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Frequently Asked Questions about Residence Permits


Ken Grubb
  • Here are the most frequently-asked questions about getting a residence permit in Turkey, with their answers. We have compiled them from official documentation from the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), from interviews with immigration specialists at the DGMM, and from the actual experiences of foreign residents of Turkey who have recently gone through the process.

A Turkish residence permit.

Where do I apply for my residence permit?

The residence permit application system keeps rejecting my information. What should I do?

What is a residence permit application document?

I received a new passport while in Turkey. The online system is asking me for my passport number. Do I enter the old passport number or the new one?

What happens during the residence permit appointment?

What documents do I need for my residence permit application? 

Can I appoint a representative to apply for my residence permit for me?

Are there conditions where I would not need a residence permit?

After I apply for my residence permit, how long does it take to receive it?

What happens if some of my documents are missing or inadequate?

Can I get a residence permit from a Turkish embassy?

Can my residence permit also cover my family members?

Can I extend my residence permit?

After I apply for my residence permit extension online, how much time do I have to send the documents to the DGMM?

I am extending my residence permit. Do I have to mail them my original passport?

Can I mail more than one extension application in the same package?

What happens if I apply for a residence permit extension after my current one has expired?

I need to get a Turkish identity number, but I don't have a residence permit yet. Can I get one with a visa?

The address of the building where I live has changed, and I am not sure what the new address is. How can I learn my correct address?

If my residence permit expires after I submit my application, but before I receive my residence permit, can I still stay in Turkey?

I need to cancel my residence permit appointment. How can I do that?

What if I need to leave Turkey after I apply for my residence permit, and before I receive my residence permit in the mail?

What happens if I have the travel document and the printed application and receipts, but leave Turkey and return after more than 15 days?

What happens if my residence permit application is rejected, cancelled or not renewed?

How much is the document fee for the residence permit?

How much is the residence fee?

Where can I pay the residence permit fees?

Can I pay the residence permit fees at my appointment?

How will I receive my residence permit after my application is approved?

I still have one of the old "blue booklet" residence permits. Is it still valid?

Do I have to register my address somewhere?

What if I move to another address within the same province?

What if I move to another province? Do I have to get another residence permit?

I want to get a residence permit while staying at a friend's house. Can I do that?

Can I use my yacht as my address?

 

Where do I apply for my residence permit?

Applications (and extensions) for residence permits in Turkey are done online, at Turkey's official residence permit application website: www.e-ikamet.gov.tr.

Important! The above website is the only website where you can apply for a residence permit in Turkey. There are fake websites on the internet that you may find in search engine results. Do not use them. You can always know if a Turkish government website is official if it has a ".gov.tr" suffix at the end of the URL. If it doesn't have that, then it's not an official Turkish government website.

Residence permit applications are handled by the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management, or DGMM). They have an office in the capital of each province (and also in smaller cities and towns with large foreign populations.

First-time applications: The system will allow you to choose a date and time for an appointment at the DGMM. It will also tell you what documents to bring, and allow you to pay the residence permit fees by credit card.

Extensions: If you are extending a residence permit, the system will also tell you what documents you need, and give you the address to mail them to. You must use the Turkish postal system (PTT), and send the documents using taahhütlü posta, (registered mail), or by a Turkish cargo company. For an extension, there is no re-interview, so you don't have to create an appointment or go to the DGMM office.

You can learn more about the overall process of applying for a residence permit in our article An Introduction to Residence Permits. There are also certain requirements for all types of residence permits, which you can learn about in our article Important Notes about Residence Permits. You can find the DGMM office in your city or town in our DGMM address listings. Back to Top

The residence permit application system keeps rejecting my information. What should I do?

If you were at least partially successful at your application, you should have gotten an application number sent to you by e-mail. You'll need that number to complete your application.

Try using another computer. Go back to the residence permit application site, and click "I want to continue my application." Enter your application number and other identifying information, then try entering the information using the new computer.

If that doesn't work, go to the DGMM which is responsible for your area. An immigration specialist will complete your application. Back to Top

What is a residence permit application document?

It is the document created when you apply for a residence permit or an extension using the e-ikamet online application system. It shows that you have applied for a residence permit. You can use this to stay legally in Turkey until your actual residence permit card is delivered to you, even if your visa or current residence permit expires. Back to Top

I received a new passport while in Turkey. The online system is asking me for my passport number. Do I enter the old passport number or the new one?

Enter the number for the new one. But get notarized translations and copies of both passports and send them in with your package, including copies of the identity and photo pages and the page with the stamp showing your most recent entry into Turkey.

What will happen during the residence permit appointment?

An immigration specialist will go over your documents to make sure everything is there, and clarify any issues which are unclear. If everything is in order, the immigration specialist will send your package to the DGMM headquarters in Ankara, where your residence permit will be printed and mailed to the address you provided as your place of residence. Back to Top

What documents do I need for my residence permit application?

It depends on your situation and what type of residence permit you are applying for. See these articles to learn what documents are required:

Short-term Residence Permit: First application / extension

Long-term Residence Permit: First-time application (there are no extensions since it is for life)

Student Residence Permit: First-time application and extensions

Family Residence Permit: Here are links to the documents you will need according to your situation. Back to Top

Can I appoint a representative to apply for my residence permit for me?

Yes. But they must have power of attorney to act on your behalf, and the DGMM may require you to be present during your residence permit appointment. Back to Top

Are there conditions where I would not need a residence permit?

If you fall into one of the following situations, you don't need a residence permit::

  1. If you're staying in Turkey within the duration period of your visa or visa exemption.
  2. If you are a diplomatic or consular officer (or family member of a diplomatic or consular officer) and are exempted according to an agreement between Turkey and your home country.
  3. If you are working in an international organization, and are exempted by an international agreement.
  4. If you have a valid work permit, since a work permit also serves as a residence permit. Back to Top

After I apply for my residence permit, how long does it take to receive it?

It varies. Some provinces (Istanbul especially), have a substantial number of applications to process. Yet some foreigners in other provinces have received their residence permit in a week or less. As a rule of thumb, allow around 30 days. You can learn more about this in our article What Happens After You Apply for Your Residence Permit. Back to Top

What happens if some of my documents are missing or inadequate?

If it's a first time application, the immigration specialist will tell you if a document is missing or inadequate during your appointment. If it's an extension (when you mail the application and documents), the immigration specialist handling your application will send you an e-mail or a text message on your mobile phone explaining what is missing or inadequate. You will have 30 days to get the missing document(s) or correct the inadequacy.

This is usually not something to worry about. If a document is missing, you can typically get it in one day. The missing or inadequate document issue usually involves health insurance policies, address registration documents, or something needing to be officially translated and/or notarized. Back to Top

Can I get a residence permit from a Turkish embassy?

No, not at this time. The only type of visa you can get to enter Turkey, even if you want to move here permanently, is an e-visa. Then you can apply for a residence permit after you get here. If you are coming to Turkey as a student at a Turkish educational institution, or coming to Turkey for work, you must get a student visa or work visa, respectively, then come to Turkey, and then apply for a student residence permit or a work permit (which also serves as a residence permit).  Back to Top

Can my residence permit also cover my family members?

No. Each person must have their own residence permit. After you have been living or working in Turkey legally for one year, your family members may apply for family residence permits. Or they can get short-term residence permits. To learn about family residence permits, see our article An Introduction to Family Residence Permits and Frequently-asked Questions about Family Residence Permits. Back to Top

Can I extend my residence permit?

Yes. You should for an extension within 60 days before the expiration of your current residence permit. Extension applications are made online, at e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr. Select the extension option that you will see on the first page. You won't have to go to the local DGMM office for an appointment in most provinces and under most circumstances. The online system will tell you what documents you must mail to them, and give you the address you must mail them to. After you submit your application on their online system, print the application and include it with your extension documents, then mail them in. The residence permits section has articles about how to extend each type of residence permit. Back to Top

After I apply for my residence permit extension online, how much time do I have to send the documents to the DGMM?

Five business days. If your extension application isn't postmarked by then, it will not be evaluated, and you will have to apply again. Back to Top

I am extending my residence permit. Do I have to mail them my original passport?

No. For extensions, mail a notarized copy of your current residence permit and passport, including the pages with your photo and identification information, and the page which contains the stamp showing your last entry into Turkey. Do not mail your original passport or identification documents. Back to Top

Can I mail more than one extension application in the same package?

No. Each extension application must be sent separately. Back to Top

What happens if I apply for a residence permit extension after my current one has expired?

You will have to provide a good reason why you failed to extend your residence permit. And you will have to pay a fine for an overstay. Back to Top

I need to get a Turkish identity number, but I don't have a residence permit yet. Can I get one with a visa?

Yes. You can get your yabancı kimlik numarası (YKN), (foreigner identification number) before you have your residence permit. You can get one by going to the local DGMM office and asking for one. This will be the same number which will appear on your residence permit card when you receive it.

If you only need a vergi numarası (tax number), you can get one at any vergi dairesi (tax office). This just involves showing your passport, and takes around ten minutes. Back to Top

The address of the building where I live has changed, and I am not sure what the new address is. How can I learn my correct address?

See this article paragraph on how to learn your correct address if you are not sure. Back to Top

If my residence permit expires after I submit my application, but before I receive my residence permit, can I still stay in Turkey?

Yes. After you complete the online application process, print your completed application form. It will allow you to remain in Turkey for 90 days from the date of your application. Carry this with you until you get your new residence permit. If your appointment is more than 90 days in the future, contact the DGMM before the 90 days expires to get a new document which will enable you to continue staying in Turkey until your appointment date. Back to Top

I need to cancel my residence permit appointment. How can I do that?

Call Turkey's residence permit helpline, from any telephone in Turkey. The number is simply "157." from outside of Turkey, call +90 312 157 1122. Give them your residence permit application number, and they can cancel your appointment. Back to Top

What if I need to leave Turkey after I apply for my residence permit, and before I receive my residence permit in the mail?

When you go to your residence permit appointment, they will give you a temporary residence permit. With that, you can leave Turkey for up to 15 days and return (one time), without needing a visa to re-enter Turkey. You must also have your receipts showing payment for the residence permit fees, with you when you depart from and re-enter Turkey.

It will also help you when you return to Turkey if you already have your Yabancı Kimlik Numarası (YKN, or Foreigner Identity Number). This is the number which will be on your residence permit card. You can ask to have your YKN assigned at your residence permit appointment or after that. It will help the immigration official when you return, since he or she will also be able to enter that number into their computer to check your status. Back to Top

What happens if I have the travel document and the printed application and receipts, but leave Turkey and return after more than 15 days?

You will have to get an e-visa to re-enter Turkey. This will not affect your residence permit application, that is, your application or residence permit won't be canceled or hindered just because you were out of the country for more than 15 days and had to return with a visa.

This does not mean that you can stay out of Turkey for as long as you want, or that the DGMM will hold your residence permit for you indefinitely. You must be in Turkey, at your registered address, when your residence permit is delivered. Additionally, if there is a problem with processing your residence permit, you many be told to go to your local DGMM office. Back to Top

What happens if my residence permit application is rejected, cancelled or not renewed?

Rejection, cancellation, or not-renewal issues are handled by the DGMM in each province. If it happens, the DGMM will notify you. They will also provide information about your rights and how you can appeal the decision. Back to Top

How much is the document fee for the residence permit?

The residence permit document fee for 2016 is 58.50 TL. Back to Top

How much is the residence fee?

It varies according to nationality. Learn the current residence permit fees for citizens of each countryBack to Top

Where can I pay the residence permit fees?

A credit card payment system is built-in to the online residence permit application system. You can pay the fees with a credit or debit card. You can also pay at any vergi dairesi (tax office), or at any Ziraat Bankası (Ziraat Bank) or Halkbank. Tell the clerk you need to pay ikamet ücreti (ee-kah-met ooj-reh-tee). Take your passport and your current residence permit, if you have one, and also your residence permit application document with the application number. If you pay this way, get at least two receipts, one to give or send to the DGMM, and the other for your records. If you pay using the online system, you don't have to submit the payment receipt with your application. Back to Top

Can I pay the residence permit fees at my appointment?

Yes. But this may interrupt your appointment, since you will have to go and pay at the vezne (cashier), and then you may have to wait to be seen again. At each DGMM office, there is a vezne (cashier) where you can pay the fees. If you don't feel like finding the tax office or going to one of the banks mentioned above, you can show up early for your appointment at the DGMM, and pay at the vezne before your appointment. It takes five or ten minutes if there is no line at the window. Back to Top

How will I receive my residence permit after my application is approved?

The DGMM headquarters in Ankara will send it to you using Turkey's mail system (PTT). Usually, you will get an SMS (text) message on your mobile phone, letting you know that PTT has received your residence permit in Ankara and that it is on the way. The message will include the barcode for the package.

Once you have the barcode number, you can check on the delivery status at any time by going to a local PTT branch, or by using PTT's online barcode tracking system.

A courier will bring your residence permit to the address you provided in your application. Give the courier your identification, then sign for the package. If you are not there, the courier may call your mobile phone to let you know there was an attempted delivery, or put an attempted delivery sticker on your door (or in your mailbox). They normally try to make another delivery on the next day. They will not leave the package with a friend or neighbor. Back to Top

I still have one of the old "blue booklet" residence permits. Is it still valid?

If the dates in your blue book say it's still valid, then it's valid until its expiration date. There is no need to convert from the old blue book residence permits to the new "ID card" residence permit until your old "blue booklet" is within 60 days of expiring. Back to Top

Do I have to register my address somewhere?

Yes. You must go to the Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Genel Müdürlüğü, (Population and Citizenship Directorate, or "nüfus") which is responsible for the area where you live, and report your address. You must do this within 20 business days after you receive your residence permit card, after you enter Turkey.

Give your passport, your rental contract (or tapu [property title deed] if you own the property), to the nüfus clerk. After they enter your new address into their address reporting system, they will give you a a Yerleşim Yeri ve Diğer Adres Belgesi (Place of Residence and Other Addresses Document).

When the time comes to extend your residence permit, the DGMM will accept the Yerleşim Yeri ve Diğer Adres Belgesi as proof of address. Back to Top

What if I move within the same province?

For local moves, just need to report your change of address to the nüfus, as described in the previous answer. You don't have to go to the DGMM office. Back to Top

What if I move to another province? Do I have to get another residence permit?

You will have to get a new residence permit card, but you won't have to go through the whole residence permit application procedure again, since you will already have residence permission. After you move, go to the nüfus responsible for the area of your new residence within 20 business days and report your change of address. Take the Yerleşim Yeri ve Diğer Adres Belgesi (Place of Residence and Any Other Addresses Document) that the Nüfus gives you to the DGMM. Back to Top

I want to get a residence permit while staying at a friend's house. Can I do that?

Yes. Your friend and you must both go to a noter's office and create a taahhutname (literally, "an undertaking"). In the taahhutname, your friend will assume responsibility for any fines or fees you incur during your stay, and that you will leave Turkey when your residence permit expires. If your friend is married, his or her spouse must also be included in the taahhutname. For more information, see our article Residence Permits with Someone Else's Address.

Can I use my yacht as my address?

Yes. You can use the documentation you get from a port or marina where your yacht is anchored as proof of your residential address. Back to Top


Have a Question We Haven't Covered?

The DGMM has a foreigner communications center where you can speak to an immigration specialist. Call 157 from any telephone within Turkey. From outside of Turkey, call +90 312 157 1122.

You can also ask questions and comment in our Residence Permits Forum.


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