Immigration Law

A foreigner is a person who is residing in Turkey and not a Turkish citizen. Law on foreigners means the set of norms that foreigners in a country are subject to solely because they are foreigners. These norms generally intervene with private law. For example; Law on Foreigner’s Work Permits regulate the employee-employer relationship between a foreigner and an employer. Law of Land Registry regulates whether or not foreigners may acquire real estate in Turkey.

In law on foreigners, there is no unity of laws as  regulations concercing foreigners are spread out in different legislations. However, Law on Foreigners and International Protection passed in 2014 has edited and compiled some of the norms concerning foreigners and that is why it has become a foundation for law on foreigners.


Conditions for foreigners to enter into Turkey are as follows:

  1. To pass through border gates
  2. Passport (or the equivalent thereof)
  3. Visa (except for foreigners who have residence permit, work permit or who are citizens of a state that has Visa exemption with Turkey)
  4. To not be banned from entry

Visas can be obtained from any of the Turkish consulates located in foreigners’ country of residence and they are issued for maximum 90 days. For stays that exceed 90 days, foreigners has to obtain residence permit. In exceptional cases visas can be obtained at border gates; however these visas are limited to 15 days. As a principle transit passangers do not require normal visa but only transit visa. Finally, to obtain a visa there has to be at least 60 days from the end of the requested visa period until the passport’s expiry date.

Foreigners whose entry into Turkey pose threat to public order, state security or public health may be banned from entry into Turkey.


The total area of land a foreigner may acquire in Turkey cannot exceed 30 hectares. Furthermore, the total area of land a foreigner may acquire in a country cannot exceed 10% of the lands that are subject to private ownership. Foreignes cannot own real estate in 1st degree and 2nd degree military districts. Finally, citizens of certain countries such as North Korea cannot own real estate in Turkey.


By principle foreign entities, meaning entities that have their headquarters abroad, cannot acquire real estate in Turkey. However, this rule has certain exceptions in specific legislations. For example, petroleum or tourism companies may acquire real estate within the framework of their operations.

Furthermore, entities that have their headquarters located in Turkey but have the majority of their capital of foreign origin, can acquire land only for the purpose of carrying out the operations stated in their articles of association.


The preliminary conditions for foreigners to obtain work permit are that they pose no risk to national security and public order. Applications for work permit are submitted to the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Security which in turn evaluate whether or not the conditions are met before making a decision on the work permit.


1) Work permit by term: This is the basic type of work permit. It is issued for work in a specific job or profession for no longer than 1 year. At the end of 1 year term it can be extended by up to 2 years and then up to 6 years. Foreigners working in Turkey with work permit can have their families obtain work permit too.

2) Indefinite work permit: This work permit is issured to foreigners residing in Turkey for no less than 8 years legally and continuously. Indefinite work permit also has the effect of a residence permit.

3) Independent work permit: This work permit is issued to self-employed foreigners working in Turkey and residing in Turkey for no less than 5 years.

4) Exceptional work permit: This work permit is issued indefinitely to persons stated in the law. For example; U.S. citizens or foreigners who are married to Turkish citizens are eligible for this permit.

Finally, certain professions such as doctor, veterinary, pharmacist, lawyer, notary, military force, police force, state officer, mariner, private security jobs can only be performed by Turkish citizens.