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Legal Status of Foreigners in Turkey

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Which Law For Foreigners In Turkey?

Entry to the country, stay in the country (residence permits) and, where necessary, deportation (deport) procedures of foreigners in Turkey are carried out in accordance with According to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458.

What is Visa and Visa Exemption?

A visa is a permit that entitles foreigners to stay in the country for up to 90 days. Visa exemption is the practice of allowing citizens of certain countries or foreigners within a certain scope to enter the country without a visa requirement. For example, a foreigner who comes from a country with visa exemption by Turkey or a foreigner who has been granted a residence permit by the Directorate of Migration Management does not need to obtain a visa when entering the country. However, it should be noted that visa or visa exemption does not provide absolute right to enter the country. In other words, we cannot say that every foreigner who has a visa or is within the scope of visa exemption can definitely enter Turkey. Each foreigner's request to enter the country can be examined individually by the police at the border gates and the personnel of the Directorate of Migration Management.

What is the 90 days in 180 days rule?

Although it may seem like a confusing practice, it is actually a simple and logical rule. A foreigner who has a visa or comes from a country within the scope of visa exemption can stay in Turkey for a maximum of 90 days within 180 days with visa or visa exemption. Let's clarify the situation with an example. There is a 90-day visa exemption agreement between Türkiye and Azerbaijan. Can a foreigner coming from Azerbaijan leave the country one day before the 90 days expire after entering the country and come back to Turkey the next day? After all, there is a 90-day visa exemption, right? This is where the 90-days in 180-day rule comes into play. The Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 (YUKK) obliges foreigners that: If you are going to enter the country with a visa or visa exemption, you must calculate every 180-day period. Let's continue with the same example, the person who is a citizen of Azerbaijan stayed in Turkey with visa exemption for 89 days, left the country and wanted to enter the country the next day, in this case, we look at the last 180 days of this foreigner. Since he has stayed in the country for 89 days in the last 180 days, the number of days he can stay with visa exemption is 1. Well, a foreigner who has completed the 90-day visa period in the last 180 days bought a plane ticket without calculating this and came to Turkey, will he or she definitely not be able to enter the country? Of course, there is an exception to this. In some cases, foreigners in this situation may be allowed to enter the country.

What is Residince Permit?

If a foreigner wants to stay in Turkey longer than the visa or visa exemption period, he must obtain a permit from the state. This permit is called residence permit. Foreigners who obtain this permit are issued a residence permit document. This document is a document with security features such as an ID card. It is printed in one place and shipped to foreigners' addresses. The only institution authorized to print and approve residence permit documents is the Directorate of Migration Management.

What are the Types of Residence Permit?

There are six different types of residence permits that provide the legal right to stay in the country. These:

Short Term Residence Permit,

Family Residence Permit

Student Residence Permit

Long Term Residence Permit

Humanitarian Residence Permit

Victim of Human Trafficking Residence Permit.

Although there are six different types of residence permits, they are the three most common types of residence permits and constitute the majority of the residence permits. These are: Short Term, Family and Student Residence Permits.

What are the Conditions of Residence Permit?

The first rule that the foreigner who will apply for a residence permit should pay attention to is; to apply before the visa or visa exemption expires. With exceptions, applications made when the legal right to stay ends are rejected.

The foreigner must have a passport valid for at least sixty days longer than the residence permit period he or she wants to obtain. For example, if your passport expires in 15 months, the maximum residence permit period you can get is 13 months.

Applications are made only and only within Türkiye. Although it is necessary to apply for a residence permit in consulates according to the Law No. 6458, this system has not yet been implemented.

Depending on the conditions of the residence permit applied for, a special valid visa may be required. A special valid visa suitable for its purpose is a type of visa issued to consulates abroad and examined and finalized by the Directorate of Migration Management.

So, what should a foreigner whose residence permit is denied should do? First of all, it is very difficult to change this situation by objecting to the Immigration Administration. What needs to be done is to file a lawsuit in the administrative court as quickly as possible within the time of filing a lawsuit. It is important to remember that the time to file a lawsuit is very short and this is a type of case that requires special expertise.

Who Can Apply for a Short-Term Residence Permit?

Short-term residence permit can be granted for periods of three months, six months, one year or two years without a lower limit. This period is determined by the Directorate of Migration Management. However, it is given for a maximum of two years, excluding KKTC citizens and foreign investors.

So who can get a short-term residence permit? The main sub-types of short-term residence permit with many sub-types are:

  1. Foreigners who will come for scientific research

  2. Foreigners who own immovable property in Turkey

  3. Foreigners who will establish a commercial connection or business

  4. Foreigners who will participate in in-service training programs

  5. Foreigners who will stay for tourism purposes

  6. Foreigners who will be treated provided that they do not have one of the diseases that are considered a threat to public health

Who Can Apply for Student Residence Permit?

Foreigners who will study at a higher education institution in Turkey with an associate degree, bachelor's degree, master's or doctorate can apply for a student residence permit. Foreigners who will receive primary and secondary education can apply for a residence permit if a real or legal person takes care of them. However, not every foreigner who has the right to study can obtain a student residence permit. The Directorate of Migration Management decides by evaluating many issues such as the age, nationality, education information of the foreigner.

Who Can Apply for a Family Residence Permit?

Foreign spouses and children of Turkish citizens or Blue Card holders (people who are Turkish citizens by birth, but who gave up citizenship by obtaining permission from the state) can apply for a family residence permit. Family residence permit is issued for three years. It is very important for foreigners who apply for citizenship on the grounds that they are married to a Turkish citizen, to obtain a family residence permit.

Spouses of foreigners who apply for a family residence permit are considered their "Supporters" according to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458. The supporter must meet the following conditions, otherwise the residence permit will be refused:

  1. Having a monthly income not less than one-third of the minimum wage per family member, with a total income not less than the minimum wage

  2. To have housing conditions in accordance with the general health and safety standards according to the population of the family and to have health insurance covering all family members

Deportation and Entry Ban

Since deportation and entry ban are generally applied simultaneously, this issue is confused with each other. In fact, deportation and entry ban are different practices. In many cases where deportation is not carried out, an entry ban may be imposed on foreigners.

Which Foreigners Are Deported? Is Deportation Decision Appealed?

In Law No. 6458, many grounds for deportation have been determined. The most common grounds for deportation are listed below:

  1. Those who enter the country illegally and those who try to leave the country illegally

  2. Those who are banned from entering

  3. Illegal workers without a work permit

  4. Those who earn their living illegally

  5. Those who continue to stay in the country even though their residence permit and work permit have expired

  6. Those whose residence permit has been refused or revoked

  7. Exceeding the visa or visa exemption period

A foreigner for whom a deportation decision has been taken has the right to file a lawsuit against this decision before the administrative court. In this case, it is important that the reasoning of the decision communicated to him and the objection within the period of filing a lawsuit, which is shorter than the general time of filing a lawsuit, is important.

What is a Work Permit for Foreigners? How to Apply?

A work permit is a permit issued as an official document by the General Directorate of International Labor under the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, giving the foreigner the right to work and reside in Turkey within the validity period. While a foreigner who obtained a work permit before the Law No. 6458 was also required to obtain a residence permit, this practice was changed with the Law No. 6458. According to the current practice, a foreigner who obtains a work permit does not need to obtain a residence permit. In other words, the work permit also replaces the residence permit and provides the right of residence to the foreigner.

A work permit application is made in two ways, domestically and abroad. The main procedure determined by the International Labor Law No. 6735 is to make applications to consulates abroad. In the application made in this way, the employer applies to the Ministry for the person for whom he/she wants to obtain a work permit, while simultaneously applying for a work visa to the foreign consulates abroad. The application is evaluated by the tripartite mechanism established between the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Consulates and the Directorate of Migration Management, and the final decision is made by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

For applications made from within the country, it is required for foreigners to have a residence permit for at least 6 months and the application is made by the employer. The application is evaluated by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Directorate of Migration Management and finalized by the Ministry. Law No. 6735 allows foreigners to work without obtaining a work permit, in some cases, by obtaining a work permit exemption certificate.

In both work permit and work permit exemption, many criteria should be taken into consideration, including the profile of the applicant, sub-type of work permit, occupation type, city, foreigner and occupation-specific restrictions and quotas, and employer's responsibilities.

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