Work permit obtainment in Turkey is currently a mainstream affair that interest foreign citizens who intend to work in Turkey. Turkey is becoming an appealing destination to work and live in a different and new country in recent years. However, working in Turkey without a permit is banned legally. So, foreign individuals must obtain a work permit to work in Turkey. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions from the law that ban working without permission.

The following individuals must apply for a work permit;

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

The following individuals who do not have to apply for a work permit;

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


There are 4 types of work permit.

  1. Temporary Work Permit

The temporary work permit provides individuals to work in Turkey for a limited period. The temporary work permit is valid for one year on the initial application. At the end of the one year period, if the application is evaluated positively, the work permit may be extended to two years for the first extension application. After the two years period, the work permit may be extended to maximum of three years for subsequent extension application. So, it is possible to work maximum six years in Turkey with a temporary work permit. However, the work permit can only be extended if the foreigner continues to work for the same employer during the work permit period.

  1. Permanent Work Permit

Foreigners who have been having at least eight years of legal work permit or holding long term residence can apply for the permanent work permit. The citizens who are granted permanent work permits benefit from all the citizenship rights that are granted for Turkish citizens except these rights:

  • Right to vote and seek public office
  • Duty to serve for military
  • Right to be employed as a civil servant
  • Other restrictions stipulated in various laws and regulations, such as the restriction in connection with acquisition of real estate in certain areas.
  1. Independent Work Permit

The Independent work permit is provided to foreigners who have lived in Turkey uninterruptedly for at least five years and contributed to economic development and employment.

  1. Turquoise Card

Turquoise Card is a comprehensive option for highly skilled persons working and remaining in Turkey. It is a unique type of work permit that is valid for an indefinite period of time. Cardholders are allowed to work in Turkey for an unlimited period. The card would be granted through the recommendation of the Turkish International Labor Force Council by considering several factors such as education level, professional experience and contribution to technology and science. A turquoise card might be provided as a transitional period for the first three years. The application for an extension must be submitted within 180 days of the Turquoise card’s expiration date. As a result, the turquoise card might be used for an endless period of time.


   To obtain a work permit in Turkey, you must file the initial application either from abroad or Turkey. Foreigners must apply at a consulate of the Republic of Turkey in the nation where they are citizens or permanent residents if they are filing an application from abroad. A labor contract, letter of assignment, or a document stating corporate partnership should be attached to the application. Within ten business days of the candidate’s application to a consulate, the employer in Turkey must make an online application and submit the appropriate information and documentation to the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, either in person or by mail. The procedures for work permit applications filed abroad will be carried out electronically by the Republic of Turkey’s consulates and the ministry. Foreigners whose work permit applications are granted by the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services must enter Turkey within 180 days after the date the work permit is given.

   In the case of applications filed in Turkey, foreigners who have residence permits with a remaining term of at least six months, or their employers, may file work permit applications in Turkey, except for residence permits provided for education. Foreigners who fall under this category are not obliged to apply to Turkish consulates. Within six business days of submitting the online application, the documents required for the application must be delivered to the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services, either in person or by mail.

   The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services completes work permit application procedures in conjunction with relevant ministries and authorities, as needed. The ministry completes the procedures for properly filed work permit applications in a maximum of thirty days if all relevant documents are supplied in full. If the ministry determines that required documents are missing, the applicant is notified and allowed to submit the missing documents. In such circumstances, the thirty-day timeframe begins when the ministry receives the missing documents.

   In the case of applications filed abroad, the ministry notifies the applicant of the positive or negative decision on the work permit application (through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The ministry notifies the foreigner or the employer in the case of applications filed in Turkey. Foreigners who receive residency and work permits from consulates and visit Turkey must register with the Turkish Address Registry System within twenty working days of their arrival.


  • Employers who want to hire a foreigner must have at least five Turkish employees. This criterion must be met in the last six months of the one-year work visa if the foreigner seeking the work permit is also a company partner. This gives the foreigner half a year to develop a new business or grow an existing one in order to be able to work there legally. 
  • The company’s issued capital must be at least TRY 100,000, or gross sales must be at least TRY 800,000, or the value of exports for the previous year must be at least USD 250,000.
  • If the foreigner is a partner in the company, he or she must own at least 20% of the total shares, which is TRY 40,000.
  • Salary is one of the factors for obtaining a work permit. Depending on the profession, this criterion varies. Teachers, psychologists, physiotherapists, performers, and musicians, for example, must be paid three times the minimum wage. It must be at least minimum salary for domestic workers.

Nonetheless, the evaluation criteria vary depending on the industry, the firm, and the foreigner’s personal circumstances.


   Pre-authorization from the relevant ministry is required under the law for activity in the domains of health and education. Foreigners who need to get pre-authorization, on the other hand, are exempt from the standard work permit evaluation criteria.

   If you would like to obtain a work permit, you can contact with ERAI Turkey to provide you with every bureaucratic procedure.