How to get a Turkish residence permit

A new online system has changed Turkey’s residence permit procedure completely, allowing applicants to breeze through the process from initial interview to final document check. Coupled with the relaxing of the military check and the automatic residence permit when property is purchased, it’s easier than ever to buy property in Turkey.

Turkish residence permit

Military clearance downgrade

As well as the whole process speeding up with the rollout of the online system, a few other changes have been made over the last year or so which have streamlined the process.

The military clearance, a requirement whereby potential buyers had to run their property through a government check to see if the land was in military use, slowed down the whole procedure by eight to 10 weeks. Now, military clearance is not necessary in every case. If your property was granted a military clearance after 2011, you will not require this government check, allowing you to obtain your TAPU - and therefore your residence permit - even faster.

Residence permit for property owners

Foreign buyers are now granted a year-long residence permit (known as a short-term permit). This benefit applies whatever the value of your home.

Property Turkey director Cameron Deggin says this measure has greatly increased the appeal of buying property in Turkey. “A lot of people are - quite understandably - wary of all the red tape they’ll have to negotiate when moving to another country. The introduction of the short-term residence permit for property buyers in Turkey, coupled with the online system, means it’s now very straightforward to move there.”

The year-long permit is a big improvement on the three months new residents were previously offered.

Deggin adds that the new streamlined system means it’s also easier to extend and re-apply for residence permits.

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Turkish residence permit FAQs

What are the permit types?

The types of permits include: short term; family; student and long term. If you’re applying for the first time you’ll need to attend an interview at your migration department. You can make an appointment online, here. e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/

If it’s an extension you want you can apply via post, sending your documents to your migration centre.

What documents will I need?

There’s no definitive answer to this question because it depends on the individual. However, you can safely assume you’ll need: health insurance, application forms, passports, entry visa, proof of address, documents showing your financial situation, at least four passport photos, tax number and TAPU (demonstrating your property ownership) if you own a property, marriage certificate (if married to a Turk). You might not need all of these in the end, but it’s safest to assume you will.

What kind of health insurance do I need?

Turkey now has mandatory health insurance for every resident aged under 65. Make sure you buy your insurance, specifying a start date which tallies with the date you specified on your online application - or as close as you can get. Your residence permit will only be granted for the duration of your health insurance, so if you’re applying for a year, make sure your health insurance is paid up for the entirety of that time.

How long will it all take?

Depending where you are in Turkey the whole process will be around two to three months from waiting for an appointment to receiving your permit. An appointment takes between two and four weeks, and the permit takes between four and eight weeks to process. If you live in Istanbul, it might take a little longer - two to three months to get an appointment and three to six weeks to receive the card. Another factor is the type of permit you are applying for and how busy the migration department is at the time.

You should receive a text message confirming the dispatch of your permit. If the official given time of 90 days has passed and you haven't received your permit you should contact your local migration department.

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What if I want to split my time between Turkey and my home country?

There are restrictions to your permit so be careful if you want to spend an extended time away from Turkey.

  • A 12-month short-term residence permit and student permit are restricted to 120 days out of Turkey
  • A two-year family permit has a 180-day restriction.
  • A permanent residence permit is restricted to one year away from Turkey.

There are sometimes exceptions for special circumstances (like health, education or compulsory public service) but generally your residence permit will be cancelled if you spend more than these amounts of time abroad.

Note that if you wish to leave Turkey while your permit application is processing you can only leave the country for 15 days. You'll need to speak with an administrator at your local migration department.

What is a "stay of purpose"?

You'll need to choose at least one reason for wanting to stay in Turkey, and you must have documents to back up your reason.

Applicable reasons:

  1. Property ownership
  2. Scientific research
  3. Business and commercial connections
  4. On-the-job training programs or apprenticeships
  5. Educational programs and Turkish language courses
  6. Tourism purposes
  7. Medical treatment

Do I need to send my original documents?

Do not send original documents as you will not get them back. Send quality colour copies by registered post. If you don't send them by registered post they might be returned.

How much will it cost?

The fee varies depending on where you’re from. For most countries (including the UK, US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) the fee is 235L/year (this is $80 as of the end of 2015).

Fees for other countries vary but as a rule are all under 235L. Children’s permits are half the cost of adult’s. You will also need to pay a administration fee of 55L.

Fees must be paid before or at the time of your appointment. You can payfees at TC Ziraat Bank, Halk Bank, Vakiflar Bank or directly to the tax office.

You will need your tax number and your passport to pay the fees.

If you have any questions please contact us.


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