Essential Employment Paperwork in Turkey



Most foreign nationals move to Turkey because of its sunny skies and pleasant weather that are perfect for retirement but over the past years, this country has also become popular among professionals from all parts of the globe. Those who have decided to take advantage of the many promising career opportunities in Turkey should start their journey by securing all the important employment paperwork. 

A work permit and visa are two of the most vital documents that all foreign nationals who wish to work in Turkey must have, particularly those who will stay for more than 90 days. The Turkish government is quite strict when it comes to protecting the labour rights of its locals. Work permits as well as visas will only be granted to expats who can prove that they possess skills that can not be demonstrated by the Turkish population. In addition to that, only a Turkish employer or formally registered multinational companies are allowed to apply for a work permit. 

Work Permit and Visa 

An employment contract is one of the most essential requirements when applying for a work permit and visa so expats must first have a firm job offer from a Turkey-based employer. Applications for these two documents must be done simultaneously by both the employer and the employee. Companies who want to hire an expat must submit a permit and visa request to the local office of the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS)

Foreign nationals also need to submit an application at the Turkish Consulate/Embassy in their home country. Processing time takes about four to eight weeks and once the visa and permit request has been approved, the applicant will be notified by phone or e-mail. The work permit and visa are valid for one year and will be stamped on the expatriate’s passport. Both of the documents can be renewed for another two years on the first renewal and three years on the second application. Some of the documents that expats must submit to the Embassy are: 

  • Passport that is valid for at least three months
  • One passport-sized photo
  • Copy of the Employment Contract
  • Notarised Turkish translation of the applicant’s passport
  • Notarised Turkish translation of the applicant’s academic and professional certifications
  • Completed visa/permit application form
  • Proof of payment of the visa and permit processing fees 

Residence Permit 

Another essential employment paperwork that all foreigners must have is the residence permit. Within 30 days of arrival in Turkey, expats must go to the Foreigner’s Division of the local police department in their area of residency.

"I will say that the new Residence permit for Turkey was more complicated and the requirement to have health insurance has caused a lot of issues. But, I believe now the system has settled down and people have now found their way around the new system. However, work permits are still hard to get." - Kerry Arslan, Expat in Turkey

The validity of residence permits range from one to five years and applicants must ensure to bring the documents listed below during the application: 

  • Four passport-sized photos
  • Passport and copy of the valid Turkish visa and entry stamp
  • Permit issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security
  • Photocopies of the employer’s operating certificate (dated for the current year), tax registration and authorised signatures