In order to work in Turkey as a resident, you will need to apply for a work permit. Foreign nationals who wish to live in Turkey and engage in business must first get a residency permit within one month of arriving in the country. The work permit must also be secured before beginning employment or doing business in Turkey. You can apply for a Turkish work permit from either within or outside of the country.
Types of Work Permits in Turkey
There are three categories of work permits available to foreigners in Turkey: temporary, indefinite, and other.
Temporary work licenses are the most common. You’ll be given temporary work permissions initially, for a maximum of one year. Upon renewal, you may obtain a work permit valid for up to 2 years on your initial renewal and for up to 3 years on subsequent extensions/renewals when it’s time for new work authorization.
If you work at the same place for three years in a row, you can get your work visa extended for another six years.
Your contract will not be renewed or extended if your employer changes.
If you arrived in Turkey with your spouse or children and they’ve been here for five years, they may be eligible for a work permit as well.
A permanent work visa is issued to foreigners who have lived and worked continuously in Turkey for eight years or more.
- Independent Work Permit
You must have resided in Turkey for at least five years as a self-employed worker before you may apply for an independent work permit.
As a self-employed worker, your application will be reviewed based on the following factors:
- Your educational background.
- Professional skills and expertise.
- Your scientific and technological contributions.
- Your contribution to the national economy.
- Your capital investment in Turkey if you own a foreign firm.
As a shareholder or board member in Turkey, you must additionally apply for a work visa, as your status as a shareholder or board member does not automatically grant you employment rights.
- Turquoise card
For extremely skilled professionals (such as researchers, engineers, scientists, artists, sports, and so on) or high-level investors, the Turquoise Card was established in 2017 and falls under the category of various forms of work permits. If you meet the criteria and qualify for this program, you will be granted a work and residence visa for an unlimited length of time.
- Investment in Real Estate
Obtaining a Turquoise Card depends on the size of your investment being deemed appropriate.
If you spend at least $250,000 on property in Turkey, you are eligible for the citizenship by investment program, which grants you the ability to live, work, and invest permanently in Turkey.
How to Apply for a Turkish Work Permit
- Applying Outside of Turkey
Applying from overseas has the advantage of not necessitating the possession of a residence visa at the time of application, even if there are fewer employment opportunities available and some employers prefer face-to-face interviews.
Your company will apply to the Turkish Embassy in your place of residency for a work permit if you don’t have one yet.
Suppose you do not have a valid residence permit or are on your tourist visa, or are not yet in Turkey. As a result, you will have to submit an application with your passport, a photo, and a copy of your employment contract/job offer to the Turkish consulate in your place of residence or citizenship. In order to obtain a work permit, you must first find out if you qualify for one and then submit the completed application form to the consulate.
After contacting the consulate and submitting an application directly to the ministry, your employer has 10 days (6 days if you apply online) to do the same. Once all of your papers have been submitted, your application will be accepted within 30 days.
- Applying Inside Turkey
If you’re in Turkey, you’ll need a residency permit good for at least six months before you can do anything else.
A work permit application can be submitted directly to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security by your employer if you have a residence permit valid for at least six months.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Security in Ankara will accept your application if you have a valid residence permit* with at least six months left on it.
*Residence permits given to students are not included.
To apply, you and your employee must complete an online application and attach all required papers to the ministry within six days after completing the application.
Within 30 days of receiving your application, you will receive a thorough answer by email and letter.
Please be aware that you must apply for a work visa within 30 days of your arrival date.
- Applying for extension
Extending a work permit requires the foreigner or employer to apply directly to the Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services, along with the original copy of the previous work permit and the application form and the documents specified in the appendix of the implementation regulation, by submitting them all together.
Documents Required for Applying for a Work Permit in Turkey
To apply for a work permit in Turkey as a foreigner, both you and your employer need to submit documents. These documents are:
Documents Required From Employer
- Work permit application letter
- Foreign personnel form
- Turkish Trade Registry Gazette
- A recent balance sheet and profit/loss statement, verified by the tax office or a CPA
- Documents proving the entity is a Special Foreign Direct Investment
- Evidence that firms (including consortiums) won international bids by government agencies or organizations have been contracted for the job.
- Engineering, architectural, contracting, and consulting services require a payroll document confirming that Turkish engineers/architects/city planners are hired for the same job as their international counterparts.
- Notarized power of attorney for the person authorized to complete the online application as a user on behalf of the applicant entity or organization
Documents Required From Foreigner
- Work permit application form.
- Copy of the passport, notarized or with sworn translation.
- 2 biometric photos.
- Contract or job offer.
- Police clearance certificate.
- Medical insurance.
- Proof of financial sustainability.
- A “Diploma or Provisional Graduation Equivalency Certificate” obtained in accordance with the “Regulation on the Equivalency of Diplomas from Foreign Higher Education Institutions” for professional services.
- Sworn translation or an official certified translation of the diploma or provisional graduation certificate.
- If applying in Turkey, a copy of the non-educational residence permit with a validity of at least six months at the time of application.
- If a foreigner applying for a work visa does not have a valid residence permit, they must apply to the Turkish consulate in the country where they reside or are citizens. Provided the foreigner hired with key personnel status is currently legally present in Turkey, the work permit application can be lodged directly with the Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Services.
- For key personnel, documents and information are required under article 10/b of the Regulation on the Employment of Foreign Nationals with Foreign Direct Investments.
After you and your employer have submitted these documents, the only thing left is to wait for your application to be processed.
There are several restrictions and conditions to bear in mind when applying for a work permit.
- For every foreign worker, a minimum of five Turkish citizens must be employed by the company. If the firm does not have an exemption certificate from the government, this criterion will be used. Companies with strategic investments may be granted an exemption certificate.
- Your work permit will be revoked if you quit your job.
- You don’t need a residence permit if you have a work permit.
Since your work visa also serves as your residence permit, you must leave the country within 10 days of its expiration to avoid paying a fine for illegally overstaying. Staying in Turkey requires a short-term residency visa, which must be applied for within 10 days after your final day of employment.