Types of Work Permit

Information about the different types of permit for living and working in Turkey…

There are four main categories of work permit:

  1. Work permit for a fixed term
  2. Work permit for an indefinite term
  3. Independent work permit
  4. Exceptional cases
  • For information from the Department of Work Permit for Foreigners: Click here

Work permit for a fixed term

Work permits are usually issued for a fixed period of one year. This may be extended or reduced depending on the duration of the residence permit (if one is already in place), the current market conditions and employment opportunities in the industry sector, and the requirements of the employer.

After one year of employment, the permit may be extended up to three years provided it is for the same job with the same employer. It may then be extended for a further three years and is valid for work with any employer provided the profession remains the same.

The spouse and children of a foreigner legally employed in Turkey are entitled to the fixed term work permit provided they have lived together consistently for at least five years.

Work permit for an indefinite term

Foreigners who have been resident in Turkey for at least eight years without interruption, or have worked in the country for at least six years, qualify for a work permit of unlimited term with no restrictions. Time spent in education does not contribute to the eight year period.

Independent work permit

An independent work permit applies to a foreigner setting up a business operation, and is only available if they have lived consistently in Turkey for at least five years and can show that their business will create employment opportunities or contribute to local economic development. If they qualify, a Certificate of Application for Independent Work Permit is issued. This is valid for three months, during which time the business is set up and the trade register record submitted to the department.

Exceptional cases

In exceptional cases a foreigner is automatically eligible for a work permit. There are are over ten exceptional circumstances which include:

  • European Union citizens; and on application the non-EU spouse and children of an EU national. EU citizens (and family) permits may be granted for longer than standard periods
  • Foreigners married to Turkish citizens (although this right is lost if the couple separate within the first three years of marriage). In the case of a divorce after three years of marriage, the foreigner may be classed as "having settled down" and retain the right to work
  • For these and other exceptions: Click here