how to get a work permit in turkey

How to get a work permit in Turkey? A short guide on Turkish work visa

To get a work permit in Turkey, you take these three steps:
1 find a job in Turkey
2 get a job offer from your employer
3 your employer apply for your work permit or working visa
All this can happen in Turkey or outside of Turkey. It will take you some weeks to get your work permit once you have applied. In Turkey, a work permit is like a work visa and like a residence permit.

Turkish nationals and nationals of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, don’t need a work permit to work in Turkey. Everyone else, all other foreigners, do need a work permit to work regularly in Turkey. You can look for work in Turkey but, in most cases, you cannot get a work permit on your own.
To get a regular job
 in Turkey, you need to have a job offer first. An employer, or a consultancy company, or a work agency should apply for a work visa in your name, once they have decided to employ you.
If you are abroad, you can apply through the local Turkish consulate to get your working visa. If you are in Turkey, your boss must apply on your behalf for your work permit. 

How to get a work permit in Turkey?

Most of the job permits are provided by the Ministry of Labor. The Ministry of Economics provides permits for workers in free zones. Ministry of National Education provides for educational employees. Ministry of Culture and Tourism can also provide some work permits. So try to understand, if you can, who you are applying to and at which regional office. That can be useful if some procedures are delayed.

Read more below, comment, or contact us if you have any questions.

Your work permit is in the form of an ID card and will also be your permit for residency. Here below you can see how a work permit looks like.

work permit in Turkey

Types of Work Permits

There are two main types of work permits: for a definite period and for an indefinite period. The first time you apply you will probably a definite period work permit.

For a definite period

It is the sort of job that most visitors receive. The employee must have an employer for work authorization, and he is “dependent”.  It has to be issued for one year. That must extend every year. Thereafter, and subject to a ‘definite period.’ The application may be made from outside or within Turkey for this form of work permit.

Applying from Outside of Turkey

If you are outside of Turkey, you want get a regular job offer letter and/or contract first. Then, in coordination with your employer, you must submit a work visa application at a Turkish embassy or consulate in your home country or where you legally reside. Your application, and your employer’s application, must happen within ten business days of each other. After the employer’s application and your application are approved, you will get your work visa, which you will use to travel to Turkey, receive your work permit, and go to work. Learn more about applying for a work permit from outside of Turkey.

To work in Turkey, you must apply to the nearest Turkish mission to obtain work permit and visa. Your passport, visa application form and a letter from your employer are the necessary documents for your application. Other documents should be submitted to the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) by your employer within ten working days after your application.

Applying from Inside of Turkey

If you are inside Turkey and have completed at least six months of legal residence, you can also apply for a work permit. Again, you must first have a job offer from an employer.

The requirements and process are the same as for an application from outside of Turkey, except that you and your employer will make your applications directly to the Çalışma ve Sosyal Güvenlik Bakanlığı (Ministry of Labor and Social Security)

since there is no need for you to get a work visa (since you are already in Turkey). When you apply from inside of Turkey, your employer, and your, must submit your applications within six business days of each other. Learn more about applying for a work permit from inside of Turkey.

Category 2: Independent Work Permits for an Indefinite period

This category of work permits is “independent,” because you don’t have to have a specific employer to get work permits. It is “indefinite” because it doesn’t have to be renewed every year. However, certain reporting requirements exist. For example, you will need to report any changes of employer, and changes of address. There are two types of independent, and indefinite, work permits.

Unlimited Work Permits

If you have legally worked in Turkey for at least five years, or legally lived in Turkey for at least eight years, without interruption, you are eligible to apply for an unlimited work permit. This type of work permit enables you to work for any employer you want, and change from employer to employer without having to get a new work permit. Learn more about unlimited work permits.

Independent Work Permits

This type of work permit is for entrepreneurs, who intend to set up a company in Turkey. It enables you to work for six months to set up your company. Once your company is established, your work permit will be extended for an indefinite duration. To be eligible, you must first live in Turkey for at least five years without interruption. There isn’t a set “process” for this type of work permit, and it will require submitting a business plan, among other documents, to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. Learn more about independent work permits.

Required documents for a work permit in Turkey

To get a job visa in Turkey will need to provide the following documents: 

  • Your passport with the least validity of six months. 
  • Your qualifications, those are your school or university degrees and your various certificates of professional development 
  • The completed application form for a work permit normally goes with four biometric passport photos.
  • Your employer will be also required to send a letter confirming your job offer to the Turkish Ministry.
  • You may find the list of those documents in the MLSS’s website ( ).Applications are finalized by the MLSS within thirty days at the latest. Right after your arrival in Turkey (before starting to work), you should be registered at the local police department within one month to obtain the necessary residence permit.

Restricted Professions

Some professions may only be practiced by Turkish citizens. These are:

  • Dentist, midwife, nurse, or pharmacist
  • Veterinarian
  • Hospital Director
  • Lawyer
  • Public Notary
  • Security Guard
  • Sea Captain, Merman, Fisherman, or Diver
  • Customs Consultant.

Your Work Permit is only for a single Employer

If you have a dependent work permit, you cannot change from one employer to another with the same work permit. If you get another job, you will have to get another work permit to work for your new employer. If you have an independent work permit, and change employers (or change your address), you must notify the local office of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. Seek counsel from a union if you need. 

Working Visa

Work Permit Applications are concluded positively or negatively by the Ministry of Labor. Work Permits have equivalence to residence permits. Thus, should a working permit is approved by the Ministry, the foreigner is charged an Entry Visa Fee, Work Permit Certificate Fee, and Residence Fee by the Turkish consular offices. Since the Work Permit Card substitute residence permit in Turkey, the “Work Annotated Visa” issued by these offices can only be used for entrance and for 90 days at maximum.

Is it easy to get work permit in Turkey?

It depends on how easy for you to find a regular job in Turkey.

Can a foreigner get a job in Turkey?

Yes, find a job in Turkey first and then apply for a work permit together with your employer.

Can you get a work permit in Turkey without speaking Turkish?

Yes even if it will be a bit challenging. And you can find work without knowing any Turkish. Most employers will not require that you learn Turkish. But it’s also nice to have a minimum of vocabulary to understand what is going on around you.

How long does it take to get a residence permit in Turkey?

It depends on where you applied, some regional offices can be more or less busy than others. But it takes few weeks normally for most of Turkey, rarely a few months in bigger cities like Instanbul or Ankara.

Working without a work permit

Someone can employ you without a work permit. Some Turkish people are employed without a proper contract. 

If caught, you will likely lose your job and maybe even your residence permit. In some cases, you could be detained for a short period of time, days or weeks, or sometimes months. And you could be banned from entering Turkey for up to five years. Your employer will maybe face fines for hiring you.
You should always seek legal assistance if you end up in a situation like that.

Some Useful Telephone Numbers

You can contact the Ministry of Labor using their national customer service number, which, from within Turkey, is 170. If you will be working at a University, contact the Council of Higher Education, at +90 312 298 7000.

You might be interested in our article on how to get a job in Turkey.

The cover picture above is of a welder doing his work, in an industrial place, a factory in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by on Unsplash.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Republic of Turkey

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