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Turkish residence permit in 6 easy steps (Istanbul)


Hi all,

I wanted to share my learning with the IN community Istanbul on how to obtain a Turkish residence permit (“ikamet”). I guarantee spending Protected content carefully reading this guide and it will save you much time and trouble, so you can enjoy this great city instead of fearing the bureaucracy. Because - killing a myth - it is neither difficult nor time consuming to get the permit (at least, this was my experience).

I provide this information as a gesture to fellow expats who may need the residence permit. Thus please do not hold it against me if some of the information below is incorrect (or changes due to new regulation). Just make comments in the thread below so the steps can be clarified and/or shortened for your fellow expats who arrive in Istanbul in the coming months/years. Also, I understand that what I describe may not be the only way, but it worked fine for me (any many other who have provided their feedback).

Note that different countries have different rules with regards to length you can apply for permit (as Norwegian maximum was 3 years (April Protected content the amount required to show you can support yourself and fee size (see step 5 below). It is also the case that citizens of some countries may not get long term permits.

A note about work permit:
You do not need a work permit to apply for residence permit, but you need a residence permit to apply for a work permit (probably possible to start the application process for both at the same time - work permits tends to take a bit longer to obtain). Work permit application process is NOT explained in this thread.

If you following these steps I believe it should be possible to obtain the necessary documents with Protected content active “work” over less than a 4 week period:
Here goes – how to obtain a Turkish residence permit:

Step1: Get a tax ID number
Step2: Open a Turkish bank account
Step3: Put money into your bank account
Step4: Apply for the residence permit meeting online
Step5: Go to police station and process residence permit application
Step6: Return 2nd time to police station to pick up permit

STEP 1: Get a tax ID number
Why this step: You need a tax ID number to open a bank account
Where to go: Any tax office should do, but I went to the office called “Beyoglu Maliye Beyoğlu Vergi Dairesi" – this is located in Mesrutiyet street NO Protected content the Tunel Square. When you are in the office say “"Vergi Kimlik Numarasi"
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What to bring:
i) Passport
ii) Copy of picture/essential info page and entry visa page in the passport
Cost: Free
Time step take: Max. 30 minutes

STEP 2: Open a Turkish bank account
Why this step: You need to show you can support yourself when living in Turkey (see further down for details). I know there are other ways of documenting this, but are you planning to stay here some time you probably need an account anyway!
Where to go: I know some banks do not allow you to open account with them before you have the residence permit, so I went to a bank that does not have this as a requirement: HSBC. I went to the branch office Elmadag in Cumhuriyet Caddesi Protected content walk from Taksim metro and 30 minute walk from the tax office – see step 1) Protected content (click map for walking path)
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What to bring:
i) Passport
ii)copy of picture/essential info page and entry visa page in the passport
iii) According to Turkish law banks need a document which links your name to an address (apparently any address will do). Thus if you have a passport with an address, a driving license with an address or an invoice from an utility company (i.e. gas, electricity, water) either in Turkey or your home country that will do (it certainly did for me!).
Cost: Free
Time step take: 2 hours (fill in papers/stuff)
Comment: The other good thing about HSBC is that their internet banking is easy, I got a debit card, 4 accounts (for different currencies) at once and the staff are used to foreigners (“yabancılar”) thus they have staff who speak English.
Note: When setting up the account it is probably smart that you already have obtained a Turkish cell number, because you will need this to use the internet banking.

STEP 3: Put money into your account
In theory your should show that you can support yourself. I believe the current requirement is that you have funds equal of $300 per month. Thus as an example, if you plan to stay 12 months you need $300 X 12 = $ Protected content your account.
If you are working here on a Turkish work permit (or are in the process of applying), I assume some other rules apply.

STEP 4: Apply for a residence permit meeting online
i) Book a date and time with the police online here: Protected content , then select “E-Randevu”
Follow the steps online (it is quite easy/intuitive). At the end of this online session you will have booked a specified date and time (that suits your schedule) and have a 3 page application document you’ll need to bring to the actual meeting with the police.
My recommendation: Book time very early in the morning because delays are probably less AND you will have the opportunity to pay the required fees (see further below) the same day so you do not need to return
Time step take: Max. 30 minutes to fill out online form

STEP 5: Go to police station and process residence permit application
What to bring:
i) Passport (NB! Ensure your passport expire date is beyond the years you apply for.)
ii) Copy of picture/essential info page and entry visa page in the passport
iii) 4 passport pictures
iv) Application document (from step 4) printed in colour
v) T-account/balance from bank showing you have sufficient funding ($300 per month X the number of months you will apply for. E.g. if you apply for 3 years, then $300 X 36 = $10.800. It may be different practise from police officer to police officer, but I think it is smart that the statement from the bank is “fresh” (i.e. same day/day before). I also brought with me an additional written statement from the bank branch (I am not sure if this really was necessary)
vi) Bring money for a) permit fee (size of fee depends on country and length). As Norwegian I paid 205$ for 3 years on 27/ Protected content I understand these amounts change over time) b) fee for permit booklet. This is 172TRL. I do not know where you can check upfront the size of the fee, so bring enough money with you. In general I think you can only get 5 years permit (which can be re-newed 4 times)
Where to go: The main police station: İstanbul İl Emniyet Müdürlüğü (not far from Aksaray)
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What happens when you are at the police station:
i) You will go up one floor (1st) in block A and find many people (cok kalabalik) there for the same reason as you. There will also be some display boards with numbers. You will find a corresponding number on your application form. When it is your turn, you hand over your papers to a police officer. If they are OK (then this sessions only takes 10 minutes), application forms will be stamped and you will be requested to pay permit fee at the cashier downstairs plus fee for permit book.
ii) You will go one floor down (ground floor) to cashier and pay your relevant permit fee and get a receipt
iii) You go up and pay 172TRL for permit book
iv) You go back to the same officer (this time you do not have to wait for a number) and show him both receipts. If OK, the officer will return a part of your application document and the receipt for permit book with a date when you can pick up your residence permit
Note: The cashier office has limited opening hours (8. Protected content , Protected content , thus if you book a late appointment you need to come back within the next three days to pay (if you do not come within 3 days, you need to repeat step 4 again!). Thus, trying to avoid this I again recommend to select an early slot in step 4.
Cost: In my case (as Norwegian citizen) a 3 year residence permit set me back Protected content 483 TRL
Time step take: You must plan for delays thus bring a book/walkman(!)/iPod. Perhaps as much as 2 hours wait (even though you have booked a specific time) for meeting the police officer and perhaps 30 minutes at the cashier officer. But hey, maybe you are lucky and there is no wait.

STEP 6: Return 2nd time to police station to pick up permit
Where: Same place as step 5, second floor.
What to bring:
i) Passport
ii) Document from step 5, iv above.
When: Maybe 5 days or so after step 5 is completed. Not required that you pick it up on the day they write it is ready, but must be maximum within one month.
Time step take: Less than 10 min
Note: You need to pick it up yourself as it is checked against passport

I wish you good luck! I hope this helped.

All the best

PS If you want to comment on the thread, but not publicly contact me via Protected content

PS2: I came across this article from January Protected content Hurriyet with some additional information about who can or cannot get permits:
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PS3: If you are renewing your current residence permit you should be able to go directly to your local police station (Emniyet Mudurlugu), and not do all these steps

PS4: New in Istanbul and new to rent a flat? Check this guide under "housing": Protected content

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