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Knowledge Bank » Legal Matters » Residency and Visas


The KTLN Guide to Long Term Residence Permits (LTRP) PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 November 2015
2.5/5 (13 votes)

Long Term Residence Permit (LTRP)

The Foreigners & International Protection Act - Law No. 6458 came into effect on 10th April 2014.  This law governs the way in which foreigners can obtain residence permits.  It also covers eVisas for tourists.  This link takes you to the English translation of Law No 6458

It's taken a while to develop an understanding of how the new rules work.  This KTLN guide was completely re-written (December 2015) and with updates reflects the position as at May 2017.  It has been drafted with the help of local DGMM officials and also foreigners who have gone through the permit application process.

With help and feedback from KTLN readers we aim to keep it up to date as a valuable resource for people who wish to apply for a residence permit.

Disclaimer
We are aware that foreigners in different parts of Turkey may experience something different from what we have been told.  Our report is written in good faith, and reflects what we have found locally, but we strongly advise you to make your own personal enquiries.  KTLN cannot be held responsible if your personal experience differs from what we set out below.

Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM)
The laws on residence permits are overseen and managed by the DGMM - a part of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior.

Their head office is in Ankara but they have provincial and district offices.  Our nearest provincial office is in Antalya, and our closest district office is in Kaş.  For foreigners in Kaş district (including Kalkan), the office that you should deal with is the local one in Kaş.  We provide contact details below.

Do I need a Long Term Residence Permit (LTRP)?
If you have lived in Turkey for at least 8 years, and you plan to stay indefinitely then a LTRP is a good idea.

It means that you don't have to go to the trouble of renewing your permit every year, and if you meet the qualifying criteria, it is free to apply, apart from a small administration fee.

UK in Turkey advice
To see the latest advice on residency from the Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) UK in Turkey website click on this link: UK in Turkey

DGMM Helpline
If you require assistance there is now a dedicated helpline with operators who speak several foreign languages, including English.  Dial 157 to get assistance.

DGMM Website
Here is a link to the DGMM web page about residency in English, where you can find lots of useful information.

DGMM Helpline

Types of residence permits
According to Article 30 of the new law, the types of residence permit you can apply for are as follows:

  • Short Term Residence Permit (STRP)
  • Family residence permit
  • Student residence permit
  • Long Term Residence Permit (LTRP)
  • Humanitarian residence permit
  • Residence permit to victims of trafficking in human beings

In this article, we look at LTRPs only. 

Long Term Residence Permit (LTRP)
Providing they meet certain criteria, foreigners may apply for permanent long term residency, which provides a permit with an unlimited expiry date.

These criteria specify that you must:

  • have been residing legally and uninterruptedly, in Turkey for at least 8 years;
  • demonstrate that you have financial means to support yourself;
  • demonstrate that you have somewhere to live;
  • have valid health insurance (including applicants over 65 years of age);
  • not have required help from the state, (social security support), during the last 3 years;
  • not be considered a threat to public order or public security.

Where do you apply?
Currently all LTRPs must be applied for in person at your local DGMM office - in the case of Kalkan/Kaş residents that's the Kaş office.  You first need to make an appointment online using the official secure DGMM website, as we go on to explain below.  You also need to submit certain documents and information via the website prior to your appointment.

Following the opening of the Kaş DGMM office in December 2015 if you went online to book an appointment initially you could only see an option for the provincial office in Antalya but from early 2016 an option to select Kaş has become available.

Kaş Foreigners Department (DGMM)

DGMM Kaş office contact details

ADDRESS:  Andiflil Mah. Halk Konutlari Sokak, Yeni Halk Çarşısı 10/3-9, Kaş, Antalya
EMAIL:  We are advised that an email address for the Kaş office will be provided in due course.
PHONE:  0242 836 3159
FAX:  None
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Friday between 08.00 and 17.00 with one hour for lunch between 12.00 and 13.00.

Currently the office has two members of staff - the manager and one assistant.  We have met with them and they are genuinely helpful people.   They don't speak much English but they are learning!  For now, if your Turkish is not good you may find it useful to have a translator with you if you plan to visit the office.

Below: A map showing where the new office is - round the back of some new office units on Halk Konutları Sokak.

Kaş Foreigners Department (DGMM)

Kaş Foreigners Department (DGMM) 

Kaş Foreigners Department (DGMM)

Kaş Foreigners Department (DGMM)

How soon before an existing residency expires can you apply?
If you qualify to apply for a LTRP you may immediately apply for it without having to wait for your existing STRP (or blue book/ikamet) to expire. 

Renewal applications
You can't renew a LTRP, as by definition it provides permission for your lifetime.

Use it or lose it
Article 19 of the new law states that if you are applying for a LTRP you must start to use it within 6 months, or else it will become invalid.

This does not mean that once your residency has started - i.e. you are resident in Turkey, your residency will become invalid if you subsequently stay out of Turkey for a period of 6 months.  The 6 month deadline only applies from the date you apply until the date you actually begin using your residency.

However, with long term residency, if you stay out of Turkey for more than one year, your permit will be cancelled.

Calculating the 8 years
In calculating the uninterrupted period of 8 years, if you leave Turkey for brief periods - typically for short holidays, this will not be deducted from the 8 year period.

Law No 6458 says:

"Any stay outside of Tur­key exceeding a total of six months within one year or a total of one year within the last five years for reasons other than compulsory public service, education or health shall be considered interruption of residence".

There is some discretion on this, so for example if you have been outside the country for medical reasons (perhaps you were too ill to travel), then if you provide evidence to support your case, this will be properly considered.

In calculating the uninterrupted period of 8 years, if you have gaps in your residency permits, previous residence permit periods will not be taken into consideration.  Article 28 of the relevant law says:

"In cases where there is an interruption of residence, the previous residence durations shall not count towards a residence permit application or changing to another residence permit."

N.B. Even though the DGMM should have computer records showing when you have entered and left Turkey you may have to provide evidence of your comings and goings by reference to the stamps in your current passport, and perhaps an old passport.  

What documents are required?
Later in this guide we explain in more detail exactly what documents are expected and we give you some tips on how to obtain them. 

Residency documents

The DGMM application online portal
IMPORTANT:
We strongly recommend that you complete your online application yourself.  You are personally responsible for the details entered and the screens include a declaration that you must make.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2017: It has come to the attention of the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) that an increasing number of foreigners are using third parties to complete their residence permit applications, and they are not happy about it.

  The DGMM has taken the step of issuing a notice on their web site to warn people against doing this.



They say that they have discovered that most of this third party assistance comes from individuals or businesses working for a fee and they expressly say you must not use these services to complete applications.

The DGMM announcement goes on to say that legal action will be taken under Article 206 of the Turkish Penal Code No 5237 against foreigners who have made a false statement while applying for a residence permit.

They say that in such circumstances “Their residence permit application will be refused, their residence permit will be cancelled if it has been issued and removal procedures will be initiated for them”.

Of course you can still ask others for advice, which KTLN has always been happy to give for free, but we do caution against using the paid services of others because we know the DGMM are particularly unhappy about people making money from permit applications.  The manager at the local office in Kaş is extremely helpful and if you need any help or advice he has made it clear that it is him you should be speaking to - free of charge.

Be aware that the system is not perfect.  From our own experience and from feedback we have received it is fair to say that sometimes it is not possible to get all the way through the online process.  Do as much as you possibly can, and if you encounter problems our advice is to contact the local DGMM office in Kaş and ask for guidance.

N.B. Before you start make sure you have an electronic copy of your biometric photo on your computer as you will need to upload it as part of the online application process.  If you don't upload a photo you can not continue with the application.

Also please note that when you input your date of birth the format is MM/DD/YYYY - example 27th June 1960 would be entered as 06/27/1960.

Here is the link to the web page where you start the application process:  Apply here for LTRP

Please note that you can’t log in to do this from outside Turkey.

If you are a couple applying you may find that after you have submitted your first application, your web browser will remember this and when trying to submit your second application it won't let you, because it says you have already submitted one.  The way we found to get round this was to use a different web browser for the second application.

Choose "First Time Application". 

LTRP application online

Choose "New Application"

LTRP application online

Complete the online Pre-registration form.  Details in red must be completed.  Details in black are optional but it may help to smooth the application process if you answer these questions. 

Note the Date of Birth field format: MM/DD/YYYY.  You will be sent an activation code.  You will also be allocated a unique application reference number which you should make a note of.

LTRP application online

Type in the activation code to continue.

LTRP application online

Select "Long Term Residence Permit"

LTRP application online

Complete personal information.  Note that you must upload a digital photo of yourself (the applicant).

LTRP application online

Complete the details.

LTRP application online

Complete details - normally this will be taken from your passport.

LTRP application online

LTRP application online

Presumably you are already living in Turkey so provide your address here in Turkey.

LTRP application online

Complete this screen using the drop down selection options that the web site provides for your address. 

LTRP application online

If you are retired, on the Work Information page select "Çalışmıyor".

LTRP application online

Provide details of your school.  You may need to use Google!

LTRP application online

LTRP application online

Show your income details.

LTRP application online

Provide details of your health insurance.

LTRP application online

Complete the declaration page.

LTRP application online

Complete this declaration.

LTRP application online

Now select Kaş office and make an appointment. (If it will let you).

LTRP application online

Note: We had no success with the online appointment system, despite repeated attempts.  See screen shot below.  In the end we contacted the DGMM office in Kaş for assistance.

LTRP application online

Note that the date you book your appointment must be before your existing residence permit expires, however the actual appointment date may be after your permit expires.  Once your application is in the system you have a right to stay in Turkey pending the completion of the application process.

You should be provided with a list of Documents Required for Residence Permit Applications.  Make sure you take them to your appointment.  Note that you need to print off your completed application form that you have filled in online.  This may be downloaded as a PDF document.  (We will go into the documents in more detail later in this article).

Paying the fee
There is only one fee to pay (İkamet tezkere harcı izin belgesi).  This charge is for your plastic residency card, and costs just 63TL (as at January 2017.  What a bargain!  We recommend that you visit the DGMM office first before attempting to pay the fee.

You can pay this fee at the tax office (Maliye) in Kaş. The tax office is in the same building as the Police station and is adjacent to the district Governor's (Kaymakam) office.  See map below.

Foreigners Department Kaş

Walk through the doors into the Maliye main office and pay at the "Vezne" window on the right hand side.  You will be given a receipt for this fee which you should keep and take with you to the DGMM office as proof of payment.

N.B. You will need your tax number with you when making this payment.  Also, you may need to quote tax reference number "9069".

If you prefer you can also pay at Ziraat Bank, Vakıf Bank or Halk Bank in Kaş.

Your appointment in Kaş
When you go for your appointment make sure you have all relevant documents with you.  If you do not have all the required documentation you will be given 30 days to provide it.  If you fail to do so your application will be cancelled.

If your application is in order you will be provided with an official document (see example below) which is your proof of application.  This must be signed and stamped by the DGMM manager in Kaş.

Temporary permit

It bears your photo and can be considered to be a kind of temporary residence permit document.  It allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days, until you receive your official permit card.  Note that your previous short term residence permit is cancelled.

If you need to travel abroad whilst your application is being processed, this document enables you to leave Turkey for up to a maximum of 15 days only.  If this number of days is exceeded a fine may be levied, and the application process will have to begin again.

One important point to note here is that you must keep with the above document your receipt which proves that you have paid the necessary residence permit card fee. 

Turkish residency LTRP

Permits are posted to you
When your application has been processed your residency permission (see plastic card right) will be posted to your Turkish address.  The reality in Kalkan however is that you will probably have to pick up your card from the Post Office (PTT).

You will receive an SMS text message on your Turkish mobile phone containing a bar code number so you can track where your permit card is.  Please click here for more information on how your permit will be delivered and how you can keep track of where it is.

Feedback suggests it is taking about three months to process LTRP applications, (as at November 2016) so you may need to keep checking on progress at the local DGMM office. 

Your residency should be dated from the date you hand in your application.

Residence permit posted

KTLN advice on documentation - it's as simple as A B C...
Below we provide you with advice on what documentation is required and in some cases how to obtain it.

Passport requirements

A. Residence Permit Application Form
Complete details online on the DGMM website, then download (PDF document) and print off.

B. Passport and existing permit
Photocopy your passport on the photograph page and also the page showing the latest stamp when you entered the country. 

Please note that when applying for a STRP (i.e. up to 12 months), your passport must have at least 60 days more than the period of residency you are applying for, but for LTRP applications this 60 days extra rule does not apply. 

This is because the expiry date on a LTRP is shown as unlimited, and it is therefore impossible to have a passport that expires 60 days after an unspecified date.  Just make sure that for the duration of your LTRP you continue to hold a valid UK passport.

As mentioned earlier you may have to show the entry and exit stamps from your passport over the last eight years.  So in some cases you may need to refer to your old passport, if you have kept it! 

By definition you will already have short term residency so you will need your plastic card or your blue book to hand for the relevant details. 

Do not post your original passport or existing ikamet, but take them with you to your appointment.

C. Biometric passport photograph
You need 4 photos for your LTRP first time application. You are also required to upload your photo to the DGMM web site as part of the application process, so you need the photo in electronic format on your computer too (e.g. a jpg file).

Essentially the term "biometric" in this situation means the type of photo required for a passport.  It can't be any old photo.  The photo must be less than 6 months old, at the time of your application.  Feedback we have received suggests the background colour must be white.  (Biometric photos with a cream background that were accepted for a UK passport application were rejected due to the background colour not being white).

As mentioned above you must also have an electronic copy of your biometric photo on your computer when you do your online application process.  If you don't have this file available to upload you can not continue with the application.  

Money in the bankD. Supporting yourself financially
You need to demonstrate that you have financial means to support yourself, for the period of residency you are applying for. 

This is currently the equivalent of US$500 per calendar month

Typically, you will demonstrate you can support yourself in one of two ways:

  1. showing that you have money in the bank, OR
  2. a regular pension income.

If you qualify to apply for a LTRP, and your application is successful, your residence permit will show "Valid Until: Süresiz" which means it is unlimited.  If your proof of income relates to a regular pension then this will continue for as long as you are alive, and you will be able to easily demonstrate whether the amount you receive meets the LTRP requirements. 

However if your proof of income is money in the bank, for a LTRP there is no set amount specified by the DGMM.  This is because there is effectively no time limit on your permit, so it is impossible to calculate US$500 per month for an unknown number of months.

So for a LTRP application the DGMM will look back at your time in Turkey as a resident (at least 8 years), and consider your financial circumstances.  If you are relying on a pension income it's easy to confirm the amount per month.  If you are relying on money in the bank they will make a judgement call on what you have available. 

1. Money in the bank
You should ask your Turkish bank to provide a letter confirming the funds that are in your account.  This should be dated as close as possible to your application date - ideally within one week of your application.  Banks are entitled to make a small charge for providing you with this.  

If you are married and your bank savings are in the name of one of you, rather than in joint names, you will need to prove that you are married.  An apostilled, translated and notarised copy of your marriage certificate may be required.  Apostille services are available at this UK government web site: www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

Alternatively, you may wish to consider having your savings in joint names.  The authorities will assume that for a couple, money in a joint account, is held on a 50:50 basis.

KTLN tip! - For a married couple, how many bank letters do we need?

  • If you have a joint bank account, just get one letter from your bank, confirming the funds you hold.  One of you can place the original letter in your application folder, whilst the other can use a photocopy of the original, in their folder.
  • If the money is in one name only,  just get one letter from your bank, confirming the funds you hold.  The account holder can place the original letter in their application folder, whilst the non-account holder can use a photocopy of the original, in their folder.  (Plus the copy marriage certificate mentioned above).
  • If each of you have funds in your own accounts (i.e. not a joint account), then each of you needs to obtain an original letter from the bank.

The Kaş office tells us that UK bank balances are not acceptable.  If you know otherwise please let us know.

2. Pension income
If you do not have sufficient funds in your Turkish bank account, and are perhaps relying instead on a regular pension income, then providing you have documentary evidence of this income, duly apostilled, translated and notarised, this will be acceptable. Please note, you still need to take along the original document, as well as the translation.  Apostille services are available at this UK government web site: www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

KTLN tip! - If you are asking your pension provider for a letter, to confirm your pension income, ask them to make it as brief as possible, as any translation and notary charges tend to be made per word.  All the authorities want to know is how much you receive.  

It is useful for the letter to include words which confirm payments will be made for the rest of your life.  You may say this is obvious, but including these words may mean that you don't have to obtain another letter if you are renewing your residency.

N. B. Only official government documents can be apostilled so if you have a UK government pension it should be possible to have it apostilled.  However if you are relying on a private company pension our understanding is that these can not be apostilled which could be problematic in terms of your application.  We are not sure how to get round this issue.

If you are married and one person is reliant upon the other's pension income you will need to prove that you are married.  An apostilled, translated and notarised copy of your marriage certificate will be required.  Apostille services are available at this UK government web site: www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

Money in the bank plus a pension income
In some circumstances, where your bank money alone, or your pension income alone, is not enough, you may combine the two together, to get you to the required level.

E. Demonstrating you have somewhere to live
If you own your property, copy your tapu (title deed).  Furthermore you must obtain a document from your local tapu office (in Kaş) that shows you are still the owner.  Ask for a "Tapu Kaydı" (details of your Tapu in the official register).  There is a very small charge for this - less than 10TL, which has to be paid at a nearby bank.  You will need to provide the tapu office with a copy of your passport and give them your mobile phone number.  Once you have made your request you will have to wait for a short while (perhaps up to 30 minutes) after which you will receive an SMS message providing you with a reference number.   You need this number when paying the fee in the bank.  Once you have your receipt issued by the bank you return to the tapu office to collect your document confirming you still own the property.  This is what you need to hand over to the DGMM office with your application.

The DGMM  aslo want to see an official document that confirms you are living at your stated address.  You need a "Place of residence and address" document from the Nüfus office.  Ask for a "Yerlesim yeri ve diğer adres belgesi".  There is no charge for this.

Also, if you are living together as a couple, any one of the above will probably be in the name of just one of you.  This is not a problem.  The original can go in one application folder, and a copy in the other folder.

You may be asked to show that you have Dask (earthquake) insurance.  This is mandatory in Turkey. 

Living in rented property
If you are renting, you need to provide a copy of your rental agreement, as evidence that you have a place to live.  This must be a formal rental agreement, in Turkish.  For Short Term Residence Permits, according to feedback we have received, the term of your lease must be at least as long as the period of residency you are applying for, however in the case of LTRPs this is not possible.

The DGMM office wants to see the rental agreement confirmed as authentic by a notary.  Alternatively if the rental agreement is not notarised, the property owner will have to provide proof of identification plus proof of ownership of the property (see section above on tapus).

Moving - change of address
It is worth remembering that once you have residency and you move from one Turkish address to another you need to inform both the Nüfus offıce and the Kaş DGMM offıce within 48 hours.

F. Valid health insurance
You must have current and valid health insurance. There used to be an exception to this is if you were over 65 years of age, however from early 2017 onwards health insurance is required for everyone applying for LTRPs irrespective of age.

You can have either Private Health Insurance or Public Health Insurance/SGK.  You need to show your private health insurance policy, or if you are on SGK, proof of current SGK cover.  You should obtain a letter from the local SGK office, confirming this. There is no charge for this.

KTLN has a separate guide on SGK health insurance

With Private Health Insurance, the policy must have the following clause in Turkish:

İşbu poliçe 06.06.2014 tarih ve 9 sayılı İkamet İzni Taleplerinde Yaptırılacak Özel Sigortalarına İlişkin Genelge' de belirlenen asgari teminat yapısını kapsamaktadır.

Here is a translation: “This policy covers the minimum indemnification that is required by the 6/6/2014 dated and 9 numbered memorandum for those applying for residency that need to be covered by a private health insurance”.  If it does not have this clause it will not be accepted.

If you have a policy issued by a non-Turkish company - for example PPP in the UK, then this may be acceptable providing that the insurer has a recognised representative based in Turkey.  This representative will be asked to confirm that the policy complies with the above special wording.

Many companies offer private health insurance - you can ask banks or insurance brokers to get you a quote.  Some private health insurance providers operate age limits beyond which they will not take on new customers.  And if they do take on new customers of any age, premiums for older people may be quite expensive, and normally any pre-existing medical conditions will not be covered.

If you are married to a Turkish person, you may be covered under your spouse's SGK/Bağkur policy.

N.B. Please note that a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Turkey, and will not be accepted as proof of health insurance.

G. Not receiving support from the Turkish state
You must obtain a letter from the Social Security office (SSK) confirming that you have had no financial support from the state.  This office is on the ground floor of the same building as the main Police station in Kaş.  There is no charge for this.

H. Criminal record checks
In order to confirm that you are not a threat to public order or public security, certain checks have to be made.

  • You must obtain a criminal record report from the local authorities.  You get this from an office on the top floor of the main Police headquarters in Kaş.  There is no charge for this.
  • If you live in an area that comes under the authority of the Jandarma (as Kalkan does, for example), the DGMM will write to your local Jandarma commander to make sure you are not known to them for any undesirable reasons.  You may wish to check on this to make sure the correspondence does not get delayed in the system.

Update: An apostilled UK criminal record check is also required, even though this is not explicitly listed as a required document on the official DGMM web site.  You will be asked to obtain this and hand it over to the DGMM within 6 months of starting your application.  You can do this whilst your application is being processed.  Our advice is to provide it as soon as you can.  You will find this link a good starting point: ACRO Criminal Records Office

Apostille services are available at this UK government web site: www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised

Other things
You will notice that during the online application process you are asked about your employment and education level but providing this information is not mandatory and no proof is asked for when you visit the DGMM office.  (This assumes you are retired/not working).

If you have existing SGK health insurance make sure you notify the local SGK office of your new LTRP otherwise your cover will expire.  This should be done as soon as possible after your LTRP has been approved.

Finally a reminder that if your circumstances change in a significant way you should contact the DGMM as soon as you can.  For example, if you marry or divorce or a partner dies.  And as we mentioned above, if you change address you need to notify the authorities (including DGMM) within 48 hours.  

Feedback please
If you apply for your residency, please take the time to provide us with feedback as to how it went, and let us know if our guide needs changing in any way.  Your privacy will be respected, as no personal details will appear in any KTLN report.  You can get in touch using the Contact Us tab at the top of this page.

If you are applying for a Short Term Residence Permit (STRP) click on the following link:  The KTLN Guide to the Short Term Residence Permits (STRP)

If you wish to cancel your residence permit because you are leaving Turkey to return to your country of origin, click on the following link: The KTLN Guide for expats leaving Turkey and returning to the UK


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 May 2017