Work Permit

Work permit Note; Foreigner cannot get a work permit by himself. First of all, it is necessary to find a job in Turkey. Later, an employer is able to apply and get a work permit for foreign employee.

Under contemporary globalization, inevitably labor markets have become increasingly integrated. In order to manage international labor mobility more effectively, especially in those emerging markets and developing countries, new labor migration policies have been established or the existing ones have been re-organized rapidly. At this point, achieving a right balance between the protection of local employment and the relaxation of barriers before high-skilled foreign labor has been the main concern of the state, which led to the introduction of effective tools in the management of international labor mobility.

2003 has been a remarkable year for Turkey to review its rules and principles dealing with the employment of foreign workers in Turkey. As one of the most popular destinations within the global labor market, Turkey has introduced and effectively has reformed a new system to control foreign labor immigration. In the purpose of centralization of work permits system under one code ‘Law no: 4817 on Work Permits of Foreigners’ was originally enacted on 27th February 2003, as the principal legislation in controlling entry of foreign nationals in the Turkish labor market. Subsequently the same year ‘Regulation on the Implementation of the Law on Work Permits for Foreigners’[1] has been introduced to set forth the rules and principles regarding the implementation of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners. Furthermore, within the context of encouraging foreign direct investments, a new Foreign Direct Investment act was voted and became effective on 5th June 2003. Under the new FDI law, a special treatment is granted to the employment of expatriates with a separate regulation on the employment of expatriates under foreign direct investments. To encourage the employers to seek to employ high skilled foreign workers as well as to prevent informal foreign employment in Turkey, the past few years we have witnessed both systematical and procedural reforms in the Turkish legislation about the foreign labor immigration. Simplification of the eligibility conditions in work permit applications, adaptation of a new automated system for the work permit applications, a shortening in the period of the finalization of the work permit applications and a reduction in the procedural costs of applications might be considered main themes of the reform in the Turkish work permit system. There is no doubt that those further amendments have provided to the Turkish work permit system a more simplified, understandable and dynamic outlook.

The Law on Work Permits of Foreigners provides a legal framework about the employment of foreigners in Turkey by specifying  the rules and the principles to be applied at the procedures concerning work permits of foreigners. The law, in its relevant sections, specifies the types of work permits, outlines the exemptions and restrictions and formulates the rules about granting, extending, rejecting and canceling the working permissions.



The Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security is entitled as a competent authority in the work permit process of foreigners. However certain Ministries, Public Institutions and Organizations are also empowered to grant working permissions.  On the basis of their existing authorities arising from relevant Turkish legislation, Prime Ministry, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy , General Directorate of Free Zones and  Council of Higher Education have the competence to grant working permission for specific categories of professions.

As a general rule, individuals who have no citizenship bond with the Republic of Turkey, in order to either work dependently or independently, are obliged to have a valid working permission before they start to work.  Exceptionally, for the working periods no more than one month, in the state of necessity or for the sake of state benefits, by prior notification of relevant authorities and with the ministry approval, working permit may be given after starting to work.

Ata İnstitutonal Consultancy provides the service throughout whole Turkey including İstanbul, Ankara, Antalya, İzmir, Mugla, Bursa and Gaziantep. İf you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

The rules and principles stipulated in the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners are applicable to the foreigners working dependently or independently in Turkey. Those foreigners who receive a job training and the natural and judicial persons that employ foreigners are included within the scope of Law No. 4817 as well. The term “foreigner” in general refers to a person who is not a Turkish citizen under the Turkish Citizenship Law.[1] However those Turkish citizens by birth who got permission to renounce citizenship from the Ministry of Interior are excluded from the scope of Law No. 4817. Moreover, press reporters who are subjected to Press Law, Members of Foreign Press Organs, foreigners who are exempted from working permission requirement in their employment in Turkey due to reciprocity principle, international and European Union laws and foreigners who are employed or granted with working permission by the other Ministries, Public Institutions and Organizations [2] are not included within the scope of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners.

In accordance with the article 15 of the Law on Work Permits of Foreigners, certain professions are reserved only for Turkish citizens. Different legal instruments in Turkey, prohibit foreigners to work either dependently or independently in  certain professions and occupations. Foreigners are not allowed to work; (i) as attorney[3] (ii)  as notary public[4] (iii) as security guard at private or public institutions[5] (iv) as customs broker and assistant customs broker[6] (v) as dentist, midwife and nurse[7] (vi) as pharmacist[8] (vii) as Veterinarian [9] (vii) as director in private hospitals[10].

Moreover in accordance with Turkish Cabotage Law[11]

“The right to catch or obtain fish, oysters, mussels, sponges, pearls, coral, mother-or-pearl and the like, extract sand, gravel and the like, extract and salvage sunken ships and vessels or shipwrecks and the like either on the surface or on the bottom of the sea, perform diving, searching, piloting and maritime supply, work as captain, secretary, crew or workman or in another capacity on Turkish maritime vessels, and carry out wharf porterage or any type of maritime business, within Turkish continental waters, shall belong exclusively to Turkish nationals.”

Additionally, law no: 6458 on Foreigners and Internal Protection defines the cases in which foreigners may not apply for work permit. Article 27(2) of law no: 6458 states that the following foreigners (who are defined in the article 7 of the law no: 6458) may not apply for work permit.

 “i) it is determined that his or her passport, passport substituting document, visa or residence permit or work permit is absent or fraudulent; or that he or she has obtained these permits fraudulently, ii) he or she does not hold a passport or a passport substitute document which is valid for at least sixty days as of the expiry of visa, visa exemption or residence permit, iii) he or she falls under the scope of the foreigners listed under the first paragraph of Article 15, without prejudice to the second paragraph of Article 15 of this Law, and regardless of whether or not he or she is exempted from a visa.”

[1] Law No. 5901 Date of Enactment: 29.05.2009 Published in the Official Gazette on 12 June 2009, No. 27256

[2] Law No. 4817, Art. 2

[3] Law No. 1136 on Attorneys

[4] Law No. 1512 on Notary Public

[5] Law No. 2495 on the Protection and Security of Certain Institutions and Organizations, as security guards at private or public institutions.

[6] Articles 227 and 228 of Law No. 4458 on Customs.

[7] Law no: 1219 on the Practice of Medicine and its Branches

[8] Law No. 6197 on Pharmacies and Pharmacists

[9] Law No. 6343 on the Pursuit of Veterinary Medicine Profession,

Establishment and Duties of Turkish Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Medical Chambers,

[10] Private Hospitals Act No. 2219

[11] Law No. 815 Date of Enactment: 19.4.1926 Published in the Official Gazette 0n 29 April 1926, No. 359


  • Tommy

    Can u get someone who can get me

  • Jamilatu Garba

    OK! Thank you so much. I will contact you when I get there. God bless you

  • Tommy

    Plz i need a Turkey visa, can u help me ?
    Plz answer me

    • ExpatGuideTurkey


      Thank you for your comment.

      We do not deal with visas for foreigners. We help in making a residence permit.

      Kind Regards

  • Jamilatu Garba

    Hi, I would like to go to turkey from Nigeria on medical purpose? What type of visa do I apply for?

    • ExpatGuideTurkey


      Thank you for your comment.

      You can come to Turkey on a tourist visa. After arriving in Turkey, you will have to apply for a residence permit for treatment. If you want our frima can assist you in the process of making a residence permit.

      Kind Regards

  • Abdul

    Respected Sir
    I want to ask that I want to settle in Turkey with my family and I want to start a small business and stay legally in Turkey. What is the procedure and what will be the cost.
    Best regards

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Sir,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Let me inform you that foreigners may set up a business with the minimum of 10.000 TL in Turkey. However, in order to get a work permit for foreigners, the company’s pre paid capital should be 100.000 TL and more.
      Our service fees costs depends on the services. İt starts from 2.000 USD + VAT which only includes of the registration company in Turkey + residence permit application.

      Kind Regards

  • Ansharah

    Hello, I’m living in Turkey (Istanbul) from last 2 years. I have the residence permit (Ikamet) now i’m looking for the work permit. I was searching on internet and find your agency. How can you help in getting the work permit ? Also, Can you give me some information on the Turqouise Card ?
    Thank you.

    • ExpatGuideTurkey


      Thank you for your comment.

      Under Turkish law, a foreigner can not apply for a work permit. To be able to apply for a job, you must first find a job. On the employee’s behalf, the employer applies for a work permit after submitting all necessary documents.
      If you are interested in the Turquoise Card, please refer to our article on this topic

      Kind Regards

  • Prema


    I am expat from India. I am in Turkey from July 2016. I had applied for renewal of my work permit.

    Work permit approval letter is received by my employer and they had posted the letter to me also to my office address.

    But the Card is not received.

    Please let me know can I travel with this letter and will I be allowed to come back to Turkey by showing this letter at Immigration.

    Thank you

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Prema,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You should already receive your card. If you still have not received it, it means there are problems. The residence permit card is sent via a letter.
      The Ankara labor ministry needs to be handed over from the elderly, or it may be possible to obtain another card by proxy. You may have trouble traveling abroad without a card.

      Kind Regards

  • Md Jamrul Islam

    I want to go Turkey from Bangladesh,,,,How it possible

    I am a Civil Engr..

  • grace

    do you have some number where we can contact the ministry to follow up may working permit status ?

  • grace

    I just want to ask how can we check my working permit status, the person who made my application which my boss fully trusted doesnt realy know what he is doing he doesnt even know how to follow up my application he just always tell to us to wait its 2 mos already since he applied my application.. do you have any idea how to check my working permit application status ? I deeply appreciate your help in advance and look forward to hearing back from you ..

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Grace,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You can track the process through e-devlet system. All the details regarding the status in indicated there. Or if you know the appliction ID number you can visit the Ministry of Labour and asked the status from the experts there.

      Kind Regards

  • grace

    I just want to ask how can we check my working permit status, the person who made my application which my boss fully trusted doesnt realy know what he is doing he doesnt even know how to follow up my application he just always tell to us to wait its 2 mos already since he applied my application.. do you have any idea how to check my working permit application status? I am worried about my application status .thank you in advance

  • Aors

    Dear Sir/Madam;
    To those it may concern

    I am an university teaching/research associate with a Ph.D degree in natural sciences and freshly married to turkish citizen (man). I have moved to Turkey and would like to continue my academic career here. I had an appointment at private university and they expressed significant interest for hiring me after reviewing my CV. But, they said that I should firstly get my diploma recognized (by YÖK), and to apply for a job afterwards. I have found a list of required documents for doctoral diploma recognition (YÖK). Among them, work permit document is requested as well. Now I am facing a blind street, because I cannot get my diploma recognized without the permit and I cannot get a work permit without a job contract, if I understood right. Would you, please, tell me what should be my next step and in which direction I should go? Thank you so much in advance !

    Kind regards

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Aors,

      Thank you for ur comment.

      A work permit is not required for the YÖK equivalence application, equivalence applications usually result in 60 days, you will have to give the equivalence certificate to the institution, they will get your work permit for your name.

      Kind Regards

  • hilel

    i am an Algerian doctor , i want to immigrate and live in Turk . please what are the steps that i must fellow ?

    many thanks

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Mr. Hilel,

      Thank you for your comment.

      To move to Turkey you need a tourist visa at the beginning to be able to enter the country. You can apply for a residence permit on the basis of a tourist visa. In addition, you will need to rent a flat – a lease contract is necessary when applying for a residence permit.

      Kind Regards

  • ali

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I’m planing to stay and live in Turkey. If I’m enough lucky to get a work permit, after how long of staying I can apply for Turkish Permanent Residency (along with Turkish passport) for myself and my wife?
    What are the work permit types?
    And what other options do I have in order to apply for Turkish Permanent Residency?

    looking forward to hearing from you


    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Ali,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately, it is not possible for a foreigner to obtain an indefinite residence permit. To get a work permit you must first find a job. It is the employer who creates a work permit. A foreigner can not apply for such permission.

      Kind Regards

  • Mave

    Hello again

    I am currently working with a fixed work permit as an English teacher in a pre school. I want to quit my job. I read somewhere that I can quit without having any problems if I do it within the first two months. Could you please tell if this is true? And is it enough to present my resignation letter? Can I present it in English? If I present it tomorrow, is there a way I can make sure they will pay me the days already worked during this month of December, meaning is there something I should write in that letter ?

  • Valdete

    Dear sir/madam
    To whom this may concern
    I am an English teacher from Kosova and I have got a job offer to work in Turkey. My circumstances r anusual because I am engaged to a turkish man and we plan to marry in summer 2018. I need to know how can I apply for a work permit in Turkey and what documents do I need?
    Should I apply in my country or in Turkey? Please give me details.
    p.s We don’t have visa to go Turkey. We can travel just with passport.
    Looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much indeed!

    • ExpatGuideTurkey

      Dear Mrs. Valdete,

      Thank your for your comment.

      A work permit is made in Turkey.

      Documents required from the foreign personnel are;

      Employment Contract (signed by foreigner and employer)
      Passport Copy (Translated to Turkish by sworn translator)
      Diploma Copy (Translated to Turkish by sworn translator)
      If applicable a letter of recommendation (Translated to Turkish by sworn translator)
      Copy of Valid Residence permit for at least 6 months
      The original of the existing work permit (effective in work permit extension applications)Documents required from the employer are;
      · A work permit application petition addressing Ministry of Labor and Social Security,
      · A work permit application form addressed to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security,
      · Balance sheet and statement of profit and loss related to last year of the institution (approved by tax administration or chartered accountant),
      · The Turkish Trade Registry Gazette indicating the most recent capital and shareholding structure of the organization,
      · Commercial Activity Certificate,
      · A notarized power of attorney for the authorized person to use Online application system
      · Documents showing the employer company has no unpaid tax debt (effective in work permit extension applications)

      It should be noted that the list above is not exhaustive. Ministry of Labor and Social Security has discretion to demand other documents during the evaluation period. The supporting documents may also change in accordance with the business sector of the employer and/or with the nature of the work.

      Kind Regards

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