In this article, I'll explain what you must do to get a residence permit for your child. What you do depends on if your child was born outside of Turkey, or if they were born in Turkey.
Foreign children must have a residence permit to live in Turkey. The application process is the same as it is for adults, but children born in Turkey must have their birth registered within 30 days, then the application for a residence permit made within six months.
All residence permit applications begin on Turkey's online registration system, e-İkamet, at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/. İkamet means "residence." For your child, you'll either apply for a family or a short-term residence permit.
Turkey Family Residence Permit or Short-term Residence Permit?
Family Residence Permit for a Foreign Child in Turkey
A family residence permit is issued to the foreign family members of a sponsor. The sponsor of the family member must be:
- A Turkish citizen, or
- A foreign resident living in Turkey for at least one year with a residence or work permit.
If the sponsor of the family doesn't meet either of those requirements, then you must apply for a short-term residence permit for your child. After a year, they'll be eligible for a family residence permit. To learn more, see: Turkey Family Residence Permit.
Note: The family residence permit is valid for three years or if the sponsor is a foreigner, until the expiration of the sponsor's residence or work permit.
Short-Term Residence Permit for a Foreign Child in Turkey
If you're coming to Turkey for the first time and bringing a child, and neither you nor your spouse is a Turkish citizen, apply for a short-term residence permit for your child. To learn more, see: Turkey Short-Term Residence Permit.
Residence Permit for a Child Born Outside of Turkey
If your child was born outside of Turkey, the residence permit application process is the same as it is for an adult. Normally no birth certificate is required. However, if there is a question about who the child's parents are when you present your application package during your appointment, the immigration specialist may ask you to supply a birth certificate and give you time to get it.
If you must get a foreign birth certificate for your child, you'll need to acquire it from the office of your home country that keeps such records. Then you must have it "legalized," or validated by another office in your home country with a stamp or separate document called an apostille. After you receive the birth certificate and apostille, you must then then have both translated by a sworn Turkish translator.
I've covered the entire process for getting a foreign birth certificate and the apostille, and having them translated here: How to Get a Foreign Birth Certificate from Turkey
Residence Permit for a Child Born in Turkey
After a child is born, the doğum belgesi, or birth certificate, is issued at the hospital. This form is sometimes called a "formul A." The birth certificate will allow the child to stay in Turkey for six months or until the expiration date of the parents' current residence permit (whichever is sooner). Here's what you must do:
- Register the child's birth at the Nüfus
You will need to register the birth at the local Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü (Population and Citizenship Affairs Directorate, or Nüfus) within 30 days. You can make an appointment to register the birth online, at https://randevu.nvi.gov.tr/.
The Nüfus also has a national customer helpline at 199, which you can call for free from any telephone in Turkey. There is an option for English.
To register the baby, take the birth certificate and your ID cards to your appointment. They'll register the birth of the child and list you as the parents.
No marriage certificate is required, nor are any documents concerning previous marriage(s) or divorce(s). The two parents can simply claim the child as theirs with the birth certificate and their ID cards. If only one parent is present, then that parent can register the birth.
- Register the birth at your country's embassy or consulate and apply for a passport
The birth certificate doesn't allow for travel outside of Turkey or for return to Turkey, so you should also register the birth with your country's embassy or consulate and apply for a passport for the child. Visit your country's consular website and go to the section on birth registration to learn what you must do, what documents you need, and what fees you must pay.
- Apply for your child's residence permit
During the first six months, you'll apply online for a residence permit using the e-İkamet residence permit registration system. The procedure is the same as it is for an adult, with one important difference--the option to designate the child as being a newborn in Turkey.
When you're entering the identity information for the child, you'll see the option Türkiye'de Doğan Çocuk (Child Born in Turkey), with an option of yes or no. Select "yes." You'll also see an option to state that the child is a newborn in Turkey, which will cause the system not to ask for the child's passport information.
If One of the Child's Parents is Absent
If one of the child's parents is not in Turkey, you must get a notarized parental consent declaration. If the parent is deceased, you must have the death certificate. Since these documents are foreign documents, they will also need to be legalized with an apostille and translated by a sworn Turkish translator.
Residence Permit for a Child When You Are a Sponsor and Not a Parent
If you're sponsoring a child not your own in Turkey, you need a letter of consent from the biological parents. Also, you and any other guardians of the child must go to a noter (notary) and get a document called a taahhütname (a sworn, legally enforceable declaration), in which you promise to provide support for the child.
Include the taahhütname in the child's residence permit application package. You and any other guardians must also attend the child's application appointment.
Education of Foreign Children in Turkey
Children who have residence permits (it doesn't matter which kind) may attend Turkish public schools for free.
Turkish Citizenship by Birth
Children born in Turkey with two foreign parents are not automatically Turkish citizens. However, if one of the parents is a Turkish citizen, the child is considered a Turkish citizen from the day they were born, no matter where in the world they were born. So if the child has a Turkish parent, contact the Population and Citizenship Affairs Directorate to get the child a Turkish citizen's identification card instead of a residence permit. To learn more, see Turkish Citizenship by Birth.