Whether going to Turkey on holiday or wanting to live and work there for the long term, it's necessary to obtain a visa to visit the country.
Expats should note that their passports must be valid for at least six months from their date of arrival in Turkey.
Visit visas for Turkey
Nationals of several countries can obtain a visa upon arrival at the border, but it is recommended that travellers apply for their visa online before travelling to Turkey. The e-visa application is straightforward, making it easy to get a tourist or business visa in a matter of minutes.
Most entry visas for Turkey are multiple-entry and valid for 90 days. It used to be possible to leave Turkey after 90 days and then re-enter the country immediately for a further 90-day period. However, the Turkish authorities have changed this. Visitors will only be able to stay in Turkey for a total of 90 days in any period of 180 days. These days don't have to be consecutive, but they can't be exceeded. The law directly affects expats who have previously resided in Turkey on a tourist visa and made 'visa runs', exiting the country temporarily every 90 days to renew their privileges.
Those who overstay their visa will be subject to bans or fines. This law is designed to encourage long-term residents and expats living in Turkey to apply for proper residence status – documentation that ends up being far costlier than a basic tourist visa.
Work visas for Turkey
Once they've found a job, expats wishing to work in Turkey must apply to their nearest Turkish mission to obtain a work visa. Expats will need to provide their passport, visa application form and a letter from their employer.
Other documents must also be submitted to the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security simultaneously by the employer (no later than ten working days after application) to begin with the work permit application process. Applications usually take up to two months to finalise. Upon their arrival in Turkey, expats must present themselves to their nearest police station to receive the required residence permit.
- The Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security provides a list of the documentation employers must submit.
Residence permits for Turkey
It is now no longer necessary for foreigners working in Turkey to apply for their residence permit separately, as their work permit will include their residence authorisation.
Depending on the category applied for, the time for which a residence visa is valid ranges from 30 days to three years. The most popular residence visa available, the short-term residence visa is valid for a maximum of two years.
Foreigners who wish to live, study or work in Turkey are required to register at their nearest police department upon arrival in Turkey, regardless of the validity of their visa. They will be required to present several documents, such as their passport and proof of address.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.