Visa Information for Expats in Istanbul & Turkey

Turkey has always been a popular destination for European holidaymakers and retirees. The gorgeous coastline and year-round sunny climate have made the south-west coast of Turkey a favorite retirement haven for British, Germans, and Scandinavians. Similarly, Iranians and Saudis have always considered Turkey a second home with investments in the country. Lately, Istanbul is attracting many digital nomads because of its exciting culture, coupled with a low cost of living. Consequently, in 2019 Turkey saw nearly 700,000 new immigrants.

General Tourist Visa for Turkey

Entry to Turkey is different for every country.

British citizens and most European citizens traveling to Turkey for tourist or business purposes can travel without a visa for visits of up to 90 days in any 180 days.

U.S. citizens who wish to visit Turkey for less than 90 days may obtain an e-visa for Turkey at

Canadian citizens, similarly, must apply for an e-visa at

Tourist visas are for up to 90 days in 180 days. If one exceeds the 90 days, you will receive a penalty, depending on how many days you overstayed.

Residence Permit for Turkey

If you do wish to stay longer than 90 days, then you must apply for a Short-term Residence Permit, known as an Ikamet. You must begin this process before the 90-day visa expires. Applications can be made here. It’s important to note that this permit does not allow any employment.


  • Valid passport

  • Proof of Health Insurance which covers Turkey

  • 4 bio-metric passport size photos taken within the last 6 months

  • Proof of sufficient funds to support the applicant for the duration of the required permit. At the time of printing, this requirement is US$500 a month. Therefore, a one-year Residence Permit requires proof of US$6,000.

This permit can be renewed as needed. After 8 years of residence, one can apply for a Long-term Residence Permit, Ikamet.

Foreigner Work Permit for Expats in Turkey

If you are going to Turkey to work, for example as a lecturer or English teacher, you and your new employer must apply together for this permit. You can find out more about the criteria for obtaining a Work Permit here.

Student Visa

If you are planning on going to Turkey to study and you have received an acceptance letter into a program at a Turkish university, you will be required to obtain a Student’s Visa. To organize this, you will need to apply in person at the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate in your home country. You must have your student visa before you can enter Turkey. Once you have arrived in Turkey, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit that allows you to stay in the country beyond 90 days. More information on student visas is available here.

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