I read a lot of articles on the Internet telling how difficult it is to get a Residence Permit in Turkey, and I strongly disagree! :)
Comparing to other countries, the procedure and timeline is much much more shorter and easier, but it’s the absence of system whatsoever that creates chaos and makes you feel like you’re facing the most difficult and tangled foreign system in the world. But hold on, and after you will receive your paper permit just 2 weeks after you application, I am sure you will not complain anymore :)
I will give you the list of documents required to apply for the short-term residence permit in Bursa, Turkey as of August 2014. The thing is that information on websites varies and even the list of required papers they’ve given me in the police was not correct. So I had to learn it on-the-go and hope that it could help you now.
The whole process is rather simple and easy:
- Gather all the documentation
- Go to the Foreigner’s Police in your city – in my case – Bursa Yabancılar Şubesi located at Anadolu Mah. Ankara Cad. 45/A, Yildirim, Bursa
- Submit your application
- Go back to get your temporary permit in two weeks
- Wait for the plastic card from Ankara in the mail
I suggest that you go first to the foreigner’s police, get a list of required papers to submit with your application and insist on somebody from the police confirming you if THAT’S ALL what’s needed. But I will warn you that probably the list will be incomplete and nobody would be very interested in spending time explaining you anything..
According to my experience this year, here are the things that police will request from you:
- Insurance – you are required to buy private health insurance. The insurance is issued minimum for a year, so if you’re applying for a 6-month permit it will be your loss, but unfortunately there’s no way around it. The insurance company will ask for your passport, address, bunch of questions about your height, weight, smoking and drinking habits, any chronic illnesses etc. It took us around 25 minutes to get the insurance. Credit card was accepted for the payment and the total cost was around 600 TL.
- Proof of address – I’ve read and heard that Foreigner’s Police (Yabancılar Şubesi) requests a copy of rental contract with your name on it as well as a copy of utility bills if you’ve been living in the same apartment for some time. We provided a copy of hotel reservation (with detailed hotel address written on it) and hotel payment slip. The reservation was made and paid for only the first 40 days. I’m not sure whether the rules for 6-month and 1-year permits vary… But my hotel reservation was accepted.
- Bank account – Foreigner’s Police (Yabancılar Şubesi) DO NOT accept money exchange slip anymore. It is required that you open a bank account in a Turkish bank and deposit amount equal to $500 per month of the requested permit validity. In my case it was $3000. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this rule too. You will have to ask your bank to print out a recent balance statement of your account and add it to other documents in your permit application. For your information, some banks like Akbank require a foreigner identification number to open an account and this number you only get when you receive your permit. So I would suggest you call or visit the bank of your choice and demand what’s needed to open a bank account. But you will definitely need passport, address and a Tax Identification Number.
- Tax Identification Number can be obtained at the local tax office. All that’s needed for it is a proof of address and your passport.
- Application – you’re requested to write demand for the permit on a A4 paper, stating your name, requested type of permit, date, and signature. It has to be written in Turkish.
- Payments – you are requested to pay residence permit fee – 108 TL for a 6-month permit, payable at the tax office (you can make the payment at the same place after receiving your tax number). 50 TL registration fee, payable at Osmangazi İlçe Emniyet Müdürlüğü. Now, the tricky part. After we’ve gather ALL papers and returned to the police to submit my application, they asked whether we paid the visa fee, which was a surprise because nobody told us about it before, neither it was written on the list of documents and payments they gave us at the police office, nor it was explained on the website of Foreigner’s Police. If you’re a citizen of one of the countries whose citizens are exempt from paying entry-visa fee when entering Turkey, in order to apply for a residence permit you have to pay one-time visa fee. In my case, for Ukrainian national, it was 320,70 TL, and it had to be paid at the Tax Office as well. Believe me I don’t get where this amount comes from. We used to pay $30 or 20 euros couple of years ago for a visa at the airport that was valid for multiple entries during 60 days. Anyway, there’s no way around this rule too. So make sure you check whether you have to pay visa-fee and the exact amount for your country. Good news is that you pay this only once and if you will need to renew your residence permit you don’t have to pay this visa fee again.
- 4 passport-size photos
- Copy of your passport’s first page with your personal information and photo and copy of the page with your last Turkish visa or entry stamp.
- A Turkish-speaking friend who will help you and will do all the talking, because you need to be prepared that almost nobody speaks English in government offices. Maybe they speak English at the bank, but don’t count too much on it. In my case I was so lucky that I have a boyfriend who handled all of the government officials and made it easy for me. He did all the talking, and I was only signing paper after paper, slip after slip. Not too difficult :)
After reviewing my application, police officer gave me a little paper with a number on it and said I could come back in 10 days with this paper and my tax number to get a temporary paper residence permit that I can use until my plastic card arrives. No wonder when we came back to the police 2 weeks later, they said to wait for a couple of days more :) In total, I got my permit 18 days after applying which is quite fast even with all the paper hassle, burocracy of carrying one paper from office to office collecting signatures, unexpected expenses etc.
All in all I am happy to have my Residence Permit in Tukey now and hope that my experience will help some of you! Feel free to ask any questions, I will gladly share all I know with you :)