A residence permit, known as "ikamet izni", "ikametgah" or "ikamet tezkeresi" in Turkish, is a mandatory document for foreigners who have decided to settle or stay in Turkey for an amount of time longer than 90 days or allowed by their visa for various reasons. A residence permit can be issued for short- or long-term stays, exchange students, families, and humanitarian reasons. Applications are made online to the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management.

Here, we will cover the 2 most common types you’ll need: permits for short-term and long-term residency.

Beginning in the spring of 2020, all individuals with appointments for residency procedures or bureaucratic procedures at government institutions will be required to apply for a 10-digit HES (Hayat Eve Sar) code to enter government buildings.
The code is necessary for travel safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short-Term Residence Permit for Foreigners

If you own real estate in Turkey, intend to establish a business or business connections here, want to overstay your tourist visa, or study here, you will need to apply for a residence permit.

You will need to make an application through the e-residence system and then submit the following documents to the relevant Provincial Directorate of Immigration Administration (Göç İdaresi) on the day of your appointment.

***Your passport must have at least 60 days more validity than the duration you have requested for your residence permit.***

Documents You’ll Need When Applying for the First Time:

*One of the following documents will be required to show as proof:
- Within the scope of bilateral social security agreements, proof of access to the health services in Turkey
- The provisioning document issued by the Turkish Social Security Institution (SGK – Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu)
- The document detailing your application to the SGK to be covered by the general health insurance
- Health insurance (issued for a year)

Click here for more information on the documents required for short-term residency stays.

Note: If your passport was not issued using the Latin alphabet, the migration authorities will require that it be translated and notarized prior to submission. If you are under 18, you may also be asked to provide your birth certificate and a letter of parental consent.

Residence Permit Payment

After making an application through the e-residence system, you will be given a number to track your progress. With this number, you can make payments for your residence permit and card through the Interactive Tax Office. Look for the words “Göç İdaresi İkamet Tezkeresi Harç Ödeme”.

In 2023, the residence permit card fee is 356 Turkish Lira. The fees associated with residency permits vary by country and are dependent on the length of your stay.

How Long to Wait to Hear Back + What to Do if You Are Asked to Provide Additional Documents

The official evaluation timeframe for residence permits is 90 days from the date of your appointment. If you have insufficient evidence and missing documents, you will have 30 days to provide them, which may impact the timeline of your evaluation. The evaluation duration is also heavily influenced by the location.

You will be informed about the final status of your application via text message. You should also keep an eye on your e-mail for any updates.

Warning: Short-term residence permits are issued for a maximum of 2 years at a time. If you do not use your residence permit within 6 months, it is invalidated.

How Can I Apply for an Extension for My Residence Permit?

You can make an application to renew/extend your residence permit within 60 days before it expires; however, you cannot submit an application for extension after your residence permit has expired.

After collecting the necessary documents, you must send them to or attend an interview at one of the Provincial Immigration Administration Offices (Goc daresi) in Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Mersin, Muğla, Samsun, Şanlıurfa or Tekirdağ.

You should send these by post within 20 business days.

The documents you will need are:

If you own real estate in Turkey, you will also be required to provide a copy of your residence ownership deed and the numerataj. If you wish to establish a business, you will be required to provide an invitation letter or documents such as certificates of commercial activity and taxes.

Additional Document in Certain Circumstances:

  • A marriage certificate that has been authenticated, translated, and notarized.
  • Children must submit birth certificates that have been authenticated, translated, and notarized.
  • If one parent is absent from the interview, a letter of consent from the absent parent or legal guardian is required for travel and relocation to Turkey.

Note: Having a residence permit does not mean you can work in Turkey. For that, your employer must apply for a work permit.

Long-term residence permit for foreigners in Turkey

To apply for a long-term residence permit, you must have continuously resided in the country for at least 8 years. Then you will be asked to submit the following documents to the relevant provincial migration authority:

  • Residence permit application form
  • Your passport or travel document and its photocopy
  • Copies of your previous residence permits
  • 4 biometric photographs
  • Financial proof sufficient to cover your stay
  • Proof that you have not received any social aid from the government in the last 3 years
  • A criminal record obtained from the police
  • Valid health insurance (see short-term residence permit above)

Unlike short-term residence permits, long-term residence permits are issued indefinitely. Therefore, you will not need to periodically apply for an extension.

How to Follow Up

You can check your application’s status online or by calling 157, the emergency helpline of the Directorate of Migration, and have your passport ready.

If your residence permit card has not arrived despite receiving a text message saying it is ready, ask your local post (PTT) office.

Sample SMS: Please submit your residence documents (2021-20-1234567) at the district migration office, where you made your application, by post within 20 business days.