When you apply for a residence permit in Turkey, you'll need to prove you have enough money to support yourself (and your family, if you have one), for the duration of the residence permit you're applying for.
The money doesn't have to come from Turkey or be in a Turkish bank. It can be from any source, such as a salary, pension, rental income, investments, or you can use your savings in a bank account.
How Much Money Do I Need to Get a Residence Permit?
There isn't any set answer to that question, because it depends on your situation. The main reason the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management or the immigration office) requires proof of financial ability is to make sure that you won't be living on the street or that you won't be working illegally.
You'll be Evaluated as an Individual
According to the immigration office's approach to evaluating foreigners for residence, each foreigner is viewed as an individual in their own situation. So if you don't have much money to live on, it doesn't necessarily mean your residence permit application will be rejected. With even a modest income, such as a monthly payout from your government's social security retirement fund can be enough, if you can also show that your lifestyle allows you to live on that amount of money.
The Turkish Minimum Wage
If there is any minimum amount of money you'll need to have, it's an amount of money equal to the Turkish minimum wage, plus one-third of that amount for each of your family members.
The minimum wage in Turkey for 2022 is ₺5,004.
Long-term Residence Permits
If you're applying for a long-term residence permit, you must prove that you have a continuous income, for life, of at least the Turkish minimum wage and again, an additional one-third for each family member.
Types of Savings or Income and Documentation
Money in the Bank
Typically, the immigration specialist will want printouts of your home country bank account, showing all deposits and withdrawals for the last six months. These are regular printouts you can make using a home printer. Have these printouts with you when you go to your appointment.
You Don't Need a Turkish Bank Account. A foreign bank account is okay. However, the immigration specialist may ask for additional proof of income, such as a stamped and signed, or e-signed letter from your bank, showing deposits and withdrawals for the last six months. You may also get an SMS message or e-mail asking you to bring this after you complete your online application.
A Large Recent Deposit May Not Be Accepted. If the only proof of financial capacity you have is a large sum of money recently deposited into a bank account, be it a Turkish or foreign one, you'll probably be asked for proof of where the money came from. In the past, many foreigners borrowed money, opened a Turkish bank account, and deposited a large amount of money into it. Then after their interview, they withdrew the money and paid back the loan. Then they worked illegally. Because of this, the immigration office usually asks for proof of the last six months of your income.
To prove employment income, your bank account records showing deposits of your salary should be enough. However, the immigration specialist may also ask for a letter from your employer, on a stamped and signed or digitally signed letter, on company letterhead, which shows how much money you make and that this money will continue during the duration of your stay in Turkey.
For retirees, a simple printout of the last six months of your bank account deposits and withdrawals is usually enough. If you're asked for more, they'll probably want a stamped and signed, or e-signed letter from your pension provider using their letterhead. The letter will need to state the amount, frequency, and duration of your pension payments.
If you have rental income from rental properties you own, a statement of monthly rental income and expenses should suffice. If it doesn't, the immigration specialist may ask for a stamped and signed or digitally signed statement of income and expenses from your property manager. If you're managing the property yourself, you may be asked for the title deed of the rental property and a rental contract between you and the tenant.
If you have money in a mutual fund or a private retirement plan, you'll need the last six months of the statements of activity.
Putting Things into Perspective
It's easy to feel a little stressed about this. But think about it this way. Imagine you're having a conversation with a friend talking about your move to Turkey. They ask you if you have enough to support yourself, and you say "yes." Then they ask, "how do you know?" What you'd tell your friend in this imaginary conversation is the same thing you'll be telling the immigration specialist. And if you already have the money or it's guaranteed as income, you'll already have the documentation to prove it.
Declaring Your Financial Capacity in the Residence Permit Application System
All applications for residence permits are created and submitted using the e-ikamet online residence permit application system. İkamet means "residence." The immigration office manages the system, which you'll find it at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/.
While going through the online process, you'll be asked to declare you have enough money to live on and how much it is. That's all you'll have to do. Then the end of the process, the system will provide you with an appointment date and time for you to go to the local immigration office and submit documents that prove that you have enough income or savings, among other things such proof of an address and health insurance.
So you'll make the declaration during your online application, then prove it with documents at your appointment.
If You Live Off of Your Savings
While completing your online application, if you have an amount of money in your bank account and will be living from that, and have no monthly income, don't put "zero" (0) in the box where it asks for your monthly income. Instead, divide the money you have in the bank by 12, and use that number as your monthly income. Or if you're applying for a two-year residence permit, divide it by 24.
SMS or E-mail Messages Asking for Documents
After you declare your income or savings in the online application system, complete your application and get your appointment at the local immigration office, you may receive an SMS message or an e-mail (depending on the communications method you chose). The message will tell you specifically what additional proof of income you need to bring to your interview.
The Istanbul immigration offices usually send these messages, mostly because they receive a lot of fraudulent applications and fake documentation.
If you get one of these messages, it'll probably ask you for a stamped and signed letter from your bank certifying your last six months of banking deposits and withdrawals, or a similar letter from whatever company provides your income or maintains your savings or investments.
If your financial documents aren't in the western alphabet, you'll need to have them translated into Turkish by a sworn translator.
Presenting Documentary Proof of Income or Savings at Your Appointment
When you go to your appointment, you'll meet an immigration specialist and present your application package. Your application package will include your downloaded and printed İkamet İzni Kayıt Formu (Residence Permit Registration Form), health insurance, proof of address, and proof you have enough money to live on.
If in Doubt, Bring It!
If you have any documents related to your income and aren't sure whether you should bring them to your appointment or not, bring them. It's better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
Insufficient or Missing Documentation of Income
If you can't get the requested documentation in time for your interview, or the immigration specialist looks over what you have and says it's insufficient, they'll give you up to 30 days to get the documents you need. When you get them, you can return to the immigration office and give the documents to the immigration specialist handling your case. You won't need an appointment.
Important! Make sure you return with the documentation within the deadline they give you. If you don't, your application will be rejected (not just canceled, but rejected) because of insufficient documentation. If your application is rejected, you'll be unable to re-apply for the same type of residence permit for six months.