Buying a villa, apartment in an apartment building or a rural estate in Turkey, a foreigner gets an opportunity to apply for a residence permit in Turkey in a simplified manner and stay in the country for a longer period or live there permanently. It is not only the property owner who can get a residence permit, but also their family and friends. To apply for a residence permit (as well as renew it), they do not need to be registered in the TAPU. The most up-to-date information on how you can get a residence permit in Turkey on Turk.Estate.
What is ikamet?
Turkish residence permit (ikamet) is a pink plastic card with information and a photo of the owner, the number, the date of issue and expiration date of the document. Extending a residence permit in Turkey, a foreign resident receives a new ikamet, but the document number remains the same. In many places in Turkey like hospitals, banks, government offices, schools and etc., you don't need to show the ikamet itself. It is enough just to remember your number so that the system can recognise you. In Turkey, the authority offices and other facilities connected to the general electronic database offer various online services.
What kind of residence permit in Turkey can be obtained in 2020?
Many foreign travellers, fascinated by Turkey, decide to return and stay longer in the country or even to move to Turkey. A foreigner can do this on completely legal grounds: the period of temporary (visa-free) stay in Turkey for residents of different countries varies from thirty to ninety days and depends on which country the person comes from. So, for example, Brits can stay in Turkey for 90 days (in total, for a six-month period of stay). In order to avoid any problems and not to count the remaining days of visa-free stay, foreigners who spend a lot of time in Turkey can obtain a residence permit and renew it.
A residence permit in Turkey can be of several types:
- short-term permit (issued for a period of 6 to 24 months);
- long-term permit (issued with no time limits, but it requires compliance with a number of conditions for obtaining).
Reasons for obtaining a short-term residence permit in Turkey include buying real estate, studying, business (investing in the Turkish economy or registering a legal entity in Turkey). In addition, a residence permit can be tourist (up to two years), family (also up to two years), humanitarian (up to one year). The Turkish authorities have a very friendly and flexible policy towards foreigners. Therefore, you can get a residence permit in Turkey on the basis of a variety of reasons: whether it is a long business trip or scientific research, treatment in Turkey, the requirements of the judiciary and many other reasons.
What rights does a foreigner with a residence permit have?
Residents of different countries buying real estate in Turkey can apply for a residence permit not only for themselves, but also for their family or friends. An owner of a villa or apartment in Turkey can also apply for Turkish citizenship - after five years of living in Turkey and owning real estate. These options do not apply to holders of tourist and other residence permits, but only apply to owners of residential or commercial real estate in Turkey.
All holders of a residence permit receive the opportunity to obtain medical insurance (both private and SGK, an insurance, which allows them to use the services of Turkish state medical institutions on an equal basis with the residents of the country) and they can also participate in Turkish pension programs. Having a residence permit, foreigners can easily apply their children to local schools on a general basis (i.e. free of charge). Having a residence permit, foreigners have the opportunity to obtain a work permit Turkey, get a driver's license, open accounts in Turkish banks and make deposits on equal terms with Turkish nationals and receive the same interest on deposits. A foreigner with a Turkish residence permit can enrol in Turkey's universities on a general basis: the enrolment terms for foreign applicants are even less strict than for citizens of the Republic. In general, receiving a residence permit, a foreigner becomes a full member of Turkish society. The only restrictions that a residence permit holder has and Turkish residents do not have are that a foreigner with a residence permit cannot:
- vote in elections;
- apply for a job legally without a work permit (çalışma izin);
- run for political office in Turkey.
How to apply for a residence permit in Turkey if you have property there
The basis for obtaining a residence permit in Turkey in 2020 can be the purchase of any Turkish property. It can be either an apartment, a land plot, a shop, a farm or a villa. If the purchase price is equal to or exceeds the amount of 250 thousand dollars, a foreign investor can apply not only for a residence permit, but also for Turkish citizenship for the whole family (next of kin). If the purchase price is less than the above amount, then the owner of real estate in Turkey will be able to obtain a residence permit: the basis is a TAPU, a certificate of ownership.
Three steps to obtaining a residence permit based on real estate ownership in Turkey
Step one: registration with the tax authorities and obtaining an individual tax number (Vergi Numarasi). Obtaining verga numarasa is a simple, free procedure available to any foreigner. To obtain a tax number, you need to apply personally or through a trusted person to a local tax office (Vergi Dairesi) in Turkey. Why do you need a tax number? It is required to open an account in a Turkish bank, as well as to register ownership of Turkish real estate, to obtain a residence permit, apply for work visa in Turkey. To obtain a tax number, you need a notarized copy of your passport and the registration address in Turkey.
Step two: submitting your application and documents for a residence permit. Registration of a Turkish ikamet begins with filing an application on the public services website and preparing a list of papers to the authorities. This can be done both personally and through a trusted person. You can also apply for a residence permit in Turkey remotely: during the coronavirus pandemic, the remote (online or by mail) application was fully introduced. If an applicant applies for an online submission, but does not submit the documents on time, they receive a warning from the migration service (a text message or e-mail). If within ten days the documents are still not sent to the migration authority, the application for a residence permit will be cancelled.
What documents are required to obtain a residence permit?
- an application form (you can fill out the form by printing it from the public services website or you can fill it out online on the website);
- the passport with its copy (with a Turkish translation certified by a notary);
- tax number;
- original and copy of TAPU, a certificate of ownership of real estate in Turkey;
- three biometric photographs (you can take it in any photo store, the cost of three photos in 2020 is 30 liras);
- healthcare insurance issued in Turkey (the insurance must cover the entire period for which the residence permit is issued).
- receipt confirming fee payment.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the period for considering an application for a residence permit was one to two months. However, during the pandemic, it may take several months. You should not worry about this if the documents for a residence permit are successfully submitted - you will not have any problems (for example, with the police). The applicant is notified about the date of the appointment to the migration service with a text message reminder (or an e-mail) the day before the appointment.
If the migration service asks for additional papers or there are some papers missing when the applicant submits the papers, the applicant is given from 10 to 30 days to bring the required documents. Sometimes, for example, they may ask for a certificate of no criminal record in the home country.
How to submit documents for a residence permit by Turkish post
If for some reason the applicant is not able to come (or send a trusted person) to the migration service to submit documents, they can send them by Turkish post (PTT). You can buy an A4 envelope in a stationery store (kırtasiye), in the upper left corner of it you need to indicate your full address and full name. In the lower right corner, you need to indicate the name and address of the migration service (in Turkish, you can find this information on their website). On the post website, you can track the delivery of the envelope, usually it takes two or three days.
Step three: appointment at the migration office. The time of the appointment is stated by the migration service in advance, during the submission of documents. At the appointment, a foreigner confirms their identity and interest in obtaining a residence permit, after that the applicant waits for an ikamet to be received by mail to the specified address. As a rule, the ikamet card arrives by mail within 2-3 weeks after the appointment, however, in a pandemic, it can take a month or even more. You can also get your ikamet in person at the post office - when the ikamet is ready and has been delivered to the post office, the applicant for a residence permit receives a text message.
How much does a residence permit in Turkey cost in 2020?
Since January, the cost of the residence permit card or the book cost for the UK nationals is 110 TL, the residence fee is 605,46 TL ($80) and the visa fee is 695,00 TL. The cost of the residence permit may vary depending on the home country of the applicant. You can calculate the cost of the permit on the official website https://www.e-ikamet.com/en/practices/calculating-the-residence.
How to renew a residence permit in Turkey?
Please mind that you need to submit documents to renew your ikamet two months before its expiration date. Such a deadline must be observed not only according to the rules of Turkey, but also because the Turkish public services website maybe overloaded especially during the coronavirus pandemic and filling in an application may take more time. Recently the online system of the migration service did not work for almost a month - during this time, that is why there are many foreigners who are trying to apply for a residence permit now. The new health insurance must begin with the expiration date of the previous insurance contract (as a rule, the new date overlaps the old one).
An application form for renewing a Turkish residence permit is no different from the one you fill out for the first time, so you can simply copy the data from the previous application form and paste it into a new one. The only difference will be the following points:
- instead of the primary ikamet, you need to indicate the extension of the short-term ikamet based on the ownership of real estate;
- in the column of the start date of the requested residence permit, indicate the day following the expiration date of the previous ikamet.
The filled out application must be saved and then printed. On the last page of the completed application form, there will be a personal code of the application, the amount of the state fee, and the address to which the documents need to be sent (the local migration authority, Göç idaresi).
How do I pay the state fee?
This can be done in three ways. The first way is to personally pay at the tax office (Vergi Dairesi), at the checkout: in cash or by card with no commission. The second way is to pay online (also without commission) at a Turkish bank, where the applicant has already opened an account. The third way is to go to any branch of Ziraat bankasi, pay through a bank operator with no commission.
After you get a residence permit in Turkey, you should keep in mind that if you change your name or the actual address you need to report about this to the migration service within fifteen days, otherwise you will get a fine and may have problems with further extension of the ikamet.