If you want to live in Turkey permanently, or just stay for a while beyond the duration of your visa, must apply for a short-term residence permit. This is the only way you can stay in Turkey after your visa expires.
You may apply for a short-term residence permit if you
- are conducting scientific research
- own real estate
- want to establish a business or commercial connections
- participate in on-the-job training programs
- attend educational or similar programs as part of a student exchange program or agreements to which Turkey is a party to
- want to stay beyond the duration of a visa, for tourism purposes *
- intend to receive medical treatment (provided they are not a public health threat)
- are required to stay in Turkey pursuant to a request or a decision of judicial or administrative authorities
- attend a Turkish language course
- attend an education or a research program, an internship, or a course through the agency of a public institution in Turkey
- want to stay in Turkey after graduating from a higher education program in Turkey.
* If you just want to live in Turkey, for no other reason than that you want to live here, you'll apply for a short term residence permit for "tourism purposes." That is all would you need to rent a place to live and stay.
Short-term residence permits are issued for a minimum of one month, and a maximum of two years. When it is within 60 days of expiration, you can extend it (see below). In no case will the expiration date of any residence permit be beyond the date 60 days prior to your passport's expiration date. Your residence permit may also be considered invalid if your health insurance policy expires.
Online Application Procedure
Both first-time and renewal applications are done online, at e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr (ikamet is Turkish for “residence permit”). Select either “First Application” or “Application for Extension” as soon as you enter the e-ikamet site.
If you have to buy health insurance, or have documentation saying you are exempt because of a bilateral agreement, get your policy or the bilateral agreement information before you apply online, because you will need it as you apply. Also have your photos taken according to requirements. Fill out the various forms and submit them, and upload a scan of one of your photos. The system will tell you what documents you need, what fees need to be paid and where to pay them.
If it is a first-time application, the system will also give you an appointment date and time to go to the local DGMM office with your required documents. During your appointment, an immigration expert will go over your package and make sure there are no missing documents. Keep in mind that your application is not considered submitted until all required documentation is submitted with your application. Here's more information on the documents required for a first-time application for a short-term residence permit.
Extensions work the same way, with the extension application being done online. But there is no appointment, and no need to go to the DGMM.
The system will give you a mailing address for where you need to send your documents and payment receipts. Here's more information on the documents required for the extension of a short-term residence permit.
*Some provinces are requiring appointments for residence permit extensions. Others may also require them under certain circumstances. If they do require an appointment, you can select a time and date for it on the online system.
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.
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.
Important Notes about Residence Permits
Short-term Residence Permits Forum: If you have any questions or comments, please post them here.
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.