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How to Get a Work Permit in Turkey? Who can Apply and What is the Procedure?


Employers who want to employ foreign nationals are required to apply to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security ("Ministry") by following the procedures and principles determined by the International Labor Law No. 6735 and obtain a work permit for the relevant foreigner. In this regard, foreigners applied; to work or actively working in Turkey, to receive or already to receive vocational training with an employer; cross-border service providers staying in the country to provide temporal service, and real persons and legal entities applied to employ or employ foreigners in Turkey are considered within the scope of the International Labor Law. Administrative fines may be imposed on employers in case of hiring unregistered foreigners in violation of the International Labor Law's obligation. Besides, the procedures and principles regarding foreigners exempt from work permits will also be conducted by the provisions of the International Labor Law. Bilateral or multilateral agreements to which Turkey is a party, as well as provisions of international agreements, are reserved.


Work permit applications can be made domestically or abroad. Domestic work permit applications shall be made to the Ministry, and the application abroad shall be made to the embassies or consulate generals of the Republic of Turkey in the foreigner's country of citizenship or legal stay.

Applications to be made within the country are made electronically. Therefore, the employer or its legal representative must complete the application by obtaining the e-Government password from the “PTT” and then submit the required forms and documents to the Ministry within the prescribed time. It should be noted that it is not considered possible for a foreigner to apply for a work permit on her/his own without an employer.

Required documents for applications for work permits vary depending on the types of work permits.


According to the International Labor Law, the five (5) types of work permits are as follows:

1. Temporary Work Permit

2. Permanent Work Permit

3. Independent Work Permit

4. Turquoise Card

5. Exceptional Work Permit

Temporary Work Permit

A temporary work permit may be granted for a maximum period of one (1) year at the first application, depending on the foreigner's service contract and the term of the employment provided that he/she works in a certain workplace belonging to a certain employer or in the workplace of the same employer in the same business line. Depending on the same employer, a work permit may be granted for a maximum of two (2) years for the first extension application and a maximum of three (3) years for subsequent extension application.

Applications made by a different employer are considered a first application, and the work permit may be granted for a maximum of one (1) year.

Permanent Work Permit

Foreigners who may be granted permanent work permits are as follows;

a) Holders of long-term residence permit according to Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458 and

b) Holders of a minimum of eight (8) years of legal work permit.

Independent Work Permit:

An Independent work permit is a work permit that qualifies a foreigner to work independently on his/her behalf in Turkey, whether they do employ other persons or not.

Besides the foreigners who want to work independently on his/her behalf, it is regulated that company partners who work in senior management in companies established by the Turkish Commercial Code can also apply for an independent work permit.

Foreigners, who want to profess professions regulated by special laws in Turkey, may be granted an independent work permit provided that these special conditions are fulfilled.

A period of time to apply for an independent work permit is not required. However, it is stipulated that the independent work permit may be granted for a time limit. Nevertheless, the maximum number of years to be given is not stipulated under the provision.

Turquoise Card

According to the International Labor Law Article 11; in line with the international labor policy, foreigners whose application accepted as appropriate about their educational level, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, the effect of their in-country activities or investments on Turkey's economy and employment, and the suggestions of International Labor Policy Advisory Board and procedures and principles determined by the Ministry shall be granted, Turquoise Card.

Turquoise Card shall be given on condition that its first three (3) years will be deemed a transition period. Ministry may request information and documents from an employer or employed foreigner as regard to conducted activities. In case Turquoise Card is not canceled under Article 15 within the transition period, the transition period shall be removed upon the foreigner's application, and he/she shall be granted a permanent Turquoise Card. This application must be lodged starting before one hundred eighty (180) days of expire date of the transition period or in any case before the date of expiry. After the transition period's expiration, the application for removing the transition period reservation shall be refused, and Turquoise Card shall become invalid.

Turquoise Card owner's spouse and dependent children shall be given a document that substitutes the residence permit and shows that they are relatives of Turquoise Cards' owner.

Turquoise Card owners shall benefit from the same rights provided by the permanent work permit arranged pursuant to the International Labor Law.

In the application of Turquoise Card; those who have internationally recognized studies in the academic area, and those distinguished in science, industry, and technology, areas of which deemed strategic from the point of Turkey, or those whose export, employment or investment capacity make a significant contribution to the national economy or expected to make such contributions shall be assessed as qualified foreigners.

Provisions of this article do not apply to foreigners under temporary protection.

Exceptional Work Permit

According to the International Labor Law Article 16, the foreigners that may be exempted from the application procedure, terms and conditions, and foreseen periods and from the implementation of Articles 7, 9, and 10 are as followed:

a) Assessed as qualified workforce due to their educational level, wage, professional experience, contribution to science and technology and such qualifications,

b) Assessed as a qualified investor due to their contribution to science and technology, their level of investment or export value, the volume of employment they provide, and such qualifications,

c) Employed by his/her employer for a certain period in a project which is being conducted in Turkey,

d) Declared by Ministry of Interior of Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of Turkish origin,

e) Citizen of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,

f) Citizen of the countries that are a member of the European Union,

g) In the scope of Law No. 6458: applicants of international protection claim, conditional refugees, persons under temporary protection and stateless persons, victims of human trafficking supported by the victim's assistance process,

h) Married with a Turkish citizen and live in Turkey with their spouse with a marriage bond,

i) Employed in foreign missions without diplomatic inviolability,

j) Internationally reputed for their successes in their field and come to Turkey for scientific, cultural and sportive purpose,

k) Cross-border service providers.

Please contact us for detailed information and legal support services.


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