To work in Turkey, you must have a work permit. Most work permits are issued by the Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı (Ministry of Labor and Social Security). For workers in free zones, they are issued by the Ekonomi Bakanlığı (Ministry of the Economy). For workers in educational institutions, they are issued by the Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı (Ministry of National Education).
Your work permit will be in the form of an identification card, which will also be your residence permit.
Work permits in Turkey are governed by Law Number 4817, under Article 4.
Types of Work Permits
There are two major categories of work permits: work permits for a definite period of time, and work permits for an indefinite period of time, such as the independent work permit and the unlimited work permit.
Category 1: Dependent Work Permits for a Definite Period of Time
This is the kind of work permit most foreigners get. It is "dependent" because the worker must have an employer to get work permission. It is subject to a "definite period of time" because it is only issued for one year, and it has to be extended each year after that. You can apply for this type of work permit from outside or inside of Turkey.
Applying from Outside of Turkey
If you are outside of Turkey, you must get a job offer letter and/or contract first. Then, in coordination with your employer, you must submit a work visa application at a Turkish embassy or consulate in your home country or where you legally reside. Your application, and your employer's application, must happen within ten business days of each other. After the employer's application, and your application are approved, you will get your work visa, which you will use to travel to Turkey, receive your work permit, and go to work. Learn more about applying for a work permit from outside of Turkey.
Applying from Inside of Turkey
If you are inside Turkey, and have completed at least six months of legal residence, you can also apply for a work permit. Again, you must first have a job offer from an employer. The requirements and process is the same as for an application from outside of Turkey, except that you and your employer will make your applications directly to the Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı (Ministry of Labor and Social Security), since there is no need for you to get a work visa (since you are already in Turkey). When you apply from inside of Turkey, your employer, and your, must submit your applications within six business days of each other. Learn more about applying for a work permit from inside of Turkey.
Category 2: Independent Work Permits for an Indefinite Period of Time
This category of work permits are "independent," because the you don't have to have a specific employer to get work permission. It is "indefinite" because it doesn't have to be renewed every year. However, certain reporting requirements exist. For example, you will need to report any changes of employer, and changes of address. There are two types independent, and indefinite, work permits.
Unlimited Work Permits
If you have legally worked in Turkey for at least five years, or legally lived in Turkey for at least eight years, without interruption, you are eligible to apply for an unlimited work permit. This type of work permit enables you to work for any employer you want, and change from employer to employer without having to get a new work permit. Learn more about unlimited work permits.
Independent Work Permits
This type of work permit is for entrepreneurs, who intend to set up a company in Turkey. It enables you to work for six months to set up your company. Once your company is established, your work permit will be extended with an indefinite duration. To be eligible, you must first live in Turkey for at least five years without interruption. There isn't a set "process" for this type of work permit, and it will require submitting a business plan, among other documents, to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. Learn more about independent work permits.
Some professions may only be practiced by Turkish citizens. They are:
- Dentist, midwife, nurse, or pharmacist
- Hospital Director
- Public Notary
- Security Guard
- Sea Captain, Merman, Fisherman, or Diver
- Customs Consultant.
|Work Permit Type||Work Permit Fee|
|Work Permit for a Definite Period of Time (One Year)||615.20 TL|
|Work Permit for an Indefinite Period of Time||6152.00 TL|
|Independent Work Permit||6152.00 TL|
All applicants must also pay a card fee of 72 TL.
Your Work Permit is Only for a Single Employer
If you have a dependent work permit, you cannot change from one employer to another with the same work permit. If you get another job, you will have to get another work permit to work for your new employer. If you have an independent work permit, and change employers (or change your address), you must notify the local office of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
Useful Telephone Numbers
You can contact the Ministry of Labor and Social Security using their national customer service number, which, from within Turkey, is 170. From outside of Turkey, call +90 216 170 1122. If you will be working at a University, contact the Council of Higher Education, at +90 312 298 7000.
How to Get a Work Visa
Finding a Job in Turkey: Our article on finding employment, with plenty of links to the various job search websites of Turkey.
Turkey Work Visas and Work Permits Forum: An entire forum devoted to work visas and work permits. If you have questions, ask them there.