Departure to Istanbul

Passport, Visa & Permits to Istanbul

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There are different visa requirements for people of different countries. As Turkey is still not part of the EU, entry regulations are set according to agreements between the various countries and Turkey. There are five kinds of visa situations you can be faced with when entering Turkey.

  1. Citizens of some countries including Netherlands, Malaysia, Denmark, Chile etc can stay up to three months without a visa in Turkey
  2. Citizens of some countries including Romania, Macedonia, Croatia etc can stay up to two months without a visa in Turkey.
  3. Citizens of Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Maldives etc can stay up to 1 month without a visa in Turkey
  4. Citizens of some countries need a visa to enter Turkey but this can be easily obtained at the airport upon arrival in Turkey. This applies for citizens of USA, Austria, Brazil, Canada, UK etc.
  5. All other citizens need to apply for a visa at the Turkish embassy or consulate nearest them.

For a complete listing of which countries are eligible for which visa situation, please click here.

Visa Types

Below is a brief guide to the various types of visa available for Turkey. For a more complete and comprehensive guide, please click here.

  • Sticker Visa
    This visa is easily available at the airport for citizens of certain countries including USA, Austria, UK, Brazil etc who require a visa to enter Turkey. Depending on the country, the visa allows you to stay for between 15 days and 3 months.
  • Work Visa
    As a general rule, a letter of employment from the Turkish employer is required. This letter needs to be presented at the Turkish Consulate or Embassy in the applicant's native country. Apply in advance as it usually takes about two months to be processed. For more information, click here.
  • Study, Long-term Business, Multiple-entry visas, Visa for Lorry Drivers
    For more information on these visas, please send a letter with a self addressed and stamped envelope to the Turkish Diplomatic Mission nearest to you. Application forms will be sent to you.
  • Long term residence permit through marriage
    If you are married to a Turkish national, you can obtain a long term residence permit by applying to the local police regardless of your current visa status
  • Transit Visa
    • By Air: If you are a visa national, you will not need a visa as long as you are passing through the country immediately. Please note that you cannot leave the airport under these circumstances and you must hold a ticket to a destination out of Turkey.
    • By Sea or Land: If you intend to travel by sea or land via Turkey, you will need a visa. The application process is the same as that of applying for a tourist visa.
  • Visas for Filming and Academic Research
    For any documentation, filming, archaeological exactions etc within Turkey, you will need to obtain prior permission from Turkish authorities.

The work permit for foreign nationals

The first step to applying for a work permit in Turkey is to get a letter of employment from the potential employer in Turkey.

The application should be made from the country of origin, i.e. via the nearest Turkish Consulate or Embassy unless they are the holder of a residence permit for Turkey which is valid for at least 6 months. Applications for extension of a given work permit can be made in Turkey if accompanied by a valid residence permit.

Bear in mind that the work visa procedure is double application in nature. This means that while the employee puts a claim for work visa in his native country, the employer makes a simultaneous application in Turkey by submitting a file to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Department for Work Permits for Foreigners. There should not be more than 3 working days between the employee's and the employer's applications. When applying, make sure your employer is aware of this as many are not familiar with these formalities. As a result, it is wise to make your application only after ensuring that your employers are ready as well to submit an application so that both applications can be combined and processed.

The documents required from the employers are specified in the web page of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security: . The web page is currently available only in Turkish.

It usually takes 2 months for the application to be processed. Upon the receipt of the approval of the Ministry for a work permit application, the applicant is immediately notified of the result and is required to come to the Consulate again with his passport to get the work visa that is the stamping of the work permit in his passport. Applicants who fail to ask for work visa within maximum 3 months after notification have to renew their applications. Issuing work visa takes maximum 3 working days and if the applicant cannot collect it in person, he can give a postal order to the Consulate so that the passport can be posted to him. Foreigners who enter Turkey on the basis of work visa are expected to get a residence permit within 30 day's of their entry.

For more information, please log onto

Update 12/06/2014


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