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Short Term Visa to study Turkish Questions

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Apologies if these questions have appeared elsewhere: I searched and didn't see anything come up. I'm interested in going to Turkey to study the language, and I've seen reference to a specific visa type for that. I would appreciate if anyone could help me with the following questions:

  • Is the visa to study Turkish considered a "Short Term" visa or "Student" visa?
    • Does this change whether I have to apply online/at a consulate or in person/online?
  • How long is the typical length of this visa, given that the courses will be booked monthly?
    • I have seen that it can only be renewed once.
  • Does anyone have any experience with this visa (good or bad)?
  • Is the process of getting a residence permit on this visa any different?
  • Is it possible to leave the country and return on a tourist visa if this is close to expiring?

Thanks for any input you all may be able to offer! 

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Is the visa to study Turkish considered a "Short Term" visa or "Student" visa?

Does this change whether I have to apply online/at a consulate or in person/online?

I think you're confusing visas and residence permits here.

A visa is permission to enter Turkey and stay for a while, then leave. A residence permit is permission to live here.

It sounds to me that what you need is to enter Turkey with an e-visa, then get a short-term residence permit for one year (which you can extend, more than once if you want). Let's cover that first.

Short-term Residence Permit

You would need to go to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/.

Buy an e-visa for when you want to come to Turkey. Then come to Turkey, and apply for a short-term residence permit for one or two years. Then you can go to Turkish courses all you want. You don't need a student visa. The main thing they focus on is that you have a place to live and you have enough income or money to live on so you won't work illegally. The short-term residence permit can be extended again and again. There is no limit. I have been living here for some 15 years extending my short-term residence permit. Its duration won't be affected by your courses. But when you state the reason for getting the short-term residence permit, use the fact that you will be taking Turkish courses.

Student Residence Permit

You can only get one of these if you have been accepted by an accredited school or university. You get an appointment at a Turkish embassy or consulate, go with that letter and get a student visa. Then when you arrive, you get a student residence permit. So you would only get one of these if, you want to go to a university and get a bachelor's degree in Turkish in a formal program.

Tömer Language School

I think the best option for you is to go to Tömer language school. Tömer is run by Ankara University, and it is open to everybody. They are in Alanya, Antalya, Bursa, İzmir, and three districts of Istanbul. The courses are run like a regular language school, so you can take as few or many courses as you want. There are twelve levels of courses and each course is around a month. If you pass the courses up to including course 8, you get a fluency certificate.

The cool part is that if you complete course 12, you get a bachelor's degree in Turkish from Ankara University. You can go to Tömer with a short-term residence permit. No student residence permit is required.

Tömer also has the best reputation for language schools in Turkey.

http://tomer.ankara.edu.tr/

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How long is the typical length of this visa, given that the courses will be booked monthly?

Visa rules vary from country to country. If you are from Europe, the UK, the USA, or Canada, your e-visa is good for 180 days before it expires. Then you can enter Turkey for up to 90 days using that visa. You can apply for a short-term residence permit within 60 days of the visa expiring or your reaching of 90 days in Turkey. So what you should do is come to Turkey with an e-visa, start taking courses, then just after 30 days, apply for your short-term residence permit. The sooner the better since the process can take a while.

The short-term resident permit's length will not be constrained by your courses. The student residence permit is.

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I have seen that it can only be renewed once. 

That is not true. You can extend it as much as you want.

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Is it possible to leave the country and return on a tourist visa if this is close to expiring?

Until it expires, or until you reach 90 days in Turkey in any 180-day period, you can come and go as much as you want. One problem that could happen is, after you apply for your residence permit but haven't yet gone to your residence permit appointment, and therefore have no temporary residence permit, and your visa is expired or you have exceeded the number of days it allows. But if you are subject to the visa rules I mentioned above, if you apply for your residence permit in 30 days (60 days prior to reaching your max number of days in Turkey), you will probably have a valid visa until your residence permit appointment. At your residence permit appointment, you'll get a temporary residence permit until your residence permit card is delivered by mail. With that, and the receipts showing payment of the fees, you can leave Turkey and return even after your visa is expired or you have maxed out the number of days, for up to 15 days, without having to buy another e-visa.

I hope that makes sense!

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It may be easier to apply for a student visa from your country before departure from the Turkish Consulate in your country.
I've just looked at the MFA website and they do list such a visa.

3- STUDENT – EDUCATION VISA 

a) Internship Visa 
b) Internship ERASMUS 
c) Internship AISEC 
d) Turkish Language Course Purpose 

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Thank you both for the information, and thank you especially to Ken for the level of detail you provided in your answer. It sounds like a tourist visa followed by a residence permit is the best course of action. Your clarification has been incredibly helpful!

I will certainly look into Tomer. Thank you again for the advice!

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