Turkey: Residence And Work Permits For Foreigners In Turkey

Last Updated: 12 June 2017
Article by Irmak Dirik, Sezin Akoglu Duzenli and Melis Buhan

The Law regarding Foreigners and International Protection (Law No: 6458) has been published on the  Official Gazette dated April 11, 2013 and numbered 28615. The purpose of the law is to regulate the  principles and procedures regarding the residence permits to be granted to the foreigners, visa  requirements and the scope and implementation of the protection to be provided to foreigners who  seek protection from Turkey.

As per Article 11 of the Law regarding Foreigners and International Protection, foreigners  intending to stay in Turkey up to 90 days shall obtain a visa stating the purpose of the stay. Such  visa shall be issued by the consulates of the Republic of Turkey in their country or legal  residence. The period of stay in Turkey provided by the visa or visa exemption shall not exceed 90  days within each period of 180 days.

Moreover, further to Article 19 of the Law regarding Foreigners and International Protection,  foreigners who intend to stay in Turkey beyond the visa or visa exemption period or more than 90  days are obliged to obtain a residence permit to stay in Turkey. The residence permit shall become  invalid if it is not used for the period of 6 months.

Therefore, in case a foreigner intends to stay in Turkey more than 90 days within a period of 180  days, such foreigner is required to obtain a residence permit from the competent authority in  Turkey. Otherwise, administrative fines and other sanctions stipulated under the Law  regarding  Foreigners and International Protection will be in question depending on the conditions of each  violation.

Residence permit applications shall be made to the consulates of the Republic of Turkey in the  country of nationality or legal residence of the foreigner. The evaluation of the relevant  residence permit application shall be concluded no later than 90 days.

On the other hand, certain types of residence permit applications listed under the Law regarding  Foreigners and International Protection may be filed within Turkey such as long term residence  permits and student residence permits.

With respect to the residence permit applications to  be made in Turkey, an online appointment  shall be taken by the foreigner in order to apply to the authorized foreigners department of the  Police Headquarters. Accordingly, the application shall be evaluated once the required documents  are fully submitted to the relevant foreigners department.

Kindly note that further to the Law regarding Foreigners  and International Protection,  governorates are authorized to refuse the residence permit applications filed in Turkey. However,  currently in practice the General Directorate of Immigration Management evaluates the applications.  Refusal, non-renewal or cancellation of the application shall be notified to the foreigner or  his/her legal representative.

As per Article 27 of the Law regarding Foreigners and International Protection, a valid work permit  as well as Work Permit Exemption Confirmation Document shall be considered as a legal residence  permit.

The principles and procedures regarding the work permits of the foreigners are regulated under the  International Labour Force (Law no: 6735) (the "Law") which is published on the Official Gazette  dated August  13, 2016 and numbered 29800. This Law has abolished the Law Regarding Work Permits of  the Foreigners (Law no: 4817). Although, the principles and procedures regarding the work permits  in Turkey are changed in 2016, such changes do not restructure the work permit procedures.

This Law covers real or legal entities who employ foreigners and also foreigners who work or  applies to work in Turkey, who receive or apply to receive vocational training from an employer in  Turkey, who want to work as a trainee and lastly who provide temporary services in  Turkey. Work  permit exemptions are also covered by this Law.

Further to Article 4 of the Law, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (the "Ministry") is  authorized to determine  a policy in relation to the international work force by considering the  decisions of the International Labour Policy Advisory Board.

International labour policy shall be determined by considering certain conditions such as  developments in employment, variations in the sectoral and economic conditions, development plans,  economic, social and cultural relations with the country of nationality of the relevant foreigner  and reasons of demand for the employment of a foreigner instead of a Turkish citizen.

Work permit applications may be submitted directly to the Ministry or to the Turkish diplomatic  representatives of Turkey in the foreigner's country of origin or country of legal permanent  residence. Work permit applications may also be submitted by the authorized intermediary firm.

Work permit applications in Turkey shall be made electronically and the required documents such as  the application form shall be uploaded to the network of the Ministry. Once the electronic  application is completed, the hard copies of the required documents shall be submitted to the  Ministry within 6 business days following the electronic application date.

Applications regarding the renewal of work permits can be made within 60 days before the expiration  date of the work permit. Any renewal applications submitted after the expiration date shall be  rejected.

If the Ministry ascertains any outstanding document, the application shall be postponed and such  postponement shall not exceed 30 days except the force majeure. If the outstanding documents are  not provided within the postponement period shall be rejected. The Ministry shall conclude the work  permit applications in due form within  30 (thirty) days as of the date of the application,  provided that all the application documents are complete.

As per Article 8 of the Law, foreigners who will work in health and education services that  requires professional competency shall obtain a preliminary permit.

There are certain types of work permits are regulated under the Law: (i) definite term work  permits, (ii) indefinite term work permits and (iii) independent type of work permits.

Work permit for a definite period shall be valid for one year at the most. During the evaluation,  the Ministry shall consider the duration of residence permit and the employment contract in  addition to the situation of the market, developments in the labour sector, sectorial and economic  conjuncture changes.

Moreover, the work permit may be renewed for maximum two years in the first renewal application and  for maximum three years in the following renewal applications.

Foreigners who have obtained long term residence permit  or who have legally worked for eight years  in total may apply for work permit with indefinite term.

Independent type of work permits applications are  evaluated within the scope of international  labour policy by considering certain conditions such as foreigner's education level, occupational  experience, contribution in science and technology, the impact of foreigner's operations in Turkey  or investment on the national economy and employment.

Additionally, a) managers of the limited companies who also have the shareholder status, b) board  members of the joint stock companies who also have the shareholder  status, c) manager shareholders of the commandite companies,  may work by obtaining  work permit.

In addition to above, a Turquoise Card is provided to the foreigners whose applications are  approved in accordance with the recommendations of the International Labour Policy Advisory Board  and the procedures and principles determined by the Ministry by considering foreigner's education  level, occupational experience, contribution in science and technology, the impact of foreigner's  operations in Turkey or investment on the national economy and employment.

Residence permit does not grant right to work in Turkey. On the other hand, work permits are also  considered as residence permits.

Lastly, work permit exemptions, exceptions for work permit applications, foreigners who are  included in the scope of international protection and foreign students are also specifically  stipulated under the Law.

New regulations specifying certain provisions are expected to be issued in the near future.

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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