Overall, this article mainly focuses on legal requirements, duration, refusal, non-renewal or cancellation of residence permits in Turkey. As a result, the acquisition of Turkish citizenship does not fall within the scope of this paper. It is notable that Turkish immigration lawyers are of great importance in giving a Turkish citizenship and|or residence consultancy to foreign visitors. Legal practitioners face several difficulties in the field of residence permits in Turkey.
For our work and all legal services on the matter of citizenship, please click our Practice Areas, titled Citizenship.
Is Turkey Going to Stop Issuing Residence Permits in Turkey?
Undoubtedly Turkish national authorities are keen on taking preventive steps in decreasing the number of illegal stay of foreigners. That is not the case for legal stay of foreign people. The basic reason is that there are numerous foreigners interested in acquiring ”Residence Permits in Turkey” because of financial and economic needs and humanitarian crises. What is more, Turkey has been regarded as an attractive country for foreign investors by means of its peaceful, popular and modern location. There has been a growing number of foreigners over the years. Turkish Statistical Institute numbers confirm this momentum.
*Turkish Statistical Institute Numbers
What is the Meaning of a Residence Permit?
To clarify, “residence permit” refers to ‘an official document that allows you to live in a country that you were not born in’. The term “residence permit” does not imply permanent residence. For this reason, it contains a “temporary residence permit”, granted to a foreigner for a specified period of time. Thus, residence permits need to be renewed regularly.
What is the Difference Between a Work Permit and Residence Permit?
There is a growing consensus that work permit and residence permit have very different meanings. It is, however, striking that there is also a clear connection between those terms. Because of this relationship, a valid work permit as well as work permit exemption confirmation document issued pursuant shall be considered as a residence permit. It necessarily follows that holders of a residence or a work permit are granted to live within a specific period of time in Turkey.
What are the Main Principles of the Turkish Legal Framework on Residence Permit?
Significantly, the Law on Foreigners and International Protection(No:6458) is intended to provide ‘the principles and procedures with regard to foreigners’ entry into, stay in and exit from Turkey’. The said Law plays a central role in regulating main standards and types for residence permit.
The Law in question is available online Foreigners and International Protection Law.
How Can You Get a Residence Permit in Turkey?
In essence, Article 30 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection Law (No:6458) regulates the following types of residence permits:
- Short-term residence permit,
- Family residence permit,
- Student residence permit,
- Long-term residence permit,
- Humanitarian residence permit,
- Victim of human trafficking residence permit.
Since this paper will entirely deal with short-term residence permits, other types of residence permit go beyond the present text. This work will specifically concentrate on short-term residence permits in Turkey, as stressed above.
Which types of short-term residence permits are possible in Turkey?
Pursuant to Article 31, short-term residence permit in Turkey may be given to the foreigner who:
- Conducts scientific research,
- Owns immovable property in Turkey,
- Establishes business or commercial connections,
- Participates in on-the-job training programmes,
- Arrives to attend educational or similar programmes as part of student exchange programmes or agreements to which the Republic of Turkey is a party to,
- Wishes to stay for tourism purposes,
- Intends to receive medical treatment, provided that they do not have a disease posing a public health threat,
- is required to stay in Turkey pursuant to a request or a decision of judicial or administrative authorities,
- Transfers from a family residence permit,
- Attends a Turkish language course,
- Attends an education programme, research, internship or, a course by way of a public agency,
- Applies within six months upon graduation from a higher education programme in Turkey,
- Does not work in Turkey but will make an investment within the scope and amount that shall be determined by the Council of Ministers (foreign investors and his/her spouses, minor children or foreign dependent children,
How Long is a Short-Term Residence Permit Valid in Turkey?
Generally speaking, short-term residence permits may be granted for a maximum of two years. Of course, there are also exceptions and following conditions. The duration in question is not the case for people who do not work but will make an investment in Turkey. Also for those who are citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Five year duration is given to them.
As for follow-up requirements, residence permits issued for people attending a language course shall only be issued twice.
Residence permits granted to those foreigners who apply within six months upon graduation from a higher education programme in Turkey shall only be issued once with a maximum one year duration.
What is a Long Term Residence Permit?
It is of course possible to obtain a long-term residence permit in accordance with Article 42. Indeed, if you have been residing in Turkey for at least eight years on a permit, you may be found eligible for a permanent residence permit by the relevant authorities. Relevant people should make an application to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management (İl Göç İdaresi Müdürlüğü). Here is the document check list from the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Investment Office.
What are the conditions for a short-term residence permit in Turkey?
What are the conditions for a short-term residence permit in Turkey? In summary, the involved foreigner is required to fulfill the following conditions regulated in Article 32 of the Law in question. These conditions are:
- The submission of supporting documentation and information regarding the reason of stay in Turkey,
- Not to fall within the scope of Article 7, designed for foreigners who shall be refused to enter into Turkey,
- To live in accommodation conditions that conform to general health and safety standards,
- Upon request, the presentation of criminal record certificate issued by the competent national authorities in his/her country of citizenship or legal residence,
- The submission of information on their address of stay in Turkey.
What are the Reasons For Refusal, non-renewal or Cancellation of Short-Term Residence Permit in Turkey?
What are the Reasons For Refusal, non-renewal or Cancellation of Short-Term Residence Permit in Turkey? Under the following situations, a short-term residence permit shall not be granted, shall be canceled if has been issued, and shall not be renewed when,
- One or more of the conditions provided for in Article 32 are not met or no longer apply;
- It is established that the residence permit is used outside the purposes of those it is issued for;
- There is a current removal decision or an entry ban to Turkey in respect to the foreigner.
What are the New Rules for Residence Permits in Turkey For 2023?
Owing to a legislative change on Article 20 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Law on Turkish Citizenship (No:5901), a new acquisition type of Turkish citizenship enters into force. When foreigners deposit at least USD 500.000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira in the private pension system with the condition of holding this fund for three years, as attested by Insurance and Private Pension Regulation and Supervision Agency, they may gain Turkish citizenship. Moreover, the minimum amount of investment for home purchase-based citizenship has been increased. The acquisition of Turkish citizenship requires a comprehensive legal guidance by Turkish citizenship lawyers.
The relevant page of the Gazette is available online.
See also our article on Turkish citizenship by investment.
Having regard to the aforementioned observations, even the types and legal requirements of short-term residence permit is not simple; albeit very confusing. To conclude, a foreigner should be aware of his/her desire, interest and personal necessities about residence permit. But that is not enough. Accordingly, in order to avoid any unexpected challenges, every single step should be taken carefully. Therefore, a foreigner also needs high-quality and on-the-ground advice by English speaking lawyers in Turkey for a right direction.