Thursday, December 26, 2013

Touring, Working, Studying, and Residing in Turkey

Planning to stay for a while?

Procedures for obtaining Turkish work, study and residency permits can be arduous.  U.S. citizens are advised to carefully review the following information.

What visa is right for me?

U.S. citizens who wish to visit Turkey for less than 90 days may obtain a tourist visa by presenting a valid U.S. passport at any of Turkey’s official ports of entry.  A $20 visa fee, payable in cash only, is the only requirement.

Work, study and research visas are only available through Turkish Embassies and Consulates outside of the Republic of Turkey and must be obtained before the traveler plans to arrive.  American Citizens currently residing in or traveling through Turkey without a work, student or research visa are not eligible for employment or school enrollment in Turkey.

Effective February 1, 2012, the Turkish authorities will implement new regulations allowing a maximum stay of 90 days within a 180 day period. The new regulation will not make any changes to the visa requirements for travel to Turkey but it will affect how long U.S. Citizens can remain in Turkey.  The new regulation affects all foreigners who travel to Turkey. This new regulation will apply all, whether they travel with a tourist visa obtained at a Turkish Consulate or buy a tourist visa stamp at an airport or other port of entry or are exempt from getting tourist visas.

If you are planning to stay in Turkey more than 90 days within a 180 day period, you must get a Turkish residence permit. In order to obtain a residence permit, please contact the Foreigners Police in your area.  The U.S. Embassy strongly urges U.S Citizens to not overstay their visas and to maintain valid residency permits at all times.  Turkish authorities do enforce the laws, including those stipulating fines, deportation, and bans on future travel to Turkey for people who overstay their visas or do not maintain valid residency permits.

All other U.S. citizens who plan to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days must first obtain a special visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate prior to arrival.  Residency permits are obtained after the visa holder has arrived in Turkey.  This includes residency permits for U.S. citizens who plan to work, study, research or remain in Turkey for reasons unrelated to tourism.

Detailed qualifications, lists of instructions and visa applications are available through the Republic of Turkey Embassy website at

Requirements for Turkish work visas

Companies seeking to employ U.S. citizens in Turkey must first obtain approval from the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security to hire foreign citizen employees.  Prospective Turkish employers may obtain application forms for work permits at: Department of Labour and Social Security.  Completed applications should be returned to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security at Inonu Boulevard No. 42, Eskisehir Yolu Uzeri, Emek, Ankara, tel. (0312) 296-6000.

Upon approval from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, a U.S. citizen employment candidate must next apply for a Turkish work visa.  Work visa requirements, instructions, and application forms are available through the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey website

Requirements for student visas

In comparison to employment visas, education visas for study or research in Turkey are comparably easier to obtain.  Along with the application available through the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey website a letter of acceptance from an accredited Turkish institution of education is all that is required.   Simply follow the instructions included in the education visa kit.

I’ve got my visa.  What do I do now?

In addition to the work or education visa they obtain before coming to Turkey, U.S. citizens planning to remain in Turkey for more than 90 days must also obtain a residency permit after they have arrived here.  Permits are a matter of formality and are available through the Foreigners Department of the Provincial Security Directorate General located at Migros Yani, Hipodrom, Konya Yolu, Ankara, tel. (0312) 303-5466 or 303-5470, or at local Security Directorate throughout Turkey.  Applications are available on the Turkish Security Directorate’s website .

Applications for residence permits, which are usually based on work or student visas, should be made within 30 days of arrival in Turkey.  Documentary requirements and application form

Fees for Residence Permits:

Turkish residence permit fees can be found at Istanbul Directorate of Security, Branch for Foreigners  (The numbers from 1 to 61 show the amount of month that you want to stay)

We strongly recommend that you not overstay your visa.  If you stay beyond the date your visa or residence permit expires, even if only for a few days, you will be fined at the port of exit and will be subject to a travel ban preventing you from re-entering Turkey for a period between three months and five years (depending on the length of your overstay).  Monthly fines for overstaying Turkish visas or residency permits add up quickly. Travelers are encouraged to check with local authorities to ensure compliance with all Turkish immigration regulations. 

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