Foreign members of the Press (“press members”) have long had a distinct immigration path in most countries, including Türkiye. This recognized the unique position of the Press as not part of standard labour markets and possessing certain rights and obligations under the relevant national Press Directorate. However, several significant applicable rules and requirements set for press members assigned to Türkiye were amended by the Law No. 7418 (“Law”) adopted back in October 2022. In this context, press members have become obligated to apply either for a work permit or a work permit exemption for the period of their assignments in Türkiye.

Though the Law was scheduled to be implemented as of January 1, 2023, the new on-line application system launched for work permit exemptions was not implemented until mid-2023. 

  • What was the previous practice?

Until the publication of the Law, press members assigned to Türkiye previously, as a first step, obtained a press visa to enter Türkiye. Following their entry into the country, obtaining a special type of residence permit issued for press members was required for them to stay in the country for a period of 90 days or more. Only then were foreign press members able to obtain a Turkish press card from the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye Directorate of Communications (“Communications Directorate”).

  • What is the current practice?

With the publication of the Law, press members are now obligated to obtain a work authorization document (which replaces a residence permit) through the Ministry of Labor. As such, press members coming from abroad are required to obtain a work visa instead of a press visa regardless if they are applying for a full work permit or work permit exemption (see below). However, this process is still completed by obtaining a press card as a last step. 

  • What is the difference between a work permit and a work permit exemption?

The difference between these two application categories arises from a sponsoring entity’s presence in Türkiye. According to the Law, press members who have been assigned as employees of an entity established in Türkiye are required to apply for a work permit, while press members working independently or for an entity established outside Türkiye but assigned to Türkiye are required to apply for a work permit exemption for the duration of their assignment in Türkiye. 

  • What are the application procedures for a work permit and a work permit exemption?

Both applications can be filed while the applicant is domestically in Türkiye or from abroad.

Provided that all the relevant sponsorship eligibility criteria[1] are fulfilled by the press member and the Turkish entity (if present), press members located in Türkiye can file work permit and work permit exemption applications directly through the on-line application portals of Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security (“Ministry”) by submitting the required documents electronically. 

On the other hand, press members located outside of Türkiye must first make an in-person work visa application through the authorized Turkish consular post located in their country of nationality or lawful residency, regardless of whether a work permit or a work permit exemption is required in their case.

After filing the work visa application, a work visa reference number is issued which directs the application process either to a work permit or a work permit exemption. The application then proceeds electronically through the Ministry’s on-line portals according to its type.

Application adjudication time varies depending on the application type, consular post from which the application is filed, and/or the Ministry’s workload at the time of the application. Generally, both applications are adjudicated within approximately 4-6 weeks from the filing date.

  • Upon approval of the work permit applications, the work permit card is issued by the Ministry and posted to the Turkish employer’s worksite address. The press member must then collect their card from their Turkish employer.
  • Upon approval of work permit exemption applications, issuance of work permit exemption card is mandatory if the press member has been assigned to Türkiye for a period of at least 90 days. Work permit exemption cards are posted to the address provided in the work permit exemption application form. The press member must collect their card from the given address accordingly. If the assignment is less than 90 days, a print out of the approval document provided by the Ministry would be sufficient as issuance of work permit exemption card is not mandatory. 

Note that work permit and work permit exemption holders are obligated to secure a “permanent” residential address in the same city where their worksite is located and register their addresses with the authorized Migration Directorate/Civil Registry Offices in that location.

Following the above-mentioned steps, a foreign press member must lastly be accredited by the Communications Directorate to duly perform their press-related activities and be issued a press card. Accreditation applications are of two types: permanent accreditation[2] and temporary accreditation. These are submitted electronically to the Communications Directorate. In cases where the assignment is scheduled for a period of up to three months, the press member shall apply for temporary accreditation. For assignments longer than three months, a “permanent” accreditation is required. Upon approval of the accreditation application, the press member is granted a press card which is issued up until December 31 of each year or to the expiration of the work permit/work permit exemption, whichever is earlier. 


With the new press immigration practice outlined above, certain eligibility criteria are now being examined from both the press member’s and the sponsoring employer’s perspectives when applying for a work permit. For this reason, the new application process of obtaining a work permit/work permit exemption is more burdensome and has more restrictions than the previous practice. Moreover, additional compliance issues may arise in the future in cases where the press member works for more than one entity or for an entity that cannot meet the sponsorship criteria or when the assignment requires the press member to stay outside of Türkiye for a long period.

Though the Law has been effective as of January 1, 2023, implementation of the Law is relatively new and still a work in progress. Thus, further shortcomings or benefits of the new practice are yet to be discovered.

[1] Please reach out to Bener Law Office for further information on the work permit sponsorship eligibility criteria.

[2] Though it is called a “permanent” accreditation, this type of accreditation can only be issued up until December 31 of each year or to the expiration of the work permit/work permit exemption, whichever is earlier.

Maria Lianides Çelebi
Senior Partner | [email protected]
Ekin Yıldız
Associate | [email protected]
Tuğçe Işıkara Törtop
Partner | [email protected]