  • A declaration that having sufficient and regular income or assets during the stay.
  • Official document indicating that the residence belongs to the applicant.
  • Invitation letter or similar documents to be received from persons or companies to be contacted.
  • Valid health insurance.

For detailed information about short-term residence permit, you can check our “HOW TO GET A SHORT-TERM RESIDENCE PERMIT?” themed bulletin.

  1. What is A Long-Term Residence Permit?

It is a type of residence permit given to foreigners who have stayed in Turkey for at least 8 years without interruption or who meet the conditions determined by the Ministry. A long-term residence permit holder receives the right to reside in a foreign country without a time limit. 

Holders of refugee, conditional refugee, and secondary protection status, as well as holders of humanitarian residence permits and temporary protection, are not entitled to a long-term residence permit.

Long-term residence permits are canceled if the foreigner stays abroad for more than 1 year without interruption for a reason other than education, health, or compulsory public service in the country of citizenship.

Except that the foreigner has stayed in Turkey for at least 8 years without interruption it is also required to, 

  • have not received outreach in the last three years,
  • have a sufficient and regular source of income to provide for him/herself or his/her family, if any,
  • have valid health insurance,
  • do not pose a threat to public order or public security.
  1. How to Apply for a Long-Term Residence Permit?

The foreigner who meets the conditions stated in Article 43 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection and which we have mentioned in the previous title, must submit the following documents to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management for long-term residence permit application:

  • Residence permit application form,
  • Original and copy of passport or substitute document,
  • Copy of previous residence permit document,
  • 4 biometric photos,
  • A document showing that the applicant has not received social assistance from public institutions and organizations in the last three years,
  • A declaration that having sufficient and regular income or assets during the stay,
  • Criminal record,
  • Valid health insurance.
  1. What is a Family Residence Permit?

It is a type of residence permit given to

  • Foreign wife, 
  • Minor foreign child of their own or their spouse,
  • Dependent foreign child of their own or their spouse 

of:

  • Turkish citizens,
  • Those who are Turkish citizens by birth but lost their Turkish citizenship by renouncement of nationality,
  • Foreigners and refugees who have one of the residence permits and holders of secondary protection status.

A family residence permit can be issued for a maximum of 3 years. In all circumstances, the duration of the family residence permit cannot be greater than the duration of the sponsor’s residence permit.

According to the law of the country of citizenship, a family residence permit is granted to only one of the spouses of a person who is married to more than one spouse. However, children who are from other spouses can also be granted a family residence permit.

In family residence permit requests, the following conditions are sought from the sponsor:

  • Staying in Turkey with a residence permit for at least one year 
  • Having accommodation conditions in accordance with general health and safety standards according to the population of the family and having health insurance covering all family members
  • Having a monthly income not less than a third of the minimum wage per family member, with a total income not less than the minimum wage 
  • As of the date of application, not being convicted of any of the offences against the family order in five years. 
  • Being registered in the address registration system

For those who have a residence permit or work permit for scientific research purposes, those who are Turkish citizens by birth but lost their Turkish citizenship by renouncement of nationality, or foreigners who are married to Turkish citizens, the condition of staying in Turkey with a residence permit for at least 1 year is not required.

The following conditions are sought for foreign spouses and children who will apply for a family residence permit to stay with the sponsor in Turkey: 

  • Providing information and documents indicating that the family has the conditions for obtaining a residence permit mentioned above.
  • Demonstrating that they live or intend to live with sponsors who meet the conditions.  
  • Not having married to obtain a family residence permit. 
  • Being over the age of eighteen for each of the spouses 

For refugees and subsidiary protection status holders in Turkey, the conditions sought under normal circumstances for a sponsor may not be required.

  1. How Soon Will the Residence Permit Application Process Be Completed?

It is finalized within 90 days at the latest after the documents required for the residence permit application is submitted to the competent authority. 

  1. How Long Should the Residence Permit Application Be Used?

If the residence permit is not used within 6 months, it becomes invalid. Therefore, it must be used within 6 months, otherwise the process will have to be started over the procedures will have to be repeated.

Foreigners who come to Turkey must register in the address registration system within 20 working days from the date of entry to the country.

Note: For detailed information on foreign investors obtaining a residence permit within the scope of business or business partnerships to be established in Turkey, you can look at our “INVESTMENT GUIDE IN TURKEY FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS”.

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

It is a legal obligation for foreigners to obtain a residence permit if they want to continue their business and private life in Turkey for a while or indefinitely. According to the purpose of the foreigner’s arrival and stay in Turkey, 6 different types of residence permits are regulated in Turkish law. Which type of residence permit is more advantageous varies according to the person. 

Foreigners can apply for residence permit in person or through their attorneys. As Solmaz Law and Consultancy team, we complete the residence and work permit application processes of our foreign clients as soon as possible without occupying their valuable time with formalities. Unfortunately, we often witness the victimization of foreign nationals by various intermediary institutions and individuals in the process of obtaining a residence permit, by issuing false documents and similar ways. In order not to experience such grievances, we warn you to work with experienced and reliable companies in this field.

Sincerely.

Solmaz Law and Consultancy Team.

REFERENCES

ERGİN, Hediye, 2017, Türk Hukukunda Yabancıların Çalışma İzinleri, Beta Yayıncılık, İstanbul, pp. 85-99.

ÇİÇEKLİ, Bülent, 2014, Yabancılar ve Mülteci Hukuku, Seçkin Yayıncılık, Ankara, pp. 95-103.

DOĞAN, Vahit, 2012, Türk Vatandaşlık Hukuku, Seçkin Yayıncılık, Ankara, pp. 87.

Foreigners and International Protection Law.

Turkish Citizenship Law.

<https://www.goc.gov.tr/ikamet-sss>.

<https://www.ailevecalisma.gov.tr/uigm/sikca-sorulan-sorular/#:~:text=%C3%87al%C4%B1%C5%9Fma%20izni%20ikamet%20izni%20say%C4%B1l%C4%B1r,uyar%C4%B1nca%20ikamet%20izni%20yerine%20ge%C3%A7er>.

<https://www.goc.gov.tr/ikamet-izni-cesitleri>.

<https://www.invest.gov.tr/tr/investmentguide/sayfalar/obtaining-a-residence-permit.aspx>.

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