Turkey: Applying for a Short Term Residency Permit
After spending months cruising around the Mediterranean doing the “Schengen shuffle”, British cruisers Claire and Peter Arnold decided to try for a Turkish Short Term Residency Permit for tourism purposes. Here they report on the procedure they went through.
Published 1 year ago
We entered Turkey in later November 2021 and being British we have 90 days in Turkey visa free before we have to leave or risk being fined. After chatting to fellow cruisers we had heard that the application process to obtain a Turkish Short Term Residency Permit was possible. If granted this would enable us to stay in Turkey for longer, however, it does not give you the right to work.
This is the procedure we went through.
Items needed before filling in the application form:
- Purchase a Turkish SIM card as this phone number is needed on the application form (Turkcell currently seems to have the best network).
- An address is needed! We booked into Teos marina (near Izmir) for four months. The information we read did state that an address is needed for the duration of the residency but we will see.
- Four x biometric photos (we got ours from the nearby town Seferihisar, make sure they also email the photos as you will need to download the photo onto the application form). Our photos were bigger than a standard passport photo. This was OK for the interview but we had to reduce the size to download onto the application form. Cost 40TL each.
- Tax number (this is needed to pay the residency fee once you’ve completed the application form and if you pay for the health insurance at the PTT). You can get a tax number for free at the local tax office (Vergi Dairesi). We went to the local tax office in Seferihisar and we were very lucky that two of the marina staff came with us to interpret. Without them it would have been a bit of a nightmare but with lots of patience & Google translate, it was possible. You will need your passport and we also took our boat paperwork and letter from the marina stating we had booked in. The tax number is issued straight away.
- Health Insurance – this can be purchased easily by either visiting a Sigorta (Insurance) shop or online, valid for 12 months & costs increase according to age. We purchased online for 550TL each and we paid for this at the local PTT branch (post office) in Seferihisar. For this we paid in cash and you will need your passport, tax number and payment details. A charge of 13TL was added for processing.
- Proof of funds – we couldn’t find information anywhere of what amount is needed to support yourself so we figured £1000 per month should be sufficient in savings or earnings.
Filling in the application form:
This was fairly easy, but be prepared to be frustrated when you receive some errors and are unable to continue. Just keep trying. One website that did help explain about these errors was https://iqamet.com .
To begin an application we had to log onto the government website https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr
We then lodged an application for residence permit for the first time and then lodged a new application. After filling in some basic details and choosing email as the main source of communication preference we soon received a verification code via email. We then had to log back onto the e-Ikamet website and began the process of applying for a short term residence permit.
It took about 20 minutes to fill the form (the education page you can bypass) and at the end we were able to book an appointment at the migration office in Izmir for a week later. (We had read that appointments can take longer it all depends on what area you are in) . As we couldn’t find a way to pay online for the permit, we went back to the same tax office in Seferihisar and paid in cash. To do this you will need your tax number, passport and printed off residency permit application form. Ensure that you receive a receipt for this payment. Total cost 1229.85TL each.
This was at the Izmir Migration office and a nightmare to find! The location on Google maps is incorrect but luckily we allowed plenty of time and after asking numerous people the way and ending up at the local police station, we did find it. No one speaks english at this office but we had to show our passport, residency permit application form and Covid vaccination certificate. We were given a number and around 15 minutes later we had our interview. It wasn’t an interview at all but the following was required (per person):
- Copy of passport photo page and page showing Turkish entry stamp
- Four x biometric photos
- Residence permit application form (don’t forget to sign)
- Receipt for proof of payment for the Turkish residence permit & copy
- Proof of address with each name showing and boat name (we got a letter from Teos marina confirming we were berthed there for four months and also had the invoice receipt)
- Health Insurance (don’t forget to sign) and proof of payment
- Turkish transit log & copy
The Language Barrier:
The language barrier proved very difficult and being on a yacht I think this was an unknown to the Migration Officer. Trying to explain we had sailed in and had received a yacht transit log on entry caused confusion and frustration and we were then told we would have to pay an extra 1033.60TL per person for the application to be successful.
We had no idea what this was for and after the officer shouting at us and the whole department hearing the commotion a lovely Moroccan lady came to our aid who spoke perfect english. She was a student in her 3rd year also having got residency and explained to us that the 1033.60TL is a “one time entry fee for entering Turkey”. We had never heard of this and cannot find any information on this but since we found out that fellow cruisers have paid this
Application Tick List:
We were then given an application tick list and told to take this to a nearby office where we had our photo and fingerprints taken. After locating the office we paid the extra money (the office is through the police station on the first floor) cash only allowed. Ensure you receive proof of payment and you will need get a copy of this to hand in to the Migration Officer.
We then proceeded back to the Migration office to hand in the application tick list and proof we had paid the extra fee, the Migration Officer kept the copy.
The application was successful and we were granted eight months from the date the application was submitted. This gives us 10 months in total from our entry date into Turkey. The reason for this is we only had a four month marina contract showing an address, so the Migration Officer took the expiry date of our yacht insurance which is on the transit log.
We think he thought that this was the expiry date of the transit log which in fact there isn’t an expiry date. 10 months for us is plenty but it’s something to be aware of unless your marina contract is for longer.
We were not asked about proof of financial ability to support ourselves but we did have bank statements ready in case and also took our yacht registration document in case.
Total cost 2866.45TL each (approx £155 or $212 at current exchange rate) The residency permit cards were posted to the marina 16 days later.
Overall the application process is a little frustrating but possible without the help of a 3rd party. The language barrier was the hardest hurdle to overcome and without the help of the lovely student interpreting the information from the Migration Officer we may not have been successful. The lovely marina staff were also very helpful. Hopefully with this information anyone applying in future will have a smoother experience.
Claire and Peter Arnold
SV Dark Island
About the Authors
Having enjoyed cruising the UK and the Isles of Scilly for many years, British sailors Peter and Claire Arnold began a sailing life full time in 2019 on-board their Laurent Giles ketch “Dark Island”.
After sailing down the west coast of France and Portugal, they wintered in southern Spain in 2020 and then sailed east in the Mediterranean enjoying Sardinia, Sicily and Greece along the way to Turkey. They are now wintering in Turkey in the Izmir region and looking forward to cruising the eastern Mediterranean.
They can be followed on Instagram (search for svdarkisland)
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Noonsite.com or World Cruising Club.
Follow up from Claire Arnold:
I’ve looked further into the one time fee and found some info which states if your country does not need a e-visa (which UK does not) then you pay the fee.
Also after looking back on the residency form there is a box for the one time fee but it didn’t fill in on application like the other fees did.
So looks like it’s correct but may or not be applicable depending on individuals visa entry rules.
Wish we had known that originally it would have caused less stress.
Gwen Bylund of Marmaris Bay Cruisers [https://cruisingtips.net/mbc/?p=11316] shared some advice re. applying for short-term residency:
I am responding from the province of Mugla and Izmir is a province.
1. Using a local agent for residency applications means no misunderstandings and no language barrier. An agent is required by law.
2. They were lucky to get an 8 month visa. In all the years I have been in Turkey as a yacht owner, the only visas I know that have been granted are the tourist visa of 3 months or 180 days, a resident permit of 1 or 2 years, and a long term resident permit which is valid “forever”.
3. Most yacht owners enter on a tourist visa. If they decide to stay longer than the tourist visa expires, the agent will do all the work to process a resident visa.
4. Every foreigner, whether they own a yacht or live ashore, goes through this process as thoroughly as this couple did.
5. Many sailors contact an agent before they arrive and enter Turkey. The agent is ready for them and has the documentation ready as required for any visa.
6. Laws and processes vary from county (province) to county. Mugla is a province, Izmir is a province, Antalya is a province, etc. Sometimes each province interprets the law differently from its neighbouring province.