Visa for Working in Turkey

Last Updated on April 30, 2019

Do you want a Turkish visa to work or study in Turkey?

You must apply, at least a month before you plan to arrive in Turkey, to the nearest Turkish diplomatic mission to obtain a work permit and visa.

You’ll need your passport, a visa application form, and a letter from your employer in Turkey.

Your school, university or employer should submit other documents to Turkey’s Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) within three working days after you apply for your work permit and visa. Fully-complete applications are supposedly finalised (that is, a permit is granted or not granted) by the MLSS within 30 days.

Before starting to work or study, and within one month after your arrival in Turkey, you must register with the policenear where you plan to live in Turkey to obtain the necessary residence permit (İkamet Tezkeresi).

At some times in the past, foreigners have entered Turkey on tourist visas, worked illegally, crossed the border into Greece or Bulgaria at the end of the visa period, re-entered Turkey, and obtained a new visa (valid for 90 days for some passport holders). They would do this repeatedly, perhaps even for years.

In order to curtail this abuse of the tourist visa, on January 12, 2012, the Turkish government instituted new regulations. Now a “90-day tourist visa” means that you can visit Turkey for up to 90 days within any 180-day period. This means that, after staying a full 90 days, you must leave Turkey and not return until another 90 days have passed. You cannot simply cross the border into another country, stay outside of Turkey for a day or two, then re-enter Turkey on a new 90-day tourist visa. Instead, to continue residing in Turkey, you must apply in advance at a Turkish consulate for a residence visa and, when you arrive in Turkey, for a residence permit (İkamet Tezkeresi).

Note that after you’ve entered Turkey on a work visa and applied for your residence permit, it may take as long as two months for your residence permit to be setd to you, and during that period you may not leave Turkey! You cannot leave the country legally without your residence permit, or you may have to pay a large fine.

So plan to stay in Turkey for at least two months after you enter to work or study.

What’s it like to move to Turkey and work? Everyone’s life is different, but here is one person’s view, from Tina Keleş, a UK native who moved to Turkey in the late 1990s, married, and lived there for years.

—Tom Brosnahan

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