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Turkey Residence Permit Online Application

Ken Grubb

This article is about using Turkey's online residence permit application system. To learn about the entire application process according to the type of residence permit you need, see: Residence Permit Application Guides.

All residence permit applications begin at Turkey's online application system, https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/. If you have your preliminary documents ready (see below), you can get the application done in 45 minutes or less. If you can't finish in one session, you can log back in and complete it later, using your application number and your passport/current residence permit and your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Residence permits are issued by the Göç İdaresi Genel Müdürlüğü (Directorate General of Migration Management, or immigration office).

Documents and Information You'll Need Before You Apply

The system will ask you for certain information from documents you'll need to have before you begin.

Health Insurance Policy

The system will ask you for the insurance company name, the policy number, the policy start and end dates, and the number of times you've renewed the policy (if you're extending your residence permit).

To learn about the health insurance policies you can use, see: Types of Policies and How to Buy Them.

Four Biometric Photos

A biometric photo is a photo of such quality that it can be used to record measurements between facial features. Any photography shop can take a biometric photo. Get four and scan one to upload into the system. The photo you upload must be the same as the ones you submit with your package.

Passport and Visa Information

The system will require your identity information exactly as it's recorded in your passport, its issue and expiration dates, and the information from your visa about your most recent entry into Turkey.

Address Information

You'll need the complete address of the place where you're staying, even if it's a hotel. Turkey has a central address registry system where all legal addresses are recorded. The online residence permit application system will access the address system and let you select your address from a series of drop-down "select" options which become more and more specific, even to the level of apartment flat and hotel room numbers. Here are guides to proving your address according to your situation:

Apply as Early as You Can

You can apply for a residence permit any time within 60 days before the expiration of your current residence permit or visa. Apply as soon as you can, because if your current visa or residence permit expires, it can be a hassle if you must leave Turkey and return before you receive your new residence permit card.

System Errors

If you try to use the residence permit application system and see this message:

Sistemde teknik bir hata olüştu (there's a technical problem with the system)

Wait a few hours, or a day, and try again.

A Walk Through the Application Process

Communications Preference

You'll be able to select e-mail or SMS as your communications method. If you select e-mail, then leave Turkey, you'll still be able to receive messages. If you select SMS, the system will only send to a Turkish mobile phone number, so you won't be able to get the SMS messages.

Verification and Application Number Sent by E-mail or SMS

After you enter your basic identity information, you'll receive an SMS message which contains your application number.

Insider Tip: The SMS message you receive will have a suffix which isn't part of the application number. So if you get a message with a number like "12345 B001," The "B001" after the space is not part of the application number.

Save the application number and keep it, because you'll go back into your application using the application number to verify that you own the mobile phone the application number was sent to.

You'll also need your application number if you call the immigration office helpline at 157.

Entering the Rest of the Information

The rest of the information you must enter into the system is self-explanatory, but some of it might be confusing. In the rest of this guide, I'll explain the parts you might find confusing.

Getting Your Appointment Date and Time

In some provinces, the system will let you choose the date and time of your appointment. In others, the system will give you one fixed appointment date and time that you can't change. In Istanbul, they'll send your appointment date and time later, by e-mail or SMS message.

Delayed Appointments in Istanbul

If you're applying in Istanbul, you may see this message as you're finalizing your application:

Randevu Tarihi GİGM Tarafından Belirlenecektir (the immigration office will determine the appointment date).

That means the immigration office will send you an SMS or e-mail containing your appointment information. It might take them anywhere from a few days to a month to send you that message. Don't worry, as long as you have a copy of the first page of your downloaded and printed application document and your passport, you'll be legally in Turkey until your appointment date and time, even if your visa expires or you exceed the number of days in Turkey it allows.

Learn more about applying for a residence permit in Istanbul.

Tips and Fixes for Various Technical Problems

These are techniques you can use to fix problems that might occur. By no means do you need to use all of them, but if you have a problem, try these fixes and see if one or more of them solves it.

  • Use a desktop or laptop computer. Sometimes a tablet or smartphone won't work, sometimes they work even better. Try one of these if your desktop or laptop won't work
  • Apply late at night or early in the morning when less people are using the system.
  • Change the language to Turkish to insert your information, then change it back to English. Don't worry, it won't delete the information you've entered. The language selector is at the top of every page. You can also use the Google Chrome Browser with the Google Translate extension and use the site in Turkish, as your browser translates it into English.
  • If you've completed your application and the system won't accept it, change the language of the system (not the Google Translate option in your browser, but in the application itself) and try submitting it while it's in Turkish mode.
  • Use a different browser or switch your browser to "private" mode.
  • Use a different computer.
  • Reset your router. Click the reset button unplug your router for ten seconds, then plug it in again.
  • Disable ad blockers. Ad blockers may perceive some functions on the immigration office website as advertisements.

Learn how to use the Chrome browser with the Google Translate application.

Some Things You Might Find Confusing

The "Tourism" Residence Permit Type is Also for Renters

If you're renting, select "tourism" or "touristic" as the type of residence permit you're applying for. The tourism reason applies both to people who want to stay in Turkey for longer than their visa allows and do more sightseeing, and to people who stay in Turkey for a year or more while renting.

Your Health Insurance Coverage

In the online system, you can choose what day your residence permit begins. That day must be no later than the day after your current residence permit or visa expires, or you reach the maximum number of days your visa allows you to be in Turkey. It's the same with your health insurance policy.

Your health insurance coverage must also begin on the day you want your residence permit to begin, or if you're extending your residence permit, the day after your current health insurance coverage ends. You mustn't have any gaps in your health insurance coverage.

Entering Your Health Insurance Information

In the online system, you'll have the option to choose

  • SGK Genel Sigortası (General Health Insurance), which is Turkey's national health insurance plan.
  • Reciprocal health insurance coverage under a bilateral agreement with your home country (if there is one), and
  • Private health insurance.
  • You can also choose the option saying that you're under 18 or over 65 years of age, which will disable the requirement to enter health insurance information since it won't be required.

SGK Insurance

You must have lived in Turkey for at least one year to qualify for the SGK plan, unless your country has a bilateral agreement for health care coverage with Turkey. For the SGK plan, the system will ask for a sicil numarası (registration number). If you're applying for the first time, you won't have one, because you have to live in Turkey for a year before you can qualify for it. For extensions, enter your foreigner identity number which is printed on the front of your residence permit card.

To learn more about the Turkish government's comprehensive insurance plan, see Health Insurance Coverage Under Turkey's National Health Insurance Plan (SGK).

Insurance Coverage Under a Reciprocal Agreement

If your country has a bilateral agreement with Turkey for the provision of health care, you'll need to get a letter from the office of your country's health insurance plan, then take that to the SGK office to get your registration number.

To learn more about health insurance coverage by reciprocal agreement, see: Health Insurance Coverage Under Bilateral International Agreements in Turkey.

Private Health Insurance

If you're using private health insurance, you'll need your policy number, insurance company name, start and end dates of the policy, and the Yenile No., which is an abbreviation of yenile numarası (renewal number). This number refers to how many times you've renewed the policy. You should find this number on the first page of the policy.

If the number isn't on the first page of your policy, enter the number of times you've renewed the policy. If it's a first-time policy, enter 0 (zero). If it's the second policy you've bought from your insurance company, then you have renewed your policy one time, so enter one (and so on).

All companies which are authorized to sell residence permit health insurance will appear in a drop-down menu, so you'll be able to select the name of your insurance company there.

If you're applying for a two-year short-term residence permit and have two back-to-back one-year policies, the two policies will have different policy numbers and validity periods. Insert the information from the first policy, then click the option to add the information from the second policy.

If you get an error message which says something like

"The health insurance information you entered does not match your existing insurance data and you need to contact YIMER."

"YIMER" is the Yabancılar İletişim Merkezi, or Foreigner's Communication Center, otherwise known as the immigration office helpline (which you can reach by calling 157). The message is telling you to call the 157 number.

Before you do that, check to make sure you entered the information correctly. If there's a mistake, correct it and submit it again.

If you just bought the policy on the same day you're applying online, it may be that the insurance company hasn't yet entered the information into the Sigorta Bilgi Gözetim Merkezi (Insurance Information Monitoring Center) that the application system is interacting with. So you can either continue the application the next day or contact your insurance company and ask them to update the system.

To learn more about private health insurance coverage, see: Private Health Insurance Policies in Turkey.

Financial Information

The system will ask you to certify that you have enough savings or income each month to live in Turkey. The income or savings you want to use doesn't have to be in Turkey. It can be from a foreign source or in a foreign bank. At your appointment, the immigration specialist will ask you for documentation, usually bank statements for the last six months, but they may want more. So after you complete the online application, gather whatever financial documents you have to include them in your application package.

If you have savings, don't enter zero (0) for monthly income. Instead, divide the amount of savings you have by 12 and use that number for your monthly income.

To learn more about proving that you have enough money to live on, see: How to Prove You Have Enough Money to Live On.

If You Have a New Passport

If you've received a new passport while in Turkey and haven't exited and re-entered the country with it yet, the system won't know that your passport number has changed.

Enter the number of your old passport and its issue date. Then enter the expiration date of the new passport.

Take both your old and new passports with you to your appointment and show them to the immigration specialist.

To learn more about what to do when you get a new passport, see: What to Do if You Get a New Passport or Change Your Name in Turkey.

Accessing a Partially Completed Application

If you can't complete your application in one session, you can return to it. When you return to the application website, click the button according to whether your application is a first-time application, an extension, or a transfer.

On the next page, click the button which says, "I want to continue my application." Enter your application number and your mobile (cell) phone number or your e-mail address. Enter your foreigner ID number (if extending) or your passport number. Then enter the characters in the security function and click "Login."

What to Do if You Make a Mistake

If, during the process, you realize you've made a mistake and can't go back to correct it, go all the way to the end of the application and, on the last page, click the option to update your information. That will enable you to go back to the page where the mistake is. After you correct it, work your way back to the end to finish and print the application.

If you realize you've made a mistake after you've completed the application, you won't be able to go back and fix it. Make a note of the mistake, then when you attend your interview, tell the immigration specialist. They'll correct it for you.

How to Be Sure Your Application is Complete

Your online application is complete only when you've successfully created an appointment time and date and the system gives you a link to download your application.

Staying Legally in Turkey After Your Online Application

If you still have a valid residence permit, or a valid or visa and you haven't exceeded the number of days it allows you to be in Turkey, you can use either of them as proof you're legally in Turkey. You can also exit and re-enter Turkey as usual with those documents.

Once your residence permit or visa expires, or you exceed the number of days your visa allows you to be in Turkey, you can carry a copy of the first page of the İkamet İzni Kayıt Formu (Residence Permit Registration Form) and your passport to prove you're legally in Turkey until your appointment day.

Leaving Turkey and Returning

It's best not to plan any travel during the residence permit application process. But if you must do so, how you depart and return depends on what stage of the process you're in.

Learn about leaving Turkey before your application appointment.

How you leave Turkey after your appointment depends on what document they give you at the end of your appointment.

In most provinces, you'll get an İkamet İzni Müracaat Belgesi (Residence Permit Application Document). This is a temporary residence permit which allows you to leave Turkey for up to 15 days and return without having to re-enter with a visa.

In Istanbul and Ankara, you'll get a teblğ tebellüğü belgesi (official communique document) which is simply a letter saying that the immigration office has received your application and will process it. It doesn't provide you with the ability to leave Turkey and return. If you get one of these, see: Leaving Turkey with a Tebliğ Tebellüğü Belgesi (Notification of Receipt Communiqué).

How to Check Your Application Results

Go to the residence permit application website and click the button according to whether your application is a first-time application, an extension, or a transfer.

On the next page, click the button which says, "I would like to see my application result." Enter your application number, your mobile (cell) phone number or your e-mail address, and your foreigner ID number or your passport number. Enter the characters in the security function and click "login." Then you'll be able to see the status of your application.

Learn more about checking your application results and receiving your residence permit card.

How to Cancel Your Application

You can cancel your application any time, whether it's in progress or completed. Just close out the application if it's in progress, then re-enter it by going to the home page. Click on the type of application you were working on (first time, extension, or transfer), then click "I want to continue my application." Fill in the required information to re-access it. Once you're back into your residence permit application, click on the option to cancel it.

Learn more about canceling your application.

What To Do if You Can't Complete Your Application

If you can't complete your application because of technical problems with the system, first call the immigration office's Yabancılar İletişim Merkezi (YIMER), which means "Foreigner's Communication Center." If it's not a problem with the system, they can help you. They'll give you live support with any problem you're having.

If you still can't get it done because of a problem with the system, go to the immigration office on the last day of the validity period of your visa or residence permit, or on the last day your visa allows you to be in Turkey. An immigration specialist will assist you with your application or give you a temporary residence permit to keep you legally in Turkey until they fix the technical problem. Then you'll have to keep trying to complete your application until you're successful.

Important! You can only use this option if it's the application system that is causing the problem.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He's now retired and living in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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