TURKEY – New Immigration Law Takes Effect
Turkey’s “Law on Foreigners and International Protection” (Law No.6458), which officially came into force on 11 April 2014, is now being implemented in practice.
The law creates a new Immigration Administration General Directorate under the Ministry of Interior, and makes significant changes to residence permit and work permit rules and procedures, as well as to business visa validity and visa processing.
In the long-term, some of the changes should reduce processing times. To begin with, however, applicants can expect significant delays in processing.
Residence Permit Required Only for Stay of More Than 90 Days
Residence permits are no longer required unless the person remains in Turkey for more than 90 days. Previously, a residence permit was required for stays of more than 30 days.
Combined Work and Residence Permits Issued
The Ministry of Labour will now issue new ID cards which act as both work permit and residence permit; a separate residence permit application post-arrival is no longer required. Please note the following:
- The combined work and residence permit, once issued by the Ministry of Labour, will be sent to the employer’s address.
- Although a separate, post-arrival residence permit application is no longer required, applicants are still required to register their permanent address in Turkey at the Civil Registration Office (Nüfus Müdürlüğü) within 20 days of their arrival.
- The employer must start the assignee’s Social Security contributions within 30 days after the work permit is issued.
- Applicants for a work permit from within Turkey will be required to first obtain a temporary residence permit.
Changes to the Residence Permit Application Process for Dependents
Applicants for family residence permits now require proof of Turkish health insurance coverage as well as a statement of income of the principal applicant or permit holder to demonstrate sufficient financial support.
In some cases, depending on the police station of application, the principal applicant may also be required to submit a police clearance certificate from all jurisdictions where he or she has resided in the previous five years, as well as proof of accommodation for themselves and their dependents. Police clearances are not currently required for applicants without dependents.
The immigration police estimate that family residence permit applications will be processed within 90 days of the application date (compared to seven to 14 days previously).
Business Visas Limited to 90 Days
Visitors holding business visas are now allowed a maximum cumulative stay of 90 days during any period of 180 days, in line with the current restriction on tourists.
New Passport Validity Requirement
Applicants must now hold a passport valid for at least 60 days beyond their intended stay, rather than only for the period of the intended stay.
- Note the new procedures for work permit and family residence permit applications.
- Note the much longer time-frame for processing family residence permits.
- Note that the supporting documents that may be required for a family residence permit may take a considerable amount of time to obtain, and this extra time should be factored into planning.