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Turkey Family Residence Permit: A Step-by-Step Guide


COVID-19 Update to Residence Permit Application Process

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all applications are mailed in. Also, you must add a notarized translation of your passport to your application package. To learn more, see: COVID-19 Pandemic: Changes to the Residence Permit Application Process. To learn how the pandemic may affect you, see: COVID-19 Pandemic.

What is a Family Residence Permit?

A family residence permit is a biometric identity card that enables the spouse or child of a sponsor to live in Turkey permanently. The sponsor must be

If you're a foreign sponsor and want to bring your family to Turkey immediately, you won't meet the one-year residence requirement. So at first, you and your family members will apply for short-term residence permits, and your family members use your home as their address. After you've lived in Turkey for one year, you'll continue using the residence or work permit you have, and your family members will be eligible for family residence permits.

Duration

The Family Residence Permit has a maximum duration of three years. In the case of a foreign sponsor, it's either three years or until the expiration date of the sponsor's residence or work permit, whichever comes soonest. If you're the spouse of a Turkish citizen sponsor, then after three years of marriage, you and your children can apply to become Turkish citizens.

When a Family Residence Permit is Practical

If the sponsor is a Turkish citizen or has a residence or work permit with a longer duration, such as a long-term residence permit or an unlimited work permit, then the family members can enjoy the longer duration of the family residence permit.

When a Family Residence Permit is Impractical

The family residence permit expires in three years or when the sponsor's residence or work permit expires, whichever is sooner. So, if you're the sponsor and you only have six months left on your current residence or work permit, your family members could only get family residence permits with a duration of six months. So it would make more sense for your family members to get one or two-year short-term residence permits.

Benefits

The Family Residence Permit gives children under age 18 the right to free education in public schools.

No Working Rights

The family residence permit doesn't provide any right to work. If the family member wants to work, they must get a work permit.

Eligibility

Those eligible for a Family Residence Permit include the spouse of the sponsor and the children of the spouse or the sponsor if they're under age 18 or are legally determined to be dependent on the care of their parents.

The DGMM, or Göç İdaresi

All residence permits in Turkey are issued by the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management). You'll also hear this organization called the Göç İdaresi, the Göç, or the DGMM. For this article, I'll call it the DGMM.

Residence Permit Law

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

From here on this article will assume you're a family member applying for the permit.

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An Overview of the Application Process

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

You'll need to 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 later in this guide.

The application system consists of sequential pages on which you enter your personal information. When you've completed the application, you'll select an appointment date and time for an interview at the local office of the DGMM. 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 DGMM 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 applying for a residence permit in Istanbul.

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Required Documents at a Glance

I'll cover each required document and explain how to get it as we go through the steps of the process. For now, here's a quick list so you can see them all at once:

From the Sponsor

  • National ID card (if a Turkish citizen) or residence permit/work permit (if a foreigner)
  • Copy of the citizen ID card or residence permit/work permit
  • Passport (if the sponsor is a foreigner)
  • Copy of passport, including identity and photo pages and the page showing the stamp for the last entry into Turkey (if the sponsor is a foreigner)
  • Criminal record check which shows no convictions for domestic violence
  • Proof of financial ability
  • Proof of address
  • Health insurance covering the sponsor and the family members
  • Receipts for payment of fees

From the Family Member(s)

  • İkamet İzni Kayıt Formu (Residence Permit Registration Form) which you'll download and print at the end of the online application process)
  • Passport
  • Copy of passport, including identity and photo pages, and the page showing the entry stamp for your most recent entry into Turkey
  • Four (4) biometric photos
  • Marriage certificate (spouse)
  • Birth certificates (for children, if it isn't clear from the passports that they are children of the mother and father)

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

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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 the apostille and sworn translation, and how to get them.

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Step 1: Prepare for Your Online Application

Start 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 any foreign documents to start the online application, but you'll need them when you go to your appointment.

Also collect the following documents, because the online system will ask you for information from them.

Passport

For the online application, you'll need the 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 officer 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 DGMM to mail your application package to them, the copy of your passport must translated and notarized (see above).

Tax Number

To pay the fees for your residence permit application, you'll 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 one. After you fill out a form, they'll give you one immediately, for free.

Learn more about getting your tax number.

Photos

You'll need four (4) biometric photos. The 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

For the family residence permit, the sponsor must have an insurance policy that covers all family members.

SGK Health Insurance

Turkey's national health insurance plan is called Genel Sağlık Sigorta (General Health Insurance). It's provided by the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK, or Social Security Administration). It covers most procedures done in state hospitals. It also covers much of the cost in more expensive private hospitals, with the rest paid by the patient.

A foreign sponsor can apply for SGK health insurance coverage after they've lived in Turkey for one year. A Turkish sponsor will probably already have this coverage. If the sponsor already has SGK coverage, family members can be added to the sponsor's policy with no increase in the price.

Learn more about SGK 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.

Private Health Insurance from a Turkish Company

You can use a private Turkish health insurance policy to apply for a family residence permit. However, you can't use the low-cost policies designed for foreigners with short-term residence permits. For the family residence permit, the sponsor must have a health insurance policy that meets the Turkish government's minimum coverage requirements and covers the sponsor and all family members.

Learn more about private health insurance for family residence permits.

You can buy private insurance by walking into any Turkish insurance office, providing your personal information, and paying the premium. It takes around 45 minutes at most. You can also buy a policy online and have it sent to you by e-mail, mail, or courier.

Get a free quote for family residence permit health insurance.

Get one copy of the policy in Turkish and the other in English. You'll include the Turkish policy with your residence permit application and keep the English copy for your records.

Address Information

For the online application process, you'll need to have your full address, that is, the address of the sponsor.

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: Create Your Application Package.

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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.

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 the link in the e-mail, you'll be returned to the application system and be given an application number. Keep that number, since 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.

For more information about using the online system and what to do if you have problems, see: e-İkamet: How to use Turkey's Online Residence Permit Application System.

Your Appointment Date and Time

At the end of the online application process, you'll make an appointment at the local DGMM 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 DGMM 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.

Downloading Your Application Form

You'll also be given 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, to keep you 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 DGMM 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.

Istanbul Residents

Because of the high rate of fake documents and fraudulent applications in Istanbul, the Istanbul DGMM often asks for additional documents by sending an SMS or e-mail message. If they ask you for a document you're not familiar with, you can learn what it is and how to get it here: Documents, Forms & Numbers.

Leaving Turkey After You've Applied Online But Before Your Appointment

If you have a valid visa and haven't exceeded the number of days it allows you to be in Turkey, or if you have a valid residence permit, you can leave Turkey and return as much as you like. But if you don't, you'll have to re-enter Turkey with a visa.

Learn more about leaving Turkey and returning before your appointment.

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Step 3: Create Your Application Package

Now that you've completed your online application, you can get the rest of the documents you need.

Proof of Residence

You'll need to prove two things. First, that the sponsor owns or rents a property, and second, that you're the spouse or the child of the sponsor.

If the Sponsor is a Property Owner

The sponsor will need the original tapu (property title deed) in the sponsor's name, to show the immigration officer. The sponsor will also need a regular copy of the tapu for the immigration officer to keep.

If the tapu is more than two years old, the sponsor will also need a tapu devam yazısı (title deed continuation), which proves the tapu is still valid. You can get this document from the Tapu ve Kadastro Genel Müdürlüğü (Title Deed and Land Registry Directorate).

If the Sponsor is a Renter

The sponsor will need a notarized copy of the rental contract. At the appointment, the immigration officer will keep the notarized copy.

Utility Bills

If you can, include utility bills, which are in the sponsor's name at the sponsor's address, in the application package. Since the utility companies also verify the residence, the immigration officers consider utility bills to be the best proof of residence.

Proof of Family Relationship

You'll need to show a marriage certificate which names the legal owner or renter as your spouse, or a birth certificate showing the sponsor as the parent (if it isn't clear on the children's passports that they are the children of the sponsor or the spouse). If a marriage or birth certificate is from another country, it must also be legalized and translated.

Proof of the Sponsor's Financial Ability

The sponsor must have a monthly income, or savings/investments of at least the Turkish minimum wage, plus at least one-third of the minimum wage for each family member. The income doesn't have to come from Turkey, and the savings/investments don't have to be in Turkey. Whatever you provide, it must cover the six months before the date of your application.

The minimum wage in Turkey for 2020 is 2,325 lira per month.

The financial ability requirement can be met with bank account records showing deposits and withdrawals, a statement from your investment company, or documents showing rental income from a rental property. Because these aren't public records, they don't have to be legalized with an apostille. Normally, you can just access your account information on your financial institution's website, then download and print it.

Custody or Guardianship Documents

If a child has a foreign parent who has custody, you must get a court document that permits the child to live in Turkey with the other parent and the sponsor. If the other parent is deceased, you'll need a copy of the death certificate.

Criminal Record Check

The sponsor must provide a criminal record check from Turkey and their home country (if applicable), especially if the sponsor has been living in Turkey for less than five years. The criminal record must show no convictions for domestic violence.

Paying the Fees

Everyone must pay the residence permit fee and the card printing fee. However, if you entered Turkey visa-free, you'll have to 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 it's affected by currency fluctuations. It's automatically calculated and printed at the bottom of the first page of your downloaded residence permit application.

For children up to 18 years of age, 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 2020 is ₺110.

Single-entry Fee

The tek giriş harcı (single entry fee) for 2020 is ₺695.60. It's only paid by foreigners who enter Turkey without a visa. If that's you, you'll pay this fee during your appointment.

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.

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

You won't need a code for the single entry fee (if you have to pay it) because you'll pay it during your appointment.

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Step 4: Go to Your Appointment

Finding the DGMM 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 DGMM offices by searching for the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü and your province in Google Maps. If the DGMM 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, because sometimes the offices move.

Attending Your Appointment

Both the sponsor and the family members applying for the family residence permit must be present during your appointment. The immigration officer will go over your package to make sure everything is there. They may ask you a few questions about how long you've been married, who else lives with you, and if you intend to work. You'll also submit fingerprints. The appointment will take around 30 minutes.

Missing Documents

If you're missing any documents, the immigration officer 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 officer 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.

Documents You May Receive at the End of Your Appointment

At the end of your appointment, you'll receive one of two documents:

An İkamet İzni Müracaat Belgesi (Residence Permit Application Document)

This document serves as a temporary residence permit to keep you legally in Turkey until you receive your residence permit card. It also allows you to leave Turkey and be out of the country for up to 15 days and return (one time) without a visa. To re-enter Turkey, you must have this document, your passport, and your fee payment receipts.

A Tebliğ Tebellüğü Belgesi (Official Communique Document)

The Istanbul and Ankara DGMM offices (and perhaps offices in other provinces) may give you a Tebliğ-tebellüğ Belgesi (Official Communique Document) instead of a Residence Permit Application Document. The communique states that the DGMM has received your application and that it will process it. It will keep you legally in Turkey until your residence permit card arrives (along with your passport), but it doesn't give you the privilege of re-entering Turkey if you leave. However, there are ways to re-enter Turkey anyway.

Learn about leaving Turkey after your residence permit application appointment.

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Step 5: Receive Your Family 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 DGMM office where you can go, without an appointment, and pick it up.

Learn 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. Go back to the e-ikamet website and click one of the buttons according to whether your application is a first time, extension, or transfer.

On the next page, click "I would like to see my application result."

Enter your application number, then your mobile (cell) phone number or your e-mail address, and your foreigner ID number or your passport number, and enter the code indicated in the "Captcha" function to prove you're a real person.

On the next page you'll see if your application is still being processed or if it's complete, and if it's been sent to the PTT (post office) for delivery.

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 that message, you must go to the local DGMM, 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 been 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 DGMM, 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.

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Extending Your Family Residence Permit

Family residence permits can be extended indefinitely. You can apply for an extension at any time within 60 days of expiration, and the extension process is the same as the first-time application process. If you're married to a Turkish citizen, after three years of marriage you and your children can apply to become Turkish citizens.

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Family Residence Permit Videos

Here's the DGMM's video guide to the family 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.

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Assistance and Support

 

Residence Permit and Health Insurance Assistance: Mertsel Insurance offers health insurance for residence permits that you can buy online. They also provide residence permit application services. They'll create your health insurance policy and complete your residence permit application for you within 24 hours. Contact them for a free price quotation.

Foreigner Communications Center Help Line: The DGMM also has a helpline you can call with any questions you might have. Just call 157 from any telephone in Turkey. If you're outside of Turkey, you can call it at +90 312 157 1122. Be sure to have your passport, application number, and your visa information ready.

Turkey Central Residence Permit Forums: Do you have a question? Search our residence permit forum to see if your question has already been asked and answered. If it hasn't, feel free to open a new topic.

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