If you are wondering 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 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, allowing you to live there 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, and 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
- Application for a Residence Permit (must be signed by the foreigner and/or his/her legal representative.
- Photocopy of passport or passport substitute (photographed pages and pages containing identity information) (The original must be presented on the day of the appointment.)
- Four (4) pieces of biometric photographs (taken within the past six months against a white background and biometric).
- Photocopy of the previous residence permit document (the original document must be presented on the day of the appointment).
- Original of the e-signed/signed and stamped/sealed document indicating that no social assistance has been received in the previous three years (could be obtained from the Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundations within the Governorates/District Governorships).
- The original of the e-signed/signed and stamped/sealed document attesting to sufficient and regular financial resources for the duration of the stay.
- Criminal history (could be obtained from their home country's authorities and Turkish judicial authorities.) (For those who submit a document stating that their country was unable to issue a criminal record due to a lack of entry or exit, the criminal record issued by the Turkish authorities will suffice. If you reside in other countries, migration management can also request reports from those nations.
- Receipts/proof of payment for the residence permit fee and card fee
- Valid health insurance (Insurance coverage must be in effect for the duration of the proposed residence permit. Examples include Turkey, according to the bilateral social security agreement, SGK, and private health insurance. (Applications must include the original, e-signed/signed, and stamped/sealed insurance policy!)
- Document proving registration in the Address Registration System (in the case of registration in the Address Registration System). E-signed/signed and stamped/sealed "Residence Document" must be obtained from provincial / district registry offices or the e-government system (www.turkey.gov.tr).
- Residence documents; if you are staying in your residence, a photocopy of the property deed (TAPU); A notarized copy of your rental agreement; if you are staying in a rental house according to a rental agreement; If you are staying in a hotel, etc., you must provide proof of your stay. If you are staying in a student dormitory, an e-signed/signed and sealed/stamped document proving your dormitory residency is required. If you are staying at a third party's home, the notarized statement of the host (and, if the host is married, the notarized statement of the spouse) is required.
- Documents displaying utilities under your name.
- Documents demonstrating a regular and sufficient income (you will indicate this on the application form and may be required to submit supporting documentation) are typically needed for 6 months of Turkish bank statements. E-signed/signed and stamped/sealed.
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.
Your application may take up to 90 days to be processed and approved. In certain circumstances, it may take up to a year.
After approval from the Ministry of the Interior, governorates issue a long-term residence permit or permanent residency card.
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 settling (such as having a permanent or indefinite work contract, owning property, etc.) and 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 threatening 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 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 public servants, run for public office, or be exempt from tax when importing vehicles. However, unlike Turkish citizens, long-term residents aren’t obligated to carry out compulsory military service.
If you are male and a long-term resident, you will be exempt from military conscription, which is mandatory for all male Turkish citizens.
As 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 access 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.
As you're aware, migration management reserves the right to request any additional documents at their sole discretion. It's best to be prepared for this possibility and maintain calmness in the face of it. If you have questions, dial 157 and ask to speak to an agent.