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Turkish Residence Permit tips for Newbies and Veterans

24th November 2015

The Turkish Residence permit can be a daunting, troublesome experience for many foreigners in Turkey, However the new online system has improved the procedure quite dramatically. 

If the new online form still makes you anxious or you’re unsure which documents you need to present – whatever your woes, we hope to cover most of them in the guide below.

1. Residence Permit Types

Residence permits consist of the following types:-

a) » short-term residence permit;
b) » family residence permit; 

c) » student residence permit; 

ç) » long-term residence permit; 

d) » humanitarian residence permit; (we will not be discussing these permit   types)

e) » victim of human trafficking residence permit. (we will not be discussing these permit types)

All applications must be made online to this address:

If you are applying for a first time: short-term residence permit, family residence permit, long-term residence permit or student residence permit, you will need to visit the migration department in person.

 (attend an interview - You may select an appointment day/time from the e-ikamet website)

If you are applying for an extension of a short-term residence permit, family residence permit, or student residence permit you can send your documents via post.

2. Insurance

Turkish Health insurance is mandatory requirement for those under 65 for the residence permit application – and for some applicants applying for a Long-term permit, some district migration departments are requesting health insurance from those over 65 years old!

Yes that’s correct, according to central migration management even though health insurance is not required for this age group, district offices have the power to request whatever documents they deem necessary to complete your application.

Note - If applying for a first time application, we advise you to purchase your insurance after you book your appointment, then you may purchase the insurance for the date you specified on your online application form (if the date is not exact don't panic, it's not essential)

Another point: Your residence permit can only be granted for the duration of your health insurance validity, so if you want a 1 year permit, but your insurance has 6 months left, you won't be granted a full year.

Please also note: It must be compliant with the residence permit, as not all policies meet the requirements of the residence permit.

Contact us here if you need to ask about residence permit insurance.

3. Required Documents

“What are the required documents?” We are asked this question every day, the fact is each applicant is in effect individual and it’s very difficult to list required documents for every application, it’s true there are always the standard stuff like: Health Insurance, Application forms, Passports, *permit copies, *entry visa, proof of address and finances etc.

But ultimately to make a successful application, your circumstances must be assessed, as some people won't always need to submit the same documents as the next guy.

Your: nationality, permit type, property status, whether your married to a Turkish national, and reason for permit are just a few variations that will all need to be considered.

Don't assume what your mate had to provide will necessarily be the same. If you’re unsure speak to the authorities or the migration call center on 157 or engage professional assistance.

4. Istanbul Appointment

Regardless of which city or province you reside in everyone has to make an online application, and as many people will know who are trying to make an online appointment for Istanbul – All appointments are full. (Extension applications are unaffected)

For the unfortunate many, the Istanbul migration department are now refusing walk-ins who can’t get an online appointment, and are instead directing them back to the online system.

You have the painstaking task of checking the online system every minute of every day to see if any appointments become available – appointments are cleared daily i.e people who don’t turn up, incorrect appointments etc, so there is hope.

But you have to be quick. You’ll also have an extra 10 days after your visa expires to get an appointment, this is known as a “visa exemption period” and if you book the appointment before your visa expires or during the 10 day exemption period, you don't need to worry about an illegal stay.
Note; Don’t wait till the last minute, start making your appointment as early as possible. You may engage our professional service if you can’t make the application online.
 (see 15.)
Please note: You can not make the application in another city other than the one you reside in.

5. Online Form

The online form may appear confusing or intimidating to some, but as long as the compulsory questions are filled in (the red ones) you will be fine. If you are unsure about how to answer the questions see point 12. below.

6. Waiting Times

“How long to get an appointment”, “How long until I get my residency card” - Depending on your location in Turkey this can be around 2-3 months from start to finish.

If we average around 2-4 weeks to get your appointment and a further 4-8 weeks to receive your permit. Or two – three months to get an appointment if you live in Istanbul and a further 3-6 weeks to receive the card. These are only averages, it depends on the permit type, your location and how busy the migration depart are at the time you applied.

Note; You will receive a text message informing in Turkish your permit has been dispatched and you may monitor the cargo delivery of your permit.
Note; The official given time after the submission of an application is up to 90 days, if this time has passed and no card has been received, please contact your local migration department.

7. Restrictions

Residence permit Restrictions – A 12 month short-term residence permit, and student permit will be restricted to 120 days leave from Turkey. A 2 year family permit will be 180 day restriction leave from Turkey. And a *permanent residence permit will be restriction of 1 year from Turkey. (*for reasons other than health, education and compulsory public service)
According to officials, these permits may be cancelled if you spend more than this amount of time abroad. If you break these restrictions, please speak to your local migration department.

8. The foreigner’s stay of purpose;
All applicants must select at least one reason for staying in Turkey. Your required documents will depend on which option relates to your purpose.

1. Foreigners to arrive in order to conduct scientific research.

2. Foreigners owning immovable property in Turkey  (Most popular.)
3. Foreigners to establish business or commercial connections.

4. Foreigners to participate in on-the-job training programs.

5. Foreigners to arrive in order to attend educational or similar programs as part of student exchange programs or agreements to which Republic of Turkey is a party to.

6. .Foreigners to stay for tourism purposes  (Most popular)

7. Foreigners intending to receive medical treatment, provided that they do not have a disease posing a public health threat.

8. Foreigners applying within six months upon graduation from a higher education program in Turkey.

9. Foreigners to attend an education program, research, internship or, a course by way of a public agency.

10. Foreigners to attend a Turkish language course.

11. Foreigners to transfer from a family residence permit.

12. Foreigners required to stay in Turkey pursuant to a request or a decision of judicial or administrative authorities.

9. Leaving the Country

Please see restrictions point 7. If you want to leave Turkey whilst your residence permit application is being processed you are allowed 15 days. Please visit your local migration department and speak to the office administration department.

They will give you a stamped application form that is valid for 1 year, using this form you can exit and enter Turkey. Please also retain proof that you paid your permit fees.

10. Inconsistency

Inconsistencies between migration departments are still rife. These inconsistences have significantly improved, however some district offices will implement procedures that others simply refuse too.

An example of this includes whether or not one must apply for a first time permit or extension of a permit when a passport has been renewed. Or some will issue a ‘temporary foreigners identity number’, whilst others will have never heard of this.

Some will enforce health insurance for long term permits over the age of 65, others won't. Always check with your own district migration department if you are unsure of anything.

11. Sending your Documents

When you make an extension application online you may send your documents within 5 days. You do not need to send original passport or permits, or any official documents, as they will not be returned.

Please send color copies. We advise you to send cargo via registered PTT, as some (not all) migration offices have refused and returned cargo other than PTT.

12. Still Unsure?

If you are unsure about anything and need help you may consult 157 or from abroad dial this number
+90 312 157 11 22. The Directorate General of Migration Management recently launched it's new Communication Center For Foreigners and the new centre will act as a 'helpline' for foreigners with migration issues.
You may also engage professional assistance.

13. FEES

Fees may be paid before your appointment or at the time of your appointment. (the officer will instruct you where to pay your fees)
Residence permit fees may be made to the following banks; TC Ziraat Bank, Halk Bank, Vakıflar Bank or directly to the tax office.
You will need a Turkish tax number, and passport to pay your fees.

Residence permit fees for 2015 consist of a) Residence permit card 55 TL b) Residence permit tax – Depending on your nationality you will need to pay a fee. Please see link for fee amounts here.

14. Making Mistakes

Making a mistake on your application form, it happens, and not the end of the world. If this is an extension simply re-do the application from scratch. If it’s a first-time application you may explain the mistakes at the point of interview. However, check to make sure the officer corrects these errors.

15. Getting Professional Help

If you need assistance with your application YellAli provides a professional service for the residence permit application, including assisting you obtain all the required documentation to complete a successful application.

You will be advised on the appointment and what you must present, and step by step assistance throughout the whole application process from a dedicated legal consultant. Please contact us here.

We can also help with health insurance & paying the residence permit fees, answering questions and general migration formalities of Turkey.

16. Things to Consider
- The administration may claim additional data and documents for all residence permit applications.

- An application for residence permit by the foreigner in person is essential.

- In the cases that the passport is not regulated in Latin letters, translation by a sworn translator or approved by the competent authorities shall be added to the reference.

17. I want to live part-time in Turkey, part-time abroad

You may apply for a short-term residence permit for up to 12 months, meaning if you wanted 1 month and anything up to 12 months you can apply. If for example, you only wanted to spend 6 months in Turkey you may enter with an entry visa and apply for a residence permit for the remaining months.

For example - 90/180 days entry visa – depending on your nationality you can stay in Turkey on an entry visa and apply for a residence permit. Please note; Your required documents will be the same i.e health insurance etc

Up Next week - What does having a permit allow you to do?

For Turkish Residence Permit Health Insurance, see below link

Turkish Residence Permit

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