If you are wondering about whether you are eligible to apply for a long-term residence permit in Turkey, the documents you’ll need, or if you can choose to become a citizen instead, keep on reading.

Long-term residence permits are granted to foreigners who have lived and stayed in Turkey on many short-term residence permits. After living 8 years in Turkey, you can apply for permanent residency, which will allow you to live in the country indefinitely.

However, some conditions are sought to be eligible to apply for a long-term residence permit. These are:

  • 8 years of uninterrupted stay
  • Not to have received social aid or assistance in the last 3 of these 8 years
  • To have a sufficient and regular income source to support yourself and your family or dependents if you have any
  • To have a valid health insurance
  • Not to pose a threat to public order and security
  • Not be a refugee, conditional refugee, beneficiary of subsidiary protection, or holder of a humanitarian residence permit

The most important of all is that you must have legally stayed and lived in Turkey for 8 consecutive years regularly without any interruption* to be able to apply for permanent residency.

What Is Meant by Interruption?

Suppose you live abroad for more than 6 months in a year or a total of 1 year within the last 5 years. In that case, this will count as an interruption in the time you have spent living in Turkey and hence become an obstacle in meeting the year requirement for applying for citizenship or long-term residency. When your tenancy is interrupted, your previous residence periods will not be counted towards your residence permit application or be converted into another residence permit.

Different Types of Residence Permits You Can Get in Turkey

  • Short-term residence permit (includes exchange students, scientific researchers, tourists, property buyers)
  • Family residence permit
  • Student residence permit (more extended study programs, undergraduate or graduate degrees, etc.)
  • Long-term residence permit (for permanent residency)
  • Humanitarian residence permit
  • Residence permit for victims of human trafficking

Documents You Will Need To Apply for Long-Term Residence in Turkey

  1. Application form for the residence permit.
  2. Your passport/ID and its notarized and translated photocopy (the document you submit for ID must be valid for at least 60 days longer than the requested residence permit period)
  3. 4 photos (must be taken within the last 6 months, against a white background and be biometric)
  4. Document showing you have sufficient and regular income (you will declare this in the application form and may be asked to provide a supporting document)
  5. Valid and comprehensive health insurance (your insurance period must cover the duration of your residence permit)
  6. Receipt of payment for the residence permit application and card fee
  7. Notarized lease contract or a notarized photocopy of the deed of the house if you own the property to evidence your address in Turkey
  8. Photocopies of previous residence permits
  9. Original document from Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundations in Turkey to show that you have not received any social aid in the last 3 of 8 years
  10. Criminal record (can be obtained via e-devlet)
  11. Signed document showing that you are registered to the Turkish Address Registration System.

After starting your application online and gathering the necessary documents, you will submit them to the Directorate General of Immigration within the Turkish Interior Ministry yourself or an agent on your behalf.

It can take up to 90 days for your application to be processed and finalized.

Governorates issue your long-term residence permit or permanent residency card after approval from the Interior Ministry.

Applying for Turkish Citizenship Before Permanent Residency

Instead of applying for a long-term residence permit, you may be able to apply for Turkish citizenship after spending 5 years as a legal and duly resident in Turkey.

Within that timeframe, you must not have a total interruption exceeding six months. You will also be asked to prove your ties to the country and intent to continue to settle (such as having a permanent or indefinite work contract, own property, etc.) as well as provide evidence of sufficient financial means to support yourself in Turkey. You must also have not been convicted of any crimes or have a disease that threatens public health.

You will then have to pass an interview proving your ability to speak Turkish.

What’s the Difference Between Long-Term Residency and Becoming a Turkish Citizen?

You retain your acquired insurance rights whether you are a short-term resident, long-term resident, or citizen. Long-term residents enjoy most of the rights and benefits granted to Turkish citizens, except for a few areas.

Compared to Turkish citizens, permanent residents still do not have the right to vote or be elected, work as a public servant, run for public office, or be exempt from tax when importing vehicles. However, long-term residents aren’t obligated to carry out compulsory military service, unlike Turkish citizens.

If you are male and a long-term resident, you will be exempt from military conscription, which is mandatory for all male Turkish citizens.

When you are a Turkish citizen, you will also get a Turkish passport which grants you visa-free travel or visa on arrival to 105 countries, including South Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, and South America. You can also buy property without any restrictions.

Whether you are a citizen or a permanent resident, you will also have the right to live in Turkey at all times and have access to the Turkish healthcare and education system.

Are There Any Reasons My Long-Term Residence Permit Application Can Be Denied?

Your long-term residence permit application may be rejected or canceled if:

  • You are found to pose a severe threat to public order or public security.
  • You have not been in Turkey for more than 1 year continuously, except for medical problems, education, and compulsory public service in your home country. This means your 8 years of stay have been uninterrupted.