Visas for Turkey

Visas for Turkey
Updated 2020-05-25 11:38

Obtaining a long-term residence permit in Turkey is a process that can prove lengthy (a few weeks at best) and is often easier to initiate from within the country (for more information, check our long-term permits in Turkey article). Hence, a number of expats enter Turkey under a visa — a temporary document allowing you to stay in the country for up to 90 days — before applying for a long-term permit.

Applying for a Turkish visa

To obtain a visa, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months as from the date of your arrival in Turkey. This is in fact a general rule that is enforced by almost every other country. The visa stamp should be clearly displayed on your passport when you enter the country.

You should apply for a longer-term residence or work permit within 30 days from your date of arrival in the country under a general tourist visa. Also note that you should contact the local police department and verify your address within 30 days of your arrival in Turkey if you intend to apply for a work permit or student visa.

Different visas are available according to the primary purpose of your stay, the most common ones being tourist, work, and student visas.

 Good to know:

Regardless of the visa or permit you hold; you are advised to keep your passport and authorization of stay at hand at all times in case of random police controls.

Tourist visa in Turkey

Entering Turkey under a tourist visa before extending it with a residence permit is a very popular option among expats who have not yet sorted out all the details of their new life at the time of their departure.

Nationals of certain countries (namely Germany, Belgium, France, Georgia, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Greece) are exempted from the obligation to apply for a visa for non-work-related visits of up to 90 days. Austria, Poland, and the UK are also added to this list as of March 2020.

Passport-holders of other countries are required to apply for a visa, either directly at the border or online, through the e-Visa Application System.

In addition to your identity documents, you will be asked a passport size identity photo, your flight itinerary and a proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay (a hotel reservation or an invitation from a Turkish resident for example).

 Good to know:

Applying through the e-Visa platform entitles you to a discount (around 30%) on visa fees. It is a speedy process that usually takes less than three minutes.


A tourist visa can be rejected at the border. Still, ungrounded refusals are extremely rare.

 Useful link:


Work visa in Turkey

It is advised to apply for a work visa before you visit Turkey. However, it is perfectly fine if you plan to do so after you enter the country on a tourist visa. In fact, most expats prefer to choose the latter route; they intend to search for opportunities while visiting the country.

You will need a signed contract from a Turkish employer along with a letter of consent from your employer for application purposes. Once you have signed an employment contract with a Turkish company, you should file a work visa request from a Turkish embassy or consulate in your home country. If you are already in the country, you need to contact the local Foreigners' Department, submitting a copy of your work contract, degrees, and identification documents.

In the meantime, your employer will initiate the process of procuring you a longer-term work permit (calisma izni).

Student visa in Turkey

Similarly, students enrolled in a Turkish university or school should apply for an education visa in their home country before moving, providing a letter of acceptance from their school in Turkey. You can obtain application forms from any Turkish embassy. The time frame for the whole process ranges anywhere from four to eight weeks.

For internship visas, a letter from the employer/sponsor is also required. Holders of student or internship visas should apply for a residence permit within 30 days of their arrival in Turkey. International students also need to have health insurance during their entire stay in the country. Please note that you are not allowed to work in Turkey while you are on a student visa.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.