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Turkish work permit - why it is so important

3rd February 2014

Updated 13th March 2015

Foreigners who are working in Turkey, whether it be for a company or their own business, need to have an official work permit. Otherwise working without a work permit it is classed as 'working illegally'.

No legal rights

The results of working without a work permit mean you are not entitled to any legal or social security rights. Therefor you will not receive health or maternity insurance paid for by your employer. If an accident was to happen at work, you will not be compensated for any work accident or occupational hazards.

If there is an 'employer-employee disagreement' - You cannot apply to the court. If the employer choses to dismiss the employee without a work permit, they are not eligible to any severance pay.

Also there is no guarantee that your salary will be paid to you.

What happens if you are found to be working with no permit?

Working in Turkey without a work permit is a very serious issue.  If a foreign person is working illegally in Turkey then the consequences for this is deportation or in some cases they will incur a fine or both.

The authorities take a very dim view on those working illegally.  The police and Jandarma have the power to arrest those working illegally and put them into prison and then deport them back to their homeland.

Those who have been deported will not be able to return to Turkey for 8 years. Further to this they will never be granted a residence permit to live in Turkey.

How much are the fines?

For foreigners who work without a work permit - 835TL

For the foreigners who work independently without a work permit - 3.350 TL

In case of repetition, administrative fines will be doubled.

For those who employ foreigners without a work permit, the fine per foreigner is - 8.381 TL

Make sure you are working legally

It is very important for a person working in Turkey to know they have obtained a work permit from the employer. A foreigners work permit will act a a residence permit.

There are four main working permits issued to foreigners:

Work permits for a definite period of time

This permit is typically issued for the duration of one year. After this time it can be extended by up to three years providing it is for the same job with the same employer. It is then possible to extend this permit for a further three years, valid for work with any employer provided the profession remains the same.

Under certain conditions the spouse and children of a foreigner legally employed in Turkey will be entitled to the fixed term work permit. They must have lived together consistently for at least five years.

Working permission for an indefinite period of time

This type of permit may be granted to those foreigners who have been residing in Turkey legally and uninterruptedly for at least eight years or have completed a total working period of six years in Turkey.

Independent Work Permit

An independent work permit is available to foreigners setting up a business operation, and have also lived consistently in Turkey for at least five years. They need to show that their business will create employment opportunities or contribute to local economic development. If they qualify, a Certificate of Application for Independent Work Permit is issued. This is valid for three months, during which time the business is set up and the trade register record submitted to the department.

Exceptional Cases

There are exceptional cases whereby a foreigner is automatically eligible for a work permit. Those Foreigners who are married to Turkish citizens is classed as an exceptional case. There are are over ten exceptional circumstances, which can be seen here 

 What jobs can foreigners do in Turkey?

Those seeking work in Turkey and chose to work without a permit, need to be aware that even if they do find an employer that will hire them without a permit, spot visits by the police and Jandarma are carried out routinely. 

The results and sanctions of illegal employment in Turkey being as they are, it is advisable to acquire a work permit before starting your career in Turkey.


Allow an expert to complete the application on your behalf;If you have read all of the above information and would like assistance with your documentation, then allow YellAli to complete the application on your behalf. We offer this service to all foreigners in Turkey via our partner company 'Permit in Turkey'.  »Contact us:-


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