Residency permits in Turkey
Why do I need a Turkish Residency Permit?
A standard Turkish Tourist Permit now allows you to stay in Turkey for no longer than 90 days in any 180 day period. Most nationals obtain these entry visas upon arrival at Turkish airports (cost Euro 15). Please also refer to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ for online Turkish visa applications. This means expats - or those who simply wish to stay for longer - should apply for a little blue Turkish Residency book rather than take a day’s visa trip out of the country to get their passports re-stamped. The government are trying to put a stop to those not officially registering in Turkey, tax-dodgers, and illegal seasonal workers.
The good news is that as of 2013, property buyers will be granted automatic year-long residency permits instead of the three-month permits that were previously issued. This is a measure introduced by the government, who recognise that more and more people are relocating to Turkey.
Applying for a permit was once a time-consuming hassle. However, with Turkey finally joining the 21st century and introducing an online system, it's now easier than ever to apply for a visa.
How long is a Turkish Residency Permit valid?
Residency permits in Turkey are valid for varying periods from six months to five years. Legal foreign seasonal workers are normally the only ones that apply and receive a 6 month residency visa assisted by the company they plan to work for in order to gain a work permit. Most expats apply for longer permits as there is little point going through the procedure again just a few months later. On first application, a one or two-year permit is normally issued. Upon renewal, it will be possible to apply for a five-year permit. First-home buyers are eligible for a one-year permit.
How to apply for a Turkish residency permit.
Visit the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) site to get the ball rolling. You'll need to input all your information in order to get an appointment at the nearest DGMM office. After you fill in the online form, the system will tell you where your nearest DGMM office is, as well as giving you available times and dates for appointments, and inform you what you'll need to bring.
Foreign applicants may reside in Turkey until their appointment date. However, you may not travel in and out of Turkey at will, although once the application is submitted you can exit and re-enter Turkey within 15 days.
How much does a Turkish Residency Permit cost?
The prices of residency permits vary and are dependent on the length of time applied for. When you apply for your permit online and choose your DGMM appointment date, the system will automatically calculate the cost of your permit fees, which can be paid for by credit card, or at a tax office in your province (in Turkey).
What documents will I need?
The online system will tailor the list of documents to your specific situation, but it's likely you'll need most, if not all, of the following:
1. 6 (Take 8 just in-case) clear passport size photos on a white background.
2. 2 copies of your TAPU/ Turkish Title Deeds or rental agreement stating where you live and how much you paid. (Also take the original with you in case they ask to see it).
3. 2 copies of your passport plus the original (You need colour copies of the visa entry stamp and main details page, also ensure your passport is valid for the full duration you are applying for).
4. Your Turkish tax number (If you haven’t got one you must visit your local tax office to receive one).
5. Your residency book (if re-applying).
6. An official plastic residency folder (Go to a stationers and ask for a folder for residency application. It’s just a simple plastic folder but they don’t accept just any folder so best get the correct one to save time!)
7. A bank statement proving you have sufficient funds to look after yourself whilst residing for the given period in Turkey. If you have a Turkish bank account you can ask them for a printed breakdown of funds in your accounts.
8. Documents pertaining to your children and spouse (if applying for a family residency permit) such as birth certificates, passports and photos.
120 day rule for residency status abolished
You might have heard about a rule that forbid residency holders for leaving Turkey for more than 120 days in a year to maintain their residency. As of late 2016 this rule no longer applies, and there is no maximum time that residents may stay out of the country. This has excellent implications for anyone wishing to enjoy the benefits of Turkish residency while spending the bulk of their time within their own country.