Turkey’s Residence Permit System for Foreigners
Turkey has a complex residence permit policy that is designed to attract foreign investment and talent, while also maintaining control on immigration and avoiding irregular migration.
The first step for obtaining a residence permit in Turkey is to apply for a short-term "tourist visa", which allows individuals to stay in the country for up to 90 days. The tourist visa can be relatively easily obtained from Turkish embassies or consulates abroad, and it is not necessary to have a specific reason for visiting Turkey. However, for citizensh of certain countries Turkey implements are stricter visa policy with thougher inspections, such as Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan countries.
Once in Turkey, individuals can apply for a short-term residence permit, which is usually given up to one year and can be renewed annually. The process for obtaining this permit is more complex, and requires individuals to provide a variety of documents, including their passport and ID documents, proof of justification for the stay, title deeds showing property ownership in Turkey, rental contract, proof of employment or business ownership, private health insurance policy, as well as a criminal background check.
In addition to traditional residence permits, Turkey also offers special residence permits for specific categories of individuals, such as students, businesspersons, and highly-skilled workers. These permits have more relaxed requirements and allow individuals to stay in the country for longer periods of time. However, for benefiting from these provisions application must be made carefully and with certain documents.
Alongside the individual residence permits, Turkey grants a "family residence permit" to certain individuals who are living or working in Turkey, as to meet some certain conditions.
Turkey also has a "Golden Visa Programme", which grants residence permits and citizenship to individuals who make significant investments in the country, such as purchasing real estate or investing in a Turkish company. This program is intended to attract foreign investment and has been successful in attracting wealthy individuals from around the world.
As of January 2023, over one-and-a-half million foreigner is living in Turkey with a residence permit. This figure is excluding three-and-a-half million Syrians who have fled their own country from Asad regimes brutal war, and who are under temporary protection in Turkey.
Overall, Turkey's residence permit policy is designed to be flexible and accommodating to meet the needs of different individuals and their reasons for coming to Turkey. While the process can be complex and time-consuming, those who are able to navigate the bureaucracy and provide the necessary documents will find that Turkey is a welcoming and prosperous country with a rich culture and history.
For further infomation and for getting help from our experts to apply for a legal residence in Turkey please consult us.
by Bünyamin ESEN, Senior Investment Consultant & Founding Partner