Obtaining a Turkish Residence Permit is not hard, but it’s a pain. Residence Permits are typically valid for one year, but can also be for longer or shorter durations. Citizens of “A group countries” (listed at http://www.ankara.pol.tr) can get up to five years at a time.
It took me a total of three trips to the office because I did not have all the necessary documents with me and the cashier’s office is only open 9:00am-2:00pm.
PLEASE NOTE: There have been some recent changes made to residence permits in relation to work permits. In April 2013 it was announced by the Turkish Government that those in possession of a valid work permit will automatically be granted residence permits (click here for more). We are confirming the details on these changes and will post further information on this as soon as it becomes available.
Currently, to obtain a residence permit in Turkey you need to do the following:
1) Make an appointment online at http://yabancilar.iem.gov.tr/index.html. Click on the ‘e-randevu’ link, then click on the flashing ‘randevu al’ logo, and choose English. ‘Select New Appointment’. It should walk you through the application process. It will give you the range of available dates and you’ll select one. Important note: even if the first available date is after the date your three-month tourist visa expires, this is permissible as long as you are in the process of obtaining a Residence Permit. It is likely that the next available appointment date will be months away from the day you are making the appointment, so book as soon as possible. (You need to get a separate appointment for your spouse and children if they have separate passports.)
2) Have the following items with you (this is also written on the application form, but mostly in Turkish):
- Four passport-size photos (there is a passport photo machine on the 1st floor of the application office)
- Your passport
- Photocopies of the following pages of the passport: the page bearing the information and photograph of the applicant, and the page with the visa stamp from the last entry into Turkey (there is a photocopy service on the 1st floor)
- A currency exchange slip from a döviz (or change office), guaranteeing USD300 for each month the applicant wants to reside in Turkey. You can exchange that amount of money into Turkish lira and be issued a receipt, but most people don’t want to have that much money laying around. Another option is to verify that you have this amount in a Turkish bank account via a bank statement
- A print out of the application form that you get after making the appointment online. There is some additional information you will need to fill out on the printed form, but they are translated into English
3) Go to your appointment at the emniyet (police station). The address is:
Emniyet Müdürlüğü, Fatih, Vatan Caddesi, Hizmet Binası, A Blok, Kat:1
You can get there by the Aksaray Metro; exit Emniyet Fatih. The office is very close to the metro exit. Enter the building and go through the security check, then proceed towards main building. Take the stairs up to the 2nd floor which is the yabancı (foreigner) department. Turn left at the top of the stairs then left again and walk down the hallway. You will see a large waiting room on your right with numbers in red on the wall. Sit and wait for your number to be flashed. When called, go to the designated window and hand the person all your documents for processing. They will ask you a few questions such as where your parents are from, is this your first application for a permit, etc. They will tell you how much you need to pay (which will depend on how long you plan to reside in Turkey).
You will then need to pay downstairs at the cashier. I paid USD85 (converted into Turkish lira) for one year. This is USD5 more than the chart on the website (“harç miktarı”) says I should have paid, and at the time of writing it still hasn’t been updated.
The cashier downstairs opens from 9:00am-2:00pm, so if your appointment ends after this time you have to return to the office. After paying the fee, go back up to the 2nd floor and pay TL172 at the glass window (turn right at the top of the stairs) for the Residence Permit itself. After gathering your payment receipts, return to the person who processed your application. You don’t need another number or need to wait in cue unless there are others waiting for his window too. When his window is free, submit all the documents you were missing (if any) and the receipts. He will then give you a slip and inform you when to return to retrieve your permit. The date is also written on the slip. Note: if you are missing any documents, he will process your application then ask you to return with those documents the next day directly to him. This is what happened to me!
4) On the day the residence permit becomes available, go back to the office and head for the 2nd floor. Turn left at the top of the stairs and go to the first waiting room/office in the hallway. Even if there is a line, go to the front (and use English if you have to and say you are here to pick up your permit). This will save you from simply waiting there unnecessarily or being skipped. Someone will take the slip from you and ask you to have a seat. Wait for them to call your name, sign a few lines on the document and celebrate your new Residence Permit!
5) To renew your residence permit, you go to your local police department (i.e. not the same place you applied initially for the Residence Permit). I have not gotten this far yet….
Group B Countries
Citizens of “B group” countries may find it easier to get Tourist Residency. An announcement made through the Istanbul police website (http://www.egm.gov.tr) reassures foreigners that regardless of their country of origin, they can get a 6-month tourist residency for when their 3-month visas expire.
- You must show change office receipts of USD500, not USD300, for each month you are applying for, however.
- The fee on the residency is set at a maximum of USD5 for each month.
- You must also have either a notarized rent agreement, a hotel reservation for the duration of your stay, or a notarized letter from a Turkish citizen guaranteeing to look after your needs.
Another advantage is that when the residency runs out, the police website announcement specifically states that you can leave the country for one day and re-enter on a tourist visa.