The Turkish government requires all foreign residents to have a health insurance policy which meets minimum coverage requirements. When you apply for your residence permit online for the first time, and when you extend it, the online system will ask you for your health insurance information, including the effective dates of the policy and the policy number. You will also need to take the policy, or other documentation according you your situation, to your appointment (for first-time applications) or mail it in (for extensions).
Bilateral Health Care Agreements Between Countries
Some countries have a bilateral agreement with Turkey for providing health care. If you are a citizen of a country that is a part of a bilateral agreement, then you will be covered in Turkey. However, you will need to go to the local office of the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (social security administration, or "SGK") to get a letter stating that you are covered under that agreement.
Types of Insurance You Can Use
Turkey has a national health insurance plan, administered by the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, or social security administration. Often called "SGK insurance," it is comprehensive, and allows you to simply present your SGK card at any Turkish state hospital for immediate 100% coverage.
Some private hospitals also accept SGK insurance, but since treatment at private hospitals is more expensive than at state hospitals, there may be additional charges which have to be paid separately.
You must be a legal resident of Turkey for at least one year before you are eligible for SGK insurance.
Insurance from your Home Country
You can use insurance coverage from your home country if it meets Turkey's minimum standards for health insurance coverage.
Private Insurance From a Company in Turkey
Most of the major insurance companies in Turkey, including Ankara Sigorta and Groupama, provide health insurance policies specifically designed for foreigners applying for residence permits. They provide two copies, one in English, and one in Turkish. Tell the insurance agent you need it for your ikamet Tezkeresi (residence permit), and they'll provide you with the policy you need.
Two-year Residence Permit Health Insurance Policies
Since the duration of short-term residence permits was extended to a maximum of two years, and since health insurance coverage is required during the entire validity period of the residence permit being applied for, Ankara Sigorta has created a two-year residence permit health insurance package. It consists of two one-year health insurance policies, both purchased at the same time. When the first policy expires, the second policy automatically activates.
Purchasing Health Insurance in Advance
At Ankara Sigorta (and probably other companies) you can also buy health insurance policies up to 60 days in advance--that is--a policy that activates up to 60 days after it is purchased. This can help you time the validity period of your health insurance policy with the validity period of the residence permit you are applying for.
Important! Make sure the policy is active on the date of your residence permit appointment, or your application will be rejected.
Tip! Get two copies of your health insurance policy. One for the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management, or DGMM), and one for you.
Health Insurance Costs
Insurance policy costs vary from one person to another according to age, gender, and existing health issues, and if the insured is a smoker or not.
What Is and Isn't Covered
These health insurance policies have a one-year waiting period for coverage of certain conditions. There are also certain conditions they never cover.
If You Are Over 65 Years Old
If you are over 65 years old, there is no requirement to prove you have health insurance, unless you are applying for a long-term residence permit.
If you need health insurance, contact our English-speaking agent of Ankara Sigorta, which provides health insurance packages for residence permits (in English and Turkish), using our Health Insurance Inquiry Form.
Turkey's Foreigner Communications Center
The DGMM has a number you can call to speak to an immigration specialist. Call 157 from any telephone within Turkey. The call will be free. From outside of Turkey, call +90 312 157 1122. Long-distance charges will apply.
An Introduction to Residence Permits: All about the residence permit and how to get one, with links to the various types, eligibility criteria, and required documents.
Health Insurance for Residence Permits Forum: Still unclear on what's involved? Feel free to post your questions or comments in our forum.
The Four Basic Steps of Applying for or Extending Your Residence Permit
Turkey Residence Permit Law (PDF): The Law on Foreigners and International Protection, Dated April, 2014. In English, this is the Turkish law which governs residence permits.