RESIDENCE PERMIT IN TURKEY
Law on Foreigners and International Protection dated 2013 regulated and introduced many rights for foreigners in Turkey and potential immigrants. One of the most important regulation that was brought by this law is foreigners right to apply for temporary residence permit in Turkey.
There are several different types of residence permit, from long term to short term, for scientists, students, athletes, spouses of Turkish citizens, real estate owners, master’s graduates etc. The most common type of residence permit, which is suitable for most foreigners, is short term touristic residence permit.
Short term touristic residence permit for 1-2 years is granted to foreigners who duly apply and procure all the necessary documents. In order to apply a foreigner must document his/her address of residence in Turkey. One can do that by purchasing a real estate, signing a notarized lease agreement or obtaining a letter of guarantee from the person with whom the applicant is living.
Family members of the applicant (spouses and under-age children) may either submit a separate application together with the applicant, or they may apply for “family residence permit” after the first applicant obtains his/her residence permit.
The other required documents for short term touristic residence permit are easy to procure, like health insurance, passport copies and photographs. Taxes and fees for the application depend on the nationality of the applicant and the length of the residence term. After all the required documents are procured, the applicant fills out the application forms and gets an appointment for an interview in the immigration office. Appointments are usually given within 2-3 weeks of the application date, depending on the season and how busy the immigration office currently is.
The applicant may either be present during the interview at the immigration office or have a lawyer represent him/her. If all the required documents are duly submitted and there is nothing out of the ordinary that would prevent the foreigner from legally residing in Turkey, subject to the discretion of the immigration office, the foreigner is granted with a temporary document of residence. With this document, the applicant may reside in Turkey until the residence permit card arrives at his/her address. If the applicant wishes to leave Turkey, with this temporary document of residence he/she may return within 15 days without requiring another visa.
Depending on the season and the workload of the immigration offices, the official residence permit identification card is shipped to the applicant’s address within around 1 month starting from the date of the appointment.
After the residence permit expires, foreigners are free to apply to extend their residence permit. In order to extend, foreigners must document sufficient income to continue to reside in Turkey. The said income can be documented via bank statements obtained by Turkish banks.
Another important note to keep in mind is that the immigration office does not allow 3rd parties (e.g. “consulting firms” or “agencies”) to represent foreigners in residence permit applications, because Turkish law only allows Turkish lawyers to legally represent foreigners in immigration offices. There are several important advantages to hiring a lawyer for residence permit applications:
If you hire a lawyer, the said lawyer will be your legal representative and attorney. A lawyer can accompany you during the appointment in the immigration office, can talk to the officer who is in charge of reviewing and making the final decision on your application. A lawyer can sign the applications and the contracts on your behalf. In case of a mistake or a problem, your lawyer will be legally liable and responsible for all the process and all the mistakes.
Turkey Lawyer Baris Erkan Celebi provides foreigners with legal services and representation during the residence permit application. These services include advising on the complicated process of residence permit, signing and notarizing the lease agreement, procuring the required documents, obtaining tax identification number, filling out and submitting the residence permit application forms, reserving appointment dates, being present and representing the applicant during the appointments, taking the residence permit card from the immigration office and duly pursuing the whole residence permit process to the end.