There have been a lot of discussions in 2012 regarding new laws about Turkish Residency Permits. A normal Turkish Tourist Permit now allows you to stay in Turkey for no longer than 90 days in any 180 day period. This leaves ex-patriots, and those that wish to stay for longer, are advised to apply for a little blue Turkish Residency book rather than take a one day visa trip out of the country to get their passports re-stamped. The government is trying to put a stop to those who are not officially registering in Turkey (those avoiding paying taxes and illegal seasonal workers). Although applying for a permit is time consuming and a big hassle unless you know where to go and what to do. Since April 2011 the authorities reduced the cost of the permits making them more affordable. There are now companies advertising in local ex-pat newspapers willing to help and guide you through the application process, check your paperwork, and guide you around the various offices for a few hours to get the necessary stamps and payments sorted. If it is your first time applying for a residency and you have limited language skills, this small fee is often well worth the expense Ė their services will undoubtedly save you a lot of time and unnecessary stress!
How long does a Turkish Residency Permit last?
Residency permits in Turkey last for between 6 months and 5 years. Legal foreign seasonal workers are normally the only ones that apply and receive a 6 month residency visa assisted by the company they plan to work for in order to gain a work permit. Most ex-patriots apply for longer permits as there is little point going through the procedure again just a few months later. On first application, a 1 or 2 year permit is normally issued, for those renewing their book, up to a 5 year permit is possible.
What is the cost of a Turkish Residence Permit?
The prices of residency permits vary and are dependent on the length of time applied for. For accurate information on costs it is best to check with your areas local passport police. To confuse matters, fees are quoted in Dollars or Euros, they do fluctuate depending on daily exchange rates, but as a guide a one year permit is normally around 60 Euros/ $80. To renew permits, the same process applies but applications must be submitted within 14 days of the last permits expiry date. Turkish Kimlik (citizenship) can only be applied for after 5 years residency and additional conditions apply.
How to apply for a Turkish residence permit?
Make sure you have either employed the help of someone in the know, a specialist company, or done your homework before embarking on the residency application process. If going it alone, set out early and be organised. It is lightly to be a time consuming and frustrating process so be prepared to be patient, know in advance where to go, where the relevant buildings are, and have a little understanding of the language to avoid headaches!
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO THE TURKISH RESIDENCY PROCESS.
STEP 1: Prepare the documents necessary in advance.
You will need the following:
1. 6 (Take 8 just in-case) clear passport size photos on a white background.
2. 2 copies of your TAPU/ Turkish Title Deeds or rental agreement stating where you live and how much you paid. (Also take the original with you in case they ask to see it).
3. 2 copies of your passport and the original (You need colour copies of the visa entry stamp and main details page, also ensure your passport is valid for the full duration you are applying for).
4. Your Turkish tax number (If you havenít got one you must visit your local tax office to receive one).
5. Your residency book (if re-applying).
6. An official plastic residency folder (Go to a stationary and ask for a folder for residency application. Itís just a simple normal plastic folder but they donít accept otherwise, get the correct one to save time!)
7. A bank statement proving you have sufficient funds to look after yourself whilst residing for the given period in Turkey. If you have a Turkish bank account you can ask them for a printed breakdown of funds in your accounts.
Please Note: Government offices shut between 12.00 and 13.30 week days and are closed over the weekend. Start out early to avoid queues and avoid these times as nothing will get processed.
STEP 2: Visit the Passport Police.
Go to your local passport police office and take all the listed documents you prepared in advance. You will receive 2 forms; Authority of Governorship that gets stamped as you go around, and your declaration for a residency permit (the Yabancilar Tarafindan Verilecek Ikamet Beyannamasi ). The letter cannot be filled in by hand and has to be typed. State how long you wish to apply for, ask what the charge will be, and ask where to pay the fee for the residency book. This is normally paid at the PTT (post office) where you have to keep the receipt and hand it in with the application, occasionally it is paid elsewhere. If you are re-applying, show your current book but keep in mind that they often wonít accept an application unless itís within 14 days of your current permits expiry.
STEP 3: Register with your local reeve.
Take 2 passport photos, your title deed or rental agreement and a passport copy to your local reeve. They will sign and register you as living in the area. It is a controversial subject but some reevies have been reported to charge a fee for their services, it is better not to offer any money unless you have to.
STEP 4: Visit the Tax Office (Maliye).
You are required to pay your residency fee at your local tax office and it is then registered against your tax number. You normally have to visit the correct desk first to have your fee registered, then take the given slip and money to the cashier. You need your tax number, the forms from the passport police, money in cash (TL) and your passport. Keep the receipt and put it together with your application documents.
STEP 5: Go to the Government Building (Kaymakamlik).
Take your forms, visit the relevant desk and gain another stamp.
STEP 6: Pay for the residency book.
You should have already asked the passport police where to make this payment. It is normally the PTT (post office) but could be elsewhere.
STEP 7: Type up your residency declaration.
The passport police wonít accept a hand written declaration so either go to a local office and pay them to type it for you, or type it yourself at home.
STEP 8: Take all completed documents back to the Passport Police.
You should now have all of the necessary documents in your special plastic folder. Take them all, including the receipts for the various payments, back to the Passport Police who will then check through and hopefully accept your application. They will take your passport and previous residency book from you (if re-applying), and let you know how long the application will take and when you can return to collect them all. Ask them what you can use if asked for your passport in the meantime, they sometimes give you a scribbled and signed note to show anyone in authority should you be stopped.
STEP 9: Relax!
The process seems very hard but, if you are organised, it is possible to complete in a few hours with the least amount of stress. If you are in any doubt, employ the services of a local specialist.
Please Note: This guide is provided only for your information and guidance purposes only and was correct to our knowledge at the time of publication. Laws and regulations in Turkey change often therefore please check in with the authorities or a residency specialist in your area in any doubt.
Phone and Fax:
+90 (212) 256 80 06 - 256 69 80 - 256 65 69
Address: Aydede Cad. No: 4/3, Taksim, Istanbul, Turkey