Work Permits for Turkey

Expats eager to obtain a work permit for Turkey may have their hopes put on hold in lieu of a process normally characterised by a large amount of paperwork and coordination. 

Expats may be surprised to learn that requesting a work permit is actually a double application process – that is, both the expat employee and the sponsoring employer must submit an application, with the necessary documents, to the appropriate bodies within 10 days of each other. The expat will be required to submit their application to their nearest Turkish consulate and their employer in Turkey will have to deal with the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security. 

Only those individuals who can prove they possess a specific skill not demonstrated by a member of the local Turkish population can qualify to receive a work permit. Furthermore, only a business entity formally registered in Turkey can submit a work permit application.

Theoretically, it follows that an expat who wishes to work in Turkey must have a job offer before pursuing the permit.

That being said, there are a number of job categories that the Turkish government has specifically banned foreign nationals from working in.

Applying for a work permit for Turkey

Work permits for Turkey are either granted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (within Turkish borders) or, if abroad, from the Consulate of the Turkish Republic. 

An application must be accompanied by a letter from the employing company. Typically the letter must contain essential information such as the business's name, address and industry, as well as other specifics dictated by the Turkish state.

Normal processing time is approximately one month, but it may take longer. Work permits are dual purpose, as they also function as residency permits. 

Occupations banned for foreigners  

In Turkey, foreigners are barred from employment in certain occupations and fields. These include:

  • Diving, maritime navigation, working on ships, extracting wreckage, exportation of fish, other sea creatures, sand and pebbles
  • Mining

  • Working as executive director in travel agencies

  • Working as a medical doctor, nurse, midwife, dentist, vet, pharmacist, optician, executive director in hospitals, judge, lawyer, prosecutor, security guard or notary

*Please note that visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their nearest Turkish consulate for the latest information.