10 Most Frequently Asked Questions And Answers Regarding Foreigners To Legally Reside In Turkey 03 April 2022

We have gathered the legal regulations regarding the "Presence of Foreigners in Turkey", which is the most frequently asked question by our clients, under the heading of 10 questions.

1. What are the most commonly used permission methods for foreigners to be in Turkey?

Foreigners most frequently prefer to obtain "tourist visa, residence permit and work permit" for their entrance in Turkey

2. What are the visa exemptions according to the citizenship of the foreigner?

Exemption from visa and the duration of this exemption depends on nationality of the Foreigner

  • Visa exemption for citizens of Ukraine holding Regular, Special, Service and Diplomatic passports is 90 days. Citizens of Ukraine are entitled to stay up to 90 days within 180 days, provided that they do not exceed 60 days per entry.
  • For Russian citizens, ordinary passport holders are exempt from visa for touristic and business trips not exceeding 60 days. Service passport holders are subject to a visa. Diplomatic passport holders are exempt from visa for 90 days. Applications for work and education visas can be made electronically. Applications should be made to the Turkish representations in Russia.
  • EU memberships are exempted from Turkey visa for 90 days in general.
  • US citizens with official and regular passports are exempt from visa for 90 days on their “tourist trips”; Applications for work and education visas can be made electronically.
  • For UK citizens, Diplomatic Passport holders are exempt from visa, Regular and Service and Special Passport holders are subject to visa. People who want to stay in Turkey for up to 90 days can obtain a visa with the electronic visa application
  • French citizens are exempt from Turkey visa for 90-day touristic trips.

3. What is the main difference between a residence permit and a work permit?

A work permit issued by authorized institutions also includes a residence permit. However, having a residence permit does not mean having a work permit.

4. What are the options for a foreign company to have employees in Turkey?

Foreign companies can establish a liaison office in order to conduct the necessary research related to their sectors without engaging in commercial activities in Turkey, and this liaison office can operate for a period of 3 years by law. Foreign investors coming to Turkey can establish a company or participate in the company. In addition, foreign companies can open branches in a short time and at low cost.

5. What is the longest period of time for a work permit application to be made for the first time in Turkey?

It is given to be valid for a maximum of one year to work in a certain workplace or business and in a certain profession, taking into account the sectoral and economic cyclical changes regarding employment, according to the duration of the foreigner's service contract or work.

6. What are the main differences in terms of establishing a company/opening a branch and establishing a liaison office in Turkey?

Unlike companies and branches Liaison offices, can not engage in commercial activities. Therefore, they cannot make profits and are not considered taxpayers in terms of corporate and value added tax. In addition, both personnel wages and office expenses are covered by the principal company in abroad.

7. What are the employment conditions to be considered for a foreign company established in Turkey?

The mandatory evaluation criteria that foreigners must meet are as follows:

  • At least five T.R. Employment of citizens is mandatory. In the event of, foreigner requesting a permit is a company partner, the employment requirement for five persons is sought for the last six months of the one-year work permit to be given by the Ministry.
  • The paid-in capital of the workplace must be at least 100,000 TL or its gross sales must be at least 800,000 TL or the last year's export amount must be at least 250,000 USD.
  • The foreign partner of the company requesting permission must have at least 20 percent of the capital, not less than 40,000 TL.
  • The amount of monthly wage declared to be paid to the foreigner by the employer must comply with the foreigner's duty and competence.

8. How long can a foreigner with a work permit leave Turkey without interruption?

In condition of not exceeding six months in total, the foreigner's being outside of Turkey does not cut the working period. However, the time spent outside of Turkey is not counted as working time.

9. How long does it take on average for work permit applications in Turkey?

Duly submitted work permit applications are finalized by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services within thirty (30) days at the latest, provided that the documents are complete and infull.

10. Are there any special conditions for refugees to obtain a work permit in Turkey?

Refugees can work as a dependent or independent in Turkey provided that they obtain a work permit from the moment they receive status. However, the application for a work permit can be submitted six months after the date of applying for international protection, and the refugee's work permit is written on the identity document. 

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