Turkey: Procedures Regarding The Application To Residence Permits By Foreigners In Turkey

Last Updated: 2 July 2015
Article by Ali Yurtsever

I. OVERVIEW

The entry of foreigners into Turkey, visa requirements, principles and procedures of the scope and application of international protection, regulations and novelties on establishment, duties and the mandate of General Directorate of Immigration Management ("General Directorate") is regulated by the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 that was published on April 11, 2013. The Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 ("the Law") has entered into force on April 11, 2014 and has abrogated the formal Law on Residence and Travels of Foreigners in Turkey No. 5683 by entering into force. In accordance with the article 16 of the above mentioned law, a foreign citizen entering into Turkey with a valid visa (please check http://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa for details); may then apply for a temporary residence permit in order to extend his/her stay in Turkey.

Accordingly, following valid entry into Turkey, foreigners who wish to extend their stay in Turkey may apply for a "temporary residence permit". Turkey issues tourist purpose residence permits (subject to the discretion of the police departments) for periods between three (3) to twelve (12) months (only issued for one time within one calendar year). [Temporary residence permits are provided between six (6) to twelve (12) months to citizens of A Group countries (the list is updated from time to time but these countries generally includes: U.S.A., Denmark, Spain, Canada, Greece, South Korea, Lithuania, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Luxemburg, Ireland, Mexico, Letonia, Australia, France, Switzerland, Norway, Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia, Malta, Belgium, U.K., Japan, New Zeeland, Iceland, Slovenia, Cyprus) and three (3) to six (6) months to citizens all other countries that constitute B Group.]

II. TYPES OF RESIDENCE PERMITS

a. Overview

In accordance with the Article 30 of the Law, there are four (4) main types of residence permits, depending on the purpose of the visit of the foreign person; short-term residence permit, family residence permit, student residence permit and indefinite residence permit. It should also be noted that there are different residence permits available under these four main categories.

b. Short-Term Residence Permits

A short-term residency permit is issued for a duration of 12 months and may be granted for touristic or educational purposes or may be granted to those foreigners who own immovable property in Turkey or who wish to establish business in Turkey. According to the new Law, holders of such short-term residency permit are required not to leave Turkey for longer than 120 days within the last year of the residence term to be renewed. Accordingly, the types of short-term residence permits and the required documents for application are as noted below:

i. Visiting for Scientific Research Purposes

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • An official document stating the nature, time and place of the scientific research to be conducted
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

ii. Foreigners Who Own Real Estate Property In Turkey

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • An official document proving the ownership of the real estate
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

iii. Establishing a Business Connection or a Business

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • An invitation letter or a similar document from those who the foreigner will meet in Turkey for business purposes
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

iv. Attending to In-Service Training Programmes

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Document obtained from the public institutions showing the place and duration of the training programme to be attended
  • If the applicant is a minor, a Deed of Consent from the mother/father or the legal guardian of the applicant and a Letter of Undertaking from a real person or a legal entity in Turkey as noted at the Deed of Consent
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

v. Residence Permit for Touristic Purposes

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Document showing the travel and accommodation plans
  • If the applicant is a minor, a Deed of Consent from the mother/father or the legal guardian of the applicant and a Letter of Undertaking from a real person or a legal entity in Turkey as noted at the Deed of Consent
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

vi. Visiting for Health Treatment Purposes (expect those carrying an infectious disease)

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Document obtained from the relevant public or private hospital proving that the registration of the applicant to the Hospital where the applicant will be treated has been finalized and that the treatment has commenced
  • If the applicant is a minor, a Deed of Consent from the mother/father or the legal guardian of the applicant and a Letter of Undertaking from a real person or a legal entity in Turkey as noted at the Deed of Consent
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

vii. Those Required to Stay In Turkey as per an Administrative or a Judicial Request or Decision

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Document obtained from administrative or judicial authorities showing that the applicant is required to stay in Turkey
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

viii. Attending to Turkish Language Courses

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Document obtained from the relevant institution authorized give Turkish language courses showing the education the applicant will receive.
  • If the applicant is a minor, a Deed of Consent from the mother/father or the legal guardian of the applicant and a Letter of Undertaking from a real person or a legal entity in Turkey as noted at the Deed of Consent
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

ix. Conducting Research, Internship and Attending to Courses in Turkey via Public Institutions

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Document obtained from the relevant institution showing the time and duration of the programme to be attended.
  • If the applicant is a minor, a Deed of Consent from the mother/father or the legal guardian of the applicant and a Letter of Undertaking from a real person or a legal entity in Turkey as noted at the Deed of Consent
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

x. Foreigners who Complete Their Master's Degree in Turkey and who Applies Within Six Months from the Date of their Graduation (this is a one-time residence permit and cannot be extended)

  • Residence Permit Application Form
  • Copy of Passport or a similar document
  • Valid Visa obtained for the purposes
  • Four (4) photographs
  • Declaration of financial status (documents proving the applicant is the adequate finances to reside in Turkey for the duration of visit)
  • Diploma or Temporary Graduation certificate
  • Valid health insurance (obtained in Turkey)

c. Student Residence Permits

Students who will be studying in Turkey first shall obtain student visas for the duration of their academic stay. According to Turkish regulations, all international students and exchange students who will study in Turkey are also required to apply for a residence permit within the first month of their arrival into Turkey. Students who are not living on education facilities campuses are obliged to declare their residential addresses to the police. The procedure is very similar to the one outlined above for tourist purpose application. Student Residence Permits are issued for one year, regardless of the duration of the study, and can be renewed each year once it expires, as long as the applicant continues to study in Turkey.

d. Family Residence Permits

Certain family members of the foreigners who are holders of residence permits may be issued a family residence permit in accordance with Article 34 of the new Law. The original permit holder is called the "sponsor" and accordingly, the spouse and children under the age 18 of the foreigner may be granted with residence permit in connection to the residence permit of the sponsor under certain conditions. Please note that if one of the parents of the child is residing outside of Turkey or if he/she is not immigrating into Turkey along with the family, the consent of that parent is required in order to issue a residence permit to the child.

In order to apply for a family residence permit, the sponsor must be residing in Turkey for at least 1 year and must have a monthly income of at least 1/3 of the minimum wage applicable in Turkey at the date of application per each family member. An insurance coverage that covers all of the applying family members is also required. It should also be noted that the sponsor will also be required to present a criminal record obtained from the relevant authorities at his/her home country, proving the he/she was not convicted of any crime regarding domestic abuse within the last five (5) years.

Such family residence permits are issued for the duration of the sponsor's residence permit and in any event cannot exceed 2 years. Such family residence permits allows children under the age of 18 to attend to primary and middle schools without the obligation to obtain a further student residence permit. Moreover, children aged 18 or older who have been residing in Turkey for at least three years with a family residence permit will be eligible to convert such residence permit into a short-term residence permit upon request. However, please note that it will not be possible to apply for a family residence for children aged 18 or older. Instead they will have to apply for separate short-term residence permit applications for their own name.

e. Long-Term (Indefinite) Residence Permits

According to Article 42 of the new Law, foreigners who have continuously resided in Turkey for at least 8 years may be granted an indefinite residence permit upon the review and approval of the Ministry ıf Internal Affairs. In order to apply for such residence permit, the applicant foreigner must prove that he/she has been residing continuously in Turkey for at least 8 years, has not received any social benefits within the last 3 years, has adequate financial resources and income to support him/herself and family and has a valid health insurance.

Such permits are issued for an indefinite term and will bestow the rights and obligations of a Turkish citizen upon the holder of such permit. Accordingly, the holder of indefinite residence permits will have obligations such as to complete the compulsory military service, and the rights such as to elect and be elected.

III. APPLICATION PROCESS

a. Applications within Turkey

It should be noted that as of May 18, 2015, the application procedure for all of the above mentioned residence permits have been changed. Previously, all applications were made to the Security General Directorate and were processed by the local Police Directorates. Accordingly and as of May 18, 2015, a new governmental authority, the General Directorate of Immigration Administration has been established to take over such immigration. Therefore, starting from May 18, 2015, the General Directorate of Immigration Administration will take over the residence permit applications of foreigners instead of the relevant police directorates.

Accordingly, in order to apply for a residency permit; first an online application to the General Directorate of Immigration Administration shall be made and an appointment date for the application shall be reserved from the office where the foreigner is planning to stay during his/her residency in Turkey following entry into Turkey. The online application form will require the applicant to correctly enter the relevant information requested at the online application form such as name, birthdate, birth place, mother's and father's name, details of the health insurance obtained in Turkey and a digital copy of a photograph of the applicant shall be uploaded to the system (please note that the above mentioned items do not cover the full list of information requested at such application forms). Once the online application is completed, the system will assign an application date, and the foreigner will be required to present him/herself to the relevant Immigration Administration at such date along with all the required documents. Once the application is completed the permit is usually issued within 4-5 working days after the actual appointment date and the issued permit will be couriered to the designated address of the foreigner.

b. Applications from Abroad Through Consulates

It should also be noted that Article 21 of the new Law allows for applications for residence permits from abroad to the Turkish Consulates located at the home country of the applicant or at the country where the applicant legally resides. Accordingly, the applicants may apply directly for a residency permits through relevant Turkish Consulates, without the need to apply for a visa and enter into Turkey first. However, the infrastructure at the Consulates for such application system is not yet developed and as noted above, the secondary regulations are not yet available. Hence for the time being, the consulates are not issuing residence permits and until such regulations are implemented, the residence permit applications will be submitted to and issued by the relevant Immigration Administrations locally.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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