Jump to content

Turkey Short-Term Residence Permit: A Step-by-Step Guide


Ken Grubb

What is a Short-term Residence Permit?

A Short-term Residence Permit is a biometric identity card that enables you to remain in Turkey after your visa has expired. It has a validity period of up to two years, and can be extended indefinitely or until you get a Long-term Residence Permit (which is valid for life) or become a Turkish citizen.

The Short-term Residence Permit doesn't allow you to work. If you want to work in Turkey, you must get a work permit.

Residence Permit Law

The law concerning residence permits is Law No. 6458, Law on Foreigners and International Protection.

Go Back to the Top

An Overview of the Application Process

The residence permit application process always begins on the e-ikamet (e-residence) website at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/.

You must get a few documents together before you apply online because the system will require some information from them. I'll cover each of these documents as we go through the steps in this guide.

The application system consists of several ordered pages on which you enter your personal information. As you're finishing up, you'll select an appointment date and time for an interview at the local office of the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management, DGMM, or immigration office). Then you'll download, print, and sign your İkamet İzni Kayıt Formu (Residence Permit Registration Form). This form, and your passport, will keep you legal in Turkey until your appointment date, even after your visa or current residence permit expires.

If you don't have all of the required documents after you've applied online, you can get them before your appointment date. At your appointment, you'll present your completed application package and undergo a brief interview.

If your interview is successful, and your application is accepted, your residence permit card will be printed and sent to your address by registered mail.

Istanbul Residents

If you're applying in Istanbul, you may not get the option to set up an appointment using the online system. Instead, the Istanbul immigration office will send you an SMS message telling you your appointment date and time. It may also tell you that they want you to bring additional documentation to your appointment.

Learn more about residence permit applications in Istanbul.

When to Apply for a Short-term Residence Permit

You can apply for a short-term residence permit any time within 60 days before the expiration of your visa.

Leaving Turkey and Returning After You've Applied but Before Your Appointment

Your downloaded Residence Permit Registration Form and your passport will allow you to stay in Turkey until your appointment date, even after your current residence permit expires. But the registration form isn't a travel document. So if your visa or current residence permit has expired and you must leave Turkey before your appointment date, you'll have to re-enter Turkey with a visa.

Leaving Turkey won't interfere with your short-term residence permit application. However, if you've chosen a Turkish mobile phone number as your communication method, that will be where the immigration office sends SMS messages. If you're outside of Turkey, you won't be able to receive them. So, either ask someone to monitor your SMS messages or choose e-mail as your preferred communications method when you apply online.

Learn more about leaving Turkey after you've applied online but before your appointment.

Go Back to the Top

Required Documents at a Glance

Here is a preview of the documents you'll need:

  • İkamet İzni Kayıt Formu (Residence Permit Registration Form) which you download and print at the end of the online application process
  • Passport
  • Copy of passport (including the photo and information pages and the page with the entry stamp for your most recent entry into Turkey)*
  • Four (4) biometric photos
  • Proof of address
  • Proof of financial ability to support yourself
  • Health insurance (not required for those less than 18 or over 65 years of age)

*Insider Tip: Some provinces, like Istanbul, allow you to mail in your documents. If you mail them in, the copy of your passport must be notarized. If you take your passport to your appointment, it doesn't need to be notarized.

You can also view required documents on the e-İkamet website at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/Ikamet/IstenenBelgeler

Istanbul Residents

Because of the high rate of fake documents and fraudulent applications in Istanbul, the Istanbul immigration office often sends an SMS message asking for additional documents that aren't on the normal list. If you receive a request for a document and you aren't sure what it is or how to get it, see the section Documents, Forms & Numbers.

Go Back to the Top

Having Foreign Documents Legalized and Translated

If your application doesn't include any documents from a foreign country, you can skip this and go to Step 1: Prepare for Your Online Application.

Any document issued by a foreign government, such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or criminal record check, must be "legalized" before it can be accepted as a legal document in Turkey. Legalization is done with an attached document or stamp, called an "apostille." Then both the document and the apostille must be translated into Turkish by a sworn translator.

What is an Apostille?

An apostille is a special certificate issued by a country's secretary of state or another government office approved to do so by the international Apostille Convention. The apostille is attached to or stamped on the document in to certifies its authenticity.

Where Can I Get an Apostille?

Every country in the Apostille Convention has an office responsible for issuing apostilles. You just need to find out which government office issues them. Here's a list of all participating countries (and states in the USA):

https://www.hcch.net/en/states/hcch-members

The list also has links to each country's government office that issues apostilles. And it includes links to their websites so you can learn where to send your document and how to pay the fee.

Once the government office receives your document, they attach the apostille and send it back to you. Once you receive them, the next step is to have them translated.

If Your Country Isn't on the List

If your country isn't a member of the convention, don't worry. In this case, the document will be legalized with a similar document you'll get from your home country. If you can't find out which office of your government issues them, contact your foreign affairs office or local embassy or consulate.

Documents Which Don't Need an Apostille

A passport is already an internationally accepted document, so it doesn't require an apostille.

Also, documents that aren't issued by your government and which aren't part of your country's public records don't require an apostille. These would include diplomas and financial information from a school, bank, or private company.

Having Foreign Documents Translated

After you receive the document and apostille, you must have them translated into Turkish by a sworn translator. Then the translator will swear before a noter (notary) that the translation is true and accurate. You'll then get a notarized copy of your document and the apostille, and a sworn translation of them.

At this point, your foreign document will be as legal in Turkey as it is in your country, and you can submit it with your residence permit application.

Make a Note of the Notary's Document Registration Number

When you get the notarized translation, find the notary's stamp on the back. Photograph, scan or write down the number in the stamp. If you ever need the document again, you can go back to the same notary and use that number to get another copy from their records. That way, you won't have to go through the whole process again, and you'll save money.

Learn more about apostilles, sworn translations, and how to get them.

Go Back to the Top

Step 1: Prepare for Your Online Application

Start the process by getting any foreign documents and apostilles first. It will take more time to get them than it will take to get local documents. You won't need them to start the online application, but you'll need them when you go to your appointment.

Collect the following documents first, because the online system will ask you for information about them.

Passport

For the online application, you'll need your passport number, issue date, and expiration date.

Your passport's expiration date must be at least 60 days beyond the last day of the duration of the residence permit.

Later, you'll take your original passport to your appointment, with one regular (non-notarized) copy for the immigration specialist to keep. The copy must include the photo and identification pages, and the pages showing the stamps for your entries into and exits from Turkey.

Note: If you're told by the immigration office to mail your application package to them, the copy of your passport must be notarized.

Tax Number

To pay the fees for your residence permit application, you need a vergi numarası (tax number). Go to the vergi dairesi (tax office) or the maliye (finance office), which has a tax office inside. Show the clerk your passport and ask for a tax number. After you fill out a form, they'll give you one immediately, for free.

Photos

You need four (4) biometric photos. These photos must be

  • 5 cm in width, 4.5 cm in height
  • Taken within the last six months
  • Full frontal view
  • White background
  • In color
  • Professional quality (no selfies)

You can have the photos taken at any photo studio. Just say "ikamet izni" (residence permit). They'll know what you need.

Health Insurance

If you're under 65 years of age, you must have health insurance for the duration of the residence permit. If you're over 65, it isn't required. The online application system will determine your age from your birth date and omit that part of the application.

There are three options for health insurance: private health insurance, government health insurance, and government insurance provided according to a bilateral agreement.

Private Health Insurance from a Turkish Company

Most insurance companies offer cheap health insurance policies specifically designed to meet the minimum government requirements for foreigners applying for residence permits. They're inexpensive, but they only cover limited medical procedures. The first year of the policy offers even less coverage, presumably to prevent having to pay for the treatment of pre-existing conditions. You can get one by either walking into an insurance company office or by buying it online.

Buying Private Health Insurance from a Company Office: You'll just need to provide some necessary information about yourself and pay the premium. It takes around 45 minutes.

Buying More Comprehensive Private Health Insurance: You don't have to buy one of the cheaper expat policies with limited coverage.  If you prefer, you can get a private policy that covers whatever you want, provided you're willing to pay for it. If you buy one of the more comprehensive policies, it must meet Turkey's minimum coverage requirements.

Health Insurance Coverage for Two-year Residence Permits: If you're applying for a two-year residence permit, you can buy two policies—one for the first year, and one for the second year. The day after the first policy ends, the second one begins.

Get Two Copies of the Policy: Ask for one copy of your policy in Turkish and the other in English. You'll need the Turkish copy to submit with your residence permit application package. You can keep the English copy for yourself.

Buying Private Health Insurance Online: You can also buy health insurance online and have the policy sent to you by e-mail and/or mail or courier.

Learn more about private health insurance in Turkey.

Learn about buying your Turkish health insurance online.

SGK Health Insurance

The Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (Social Security Administration, also called the SGK), offers a national health insurance plan called Genel Sağlık Sigorta (General Health Insurance), which covers most medical procedures in state hospitals. It also includes you in private hospitals, but as prices are higher in private hospitals, you'll have to pay part of the cost yourself.

Your eligibility for SGK health insurance begins after you've been a resident of Turkey for one year.

If you've lived in Turkey for a year and have enrolled in the SGK health insurance plan, you'll need a Provizyon Belgesi (Provision Certificate) to prove you're covered. You'll also need some information from this document when you apply online.

Learn more about SGK Health Insurance.

Bilateral Health Care Coverage Agreements

Some countries have a bilateral agreement with Turkey, which allows their citizens to be covered by the SGK insurance plan while living in Turkey (and vice versa). If you're a citizen of one of these countries, contact your government's health insurance representative to get the required form. Then take that form to an SGK office, and get a sicil numarası (registration number). You'll use this number while applying online.

Learn more about health insurance under bilateral agreements.

Address Information

For the online application process, you'll need to know your full address. You can get this from your tapu (property title deed), your rental contract, from your host (if you're staying with a friend), or from your hotel.

All legal addresses are recorded in a central government database, which is accessed by the online application system. So when you're on the address page of the application system, you'll "drill down" through various drop-down menus to locate your exact address, and then select it.

You don't need documentary proof of your address at this point, but you'll need it for your application package. I'll cover that in Step 3.

Go Back to the Top

Step 2: Apply Online

The only official website for applying for a residence permit is at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/. It has an English option. You can also view it using the Chrome browser with the Google Translate application.

When you enter the website, go near the bottom of the page and click the option for a first-time application. If you're extending a current residence permit, click the option to extend.

On the next page, click on the button to create a new application. Enter your passport and contact information. The system will send you a verification e-mail with a link to click on. When you click on it, you will be returned to the application system and given an application number. Keep that number, as you'll need it if you stop and continue your application later.

If you've gathered all the documents above before applying, the online application should take less than one hour. Unfortunately, some people have problems using it.

Learn more about the online residence permit application system and what to do if you have problems.

Your Appointment Date and Time

At the end of the online application process, you'll make an appointment at the local immigration office. Depending on what province you're in, you may be given a choice of dates and times or be given one date and time with no other choice.

If You're in Istanbul

If you're in Istanbul, you may get this message: 

Randevu Tarihi GİGM Tarafından Belirlenecektir (the appointment date will be determined by the DGMM).

It means the immigration office will contact you by SMS or e-mail, depending on your contact preferences, and give you an appointment date and time. So keep an eye on your mobile phone or e-mails for this, and be patient. It can take a month or so to get an appointment in Istanbul.

Learn more about applying for a residence permit in Istanbul.

Downloading Your Application Form

You'll also get a link to download your completed application. So download it, sign it, and keep the original on the top of your application package. You should also print a separate copy of the first page of the application document and keep it with you, along with your passport, so you continue to be legal in Turkey if your current residence permit expires.  

The first page of your downloaded application will have the date and time of your appointment (if you were able to make one) and the address of the immigration office where you need to go. It will also have the residence permit fees you'll need to pay (see "Paying the Fees" below).

Important!

Your online application isn't complete until you've reached the point where you can download your completed application form.

Go Back to the Top

Step 3: Prepare Your Application Package

In this step, you'll gather the rest of the documents you need for your residence permit application package.

Proof of Residence

What you'll need depends on if you own or rent your home, if you're the spouse of a renter or owner, if you're staying at a hotel, or if you're living at a friend's home.

If you own your residence

You'll need your tapu (property title deed) and a regular copy of your title deed (not notarized).

Note: If the title deed was issued more than two years ago, you must go to the local Tapu ve Kadastro Genel Müdürlüğü (Title Deed and Land Registry Directorate). Get a tapu kayıt örneği (title deed registration document), which proves your title deed is still valid.

Learn more about proving your address as a property owner.

If you're renting a residence

You'll need a notarized copy of your rental contract. You can get one by taking your contract to a noter (notary).

Learn more about proving your address as a renter.

If you're a spouse of an owner or renter

If you're the spouse of a foreigner and your name is on the title deed, you can get a short-term residence permit as a property owner. If your name isn't on the title deed, you can still get a short-term residence permit as a property owner if you provide a marriage certificate proving your marriage to the person named on the title deed.

If the marriage certificate was issued in a foreign country, it must be legalized and translated.

Learn how to get a copy of a marriage certificate from Turkey.

Learn how to get a copy of a foreign marriage certificate and have it legalized.

If you're staying at a hotel

If you want to stay a few months longer than your visa allows, or if you're looking for a property to buy or rent, you can temporarily use the hotel where you're staying as your address. You'll later change this to your permanent address after you have your title deed or rental contract.

You need an e-signed, or stamped/sealed and signed letter, on hotel letterhead, which shows your intended dates of residence.

If you're traveling and staying at other hotels, you'll also need to submit a travel itinerary. You don't have to book and pay for all of the reservations in advance. It will be up to the immigration specialist to decide if your itinerary is acceptable or not. If it isn't, the immigration specialist will tell you what to do and give you time to create a more detailed itinerary and bring it back.

If you're staying at a hotel while looking for a property to rent or buy

If you're actively seeking a property to rent or buy to stay in Turkey for the long term, you can apply for up to a two-year residence permit even though you're still in a hotel. When you're in the online application system, you'll see that the central address system also includes hotel rooms, so you'll be able to select the exact room where you're staying.

Within 30 days after your appointment, you must find a property and obtain a title deed or rental contract, then return to the immigration office with whichever document you have.

Learn more about proving your address while staying in a hotel.

If you're staying with a friend

If you're using the home of a Turkish or foreign friend(s), your friend(s) will need to go to a notary and sign a taahhütname, or "undertaking." In this document, the registered renters or owners of the property where you're staying must promise to make sure you depart Turkey when your residence permit expires (unless you extend it), and to pay any debts you fail to pay before leaving Turkey.

Each owner or renter of the property must prove that they live where they say they live and sign the taahhütname. Your hosts don't have to go to your residence permit appointment with you. Just put the taahhütname into your residence permit application package.

Learn more about proving your address while staying with a friend.

Utility Bills

The immigration specialists consider utility bills in your name, for service at your address, to be the best proof of residence. If you have utility bills, bring them to your appointment.

Proof of Financial Ability

Print your bank account information or other proof of income or savings, for the last six months, and add that to your application package. If the immigration office wants more information, they'll notify you by SMS or e-mail.

You don't have to open a Turkish bank account or have your money in Turkey—you can use your bank account in your home country. In addition to your bank statement, you can also provide documentation proving income from your investment accounts, pension fund, or rental income.

There's no fixed amount of money or income you must have. The immigration specialists focus on each person as an individual. So if you have a modest lifestyle, with a modest income, it won't be a problem. The main thing they want to see is that you have enough money to live during the duration of the residence permit so you won't be working illegally.

Learn more about proving you have enough money to live on.

Applications in Istanbul

For applications in Istanbul, The immigration office may send you an e-mail or SMS requesting more documentation beyond what's on the usual list.

If the immigration office in Istanbul asks for additional documents and you're not sure what they are or how to get them, you'll find articles that explain each of these documents in the section Documents, Forms & Numbers.

Paying the Fees

There are usually two fees: The residence permit fee and the card printing fee. You'll see them at the bottom of the first page of your printed application. If you entered Turkey visa-free, you must also pay a single-entry fee.

Residence Permit Fee

This fee is for the processing of your residence permit application. It varies by nationality and is in US dollars, so currency fluctuations affect it. It's automatically calculated and printed at the bottom of the first page of your downloaded residence permit application.

For children, the fee is 50% of the usual fee. The card printing fee is the same.

Card Printing Fee

The değerli kağıt bedeli or kart bedeli (card printing fee) for 2021 is ₺125.

You can pay the fees with a credit card at the end of your online application, at a participating bank such as Vakıfbank, Ziraatbank, or Halkbank, or at the local vergi dairesi (tax office). Just take with you your passport, the first page of your residence permit application, and your tax number, or your foreigner identification number if you have one.

Single-entry Fee

The tek giriş harcı (single entry fee) for 2021 is 758.90. It's only paid by foreigners who enter Turkey legally without a visa, with an ID card. If that's you, you'll pay this fee during your appointment (not in advance). Also, this fee is only paid one time, during first-time residence permit applications. You won't have to pay it again when you extend.

How and Where to Pay the Fees

You can pay the fees online, with a credit card, at the end of your online application. Or you can also pay at participating banks, including Vakıfbank, ZiraatBank, and Halkbank, or any vergi dairesi (tax office).

You'll need a copy of the first page of your application, your passport, and your tax number. Just show the clerk the first page of your application, and they'll know what to do.

Payment Codes for Banks

If you pay the fees at a bank, give them the following payment codes:

Ikamet Harcı Bedeli (Residence Permit Fee): 9233.

Kart Bedeli (Card Fee): 9207.

You won't need a code for the single entry fee because you'll pay that during your appointment.

That will make sure the fee payment goes to the correct account.

Include the originals of all receipts in your application package and keep the copies for your records. If you must leave Turkey between the dates of your appointment and the arrival of your residence permit card, you'll need these receipts to re-enter Turkey. If you don't have them, you'll have to get an e-visa to re-enter.

Learn more about paying the residence permit fees.

Go Back to the Top

Step 4: Go to Your Appointment

In this step, you go to the immigration office, present your residence permit application package, and be interviewed by an immigration specialist.

Finding the Immigration Office

Your appointment date, time, and location will be printed at the bottom of the first page of your residence permit application. You can also find the immigration offices by searching for the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü and your province in Google Maps. If the immigration office has a branch office in your district, use your district's name. Make sure the address in Google Maps is the same as the one on your residence permit application form, because sometimes the offices move.

Attending Your Appointment

During your appointment, the immigration specialist will go over your package and make sure everything is there. They'll ask you a few questions about why you want to live in Turkey, if anybody else is living with you, and if you intend to work. You'll also submit your fingerprints and take your application document to be stamped and signed. The whole process will take around 45 minutes.

Learn more about the residence permit application appointment and interview.

Missing Documents

If you're missing any documents, the immigration specialist will ask you to get them and bring them back. They can give you up to 30 days (sometimes more). If it's a local document, you should be able to get it on the same day or the next day.

Important! Be sure to get any missing documents back to the immigration specialist during the time allowed, or inform them of whatever difficulties you're having so you can get more time. If you fail to bring the missing documents within the allowed time, your application will be rejected, not canceled. If your application is rejected, you won't be allowed to re-apply for the same type of residence permit for another 180 days.

The Residence Permit Application Document

At the end of the appointment, you'll receive an İkamet İzni Müracaat Belgesi (Residence Permit Application Document). This document proves your application is complete and serves as a "temporary residence permit" to keep you legally in Turkey even after your current residence permit expires. It's valid for 90 days or until the day you receive your residence permit card.

Leaving Turkey Before You Receive Your Residence Permit Card: If your current residence permit expires and you need to leave Turkey, you can stay out of the country for up to 15 days and re-enter without a visa, provided you have your Residence Permit Application Document, your passport, and the fee payment receipts.

If You Receive a Notification Receipt Document Instead of a Residence Permit Application Document

The Istanbul and Ankara immigration offices (and perhaps offices in other provinces) may give you a Tebligat Belgesi (Notification Receipt Document) instead of a Residence Permit Application Document. The Notification Receipt Document states that the immigration office has received your application and that it will process it. It keeps you legal in Turkey until your residence permit card arrives (provided you also have your passport with you). But if your current residence permit expires and you leave Turkey and return before your residence permit card arrives, it won't allow you to re-enter Turkey without a visa.

Learn more about leaving Turkey and returning before you receive your residence permit card.

Go Back to the Top

Step 5: Receive Your Residence Permit

Either you or someone with power of attorney to receive your residence permit must be present at your address when the residence permit card arrives. You must show your passport or other identification and sign for it. If you aren't home, the PTT will keep your card at the local PTT branch for seven days. After that, it will be returned to the local immigration office where you can go, without an appointment, and pick it up.

Learn more about how to give someone power of attorney.

Checking the Status of Your Application

After your appointment, you can use the e-ikamet website to see if your application is still in progress, if it's been approved, or if there is some problem that may result in a rejection. For more information, click on the link at the bottom of this section.

SMS Messages You Might Receive

"2019-123-4567- nolu ikamet izni talebiniz olumlu degerlendirilmistir. Your residence permit request 2019-123-4567 numbered has been evaluated positively. B001"

What it Means: Your application is approved. Your card will be printed and sent to the PTT for delivery to your address. It may take up to 30 days for your residence permit card to be printed and sent to the PTT.

"Kayıt durumunuz:  It has been concluded. It is required to apply to Provincial Directorate of Migration Management. B001"

What it could mean:

  • Your residence permit application has been rejected.
  • There's a problem with your application package. You need to clarify something or provide more documentation.

If you see this message, you must go to the local immigration office, as soon as possible, to find out what the problem is. You can walk in without an appointment.

If you received the message saying your residence permit's approved, you'll later get this message from the PTT (post office):

"Adınıza, 2345678 barkod nolu gönderi kabul edilmiştir. www.ptt.gov.tr adresinden gönderinin durumunu takip edebilirsiniz. B001"

What it means: The PTT has received your residence permit card from the immigration office, and it's in their delivery system. Delivery usually takes two or three days. The first number in the message is the package's barcode.

Once you've received the message that your residence permit card has been given to the PTT, you can check on its delivery  using the barcode here:

https://www.turkiye.gov.tr/ptt-gonderi-takip

Learn more about how to check the status of your residence permit and receiving your residence permit card in the mail.

Go Back to the Top

Extending Your Residence Permit

You can apply to extend your residence permit within 60 days of the expiration of your current residence permit. Extension applications work the same way as first-time applications and require an appointment.

If You Need Copies of Previously Notarized Documents

You don't have to have new copies made of documents that you've already submitted. Whenever a noter creates a notarized copy of a document, they stamp it on the back with a document number. Photograph, scan or record that number. When you need the same notarized copy again, go back to the same noter and give them that number. They'll pull their copy of the document, make another, and give it to you. It's just as legal as the first copy, and cheaper.

Restrictions on Extending Your Short-term Residence Permit

For citizens of some countries, the immigration office is no longer extending touristic-type short-term residence permits, unless the foreigner has a good reason for the extension. However, citizens on a list of countries can continue to extend their short-term residence permits indefinitely.

Learn more about the extension restrictions, and see if your country is on the exemption list.

Go Back to the Top

Short-term Residence Permit Application Video

Here's the immigration office's video guide to the short-term residence permit application process. It's the first in a series of videos, so the next video will automatically start playing when the first one ends.

Go Back to the Top

Mertsel Residence Permit Application Services and Insurance

Mertsel Insurance provides residence permit application services and health insurance policies (among other services) for the Turkey Central community. Mertsel charges only according to what you need. You won't find a better price for the services they offer.

Within 24 hours after you send them all of the required information, Mertsel will:

  • Get you a tax number
  • Create your health insurance policy
  • Apply for and get your Residence Permit Registration Form
  • Set up your appointment at the immigration office and
  • Send you the documents for your application package.

You can get a free price quote from Mertsel according to your needs. Contact them by clicking below:

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


Comments

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.



×
×
  • Create New...