Feb 13, 2020

Residence permit in Turkey (İkamet) – new rules in 2020

We have important news for all tourists! In Turkey, new amendments to the Law on Immigration No. 6458, Article No. 31-1 (e) came into force, according to which, from January 1, 2020, foreigners with a tourist Residence Permit will not be able to renew it with the same purpose (tourist vacation). To stay in the Republic of Turkey legitimately, you should change the type of your residence permit or choose another legal way of residence in the country. These amendments do not apply to countries of the European Union, including Russia, China, Slovenia.

Our legal consultants of the international offshore portal offshore-pro.com will be happy to provide you detailed information about  the types of residence permits which can be obtained in Turkey in 2020, the list of documents which should be submitted to receive a residence permit, where to apply for İkamet, as well as how to extend a residence permit in Turkey.

Turkey residence permit in 2020 – types and methods of obtaining

Many tourists who have visited Turkey at least once, would say that they actually dream of staying in this country for several months, or even years. As of 2020, the legislation of the jurisdiction allows foreign nationals to stay within the borders of Turkey for a period of 30 to 90 days, depending on the country of residence. Thus, Russian citizens are allowed to stay as tourists without a visa for 60 days (within a total of six-month period), and citizens of Ukraine, Lithuania, Georgia, Estonia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Moldova are allowed to stay for of 90 days within a 180 day period.

In order not to count the days until the expiration of the legal stay, many citizens seek to obtain a residence permit in Turkey, which can subsequently be extended, including for an unlimited period of time.

Which types of İkamet in Turkey can be granted to foreign nationals in 2020?

The country’s domestic legislation provides for several types of residence permits to foreign nationals who wish to stay in the country on legitimate basis:

  • Short-term the residence permit.
  • Humanitarian residence permit – for up to 1 year.
  • Residence permit for the purchase of real estate, including Turkish citizenship when purchasing an object of real estate at a price starting from USD 250,000. 
  • İkamet for business, for investments or registration of a company in Turkey by a foreign national.  
  • Tourist residence permit.
  • Family residence permit – up to 2 years.
  • Student residence permit for youth, which is issued for the period of study in Turkey.
  • Long-term residence permit – for unlimited period, but subject to a number of requirements.
  • Residence permit for victims of human trafficking.

The hospitable government of the country is positively inclined towards individuals who wish to receive residence permit and offers them various options for İkamet, taking into consideration weight of arguments presented, such as, a business visit, visit for medical treatment, for meeting court requirements, or for conducting scientific research. 

Short-term residence permit in Turkey in 2020

Under which circumstances can you expect to receive a residence permit in Turkey for up to 1 year? Several options are provided under this short-term residence permit, each of which has its own characteristics and specific requirements. 

Requirements for the applicant to obtain a short-term residence permit in Turkey in 2020:

  • The applicant should have reached 18 years of age.
  • The applicant should have obtained medical insurance (exception applies to people over 65 years old and minors under 18 years old).
  • Documents required for obtaining residence permit:
    • lease agreement in Turkey or TAPU (ownership title to real estate) with the signature and seal of a notary public;
    • a document confirming the financial stability of the applicants and their family members (bank statement about the presence of at least $ 500 in the account based on this amount for 1 month of stay);
    • original and copy of passport certified by a notary public;
    • 4 photos for each applicant (on a white background, in the format set for biometric data).
  • Also, a foreign citizen should fill out a resident application form, and in case of filing an application for spouse and children, the applicant should have a sworn translation of the birth certificate of a minor child as well as the marriage certificate. In some cases, an apostille or seal of the Consulate is required.

For a business visit, you may need documents on company registration, bank accounts, investments, etc. Depending on the type of permit, the list of required requirements may vary.

How to obtain and renew a tourist residence permit in 2020?

Tourist residence permit for vacationers does not give them the right to work in Turkey but allows them to stay in the jurisdiction for up to 1 year. You can apply for a tourist residence permit in Turkey in person or through an authorized proxy, by submitting an appropriate document to the Consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

You can extend your tourist residence permit in Turkish jurisdiction remotely by filling out an application on the official website at https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr. It is highly recommended to strictly adhere to established validity period of the current ikamet and apply for its extension within 60 days before its expiry.

Important notice: it is not possible to extend current residence permit earlier than 60 days before the end of the validity period. Also, starting from 01.01.2020, a tourist residence permit in Turkey is not renewed for citizens of some countries, unless another reasons for stay are indicated. 

Residence permit by means of making investments and buying real estate in Turkey

One of the most common grounds on which residence permits are issued in Turkey is for the purchase of real estate for commercial or residential purposes. With such investments, a foreign citizen may not only obtain a residence permit, but also become eligible for citizenship in the country. In this case, the conditions and completely depend on the cost of the apartment.

For example, when buying a villa in Antalya , you can count on Turkish citizenship with a minimum package of documents, and in the case of buying a boutique hotel , you can move to Turkey with your whole family in a citizenship status, and start a profitable hotel business.  

To qualify for a residence permit by investment in Turkey, you should meet one of the requirements:

  • Invest in at least 500,000 US dollars in trusts, government bonds and the country’s economy for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Buy residential/non-residential real estate or land at an estimated cost of more than 250,000 US dollars, which is confirmed by an extract from the registry and implies compliance with the established time limits for the sale and disposal of this property, i.e. for three years.
  • Open a company in any city in Turkey and create at least 50 jobs for local specialists with full social security for 3 years (at least). 

If a foreign citizen has fulfilled at least one of the above conditions, they are welcome to apply to the Consulate with an application for a residence permit or citizenship, whereby the documentary confirmation of the investment is a mandatory condition of successful application. More specifically it should include:

  • Tapu – the ownership title towards real estate property;
  • a document from the Ministry of Finance evidencing the amount of investment of no less than 500,000 US dollars;
  • a document from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security evidencing the fact of created jobs.

Important notice! The most prospective option for obtaining Turkish citizenship is to invest your assets in construction, land or real estate. In this case, the investor receives double benefits – own housing, a place for organizing a home office, a Turkish passport and additional income after the sale of the property. 

If you are interested to buy prestigious apartments on the Mediterranean coast , please do not hesitate to contact our professional consultants by email: [email protected].   

Family Residence Permit in Turkey 

The right to reside in Turkey is also granted to the spouse of a Turkish national, his children and dependents. These standards are governed by the provisions of Art. 34 and Art. 37 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458, as well as Art. 30 and Art. 34 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection.

Notice: A child who has received a residence permit in a family where one of the spouses is a foreign resident, is granted the right to free education until the age of 18. 

Student Residence Permit

Who has the right to obtain a residence permit in Turkey in 2020 for studying in Turkey?

  1. Student residence permits are granted to those foreigners who plan to study in graduate school, undergraduate or associate programs (2 years).
  2. Foreigners studying within the framework of primary or secondary education programs can obtain a residence permit for a period of up to 1 year. 
  3. Student residence permit does not give the right to apply for a residence permit for parents and relatives of the applicant. 
  4. The validity of a student residence permit expires after completion of studies in the educational institutions of the jurisdiction.

The new provisions of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection give students the right to be employed in Turkey on completely legitimate grounds. These established rules fully apply to students of primary and secondary education institutions. In the case of undergraduate studies or two-year associate programs, foreign students receive the right to work in Turkey only after one year of study. For international students studying under associate programs, working hours are limited to 24 hours a week. 

Humanitarian Residence Permit

Another residence permit in Turkey available for foreign citizens is the humanitarian residence permit. This applies exclusively to the scope of persons included in one of these categories:

  • victims of civil war;
  • persons whose human rights have been violated;

This permission to stay and reside in the territory of the Turkish state is regulated by Art. 46 and Art. 47 of Law No. 6458 and cannot be used as an option for resettlement to third countries through Turkey. All issues pertaining to humanitarian residence permit in Turkey are handled by the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Important notice! Any foreign citizen who finds himself in any of the aforementioned situations, is encouraged to apply and seek help from the Migration Board. Regardless of the method of entry into the country (legally or illegally), these individuals are advised to submit an application for a residence permit as soon as practicable, by providing the necessary documents as requested. 

Residence permit for victims of human trafficking

This type of residence permit is issued for a period of 30 days up to 6 months and cannot exceed a total of 3-year period of stay in the country.

Long-term residence permit in Turkey in 2020

In order to live and work in the country for a longer period, as well as to be entitled to apply for citizenship, a foreign citizen must fulfill all of the following requirements:

  • the period of residence in the Republic of Turkey should be no less than 8 years;
  • no applications for state financial support received from the foreign national over the past 3 years;
  • financial stability, which is confirmed by bank statements and salaries at the place of official employment;
  • availability of private health insurance;
  • no criminal record.

The new İkamet rules in Turkey in 2020 envisage possibility of application for a long-term residence permit, even in the case of a previously received tourist residence permit.

How to apply for a long-term residence permit

In order to receive a long-term residence permit in Turkey in 2020, a foreigner should visit the local Security and Migration Service. Here are the rules that are currently applied:

  • A long-term residence permit is valid only provided that the foreign citizen has not left the Turkish jurisdiction for a period of more than 1 year, with the exception of cases which constitute substantial reasons, including education, compulsory public service or health status.
  • Having received a long-term residence permit, the individual obtains equal rights with the residents of the country, with the exception of:
    • the compulsory military service;
    • voting in elections and participation in them as a candidate;
    • holding positions in state institutions in Turkey;
    • using exemptions from customs duties on the import of vehicles.
  • In addition to the list of required documents for a residence permit indicated above, the applicant should also include a certificate of no criminal record, a valid current residence permit and Turkish ID.

Residence permit in Turkey (İkamet) – conclusion

Citizens of many countries prefer to live and work in Turkey. In order not to qualify for deportation for violations of internal requirements established by the immigration law, it is recommended that you carefully monitor the updates of the current legislative norms of this state.

If you require assistance in terms of moving to Turkey for permanent residence, as well as in registering a business and obtaining citizenship for the purchase of real estate in 2020, our highly skilled specialists at offshore-pro.com are ready to help. Contact us by email to request preliminary advice and consultation on the scope of our services. Our contact email address: [email protected].