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Frequently Asked Questions about Work Permits in Turkey

Ken Grubb
  • Learn about work permits in Turkey from our frequently-asked questions about work permits.

A man displays a question mark in front of a Turkish work permit.I am getting a work permit. Will I also need a residence permit?

No. Your work permit will also serve as your residence permit.

What fees are involved in getting a work permit?

You have to pay a residence permit fee, and a work permit fee. These amounts depend on the type of work permit you are applying for, and your home country. A good employer will usually pay these fees for you.

Are there situations where I would not need a work permit?

Yes. If you are visiting Turkey to establish business connections, and while doing so you are not being paid by a Turkish company or issuing invoices in Turkey, you can do so with your visa. If you want to remain in Turkey beyond the duration of your visa, you can continue to do so with a short-term residence permit. You also do not need a work permit if you are working as an unpaid intern.

Can I work as a freelancer without a work permit?

According to the legal advice we have received, the issue concerns whether or not you are "working in Turkey." If you are not performing work, for pay, for a Turkish employer, and if you are not cutting invoices, and if you are not being paid in Turkey, then you don't meet the definition of "working in Turkey." But be advised, this legal advice has not been tested. Nobody we know of has been "caught" working as  a freelancer, then determined to not be meeting the definition of "working in Turkey." Because this is a grey area, consult a Turkish lawyer regarding your status as a freelancer.

Are their professions which are prohibited for foreigners?

Yes. See professions in Turkey which are prohibited for foreigners.

I have had both work permits and residence permits. Now I am applying for a long-term residence permit. Does the time I lived in Turkey with a work permit count towards the amount of time I need to have lived in Turkey to get a long-term residence permit?

Yes. If you have lived in Turkey for eight years or more, with either residence or work permits, you can apply for a long-term residence permit. Long-term residence permit holders are also entitled to an unlimited work permit, which does not expire.

Who issues the work permits?

The Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı (Ministry of Labor and Social Security) issues work permits in most cases.

If you work in a free zone, the Ekonomi Bakanlığı (Ministry of the Economy) issues it. If you work at a university, the Yükseköğretim Kurulu (YÖK, or Council of Higher Education) issues it.

If you are working at a school, cultural association or religious institution affiliated with your country's embassy or consulate, the work permit will be issued by the Dişişleri Bakanlığı (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

What can happen if I work without a work permit?

Working without a work permit is not a good idea. The authorities do spot inspections for employees without work permits (often these are based on a complaint by a competing business). Besides your employer facing a hefty fine for each employee working illegally, you will also be fined. You may also face deportation from Turkey and a ban from re-entering Turkey for up to five years. All expenses associated with your deportation must be paid by your employer.

Under what conditions might my work permit application be rejected?

If the Ministry of Labor and Social Security decides:

  • The situation in the business market and economy make it inappropriate to approve it
  • There is a Turkish citizen who can do the same job at the same level of quality, and that person is able to report for the job within the next four weeks
  • You are believed to be a threat to national security, public order, or health, or the award of a work permit would be in any way against the public interest.
  • You are banned from entering Turkey or are pending deportation.

And also, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security can just say "no," for any other reason they see fit.

Under what conditions might my work permit be canceled?

Your work permit may be canceled if:

  • The circumstances under which you received the work permit no longer exist
  • You violate the conditions of the work permit, for example, you work for another employer without permission, or work in a prohibited business sector
  • Any of the information provided by you or your employer, during your application, is found to be false
  • Your passport or document serving as a passport cannot be renewed
  • A deportation decision has been made against you
  • You are outside of Turkey for more than six months at a time.*

*Except for "force majeure" reasons, that is, if your absence is caused by a situation beyond your control. In this case, be sure to bring any documents proving that the situation was beyond your control when you return to Turkey.

What can I do if my work permit application is rejected, or my work permit is canceled?

If either of these happen, the government organization involved will provide you with a letter stating the reason for the rejection or cancellation, and provide you with information about how to appeal. This will first be an appeal to the organization itself. If the appeal is rejected, you can then go to the Turkish court system.

How can I check to see if my work permit has been cancelled?

The easiest way is to download an app at your mobile phone's app store. It's called "CSGB Yabancılar Uygulaması." After you've downloaded it, press the "Yabancı İzin Sorgula" option. Enter your foreigner ID number, and it will tell you the status of your work permit.

How can I contact the Ministry of Social Security with other questions?

You can call their free national customer service number from any telephone in Turkey, which is 170. From outside of Turkey, call +90 216 170 1122. International call charges will apply.

See Also

An Introduction to Work Permits
Work Visas and Permits Forum

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