The purpose of this article is to assist understanding Turkey’s indefinite residence permit application criteria and process. This article is not intended as specific legal advice and each Indefinite Residence Permit Application must be evaluated individually.

It is a common immigration practice in many countries to offer some sort of Indefinite/Permanent Residence status. Countries differ on the criteria for indefinite residency which can be based on investment, family relations with a citizen, or a skill-set or profession in high demand. Turkey’s program currently is based on a required number of years of lawful residency, however a new program called the Turquoise Card may consider a wider variety of qualifications in the future.

Like other Turkish Residence Permit Categories such as Short Term, Touristic and Dependent Residence Permit, Indefinite Residence Permit applications are filed at the Migration Directorates according to the jurisdiction in Turkey where the applicant resides.

Indefinite Residence Permit Eligibility

According to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458, Article 43 applicants must meet the below criteria:

  • Continues residency in Turkey for at least 8 years
  • Absence of reliance on public aid in the last 3 years
  • Sufficient financial ability to support oneself and their dependents (if any)
  • Valid medical insurance coverage in Turkey
  • Not considered as a threat to public order or public security

Furthermore, according to the Regulations on Law Foreigners and International Protection Law No 6458, Article 40, the applicant must:

  • Have had a residence or work permit cumulatively for at least 8 years
  • Have not had a break in physical presence or lawful residency for more than 180 cumulative days within a year within the last 8 years
  • Have not had a break in physical presence or lawful residency for more than 365 days cumulatively within the last 5 years
  • Have not had a break in physical presence or lawful residency for 6 consecutive months within the last 8 years

Note: A “year” within this context means a 365 day period starting from the date of online submission of the appointment, not a calendar year.

How is Eligibility Assessed?

To evidence meeting the physical presence requirement, the most important document is the Entry-Exit Record. This document issued by the Interior Ministry assesses if the applicant is minimally eligible to apply for an Indefinite Residence Permit Application from a “presence” perspective. If the calculation from the applicant’s Entry-Exit Record reveals that the applicant doesn’t meet the presence criteria above, the document will indicate “NEGATIVE” and the application will be rejected. Unfortunately, Entry-Exit Record requests can be submitted to the Migration Directorate only after the online application is submitted to the system. The Migration Directorate will not accept the request unless there is an active Indefinite Residence Permit case within their system. The Entry-Exit Record request takes approximately 2-3 months to be issued, so it’s crucial to be frequently following up at the Migration Directorate to timely collect this document.

Application Process

Indefinite Residence Permit adjudication can take 6-8 months in total, depending on several factors including appointment backlog and delay in Entry-Exit Record issuance. , The process can be divided in 5 steps:

  1. Submission of the Online Application and activation of case within the Migration Directorate’s system and booking an appointment date
  2. Submit request to the Migration Directorate for the Entry-Exit Record
  3. Initial appointment at the Migration Directorate (appointment date assigned by the Migration Directorate’s online system)
  4. Submission of the full Application Package including the Entry-Exit Record and additional documents requested during the initial appointment (if any)
  5. Application is forwarded to the Migration Directorate’s Commission for a full review

Standard adjudication time is about 4-6 months from submission of full application package and approval is at the discretion of the Migration Directorate. This may be longer if the Commission requests an additional interview with the applicant. Once the application is approved, generally the Migration Directorate sends an e-mail to the applicant. The applicant can then visit the Migration Directorate to request an exit document which allows applicant to travel outside Turkey before the permit is issued. Upon approval, the Indefinite Residence Permit Card is sent to the applicant’s residential address within 2-3 weeks.

Rights and Privileges

According to the Regulations on Foreigners and International Protection Law Article 41, without prejudice to acquired social security rights, Indefinite Residence Permit holders may benefit from the same rights accorded Turkish citizens (with the exception of the provisions in laws regulating specific areas) as well as:

  • Compulsory military service
  • Right to vote and be elected
  • Becoming a government officer
  • Vehicle importation customs exemption