New law on foreigners and international protection

Law no. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection has been published in Government’s Newspaper on 11th of April 2013, No: 28615.

In the last session of Turkish National Assembly, on 04 April 2013, the new Law on Foreigners and International Protection has been voted. The Law on Foreigners and International Protection will make substantial changes in the Turkish asylum system, as well as it will outlaw the existing Law no: 5683 Related to Residence and Travels of Foreigners. The new law will be mainly a Turkish asylum law and it will be treated as Turkish foreigners’ code. New law specifies entry rules to Turkey, visa regulations and residence permit applications as well as it identifies the rules and principles regarding deportation and international protection. The Law on the Foreigners and International Protection also establishes the General Directorate of Migration Management under the Ministry of Interior.

The following points are the major features of the new law about the residence permits.

Exemptions from Residence Permits

Following foreigners will be exempted from residence permit requirements;  (i) foreigners who own a “certificate of stateless person” (ii) officers of diplomatic and consular missions (iii) those family members of the officers of diplomatic and consular missions (approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is needed) (iv) officers of International Organizations, whose employment status has been determined by international agreements, (v) foreigners who are being exempted from the residence permit requirements by international agreements in which Turkey takes part (vi) foreigners within the scope of article 28 of the Law no: 5901 on Turkish Citizenship [1] (vii) foreigners who own a “Certificate of International Protection Applicant” or a “Refugee Certificate” granted in accordance with articles 69/7, 76/1 and 83/1 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection.

Residence Permit Applications

Residence permit applications will be made through the Turkish consulates in the home countries of foreigners. In order to apply for residence permit, it is essential that foreign applicants should have a passport valid for at least 60 days beyond the requested residence permit period. Duly applications will be finalized not more than in a 90 days period. Foreigners who obtained residence permit from Turkish consulates in their home countries should register themselves to the Address Registration System within 20 days after their arrival inTurkey.

Only in the following exceptional cases the residence permit application can be made within Turkey through relevant governorships: (i) With requests or decisions of the Turkish judicial and administrative bodies,  (ii) In the case when the departure of the foreigner from Turkey is not reasonable and possible, (iii) for Long-Term Residence Permit applications,  (iv) for Student Residence Permit applications, (v)  for Residence permit applications on humanitarian grounds,  (vi) for Applications for transition from ‘Family Residence Permits’ to ‘Long Term Residence Permits’, (vii) for Residence permit application for child born by foreign parents who have valid residence permits in Turkey. (viii) for Residence permit applications made for new purposes of stay upon the invalidity of cause for granting current residence permit (ix) for Applications of Short Term Residence Permit after completion of higher education in Turkey.

Extension Applications

Residence permit extension applications will be accepted by relevant governorships of Turkey.  The application for extension might be submitted in all circumstances within 60 days before the expiry date of the residence permit. After the extension application, applicants will be given a document which is not subjected to administrative fees. During the extension evaluation period, foreigners will use this document to continue residing in Turkey legally.

Work Permits will be used as Residence Permit

As per new rules on residence permits, valid working permissions will be used as residence permits. Thus work permit’s validity requirement of residence permit application within 30 days upon obtaining the work permit (for consulate applications 30 days was starting upon arrival of work permit holders) will be outlawed.  On the other hand the same as work permits, “Work Permit Exemption Certificates” will also be used as residence permits.

Interruption of residence

Staying outside Turkey for a period longer than six months within one year or more than one year within the last five years will be considered as an interruption in the residence permit period. In the residence permit applications of those foreigners who have interruptions in their residence permit period, previous residence permit periods will not  taken into consideration. This rule is also applicable for the applications for transition to another type of residence permit. In the calculation of uninterrupted residence period, half of the period for student residence permits and full period for other types of residence permits will be considered.

Types of Residence Permits

The new law specifies six main types of residence permits. (i) Short-Term Residence Permit, (ii) Family Residence Permit, (iii) Student Residence Permit (iv) Long- Term Residence Permit (v) Humanitarian Residence Permit (vi) Residence Permits for the victims of Human Trafficking.

  1. Short- Term Residence Permit

Short-term residence permits are granted in accordance with the visiting purpose of the foreigners. Short-term residence permits will be issued at most for one year. Short term residence permit might be granted for the foreigners listed below who have suitable accommodation conditions in Turkey. It is essential that foreign applicants should have a passport valid for at least 60 days beyond requested residence permit period. Additionally, foreigners might be asked to provide a criminal record from their home countries if Turkish authorities consider it to be necessary.

a) Foreigners who come to Turkey for scientific research.
b) Foreigners who own immovable property in Turkey.
c) Foreigners who come to Turkey for business relations or opening business.
d) Foreigners who come to Turkey for in-service-training
e) Foreigners who come to Turkey as a part of international student exchange programs or in line with international agreements in which Turkey stands as a party.
f) Foreigners who come to Turkey for tourist purposes.
g) Foreigners who come to Turkey for medical treatment except from those whose illness might cause a threat to the public health.
h) Foreigners who need to stay in Turkey due to requests or decisions of judicial or administrative bodies.
i) Foreigners who seek transition from Family residence permit to Short-term residence permit.
j) Foreigners who come to Turkey to attend Turkish Language Courses might be granted with short-term residence permit at most two times.
k) Foreigners who come to Turkey for training, research, internship or traineeship purposes through Turkish Public Institutions might be granted with short-term residence permit at most one time and not more than for one year.
In the case of staying outside Turkey more than 120 days within one year, Short Term Residence Permits might be cancelled. Applications of foreigners who are subjected to deportation or entry ban decisions will be rejected.

  1. Family Residence Permit

Family Residence Permit is granted to the foreign spouse and/or foreign children who are under statutory age and dependent foreign children of foreigners who have valid residence permits, foreigners who own secondary-protection status, refugees and people who lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining renunciation permit. Family residence permits will be issued at most for a term of two years on each application. In the case of marriage with more than one partner, only one partner might be granted with Family Residence Permits. However children from the other partners are granted with Family residence permit. In addition, both partners of marriage should be aged 18 years old or above. In granting Family Residence Permit to the children, if dual guardianship is exists, consent of father or mother who also has parental right is needed. Children with family work permit may continue their primary and secondary education without having student residence permits. Spouses or children, in order to apply for Family Residence Permits should have passport which is valid for at least 60 days beyond requested residence permit period. Those foreigners who resided in Turkey at least three years and turned to 18 years old might apply for transition from Family residence permit to Short-term residence permit.
In case of divorce from a Turkish citizen, foreigners who have resided in Turkey at least three years with family residence permits might be granted a short-term residence permit. However in the existence of court decision on domestic violence, the three years duration is not taken into consideration for the divorced foreign partner.
In order to be eligible for a Family Residence Permit the following conditions should also be met. (i) to reside in Turkey at least one year with valid residence permit [2], (ii) to have monthly income not less than the Turkish minimum wage which is also no less than one third of minimum wage per household members, (iii) to have suitable accommodation conditions in Turkey in line with general health and security, (iv) to have medical insurance which covers all household members, (v) to prove not convicted with any domestic violence or similar crimes within 5 years prior to the application date and (vi) to be registered with Turkish Address Registration System.

  1. Student Residence Permit

Student residence permit is granted to those foreigners who will be enrolled to graduate, undergraduate or two years associate programs in the Turkish higher education institutions. Foreigners who will study in primary or secondary education programs, with the consent of their parents, might be granted with student residence permit at most for one year period on each application. Student residence permit does not grant any rights about residence permits of parents and other relatives of the foreign students. The period of student residence permit can not exceed the duration of education.

With the entry into force of new Law on Foreigners and International Protection, foreign students can work in Turkey legally after obtaining a work permit. However foreign students who are enrolled in undergraduate or two years associate programs can start working in Turkey after completing their first year of study. Moreover only for foreign students who are enrolled in two years associate programs, their working hours can not exceed 24 hours per week. Applications of foreigners who are subjected to  deportation or entry ban decisions will be rejected.

  1. Long Term Residence Permit

A foreigner may be eligible for Long Term Residence Permit for indefinite period of time, if having resided in Turkey legally and uninterruptedly for 8 years with a valid residence permit. However those foreigners who are classified as refugees and conditional refugees or foreigners who own residence permits for humanitarian purposes or who are under temporary protection are not eligible to apply for Long Term Residence Permits. Additionally in order to be eligible for Long Term Residence Permit foreigners also need to meet with the following criteria.They :

  • Should not be granted with Social Help within the last three years,
  • Should have adequate and regular resources for personal or family livelihood,
  • Should have a valid health insurance,
  • Should not be considered as a threat to public order and security.

In the case of staying outside Turkey for any reasons except from health, education and compulsory public service for more than one year, Long Term Residence Permit might be cancelled.

      5.    Humanitarian Residence Permit

In the following circumstances Humanitarian Residence Permit might be granted at most for one year. Residence permit on humanitarian grounds can be extended.

a) If the highest interest of a child is in question

b)In case that the departure of a foreigner from Turkey is not reasonable and possible, even if the foreigner is subjected to deportation or entry ban decision.

c) If the deportation decision may not be taken into consideration due to provisions of article 55 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection.[3]

d) During the legal actions taken against deportation decisions or not allowed international protection applications.

e) During the returning process of international protection applicants to the country of first asylum or third safe country.

f) For those foreigners allowed entering Turkey for the sake of state interests or public order and public security (if the grounds for applying another type of residence permit is not available)

g) In exceptional circumstances.

Holders of Humanitarian Residence Permit should register themselves to the Address Registration System within 20 days after they are granted the residence permit.  

  1. Residence Permit for the Victims of Human Trafficking

A foreigner who is victim of an offence related to Human Trafficking might be granted with 30 days a valid residence permit for reflection and for him or her to decide whether to take action against the perpetrator(s) of the offence.  Residence permits for the Victims of Human Trafficking might be extended at most 6 months each time, however extensions can not exceed three years in total.

As per article 125 of the New Law, except from the provisions regarding the establishment of the General Directorate of Migration Management under section 5, all the other provisions shall enter into force one year after the publication date.

For more detailed interpretation of Law on Foreigners and International Protection, you may consult the official page of Directorate General of Migration Management. “FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FOREIGNERS

[1] Article 28 of the Law no. 5091 on Turkish Citizenship specifies the rules regarding the rights accorded to those who lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining a renunciation permit.

[2] For foreigners who come to Turkey for scientific research, for people who lost Turkish citizenship by obtaining a renunciation permit and for foreigners married with Turkish citizens the one year rule is not applicable.

[3] As per article 55 of the law on Foreigners and International Protection, in the following circumstances, the following foreigners will not be deported even if deportation decision is taken against them.  (i)In the  Risk of being subjected to death penalty, torture or inhuman and degrading treatment in the country where the foreigners will be deported, (ii) In the case of travel prohibition due to serıous health problems, age and pregnancy (iii) During the medical treatment of serious illnesses and if there is no opportunity of medical care  in the country of deportation.  (vi)  if they are victims of Human Trafficking during the victim support process.  (v) if they are victims of physiological, physical and sexual offences, during their treatments.


Updated : Law on the work permit for foreigners (law no. 4817) has been changed. New Law on (law no. 6375) International Labour Force is introduced on 28 July 2016

What is new? New law on International labor 



  • ali

    good day,
    kindly enlighten me on how much time I have to renew or extend my resident permit after the completion of a bachelor program in turkey.

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Ali,

      Thank you very much for your comment.

      Foreigners who have completed a bachelor’s degree have the right to apply for a residence permit for one year. The student should apply for a residence permit before the expiry of his current residence permit during the period of study and backwards within 2 months before expiration of the residence permit.

      Kind Regards

  • Farhan

    Hello, I’m a student at Istanbul. I have applied for the student residency through my university. My application is under assessment. I got the paper that allows me to travel for a maximum of 15 days. Due to emergency I have to travel again and my residency is still under process. Should I get a new 15 day paper or is the previous paper sufficient?

    • ExpatGuideTurkey


      Thank you for your comment.

      Let me inform you that a temporary residence permit is only allowed to leave the country for 15 days untill the RP card will be delivered to your address. İn case if the foreigner have been stayed for more than 15 days abroad, he should get a new visa from homecountry in order to enter to Turkey.

      Kind Regards

  • Moh

    Hello there,

    I have a valid work permit till 2019. My work permit was extended in September 2017 to two years. I entered Turkey around December 2016 with a Work permit and a single entry visa stamped on my passport. My employer had already got work permit while I was in my home country. So in 2 months I also applied for residence permit and got it for one year validity.

    Now I simply have one big concern if I will be able to travel multiple times in and out of Turkey with my work permit within its validity? Or do I need residence permit as well for exit and entering Turkey multiple times? Please advise quickly as my residence permit is about to expire.

    FYI on my work permit card following line is printed “This work permit subsitutes for a residence permit within its validity”

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Moh,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The information on your work permit is correct. Your work permit is also your residence permit.
      “This work permit subsitutes for a residence permit within its validity”.

      Kind Regards

  • ALI

    i getout removal decision and My residence permit cancalled, and i am waiting the court decision since June 2017. so that i can go outside the country and come back.

  • AK

    Dear Sir/Madame,

    I am student in Turkey. My student residence permit will expire in 3 weeks. However, I am planning to leave Turkey and come back only for my thesis defendence. When I come back for thesis defendence in November/December (date is still not clear), I should stay in Turkey around 3 weeks (for thesis procedure).
    My question is: do I need to renew my student residence permit now, before I leave country?
    If I dont, when I come back for graduation, do I need to apply for new student residence permit?
    Will residence permit effect my University in terms of giving me diploma?
    P.s. I am coming from country whose citizens do not need visa for Turkey.
    Thank you in advance.

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      We strongly advice you to renew your Student Residency Permit before exiting the Turkish territory. No you will not be required to obtain a Residence Permit to get graduated. You can re-enter Turkey based on a Visa. Also, your Residency Permit permit is not required for the graduation of University. It would be eaisier for you to extend your residency than renewing it.

      Best Regards,
      ExpatGuideTurkey Team

      • Lale

        Merhaba,to who may saw,
        I confused about Turkish resident ,i am holding 1 year Turkish resident,but i leave turkey on July 13,and i am in my country right now ,i am planning go back turkey on February 2018 before resident expired date(will expired on March).if so ,i am out of turkey more than 6 months,so can i enter turkey territory again while holding my residence?or i need to apply viza?any good advice?if i can enter,how can I extend my residence ?

        Looking forward to hearing from you soon !

        • ExpatGuideTurkey

          Dear Mrs Lale,

          According to the Turkish laws Foreign Citizens have the right to stay outside of the Turkish territory for 6 month. However
          since the beginning of 2017 the Immigration Offices have been more flexible about this law and grant you an extension even if you have stay much longer than 6 month. We advice you to apply for an extension.
          If you wish our company can make all the required application for your extension of Residence Permit, if you wish to get a quotation please send us a mail.

          Best Regards,
          ExpatGuideTurkey Team

  • elle

    Hi! I came here with a working visa yet my visa has expired for 5 months. Now we are planning to get married with my turkish boyfriend. Is it possible for us to marry here in Turkey?

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Mrs Elle,

      Foreign Citizens can always get married even without a Residency Permit, However if your Work Permit has expired you will have to exit the Turkish territory and re-enter to Turkey in order to apply for a Residency Permit. Please note that you will have to pay a penalty at your exit of territory.

      Best Regards,
      ExpatGuideTurkey Team

  • Advice

    Hi I’m English my girlfriend is Turkish I overstayed my visa by two days and did not have eny money to pay the fine but my girlfriend is Turkish is there eny way I can return to turkey we want to get married in turkey and we keep traveling to Germany to see each other

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Sir,

      You should check with the Turkish Consulate in you country to get further information about your ban.

      Best Regards,
      ExpatGuideTurkey Team

  • Ibrahim Anyas

    I am a graduate student in Turkey since 2013. I just completed my masters studies, that is, 2017, and my resident permit will expire in 01/08/2017. now I would like to know, can i apply to renew my resident permit?. if yes how can i do that?

    Counting on your cooperation. Thank you.

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Mr Ibrahim,

      If the date you sent on the comment is right, your Residency Permit has already expired. In this case you will have to go abraod and re-enter Turkey with a valid Visa. However if your Residency Permit hasn’t expired you will have the right to apply for a new Residency Permit. For further information about the Residency Permit application you should contact us by phone.

      Best Regards,
      ExpatGuideTurkey Team

      • Hell9

        Hello i applied for a residency permit shortly after i arrived in turkey i was given a 3 month visa when i entered.On the day of appointment when i was submitting my documents
        the officer told me that there are some missing papers and he told me to bring them within a month it took me longer than a month and i knew my application was going to be cancelled so i applied for another appointment before the expiry of my visa but then i went to the officer again with the old application just to see if he accepts it and he gave us a paper saying we have to exit the country within 10 days and he didnt even know my visa expired or that i applied for a new appointment.My question is can i stay legally in this country until the next appointment without paying the penalty or leaving the country.Thank you

        • ExpatGuideTurkey

          Dear Sir/Madam,

          Unfortunately we cannot confirm if you will be considered overstaying untill your next appointment. However since you signed a petition stating you will exit the Turkish territory this might show up in your next appointment. You should still go to the second appointment since you already took it.

          Best Regards,
          ExpatGuideTurkey Team

    • Abdi said

      We are a somali family with children staying in one of the EU countrys and we have allien passport for this country we are staying now. is it posible to have turkish resedent permit for the alien passport and what is the conditions
      Best regards
      Than you

      • ExpatGuideTurkey

        Dear Mr Abdi,

        We are not aware of any kind of application with an Alien Passport in Turkey. We cannot garantee any residency Permit with this kind of Passport.

        Best Regards,
        ExpatGuideTurkey Team

  • Hashim

    I am a new International student in Turkey. I want to know if I can work legally ?? or I need to apply for a work permit while studying?? is that possible

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Mr Hashim,

      According to the law only Student in their last year of Master degree are allowed to apply for a Work Permit. Student in bachelor degree and bellow are not allowed to apply for a Work Permit.

      Best Regards,
      ExpatGuideTurkey Team

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