If you’re planning on making Turkey your home, you’ll need a residency permit. Once upon a time expats chose to leave and re-enter the country every 90 days, after their tourist permit ran out. This is no longer possible, however, with a change in law that says a tourist permit is valid for 90 days within a 180-day period, which makes having a residency permit in Turkey essential.
Good news for new overseas real estate buyers
The good news is that as of this year, international property buyers are automatically granted year-long residency permits instead of the three-month permits issued previously. The government has recognised the growing numbers of people buying property or villas in Turkey, even retiring abroad, and are trying to smooth the path towards allowing them to live in Turkey full time. Now that you have purchased that lovely villa in Turkey, lets take a look at how to get a residency permit:
How long do Turkish Residency Permits last for and how much do they cost?
Your first residency permit will be valid for a year. After this, it’s possible to apply for a five-year permit. When renewing, you’ll need to submit your application at least 14 days before your permit expires. Prices vary, depending on where you are and the length of time you’re applying for. It’s best to check with your local passport police. As a guide, a year-long permit is around 60 euros.
How to apply for a Turkish residency permit
You’ll find there are plenty of companies in your local area who will apply for a residency permit for you - for a fee, of course. However, if you know what you’re doing (and we’ll get to that in a minute) it’s perfectly possible to apply yourself. Read through our guide, compile the relevant paperwork and documents, set aside a few hours to visit the applicable government offices: job done.
You will need:
1. Six passport photos on a white background (we recommend taking at least eight - just in case).
2. Two copies of your TAPU (Turkish title deeds). Take the original along too, just in case someone asks to see it.
3. Two copies of your passport (the main photo page and the visa entry stamp page), plus the original.
4. Your tax number (if you don’t have a tax number you’ll need to visit your local tax office and obtain one).
5. Your residency book (if you’re reapplying).
6. An official residency folder. For this head to a stationer’s and ask for a folder for a residency application. It is just a plastic folder but you do need the specific one. Don’t ask us why!
7. A recent bank statement showing you have enough money to support yourself for the given period. This can be from your home country or from your Turkish bank account.
What to do
Please bear in mind that government offices close between midday and 13.30 and are closed weekends. Start as early as possible to avoid queuing.
1. Head to your local passport police
Take all the documents listed above along to your local passport police office. There, you’ll be presented with two forms: the Kaymakamlak Makamina, which gets stamped as you go from place to place; and the Yabancilar Tarafindan Verilecek Ikamet Beyannamasi, your residency permit declaration. This second form must be filled in by computer, not by hand.
Tell the office how long you wish to apply for and clarify the charges. Also, ask where you need to pay the fee for the residency book - normally at the post office (you’ll need to keep the receipt), but sometimes it is paid elsewhere.
2. Register at the Muhtar’s office
The muhtar is an old name for an elected head of a village - the equivalent to a mayor. The office will require two passport photos, your TAPU and a copy of your passport. They will register you to show you officially reside in the area. Some offices charge a small fee, but don’t bring it up unless they do.
3. Tax office
This is where you pay your residency fee. The fee is then registered against your tax number. You’ll need your tax number, the passport police forms and your passport. First you’ll need to visit a desk and register your fee, then take the slip you’re given to the cashier where you’ll pay. Make sure you keep the receipt.
4. Head to the Kaymakamlik
Take all your forms to the Kaymakamlik (governor's office) where they will be checked and you’ll be given a stamp.
5. Pay for your residency book
Hopefully the passport police will have explained where this can be paid at the start of proceedings.
6. Complete your residency declaration
Remember, the passport police won’t accept a handwritten declaration. You’ll need to find someone to type it up for you (plenty of local shops can do this) or you could pop home and do it yourself.
7. Take everything back to the passport police
Your plastic folder will now be brimming with all the important required documents and receipts. Head back to the passport police. They’ll check through everything and - fingers crossed - will accept your application. They will take your passport and previous residency book (if you are reapplying) and give you a day to return to collect your official permit.
It’s a good idea to ask them for a document you can use in lieu of your passport while you wait the required time. This is usually about two weeks.
With over 10 years of experience as international estate agents, we are constantly on the cusp of knowledge when it comes to Turkish residency permits and how to apply for one, if you have any queries or questions, don't hesitate to call us today for assistance and friendly guidance.
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