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How to obtain your Ikamet – residence permit – for Turkey?

If you wish to stay for quit a long time in Turkey, it is advisable or even necessary to apply for an Ikamet (residence permit for Turkey). Although a tourist visa is valid for 180 days, you are allowed to reside in Turkey only 90 days out of the 180. With an Ikamet (residence permit for Turkey), you can stay indefinitely in Turkey, provided that you extend it of course. The first time you apply for your Ikamet, your residence permit for Turkey will be granted for a relatively short period; e.g. 3 or 6 months. From the first renewal of your Ikamet, you will get a longer period (six months, one year). This is not a generale rule, and the system changes now and then.

The latest trend is that property owners receive immediately – even at their first application – an Ikamet for minimal one year. Although the rules change now and then, it is obvious very clear that the overall trend is, to make it easier and easier for foreigners to obtain their residence permit for Turkey. Both the first application and the renewal of a residence permit for Turkey is a standard administrative procedure which runs smoothly without any hassle.

Our staff will be happy to assist you during the application procedure for your Ikamet (residence permit for Turkey)

Since 2015, also the application procedure for an Ikamet (residence permit for Turkey) – just as for a visa for Turkey – has to be done through the Internet. Currently, the website to apply for a residence permit for Turkey is available in Turkish, English and Russian. If you don’t speak one of these languages, it is recommended to get some help by someone who speaks one of them. As a customer of RealProinvest, you can, of course, rely on our assistance. We will guide you throughout the application procedure for your residence permit for Turkey, and assist by obtaining the necessary documents.

First application

In order to be valid, the request for your Ikamet must be done before your visa expires. Certainly don’t wait until the last day … Before starting the online procedure, you should apply for a tax number in Turkey and get "biometric" passport photos (we recommend at least 6 of them, one or two extra never harms) and also store them as a digital file (jpg, e.g. on a CD-ROM or USB stick). You will need this file during the application: after completing all the information on the application form, you need to upload your biometric picture. No need to worry, most photographers know what you need when they hear the word Ikamet and will arrange it all properly for you.

As you begin your online session, at the first page, you can choose from several options; such as a first application for Ikamet or the renewal of an Ikamet. You make the right choice, then choose the region (Antalya, Alanya, Izmir, ...) and then you will be directed to a screen where you will need to set a date and time for the actual appointment at the migration office (first application). Depending on the location and the period in which you submit your application, the waiting time can be up to several months. Don’t panic, once your application for a residence permit for Turkey is completed correctly and registered; you have the permission to reside in Turkey (pending the approval of your Ikamet).

If all the documents relating to the application of your Ikamet are in order; you will almost certainly obtain your residence permit for Turkey

After picking a date for the appointment, you will proceed now to the actual Ikamet application form; which looks quite impressive. A lot of personal information will be asked and, obviously, you need to fill out all the mandatory fields correctly. Be sure to have your identity card or passport on hand, as well as your Turkish visa, because you will need those during the application process. As is the case with most official matters in Turkey (for example, the opening of a Turkish bank account), you have to specify the names of your parents. When all required fields are filled in, you can upload your picture at the last stage, and now the application for your Ikamet will be registered. You can save and print the completed application form of your residence permit for Turkey, as well as an additional form with all relevant guidelines and stating which documents you must submit at the migration office. Your application for a residence permit in Turkey is now officially registered.

Required documents

Which documents should you take with you to the migration office?

  • The application form signed by you (the applicant) for your residence permit for Turkey.
  • 5 biometric – and, of course, identical to the one you've uploaded – photographs, not older than 6 months.
  • Proof of health insurance. Although a foreign health insurance is also accepted for the Ikamet under certain conditions – but, in practise, this can be quite a hassle – we recommend our customers, for their own convenience, to take out a Turkish health insurance (which can be done starting from a few hundred Turkish lira a year). Again, also for this health insurance in Turkey, you can rely on the services of RealProinvest. The exact cost of your Turkish health insurance depends on your age and the quality of insurance you have chosen.
  • Proof that you own sufficient funds to secure your livelihood in Turkey for the duration of your requested Ikamet (Attention: without a work permit, you are not allowed to work in Turkey, even if you have a residence permit in Turkey!). In practical terms, this means you need a document of your Turkish bank which confirms that you have enough money in your account. The present standard is 500 dollars or Euro per month. So, if you are applying for a 6 months Ikamet, you should have minimum 3,000 Euro in your bank account in Turkey. Before you can open a bank account in Turkey, you must apply for a tax number in Turkey.
  • Proof of residence (registration in the municipality where you live in Turkey, a certificate from the hotel or pansiyon where you are staying, ...).
  • Proof of payment of the expenses related to the application of your Ikamet (a payment counter is available in the migration office, so you can arrange this on the day of your appointment itself).

Your migration officer might request some additional documents or information, but normally this doesn’t happen. If you submit the above mentioned documents and filled out your application form decently; your application for a residence permit for Turkey will almost certainly be approved and your Ikamet will be sent to the address you specified.

Practipal tips

  • Make sure that; when you schedule the date and time of your appointment – see above – you don’t book the last appointment of the day (e.g. 15.30). After your migration officer checked all the documents; you have to pay a small fee for the Ikamet itself. The migration office itself is open until 17:00, but the payment counter closes at 16:00. If you chose the last appointment of the day, you might have to come back the next day; merely to make that payment and to hand over the receipt to your migration officer, which would be a bit unlucky of course.
  • Take a least one photocopy off all documents.
  • Your passport must still be valid for at least 6 months after the end date of the requested Ikamet.
  • If you don’t speak the Turkish language; it is recommended to be accompanied by someone who does speak Turkish during your visit to the migration office, and also at the conclusion of a health insurance in Turkey for instance. Obviously, RealProinvest customers can rely on our service for these items.
  • During the period between the application date of your Ikamet and the approval of your request, you can leave the country for up to 15 days only, and you will need a special form – if your visa has already expired – which you can obtain at the migration office upon presentation of your application form. If you leave the country for more than 15 days, your application for residence permit will be dropped.

Extending your Ikamet

For the renewal of your residence permit for Turkey, the procedure is slightly different. The application for renewal has to be done online also, but instead of "new application" you opt for "extension" of course . You can log in now with your name and your Turkish ID-number, which is stated on your Ikamet, and then complete the application form. The requested documents (which are almost identical as with the first application) must be send by mail – registered mail! – as well as the proof of payment of the administrative fees.

At the end of the Internet session, you can – just as in the case of your first application – print your application form. An additional form with a number of directives (including 2 small payments) and the address where you should send the requested documents to can also be printed. In case that any additional information or documents should be requested; you will be informed thereof by telephone or by email. Once everything is approved, your Ikamet will be sent by post to your specified residence address. As with the first application, the duration of the procedure depends on the site of application and the period (summer months are traditionally busier).

The staff of RealProinvest will be happy to assist and guide our customers with the application of their Ikamet (residence permit for Turkey). If you would like to be informed about any changes in the procedures concerning the Ikamet application; we suggest you subscribe to our newsletter here or to consult our blog regularly.