After you've lived in Turkey for eight years, you become eligible to apply for an unlimited work permit, which allows you to work for any employer, or for yourself in your own business.
What is an Unlimited Work Permit?
An Unlimited Work Permit is a permission to work in Turkey for life, for any employer, without the usual restrictions imposed on foreign workers. It may be issued to any foreigner who has a Long-term Residence Permit or has worked continuously in Turkey for at least eight years. The Unlimited Work Permit also serves as a residence permit. They are issued by the Aile, Çalışma, ve Sosyal Hizmetler Bakanlığı (Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services).
To apply for an Unlimited Work Permit, you must
- Live in Turkey for at least eight years and have a long-term residence permit, or
- Work in Turkey continuously for at least eight years with a work permit.
Working Privileges with an Unlimited Work Permit
- You can work for any employer you want, without the restriction of the "five Turkish workers for every foreigner" rule
- It's for life and doesn't have to be extended
- You can change employers without having to get a new work permit
- You get the same rights as a Turkish citizen, except that you can't vote or run for public office, and you're not required to serve in the military.
Foreigners, even with Unlimited Work Permits, are still prohibited from working in certain prohibited professions.
Your Unlimited Work Permit may be canceled if you're outside of Turkey for more than one year, unless the reason is for education, compulsory national service, illness, or some other reason beyond your control.
Where to Apply
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply directly, in person, at your local branch of the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services. You don't have to have an employer when you apply.
Work Permit Law
Work permits are issued under Law Number 6735 on International Labor Force.
Assistance and Support
The Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services: They have a national customer service number, which, from within Turkey, is 170. From outside of Turkey, call +90 216 170 1122.
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.