Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How to Get a Turkish Residence Permit in Istanbul

 

Yay! Jace and I are now Turkish residents!

It was a very bureaucratic process and a bit of a pain in the butt, really. The rest of this blog is a how-to guide for anyone who's planning to get a residence permit, so if this is not you, you can stop reading now and save yourself some time, I won't be offended.

1) Make an Appointment (to put in the application papers)

Go to the government website and click on the "E-RANDEVU" button on the left-hand side. This will take you through to a page in Turkish. Don't worry about what it says, just click on the "RANDEVU AL" button at the bottom. You can now choose English and don't have to worry about not understanding what you're getting into.
Click on "New Appointment" and fill out the required information on the subsequent pages. Assuming this is your first time applying, choose "First Application" when it asks for you purpose. You will have to print out the forms in colour before you put in your application, but you can do this easily at any time before your appointment date, so don't worry about being hooked up to a colour printer at the time of making an appointment.
You then have to choose what kind of permit you're applying for. If you plan on staying and working in Turkey for more than 3 months, you should apply for a long-term residence permit. You should apply for this permit before your working permit (which will hopefully be organised by your work). If you're visiting Turkey as a tourist for longer than the 3 months of a standard tourist visa, you should apply for the Touristic Stay permit.
On the next page you are presented with options to choose a date and time, which will usually be 10-14 days from the date you're making it.
Now you have to check all the boxes saying you have all the necessary documents. Do it even if you don't have them all yet.
Next you get to fill in all your personal details. You can apply for your husband/wife and children as well as other immediate family members (siblings, parents and/or grandparents) on the same form.
If you're not printing the documents straight away, write down the application Reference Number so that you can log into the site again and print them out. You do this by going to the website, clicking on "E-RANDEVU", then "RANDEVU AL" and then "Find/Cancel Appointment".

2) 4 Passport Photos

If you don't have enough extras on you already, you can easily go to a shop and get 8 photos for about 20TL. It's the local custom to heavily touch up the photos and make you look like a freaky Beverley Hills housewife.

3) Passport & Copy of Passport

You will need to take your original passport and one b&w copy of your passport main page (which should have the expiry date, etc. on it) and the page with the entry visa and stamp. You can get these copies at shops in Istanbul for 10-25k.

4) Proof of Funds

You will need to prove that you have sufficient funds in Turkey for residency. The amount of money you need to prove will change depending on your nationality. When you fill out the forms above, you will be told exactly how much you need.
As Australians, Jace and I needed to prove that we already had US$300 for every month that we were applying for residence, i.e. for 12 months a total of US$3600 each. There are only two ways you can do this.
1. Get a bank account with a Turkish bank (see appendix below on how to do this) and transfer/deposit the required amount into it. You will then need a bank statement or receipt showing that you have the funds.
2. Get a receipt from a currency exchange office saying that you have converted the money, e.g. US$3600 into Turkish Lira. THIS IS EASIER THAN GETTING A BANK ACCOUNT AND YOU DON'T ACTUALLY NEED TO EXCHANGE THE MONEY TO GET A RECEIPT. It's bizarre, but true. Jace and I went to an exchange office in Sultanahmet up the road from the tram stop, explained that we needed receipts for US$3600 each for the permits and the guy at the exchange office just printed up four receipts for US$1800 each, without asking for proof of funds or any money in return.
The immigration police know this is what happens and they don't care, they just need you to prove you have money and these are the only two ways you can do it. YOU CANNOT USE A STATEMENT FROM A BANK IN YOUR HOME COUNTRY.

5) Appointment Day

The offices you need to go to to put in your paperwork are in Emniyet. Make sure you have all the documents you need and also a book, iPod or other entertainment as you'll probably be waiting a while.
There might be a direct bus from Taksim Square to Emniyet.
However, we took the funicular from Taksim to Kabataş, the tram to Yusufpaşa, walked following the signs to Aksaray metro station, and then went one stop on the metro to Emniyet-Fatih. You exit the metro station on the corner of Adnan Menderes Blv and Akşemsettin Cd and the police HQ are right in front of you, across Akşemsettin.
Go through the revolving door, the security scanner and present your passport to the police so they can enter you into the system.
You need to go to Block A on the first floor. After you go up the stairs, turn left and you'll see a line of chairs along the corridor as well as a waiting room with more chairs. There are electronic boards showing the ticket number and the counter you should go to. Your paperwork will have your ticket number in the top right corner. Sit and enjoy the atmosphere and occasional smell of urine for an hour or more.
When it's your turn, go to the window, hand the policeman/woman all your documents and smile. If you're lucky like I was, you'll have a nice young guy who speaks a bit of English.
Once they've looked over everything, they'll hand you back the papers all stapled together and written on, and your passport.
You then have to pay two different fees at two different windows. First, go downstairs to the cashier and pay the permit processing fee. For us, a one year permit cost 134.85TL (or 135TL; they don't give you the 15k back). You have to hand over the paperwork and the cash in TL. They don't accept US$ or Euro. Take your receipt.
Then you go back upstairs to a window on the left end of the row of service windows to pay 149TL (again in Lira only) for the permit book. Take your receipt.
Finally, go back to your original police person. You don't need to wait in line a second time. It seems that pushing past the other pushy people by shoving your paperwork right through the window, regardless of who's there or what the policeman's doing, is the established custom. They will take the paperwork and give you back two pieces of paper; one is a permit book receipt and the other is an appointment slip. The appointment slip tells you that you should show up on X day (usually a week away) at a specific time with both those slips of paper to collect your permit book from the office next to the waiting room.
Note: the office and cashiers are unmanned between 12pm and 1pm when everyone goes to lunch.

6) Collecting Your Permit Book

Probably the easiest part. Go back to the police HQ in Emniyet on the assigned date and time. Don't forget your paper slip and passport (for security). On the right-hand side of the the waiting room as you walk in is a little office. Hand the policeman your slip of paper, wait a few minutes for him to find your paperwork, sign the form where he asks you to. He will give you your permit book and you're done! Congratulations, you are now a resident of Turkey!

Appendix: How to Get a Turkish Bank Account

To open a bank account with a Turkish bank, you first need to get a tax number.

1. Getting a Tax Number

You need to go to a tax office or vergi dairesi in your local area. (Just put "vergi dairesi" and your suburb into Google Maps and you should come up with a few options nearby.) Take your passport and also a copy. You might also need proof of address in Turkey (they didn't ask us, however), so get a letter from your landlord/hotel/whoever.
We went to the vergi dairesi in Beyoğlu, not far from Tünel. Inside, we asked a person on the counter on the left side and they gave us forms to fill out. We completed the forms, handed them back and then waited about 20 minutes and were isssued with little cards with our Tax numbers on them.

2. Getting a Bank Account

The next day, we went to HSBC in Elmadağ (where we live) and spent an hour or so getting our bank accounts. I would recommend HSBC or Citibank as they are international banks. You will need photo i.d. with your address (like a driver's licence), your new tax card with the number and your passport. The form to fill out with HSBC is in English and Turkish. Make sure you put the address on your i.d. as your home address and then you can put your address in Turkey as your work address. You can then get your keycard sent to your work address.
We had to sign the terms and conditions in both Turkish and English, and then got two bank accounts, one US$ and one TL. You can also open Euro or whatever currency accounts you need and move all your money from home into them, if you like.

46 comments:

  1. You call that tricky??!! Try becoming a resident in Australia if you're Turkish!! :-P

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  2. Fair deuce. I shudder when I imagine that procedure!

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  3. i wil b visitin istanbul dis month. Can i do all dis at istanbul, bcos i wil like to stay one more year after my 3months.

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  4. Yes, you can do all this in Istanbul

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  5. We are a couple of Aussies doing a belated gap year (we're in our 50s) and we have been struggling with all the requirements for the residence permit (we have an appointment at the end of October). We were surfing the net to find out where to go (there is nothing on the forms that we printed out or on the website). We were so relieved to find your blog as we had intended to just wander in with a statement on our Australian bank accounts. Can't thank you enough, Alix, for your brilliant blog and the advice! Best wishes Cath & Evan McMoody

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  6. do they give this residence visa easily to Arabs as they do with Americans/Aussies ..etc?

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  7. Anonymous: Sorry, we don't know if the process differs for Arabs. There were plenty of Arabs at the immigration office when we were there, and from what I could tell they were holding the same paperwork we had, so I suppose it is not too difficult. Turkey is quite welcoming!

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  8. Awesome and accurate information finally!.

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  9. thanks so much! good job, much appreciated.

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  10. It is unfair and ironic that foreigners find these procedures difficult ? Have you ever tried to get a visa from United States, UK, Australia or EU as a Turkish citizen. We are even expected to present title deeds, health documents, family, family tree documents, criminal records, bank accounts in translation, and pay unreasonably high fees only to apply and in the most cases many of the Turkish citizens are declined and their application fees are not given back, or only granted with funny 10 days entry permits if you can prove that you are rich. That is what I call " Pain in the ass ".

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    Replies
    1. The process of applying for a Turkish residency visa is not difficult in terms of the overall paperwork burden it places on the applicant. Compared with a Turkish person wanting to enter Australia it is quite easy. Rather, it is a pain in the butt because of the absence of reliable, easily accessible information in English that describes the process.

      If this blog post helps English speaking people better understand the process of applying for a Turkish residency permit then it has served its purpose.

      I'm fairly sure Alix doesn't set the immigration policy for Australia or any other western nation, so I'm pretty sure she never considered when she wrote this blog post that it might result in an international pain-in-the-butt measuring contest.

      Delete
  11. http://www.immi.gov.au/visitors/_pdf/676-visa-checklist.pdf

    These are the required documents to only get a tourist visa for a Turkish citezen.

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  12. So If I went somewhere and asked them to print a reciept off for me saying i exchanged some money do you think they would?

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    Replies
    1. That is exactly what happened for us, yes.

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  13. I juat wanna ask you guys ,what kind of permit you're applying for?long-term residence permit or touristic Stay permit.? im planning to apply for long term residence permit, and i just wanted to know if the procedure is same as the one you describe above. Do i need to provide more papers? Should i apply for this resident permit before , or after i apply for my job? thank you in advance!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, this is the procedure for a residence permit. If you enter Turkey on a tourist visa it doesn't matter in which order you submit applications for a job or a residence permit, as long as you don't overstay your visa.

      Delete
  14. Hi, I am an Australian Citizen and just want to clarify..If I arrive in Turkey on a 3 month Tourist Visa and apply for Residence Permit for Tourist Reasons, does this overwrite the Visa and allow me to stay longer or is there some kind of longer Visa I can get? Because the Turkish Embassy in Aus has told me with that Visa I can only stay a max of 3 out of every 6 months. I am confused :) Can you please help. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. If you plan on staying and working in Turkey for more than 3 months, you should apply for a long-term residence permit. You should apply for this permit before your working permit (which will hopefully be organised by your work). If you're visiting Turkey as a tourist for longer than the 3 months of a standard tourist visa, you should apply for the Touristic Stay permit.

      DISCLAIMER: The Turkish government regularly change the rules, but as at 24th May 2011, that was the situation.

      Delete
  15. Hi, I am a New Zealand citizen looking to live and work in Turkey. Is the long-term residence visa only granted if a job offer has been made to me? Thanks for your help.

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    Replies
    1. This is the procedure for a residence permit. If you enter Turkey on a tourist visa it doesn't matter in which order you submit applications for a job or a residence permit, as long as you don't overstay your visa.

      Delete
  16. Hi guys, thank you so much for sharing all that info. I am Australian-Turkish and my partner is Australian. We are flying over to Istanbul in October to live there for a couple of years. We have applied for a long term residency for my partner. He won't be working at all (well maybe cash in hand), just wondering what we should write as the reason for applying for the permit? Do the officers really look into the reason? Also can he still get a tax file number to open up an account if he's not employed? Thank you in advance for your invaluable information and hope you have lots of fun on your upcoming adventures.

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    Replies
    1. The officers didn't interrogate us about our reasons for applying for the permit at all. "Looking for work" is probably the obvious choice, but we were not required to provide evidence of our job search efforts.

      You can get a tax file number without a job, no problem. You need a tax file number to get a bank account. You could be so rich that you don't need to work and you would still need somewhere safe to put your money, wouldn't you?

      Delete
  17. I was the one who earlier swooned about your site :) I was hoping it could elicit a response to this small issue that's just arisen: the randevu website said I cannot book an appointment until January 2013. My 3 month visa will expire by December, but the director of the school that has just hired me has assured that I can stay longer WITH an appointment. Is this true?

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  18. Oh no, my 'earlier swoon' didn't post! I wanted to laud you on the complete transitional ease from your site to the sign-up site. Searching the internet before finding yours was frustrating. Cheers!

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  19. hi everyone I have a question my family and I moved to Turkey 10 days ago my father my brother and me are students here but they told that they don't give a residence permit to my mother with my father's visa why?actually this is a new rule that she can only stay whit us 6month each year but it's so bad .is it true?we've got confused a lot :(((
    can anybody help us?

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  20. Help!
    I need to look up and change the date of my appointment at Vatan, and I don't have my reference number. It's impossible to change the appointment, or even find the old one, without the number!! Any ideas as to how I can access it?
    Thanks!

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  21. Hi guys, really useful page, I admire your trip greatly, I will continue to read through the blog!

    Question, for anyone who has the time to answer it: Basically I'm about to move to Istanbul from the UK to work for a UK company for 6 months, the company is new to Turkey hence the lack of inside knowledge. Basically I wondering whether its ok to move firstly on a tourist visa and then to simply gain a residency visa after the 3 months. Would this be an ok method considering my stay is effectively a long business trip and I am paying UK tax still?

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    Replies
    1. This is pretty much what we did, so I'm sure you're fine.

      Delete
  22. Thank you VERY much for writing this blog. I'm not Aussie, I'm American, but this is still a huge help--even if the process is somewhat different for an American, at the very least I now have a general idea of what to expect. I'm moving to Turkey in about a month, and the lack of accurate, reliable, and current information for English speakers, as you commented on above, was discouraging.

    Moving to a new country is exciting--and scary. I'm extremely grateful someone took the time to make it less so.

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  23. Hi, im a uk national and i live in Turkey during the season every year for the passed 3 years. This year i am going to apply for residenacy because its becoming very diffucult for me since they change the 90 day visa stamps.

    Im very worried because it seems to much hard work.

    I have a an apartment/lease organised
    I know when i arrive i have to get my tax number sorted
    Then i plan on opening my bank account at HSBC

    from there im a bit stuck, how long does it actually take for the residenacy permit to come through?

    any information would be appreciated

    Thanks Kimberley

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kimberley
      It took about a week for the permit to be ready.
      Good luck!
      - Alix

      Delete
  24. HA! You call that hairy?! It took me over 2 months to get mine, I got it 4 hours before my flight from Istanbul! Truly an experience!

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  25. I've been getting small panic attacks every 5 hours today, I fly out to Istanbul in 3 days! Coming across your post has incredibly calmed me down. Thank you so much for all this information! Did you have to show a return ticket when you initially flew in with a tourist visa?

    Many thanks
    Sharon.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sharon. We entered overland so didn't need to show tickets out. I don't know what the situation is when you fly in. - Alix

      Delete
  26. hey guys, I am going to turkey and i have to apply for residence permit and i was wondering how long does it take to receive your residence permit from the date you apply for it?
    thanks in advance :)

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  27. Not sure if this was already asked (so many comments! wow!). How long did that overall process take? From the first day you stepped out to start the process, to the day you had the permit in your hands? Thanks!! Looks like you've been replying to these posts for years now!

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  28. hi guys,
    I applied for randevu electronically, but I made a mistake in register place of birth! I wonder how can I fix it ? otherwise how could I delete this electronic application ? please give me detailed information.
    cheers

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  29. Hi Alix and Jace I have read your blog I was happy to find a blog of very helpful people like you.

    I'm using Botswana passport this december I will be visiting my friend and staying at his place with a tourist visa but they way I hear how beautiful Istanbul is I will love to stay longer.Is it easy for me to apply for a resident permit even when I'm not working.

    And how much is the whole process in us dollar.

    Thanks for your help,hope to hear from you soon.

    Have a great day

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  30. Hi a great blog and exactly the information I was looking for. Got a question would appreciate if you can give a little detail reply. I am planning to goto turkey on visit visa and later on I plan to stay there for long. would it be possible to get residency without having a work contract in hand ?

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  31. Hi! Thanks for the great info, but do you have any details on the new regulations and process as of 2014?

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  32. Hi my husband is working here for the summer, he has a work visa and his residence permit , I have come to join him do I have to get my own residence permit or can he get his changed to include me has his spouse?

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  33. Do somebody know ehre I can get Ukraine residence permit? I found this law firm https://vidnazhitelstvo.com/how-to-get-the-residence-permit-in-ukraine/ to make this ducument for my brother

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  34. wow 2011 information is so old as many provisions and procedures have changed relating to turkish residence permits in Turkey.

    I do not advise a lawyer for simple residence permit process and pay such higher middle man fee, when a local agent can do the work for much less.

    You should read information on newer source websites http://residencepermitturkey.com to help you make the best choice.

    Please post your results here.

    ReplyDelete