Living and Working in Turkey

Living and Working in Turkey

This guide sets out essential information for people who residing or willing to reside in Turkey, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. 


Healthcare for visitors

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), is not valid in Turkey. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Universal Healthcare Scheme for residents

It is not compulsory for foreign nationals to join the Social Security Institution health scheme. Those wishing to join may do so after one year of residency in Turkey with a residence permit. Applicants will be required to undergo medical tests before being accepted onto the scheme and pre-existing conditions will not be covered. Married couples may qualify for joint membership under the scheme where one is the policy holder and the other is the dependant spouse. Anyone who joined the health scheme before 29th May 2013 and who no longer wishes to remain in the scheme has the option of withdrawing by informing their local SGK office.

If leaving Turkey on a permanent basis an individual must surrender their residence permit to the Foreigners Police Department and write a letter to their Social Security Institution informing them that they are leaving the country. On joining an official health scheme a letter proving membership of the scheme must be submitted to the Social Security Institution.


Elementary school education starts at 66 months and lasts 4 years. This is followed by 4 years middle school and 4 years high school. 12 years of education is compulsory for all Turkish citizens.

There are three types of schools; Public, Private and International. Governing body for Public & Private Schools is MEB (Ministry of Education) (in Turkish).

Some private schools catering to Turkish citizens and teaching in a foreign language have primary, middle and higher sections. For the enrolment policy, refer to a school’s website.

International schools specifically for foreigners in Turkey follow a different curriculum and have their own enrolment policies. They are mainly located in metropolitan cities.YOK(Higher Education Council) is the governing body for higher education. Turkish citizens have to sit a university entrance exam but there are exceptions for foreign nationals. Detailed information is available in Study University in Turkey. Links;

Employment and recognised qualifications

Work permits

A work permit is required for employment in Turkey. The employee or employer (depending on the type of work permit) should apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. You should contact the Turkish embassy in London and/or your prospective employer in Turkey before travelling. Special arrangements for tour operators exist. You should contact your employer for full details.

Entry and residence requirements


You need a visa to enter Turkey, except for cruise ship passengers entering the country for a day trip and returning to the ship the same day. Some nationals should obtain an e-visa before travel from the Turkish Electronic Visa Application System. E-visas are only available for tourists and business visitors.

More information, in English, is available from Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Turkish visit visas are valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days in a 180-day period. If you plan to remain in Turkey for a period of more than 90 days, you should apply to the local authorities in Turkey before your 90-day stay has elapsed. If you exceed the 90-day limit, you may be fined, deported and banned from re-entering the country.

Residency permits

General Information:

The new law on Foreigners and International Protection which governs residency permits came into force on 11th April 2014. To date migration issues, specifically residence permits, were dealt by the Turkish National Police. As of 18 May 2015 control is being given to the Provincial Directorates of Migration Management. The DGMM will open offices in all 81 Provinces of Turkey. A link to the addresses of these DGMM offices can be found on the Home page of the DGMM website.

A residence permit is an absolute necessity before you can clear any personal goods/car from Turkish Customs. Therefore an application for a residency permit must be made within one month from the date of your arrival in Turkey. Failure to do so will result in additional daily storage costs for your goods/car by the Turkish Customs Authorities, which can be expensive. 

Foreign nationals arriving in Turkey after already staying the 90 days within 180 days permitted on a tourist visa may be allowed to enter into the country if there is not any other obstacle to their entry and if they pledge to apply to the DGMM office in the province where they will stay within 10 days to obtain a residence permit as of the date of entry.

Criminal record checks are required for the supporter in family residence permits and individuals in long term permits; if the checks are required to be provided by the foreign national’s country’s own authorities then they need to be submitted to the DGMM within 1 month of the application being made otherwise the application will be cancelled. 

Any foreigner staying in Turkey on an e-Visa can be issued with a Foreigners identity Number on request without having to obtain a residence permit.

How to Apply:

First time applicants

Applicants should make their Residence Permit (RP) applications before their tourist visa expires. You have to click on E-Ikamet (e-Residence) at DGMM website and follow the instructions. After completing the online form you have to book an appointment at the DGMM office. First time applicants need to visit the Migration Office in person on the date and time of your appointment with your relevant documents.

Renewals of Residence Permits

You have to click on E-Ikamet (e-Residence) at DGMM website and follow the instructions. You will send your application, by post/ courier to your provincial migration office.

Long Term Residence Permits

Applications for the long term or ‘indefinite’ residence permit are now being accepted at all provincial DGMM offices in Turkey. You have to click on E-Ikamet (e-Residence) at DGMM website and follow the instructions.

For eligibility criteria for this type of permit please refer to Articles 42 & 43 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (Law 6458). The English language version of this law can be found on the DGMM website

Residence Permit for Work Permit Holders:

Work permits are issued by the Ministry of Labour. In the past individuals could apply and obtain work permits while they were in Turkey. This has now stopped. Work permits visas are issued by the Turkish missions outside of Turkey. However, if a person has an application currently in progress this will not be affected in the interim period.

Any person who has a work permit does not need to apply for a residence permit as the Ministry of Labour will have ensured the applicant satisfied the requirements for residency.

A valid work permit will be considered a residence permit. A residence permit fee equivalent to the duration of their work permit shall be collected from foreigners granted a work permit.

Types of Residence Permits:

There are 6 types of Residence permits which can be issued to foreign nationals. In addition to these 6 types you will be granted right to reside for the duration of work permit when you are issued one. These are;

  • short term residence permit: up to 2 years
  • family residence permit: up to 3 years
  • student residence permit: for the duration of education
  • long term residence permit: indefinite
  • humanitarian residence permit: up to 1 year
  • human trafficking victims residence permit: up to 3 years with 6 months renewals, initial permit 30 days

Residence permit fees:

  • British nationals pay $80/year: fees will be charged at $25 for the first month and $5/month for each subsequent month
  • a residency permit card costs 58.50 TL for 2016
  • for a long term residence permit applicants pay only the card fee

The fees will be converted to TL at the day of payment using the official exchange rate. Further information is available from the Foreigners Department in your local area.


All employees have to pay into the state-run social security scheme (Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu - SGK). A percentage of employees’ pre-tax earnings is paid into the scheme. Employers and employees both pay premiums. 

Agricultural workers, the self-employed, and people receiving benefits from other organisations in the system are not eligible for SGK benefits. Those contributing to the social insurance scheme and their spouse and children are insured for work injuries and work-related illnesses, medical care, illness and pregnancy care. Disability benefits are available only to Turkish citizens.

Driving licences and vehicles

Bringing your car as a visitor

If you are travelling through Turkey, en route to another country or just visiting, you need to get a visa/permit for your vehicle on entry and you must ensure that you have all the documentation for your car e.g. registration papers, full insurance, a carnet de passage and your driving licence.

A change in the law came in to effect on 13 October 2015 so you can now keep your car in Turkey for 2 years. You will be heavily fined and even your car can be confiscated if you do not take your car out of Turkey at the end of 2 years. In order to bring your car to Turkey for a second round of two years, both you and your car have to stay out of Turkey for at least 185 days.

Bringing your car as a resident

You may temporarily import your car to Turkey if you fulfil some requirements. You can find detailed information on the Turkish Touring & Automobile Club website.

Driving licences

You can drive with your driving licence in Turkey for 6 months. Procedures can be found on this page page or you can visit nearest Traffic Registration department of Turkish National Police. Please note that provisional driving licences are not recognised.

You will need an ‘A’ category standard motorcycle licence to hire a motorcycle over 50cc in Turkey. An ‘A1’ category ‘light motorcycle’ driving licence is only suitable for motorcycles below 50cc. By law you must wear a helmet. Failure to do so could result in a heavy fine.

Finance & Banking

You can easily open an account by visiting nearest bank branch. You will need to provide:

  • your passport
  • tax identification number
  • your residence permit

Banks offer different investment tools. You should consult your bank for detailed information.

Telephone and internet banking are widely used. Most of the banks offer these services free of charge. Your bank will provide you with details. VAT is the main turnover tax and the percent of VAT charged is different on every subject. A tax refund is applicable for short-term visits.