Obtaining a work permit in Turkey is a demanding process for those who seek to work or establish a legal business in Turkey. With the rapid increases in Turkey’s export and import, foreign investors and employers have started to know Turkey’s economy and financial affairs better.

Moreover, many employees have been looking forward to working in Turkey after the recent economic tendencies towards the country. However, it is not easy to work in Turkey without meeting the necessary legal circumstances. The first legal requirement for those who seek to work or establish a new business in Turkey is to obtain a work permit in Turkey.

Getting a work permit is not an easy process. It may require professional help regarding the hardships of the process and legal requirements of the country. So, foreign individuals may consult ERAI Turkey for high-quality service and functional consultant skills. As an umbrella company, ERAI Turkey provides counselling for work permits regarding issues.

Every foreign investor or employee should apply for a work permit, but of course, there are some exceptions stated in Turkish law.

Foreign individuals who need to apply for a work permit:

  • Employees,
  • Self-employed entrepreneurs,
  • Directors of Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) based in Turkey who also own shares in the same LLC,
  • Members of the Board of Directors of Turkish Joint Stock Companies (JSCs) who also own stock in the same JSC,

Foreign individuals who do not need to apply for a work permit:

  • Shareholders of Turkey-based enterprises who do not hold an official managerial position in the company,
  • Members of the Board of Directors in Turkey-based JSCs who do not reside in Turkey,
  • Cross-border service providers stay less than 90 days in Turkey in 180 days.


Foreigners can obtain a work permit in Turkey by choosing four different types of visas and getting the chance to work in Turkey legally.


Individuals with a temporary work permit can only work in Turkey for a limited period. For this reason, the provisional work permit is valid for only one full year at the time of the application. Only when the application is reviewed favourably at the end of the one-year duration, the work permit might well be extended to two years for the first extension application.

After extending to two years with a legal extension application, foreign employers get the chance to apply for another maximum 3-year addition for the work permit through a subsequent extension application.

As a direct consequence, foreigners can stay up and work for a maximum of 6 years in Turkey by applying for an extended provisional work permit in legal ways. Nevertheless, employers cannot apply for an extension unless they have worked for the same employer throughout the work permit duration.


Foreign individuals can apply for an indefinite work permit once they meet the requirements. Foreigners with a long-term residence permit in Turkey and a work permit for at least eight years can apply for an indefinite work permit.

Apart from several specific regulations in-laws, foreign people who already have a work permit for an indefinite period can benefit from the privileges given to Turkish people. However, they cannot exercise privileges such as army service, work opportunities in public institutions, or the right to vote and be elected.


To get a work permit in Turkey, foreigners can show Turkish companies under which they will work as sponsors. However, the entrepreneurs or digital nomads cannot have that opportunity to obtain a work permit in Turkey. These individuals must meet the requirements to receive an independent work permit valid for a definite period.

Qualifying institutions will evaluate your permit applications according to the following terms:

  • Level of education
  • Scientific and technological contributions that will be provided by the foreign investors
  • Professional capability and experience
  • The capital you will invest in Turkey if you are a shareholder of a foreign company.

Once the foreigners meet the circumstances, they can apply for an independent work permit. To be able to use this permit type, individuals must have resided in Turkey for at least five years.

People from abroad who’ve already held a legitimate residence permit for at least six months, with the exception of academic permits, can directly apply to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. The ministry will analyze your application once individuals send the documents required, and you should receive them back in a month.

You will receive an “Independent Work Permit Application Document” if your application and work are approved for a permit in this classification. The document is valid for three months from the date of issue. You will be given the independent work permit to submit your trade registry records to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.


The turquoise card is for the foreigners who will contribute to Turkey in the field of economy, science, industry and technology. The foreign individuals can have the same rights given to the indefinite work permit owners once they are granted the turquoise card. As well as the foreign workers or employers, their children and spouses are also granted a residence permit in Turkey.

When foreigners get their turquoise card, there will be three contribution years which is called the transition period. If the cardholders cannot contribute to any field of Turkey’s sectors within these three years, the card will be invalid and will be taken from the holders by the ministry.


Foreign individuals have to submit several documents and pass through certain stages to obtain a work permit in Turkey. Foreigners have to submit the application to the Turkish Consulate or the abroad Consulate located in foreigners’ homelands.

The application process involves the following stages and requires intended documents:

  • Labour contract,
  • Invitation letter,
  • Application letter for the work permit,
  • Foreign personnel application form,
  • Photocopy of the passport,
  • Copy of the diploma or interim graduation certificate translated into Turkish by certified translators or official institutions,
  • Turkey Trade Registry Gazette, which shows the most recent capital and partnership structure of the organization or institution which will employ the foreign personnel,
  • Balance sheet and profit/loss statement of the last year approved by the tax office or the certified public accountant,
  • Notarized power of attorney of the person who is authorized to submit an electronic application in the capacity of “user” on behalf of the organization or institution who will employ the foreign personnel or a certificate showing that the person acting in the capacity of user works at the organization or institution which submits the application,


While most of the foreigners have to pass through several wanted stages for a work permit in Turkey, there are people who can apply for and get a work permit without any required conditions. These people are:

  • Foreigners whose parents or children are Turkish Citizens,
  • Foreigners who are married to a Turkish citizen for at least three years,
  • Citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,
  • Foreigners who have residence permits within the framework of the practices of the Administration for Turks Living Abroad and Related Communities,
  • Foreigners who have residence permits within the framework of the humanitarian considerations,
  • Foreigners who have residence permits because of being a victim of human trafficking,
  • Foreigners who have a residence permit in the status of stateless persons.


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