How to get the Turkish Short-Term Residence Permit

This is my opinion on the getting the Short-Term Residence Permit in relation to the Turkish working holiday scheme. Note that I have not been successful in getting the permit, but below is my experience and recommendations on how to go about it.

Contents

On this page:

  1. Introduction
  2. My experience
  3. Recommendations
  4. Step-by-step guide
  5. Conclusion

Introduction

When applying for the working holiday visa of Turkey its likely you will be issued with a 3 month entry visa, and once you are in the country you are required to apply with immigration to extend your stay. (This setup is also practised some other countries e.g. Isreal)

Turkey’s immigration services are in high demand – 800 thousand refugees have arrived in the country over the last 4 years – a challenge for any country! So it’s fair to expect some delays with any immigration services.

My experience

In my case, I arrived in the country mid-September 2016, and kicked off my application for the residence permit on the next business day. I thought I would be in Istanbul, so applied there. Because of high demand, my appointment was automatically assigned – it was for 12th January 2017. My visa expired in late November 2016, so this raised alarm bells for me.

Depending on which region you apply in your appointment is automatically assigned to you. It also seems like it is a regular occurrence for the appointment to be later the validity of your visa. From talking to people if you stay in the country and cause no trouble, it can be fine. If you stay past your visa expiry and need to leave – say I planned to stay till my appointment, and my visa expired but then something happened at home and I decided to leave, I’d be fined on departure. My understanding is that there is only leniency for overstaying once – so if I returned and stayed longer than my visa again, there would be more trouble the second time, what exactly I’m not sure.

Overstaying a visa anywhere is not something I’m keen to try, nor would I recommend! So if I could do it all over again, here’s what I would do…

Recommendations

Don’t bother with the working holiday visa

First things first – I wouldn’t bother with the working holiday visa.
New Zealanders do not require a visa for up to 3 months, and Australians can get an online e-visa for 3 months. Best to visit Turkey as a tourist, then if you like here, find an employer to sponsor you for a work visa.

Or if you are more skilled, try negotiating with the consular services in your country for a straight work visa for one year – my understanding is that this would allow you to skip all the residence permit palava. A good argument to back this up is how other countries implement their working holiday schemes – looking at The Philippines, which has zero red tape/hoops to jump once in the country.

Still need a residence permit?

If you decide to utilise the working holiday scheme, or are in another situation that requires a short-term residence permit here is what I would recommend…

1. Get the help of a private immigration service

If you don’t speak Turkish and have little connections in the country then I’d recommend investigating enlisting the help of an immigration service. I tried to do things myself, and I wasn’t very effective. I talked to (but did not use) Istanbul Foreigners Office. A quick google search will find plenty others too.

2. Immigrate to a smaller region

When discussing my situation with private immigration services, they suggested that smaller regions had a smaller wait time (e.g. closer to one month, than 4 months).

So if I did it all again I would apply in a smaller region. Think Antalya, or Izmir (maybe even Bursa) – all of these cities are still in the 2M+ population range, so not insignificant centers.

3. Start your application before you arrive

Allow a 3-month wait for applications in Istanbul, and 3+ weeks for other areas. You can start your application online so long as you have a few details sorted out, such as an address.

Step-by-step guide

So with all that in mind, here is the step by step process for the short-term residence permit.