- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Turkey Guide (PDF)
Whether going to Turkey on holiday or wanting to live and work there for the long term, it's necessary to obtain a visa to visit the country.
Expats should note that their passport must be valid for at least 60 days past the duration of their desired visa.
Visit visas for Turkey
Nationals of several countries can obtain a visa upon arrival at the border, but it is recommended that travellers apply for their visa online before travelling to Turkey. The e-Visa application is straightforward, making it to get a tourist or business visa in a matter of minutes.
Most entry visas for Turkey are multiple-entry and valid for 90 days. It used to be possible to leave Turkey after 90 days and then re-enter the country immediately for a further 90-day period. However, Turkish authorities have changed this. Visitors will only be able to stay in Turkey for a total of 90 days in any period of 180 days. These days don't have to be consecutive, but they can't be exceeded. The law directly affects expats who have previously resided in Turkey on a tourist visa and made 'visa runs', exiting the country temporarily every 90 days to renew their privileges.
Those who overstay their visa will be subject to bans or fines. This law is designed to encourage long-term residents and expats living in Turkey to apply for proper residence status – documentation that ends up being far more costly than a basic tourist visa.
Work permits for Turkey
Once they've found a job, expats wishing to work in Turkey must apply to their nearest Turkish mission to obtain a work permit. Expats will need to provide their passport, visa application form and a letter from their employer. Other documents will also need to be submitted to the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security simultaneously by the employer (no later than three working days after application). Applications normally take up to two months to finalise.
Residence permits for Turkey
It is now no longer necessary for foreigners working in Turkey to apply for their residence permit separately, as their work permit will include their residence authorisation.
Those moving to Turkey with their families should also note that dependants applying for a residence permit will also need to file their application at the Turkish consulate.
Depending on the category applied for, the time for which a residence visa is valid ranges from 30 days to three years. The short-term residence visa, the most popular residence visa available, is valid for a maximum of two years.
Foreigners who wish to live, study or work in Turkey are required to register at their nearest police department upon arrival in Turkey, regardless of the validity of their visa. They will be required to present a number of documents, such as their passport and proof of address.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►Work Permits for Turkey provides further details about the necessary paperwork for taking up employment in the country.
"Visas are an ongoing conversation for expats. The system changes frequently and needs careful attention. Work permits are issued with strict regulation. Resident tourist permits are given on a 5 month to 2 year spectrum. We encourage people to check with the local immigration office where they want to move to learn what the current requirements are and whether or not they offer interpretor services." Learn about Emily and Jesse's experiences of expat life in Turkey.
Are you an expat living in Turkey?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Turkey. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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