Since our beloved readers may come from any country in the world, we aren’t going to break down what you each need to do to get a visa to visit Turkey. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help! We’ve provided links to the websites you can visit to find out what is required straight from the source.
There are two basic kinds of visas most visiting foreigners use in Turkey: the Visitors’ Visa and the Short-Term Visa.
3-Month Visitors’ Visa (E-Visa)
This is your foot-in-the-door visa. It’s what almost everyone will use who visits this country for business or recreation. All you have to do is download and print the visa from here, and then when you arrive at the border you present it to the guard. Easy. It’s good for 90 days within a 180 day period, which makes leaving for other countries then returning to Turkey simple. After that 180 days from your initial entry is up, you can easily repeat the application process if you’d like to come again. If you overstay for any reason without obtaining a different/extended visa, you’ll get dinged with a fine on the way out of the country.
1-2 Year Residence Permit (İkamet İzni)
This is the visa you’ll apply for if you just can’t get enough of Turkey and need to stay (like us!). You can start the application for this visa at any time that you are in Turkey on a Visitors’ Visa. It’s going to require a bit more permanence than the e-visa, though. (Ex. You’ll need to legally rent a place to stay in the country). This type can only be obtained in the district (ilçe) where you are living, so you can’t have an apartment in Istanbul and apply in Antalya. You also need valid health insurance for the duration that you are applying for. The easiest way to do this is to buy Turkish health insurance, although getting foreign insurance accepted is not impossible. You might have trouble obtaining one of these visas in smaller places or provinces that are near to conflict. You can start the application online here if you are in the country on a valid e-visa.
Obtaining an ikamet comes with a few perks. For you history buffs, having one means you can get a Museum Card (Müze Kart) the same as a Turkish citizen. What’s the big deal? For 50TL you get an unlimited number of entries to most museums and historical sites in Turkey for one year. For people who tour around like us, that card ends up saving hundreds of lira. An ikamet allows you access to discounts, courses, and places that are only open to residents of Turkey. Because it is official identification, it can also serve as ID in place of your passport in most situations.
Want to work or study in Turkey? Study is easy; just apply accordingly when you get an ikamet. To learn more, check out www.studyinturkey.com. We have a friend who will be starting at a Turkish university very soon, and we plan to share some of his experiences in our regular blogs.
Work is a little more complicated. Due to hosting nearly 4 million refugees and unemployment at almost 18% means that the government isn’t eager to give work permits to foreigners for jobs that locals could do. It’s far from impossible, but it is tough. This article will get you started if you want to explore the possibility of working in Turkey. When looking for work in Turkey, keep in mind that some potential employers may promise to help you obtain a visa and then try to convince you to work unofficially. People who do that save companies tons of money in taxes and a lot of time avoiding red tape. But trust us, you don’t want to do that. The extra work of finding an employer who obeys the law is worth it, because the government takes illegal employment seriously. While this hasn’t always been the case, the government is actually cracking down on this at the moment.