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New Turkish residency laws starting 2014 - an update PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 April 2013

Residence permitOn 9th April, KTLN brought you news of a new law that was about to be introduced, the Foreigners & International Protection Act - Law No. 6458.

At that time it had been passed by parliament, but required the President's signature.  We can confirm that on 10th April, President Abdullah Gül gave his consent.

In this follow up report, we shine a bit more light on the implications of this new law, for foreigners living in Turkey.

Scope of our analysis
This new law covers foreigners in a variety of circumstances, including diplomats, refugees, those who may suffer torture if returned to their country of origin, and stateless persons, who may wish to stay in Turkey. 

However, for the purposes of this KTLN article, we are only concerned with the law in so far as it generally relates to British citizens.

When does this new law come into effect?
This new law comes into effect on 10th April 2014, so we have one year to develop our understanding of exactly what it will mean.

If you wish to apply for residency or renew your existing residency before the above date, the current rules still apply.

Implementing the new law
For those of you who have some experience of the implementation of new laws in Turkey, you will be aware that interpretation can sometimes vary from place to place.  So a certain amount of inconsistency can arise, and it may take time for clear guidelines to emerge.

We have had no reply from the British Embassy in Turkey to our request for clarification, but to be fair to them, it is very much early days.

So, subject to the above caveats, KTLN brings you our preliminary understanding of the new law.  We shall update our advice over the coming months in the light of new information received.

We feel it is important to publish something now, as we have already seen some fairly bizarre speculation in online forums, some of which we can hopefully dispel.

Our source: Resmi Gazete No. 28615
Most of our information is based upon details of the new law, as published on the official Resmi Gazete web site.

Here is the link if you wish to read it, (in Turkish):  http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2013/04/20130411-2.htm

Which do I need - a visa or residency?
If you are coming to Turkey on holiday then you can continue with the normal 90/180 day visa.  This allows you to stay in Turkey for a maximum of 90 days, out of a period of 180 consecutive days.  You can make as many trips as you like within those 180 days, providing you don't stay for more than 90 days in total.

For most tourists the visa will suffice.  If that is enough for you, there is no need to look into what these new residency rules mean.

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

  • Short-term residence permit
  • Family residence permit
  • Student residence permit
  • Long-term residence permit
  • Humanitarian residence permit
  • Residence permit to victims of trafficking in human beings

In this report, we look at Short Term and Long Term residency only.

Staying for more than 90 days
If you wish to stay for more than 90 days, a visa is not enough and you must apply for residency.  You need to decide how long you wish to apply for. 

Please note that when applying for residency, your passport must have at least 60 days more than the period of residency you are applying for.

Short Term Residence
Foreigners can apply for a Short Term Residency, up to a maximum of one year.  This may be suitable for people coming for an extended holiday, or perhaps property owners. 

With short term residency, if you stay out of Turkey for more than 120 days, your residency permission will be cancelled.

Long Term Residence
Providing they meet certain criteria, foreigners may apply for permanent long term residency - i.e. residency with no expiry date.

These criteria specify that you must:

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

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. 

However, if you have stayed outside Turkey for a period of more than six months within one year, or for more than one year within last five years, these will be counted as interruptions in calculating the residence permit period.  See Appendix 1 at the end of this report, for examples.

Also, in calculating the uninterrupted period of 8 years, if you have gaps in your residency permits, previous residence permit periods will not  taken into consideration.

Use it or lose it
Article 19 of the new law states that if you are applying for residency, 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 residency permission may be cancelled.

Rights and obligations with Long Term Residence
Article 44 explains the rights conferred by a long term residence permit

(1) Save for acquired rights with regard to social security and subject to provisions in related law as regards the use of these rights, foreigners who have been granted a long term residence permit shall benefit from the same rights as accorded to Turkish citizens with the exception of provisions in special legislation as well as the rights regarding:

a) Compulsory military service,
b) The right to elect and be elected,
c) Employment in public institutions,
ç) Exemption from taxes in importing vehicles.

(2) The Council of Ministers shall be authorized to place restrictions on the rights set forth in paragraph 1, partially or in its entirety.

Work permits
Article 27 of the new law states that if you have a valid work permit, you no longer need to apply for residency.  The work permit will suffice.

Where do you apply?
The new law states that if you are applying for residency for the first time, you must apply at the Turkish Consulate in your own country.

However, Article 24 does say that if you already have residency, and you are applying to extend your permit, then you you should apply through your local Vali's (Regional Governor's) office.  The Vali for Kalkan is based in Antalya. 

Our interpretation of this, is that you apply through the local foreigners department at your Police station, which comes under the ultimate control of the Vali.  This is something we intend to check.

What does the application process look like?
We don't know.  We can't find any details regarding the application forms, or any supporting documentary evidence that has to be provided.

What are the costs?
We don't know.  We can't find this information, and given that the implementation date is one year away, we would doubt whether the costs have been finally decided yet.

What about applying for residency before 10th April 2014?
Until the new law begins next April, the existing law continues to apply.  So it's business as usual.  For people in Kalkan and Kaş, the local procedure is shown in our Obtaining Residency guide.  Applications are processed at Kaş. 

If your existing residency is due to expire before 10th April 2014, and you wish to remain in Turkey, you must renew your residency permit according to the existing law.

What happens to my existing residence permit?
If you already have a residence permit that continues beyond 10th April 2014, this will continue to be valid, because you have applied for, and paid for residency, and permission has been granted by the Turkish authorities.  You have got permission to reside in Turkey until the expiry date shown in your ikamet.

Further updates
This is a topic we shall be returning to from time to time, but for now, this is all we have.  If you come across any further reliable information, please share it with us.  You can reach us by using the Contact Us tab at the top of this page. 

Further reading:

Today's Zaman first report

Today's Zaman second report

Appendix 1 - calculation of qualifying residency period - examples

Mr A has had Turkish residency for 8 years.  During that period, he goes abroad for a total of 8 weeks per year.  (That's a total of 40 weeks, or roughly 10 months over the last 5 years).  He is entitled to count all 8 years as his qualifying residency period.  He may apply for permanent residency.

Mrs B has had Turkish residency for 8 years.  During the last 5 years, she spent 4 months every year abroad.  This amounts to 20 months in total.  These months will be deducted from her qualifying residency period, so she currently has 8 years (96 months), less 20 months = 76 months.  She can't apply yet for permanent residency.

Miss C had Turkish residency for a period of 5 years, followed by a 1 year gap with no residency, followed by a further period of 4 years residency.  During the last 4 years, she has been abroad for 5 weeks every year.  Her qualifying residency period is just 4 years.  The previous 5 year residency period does not count.  She can't apply yet for permanent residency.


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Last Updated on Saturday, 22 February 2014