How to get a Residence Permit in Turkey – ikamet izni

This post is also available in: Italian

From April 2014 Turkey enacted new laws regarding the permanence of foreigners in the country. The procedure has become harder and longer, and what was for many of us a simple walk to Vatan Caddesi (for the ones living in Istanbul), has become something closely resembling a bureaucratic nightmare.

The new law has been introduced not long ago, so that Emniyet and Belediye are having hard time understanding what the new regulatation requires in order to give an ikamet izni to foreigners, since Ankara seems to have no interest in clarifying the most obscure parts of the new law.


The documents required to request a residence permit (that from 2014 onwards will be a Turistic Permit), have changed.

As of today you will need:

  • 4 photographs. We will talk about it later on
  • A copy of your Rental Agreement
  • A bank statement certifying that you have at least 500USD for every month you plan to stay in the country
  • A private health insurance
  • The payment of a small fee, which is quantified according to your country of origin


It may sound unnecessary to talk about photographs, but Turkish authorities may get quite picky about them. You need 4 photographs, of the type used for passports. Chances are that the photographer will know which format you need.

In case you are planning to use an automatic booth to get your photographs, select the PASSPORT option.

Passport Photocopy

You can get a B/W photocopy, which will be more than enough for the purpose. You need to photocopy:

  • the page with your personal data (the one with picture)
  • the page reporting the stamp of your last entry in Turkey

You won’t need any sworn translation nor any public notary approval.

Coy of the Rental Agreement

Having a rental agreement is not enough anymore. The agreement, which has to last at least 1 year starting from the month you requested the residence permit, has to be approved by a public notary.

Your landlord will be able to point you at the closest public notary. The cost for the stamp is calculated according to the rent you pay. You will pay something around 80-100 TRY.

Bank statement proving 500 USD per Month

Until last year, it was possible to go to an exchange office, get a receipt, file it to the Emniyet, and be done. Now the thing has got more complicated, as the Emniyet won’t accept exchange office receipt anymore.

You will either need to change your money in a bank, or show that you have at least 6.000USD in a Turkish Bank account.

In case you are going to go for the second option, remember that your bank statement has to be printed by the bank itself and signed by a bank official. Together with that, the bank will give you a paper, certified by a public notary, proving that the signature on the bank statement belongs to the bank. There is no charge for this, as the bank will provide you with a photocopy of the document.

Private health insurance

What Turkish Republic is asking, about this matter, to foreigners, is not clear at all. At the moment every Emniyet will ask you to get a different health insurance, with different coverage and different limits.

Chaos reigns unchallenged, and even the most knowledgeable insurer isn’t able to solve the problem and pick the right insurance for you.

In my case, the Belediye of Bakırköy, asked for limitless coverage for treatment at hospital, 2.000 Turkish lira limit for day-care, 2.000 Turkish lira limit for drugs and prescriptions and 1.000 lira limit for medical supplies.

There are very few companies offering plans fit for the request of the Emniyet. At the moment just Ray Sigorta and Groupama seems to have such a plan available for foreigners. The costs vary according to your age and to your medical history. Expect to spend between 1.000 TRY and 3.000 TRY for yearly coverage.

Pay the Fees

The fees vary widely according to your country of origin. In my case, I’m Italian, so I don’t have to pay the yearly visa fee (320,70 TRY), and I didn’t have to pay the IKAMET TEZKERE UCRETI (which is the price of the blue book they will give you as a residence permit), because it is not the first year I apply for the permit.

I had to pay 25 USD for the first month, plus 5 dollars for every additional month. Total? 85 USD.

In addition to that I had to pay 50 TL to be enrolled in the registers of the Belediye.

So, in total you will have to pay:

  • 320,70 TRY, if you come from a country that has no agreement with Turkey about entry visa
  • ~200 TL for yearly permit
  • 300 TL for the blue book, if it is the first time you apply for it
  • 50 TL to the Belediye

All the fees are collected by the Vergi Dairesi of your Belediye. If you live on the European Side of Istanbul chances are that it is located in Vatan Caddesi, right next to the Yabanci Polis Ofisi. You can reach it with the Aksaray-Havalimani Metro, which stops right in front of the building.

Take an appointment far in advance

Big cities like Istanbul have long lines for the appointment. As soon as possible apply online (at e-randevu website), as you will have to wait for 2-3 months before having the chance to go to the police.

Don’t worry if your old residence permit will expire before the date of appointment. You will be able to remain in the country, even though you may have problems re-entering the country in case you leave. Ask to your local police department about how to act in case you need to leave the country.

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