This article is for those who will be applying for work in Turkey from outside Turkey. If you have already been in Turkey with a residence permit for at least six months, see: Apply for a Work Permit While in Turkey: Eligibility, Required Documents, and the Application Process.
If you want to travel to Turkey for work, you must first find a job and have a job offer or contract from an employer. You'll then attend an appointment at a Turkish embassy or consulate and get a reference number to send to your employer. Your employer will then apply for your work permit, as the Turkish embassy or consulate arranges your work visa.
Your work visa and your work permit will be arranged simultaneously. You won't have to go through a second application when you arrive in Turkey—you'll just pick up your work permit and start working.
The Work Visa to Work Permit Process
Here's what you'll need to do.
1. Find a Job and Get Hired.
To learn how to find a job and a list of websites which have jobs in Turkey, see Jobs in Turkey: Employment Websites and Tips for Finding Employment.
2. Receive an Employment Letter or Contract.
3. Make an Appointment at the Local Turkish Embassy or Consulate.
Turkey has an online system where you pre-apply for a work visa. Go here:
Select the Turkish embassy or consulate nearest your location and enter the site. At the upper right, click "Visa." From the drop-down menu, select "Visa Pre-Application."
That will take you to the visa pre-application form. At the end of your pre-application, the system will let you choose a convenient date and time to go to the Turkish embassy or consulate. Then it will give you a link for you to download and print your pre-application appointment document.
4. Go to Your Appointment
Go to the address printed on your appointment document. Take these documents with you:
- Appointment document
- Employment contract and/or invitation letter from your employer
- Passport (must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiration date of the work permit, so it must have at least 425 days of validity remaining)
- Copy of your passport, including the photo, identification information, and validity dates
- Four biometric photos
- University diploma or certificate which qualifies you for the job
- Official translation of your diploma or certificate*
*If you need to have something translated, the consular official will tell you where to go. Sworn Turkish translators have offices near Turkish embassies or consulates.
After your appointment, the consulate will send you an e-mail with a reference number to send to your employer.
5. Send the Reference Number to Your Employer.
Once they have this reference number, your employer will open a work permit application using an online application system. This must be done within ten days of your appointment at the consulate. While your employer probably already knows this, remind them anyway, because if they don't make the application within ten days, you'll both have to start the process again.
6. Receive Approval
If your work permit (and work visa) are approved, the embassy or consulate will notify you and tell you to return to get it.
7. Make a Second Appointment to Get the Visa.
You'll go to the consulate with your passport, a confirmed one-way ticket to Turkey, and a travel insurance policy, and pay the fees. You'll leave your passport for them to affix the work visa onto one of your passport's pages.
You'll need to pay the following fees (current for 2021):
- Work permit fee: ₺1,017.80
- Work visa fee: ₺758.90
- Work permit card printing fee: ₺125
Your employer may pay one or more of these fees depending on your agreement.
8. Pick Up Your Passport and Visa
Return to the consulate and pick up your passport and work visa. You can also have them mail it to you if you provide them with a pre-paid, self-addressed envelope.
9. Travel to Turkey and Enter with your Work Visa
Your work visa will be valid for 180 days, for a single entry. You can travel to Turkey any time you want during that period.
10. Go to Your Workplace
Go to your new workplace and report in. You'll then receive your work permit and start working.
Your Work Permit
To learn about the work permit itself, see Turkey Work Permits: Types, Benefits, and How to Get One.
Accompanying Family Members
If any of your family members will be accompanying you to Turkey, talk to the embassy or consulate personnel about getting them a visa also. Citizens of many countries can get an e-visa online. Some can even come to Turkey with their national ID card. And others may be required to get their visa from an embassy or consulate. In any case, of your family members must travel to Turkey using their own visa or ID card. They can't accompany you with your work visa.
After arriving in Turkey, your family members can apply for a short-term residence permit. The short-term residence permit is issued for up to two years and extended indefinitely.
After you've worked in Turkey for one year, your family members can apply for a family residence permit, which is issued for up to three years. If you have children, they'll be allowed to go to public schools in Turkey for free.
Work Permit Law
The law concerning work visas and permits in Turkey is Law Number 6735, International Labor Force.
Assistance and Support
The Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Security: They have a national customer service number, which, from within Turkey, is 170. From outside of Turkey, call +90 216 170 1122.
Yükseköğretim Kurulu (Council of Higher Education, or "YÖK"): If you will be working at a University, contact the Council of Higher Education, at +90 312 298 7000.
Work Visa and Work Permit Forums: If you have questions about work permits, search our work permit forums, or open a topic. We have quite a few expat members who have already been through the process and can help.