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The Turquoise Card of Turkey

4.04.2017

The Turquoise Card program of Turkey (Turkuaz Kart in Turkish) appeals to highly skilled foreign workers looking to relocate to the country. Applicants showing that they can contribute to the Turkish economy or have specific areas of expertise such as technology or science can apply for Turquoise Card.

Turqoise Card of Turkey

What is the Turquoise Card of Turkey?

Similar to the Green Card in the USA, Turquoise Card refers to a "perpetual right to work" in Turkey. The Turquoise Card program provides a facilitated work and residence permit to the cardholder and a residence permit for his family.

The Turquoise scheme is an amendment to the International Workforce Law. It does not replace the standard working permit regulations for foreigners but instead adds another level for applicants who will contribute in their areas of expertise or through investment in the Turkish economy. This program makes it possible for foreigners to work without problems just like a Turkish citizen and to benefit from all public services such as health and education. Turquoise Cardholders have the same rights as Turkish citizens, except for military service, the right to elect and to be elected, and to work in public services.

Criteria to Apply for a Turquoise Card

Applicants need to fulfill one or more of the following criteria.

Being a foreigner defined as;

• Highly qualified workforce whose educational level, professional knowledge and experience can contribute to the country
• Highly qualified investors, have high investment or export potential and can provide employment to the country to a great extent
• Scientists or researchers who contribute to scientific and technological developments, and conduct studies and research in the fields of industry and technology.
• Foreigners who have achieved international success in terms of cultural, artistic, and sports activities.
• Foreigners contributing to the international recognition and promotion of Turkey and Turkish culture.

Although the Republic of Turkey allows dual citizenship, many countries do not allow it. Turquoise Card allows people to obtain work and residence permits in Turkey without losing their citizenship in their home country. Turquoise Card is a good option for foreigners who buy a property worth of a minimum of 250.000 USD with the criteria of citizenship by investment program in Turkey but do not wish to get citizenship or whose country does not allow dual citizenship.

How to Apply for the Turquoise Card of Turkey

The application can be made in Turkey directly, or abroad through the legal representative offices of Turkey. If the applicant is already in Turkey, he/she can apply directly from the online application system by him/herself with his/her foreign identification number. If the applicant is abroad, the application will be made through Legal Representations Offices of Turkey in a related country and all documents will be transferred to the Turkish Ministry on the electronic form. All this process can be handled by authorized intermediary agencies also. Antalya Homes always guides its customers whole through this application process.

Necessary documents to apply for the Turquoise Card;

• Application form
• Passport
• Conformity certificate obtained from the relevant public institution to prove eligibility

Depending on the application criteria, the following documents should also be submitted;

• A foreign diploma, employment contract, CV or assignment letter, professional experience, and internationally recognized document proving proficiency in languages other than native language and so on.
• Investors should present the documents regarding the investment volume, level of employment, export volume, financial capability, cash account balance, employment level, export credit, financial solvency, business region, sector, and other business-related documents.
• Scientists and researchers need to show diplomas, documents related to academic career and title, studies or licenses, details of any trademark, or patented materials.
• Cultural, artistic or sports applicants need to prove their success at the national or international level.
• Foreigners who contributed to recognition or promotion of Turkey or its culture: documents relating to activities at the international level as Turquoise volunteers, information on promotional activities, ideas, and works of art, duration, sustainability, continuity and influence area, etc.

How is a Turquoise Card Application Evaluated?

Turquoise Card applications are evaluated with the scoring system established in line with the criteria determined by the General Directorate of International Labor Force. Applicants will need to score sufficient points within a defined evaluation system. Officials judging the application may also get opinions of faculty members, institutions, and organizations related to the industry or area of expertise based on the applicant’s professional skills.

The scoring system is based on;

• The level of education
• Prestige of the higher educational institution
• Wage bracket
• Seniority of the institution
• Level of expertise or professional experience

If the foreigner is applying as a qualified investor, the following is also scored;

• Level of export or employment activity
• Level of investment
• Nature of the region and business
• Movable or immovable properties owned in Turkey
• Similar criteria demonstrating their intellectual or industrial property rights and qualifications

If the applicant is applying as a scientist or researcher, scoring is based on;

• Academic title
• Participation in national or international institutions in the field of science and technology
• Involvement in domestic or international organizations with registered trademarks, patents, trademarks or licenses
• Innovation activities

Scoring for sports applications is based on the national or international achievements of the club of which the applicant is a member and the national sportsman status of the foreign athlete. Entrepreneurs should prove recognition of their work and domestic or international awards.

Likewise, foreigners contributing to awareness or promotion of Turkey or Turkish culture are scored on promotional activities including time, duration, sustainability, continuity, influence, ideas, works of art, and activities carried out internationally.

Note: The General Directorate can make changes in scoring systems or set differentiated scoring systems on a regional, provincial, sectoral or occupational basis.

Are Applications Guaranteed?

No, refusals can happen for any of the following reasons;

• Not meeting the assessment criteria
• Not being in compliance with the international labor policy
• Submitting the falsified or misleading information and documentation
• Not presenting the sufficient reasons for foreign employment
• Applying for the profession or jobs which are reserved to Turkish citizens only by another law
• For the ones causing inconveniencies for public order, public security or public health in Turkey
• Made by a citizen of a country that the Republic of Turkey does not recognize or have diplomatic relations with, except in the case that the Foreign Ministry approves
• If the applicant has been or will be deported or have a restriction on the entrance to Turkey

What is the Period of the Validity of the Turquoise Card?

The first three years of holding the Turquoise card is called the “transition time” during which an appointed specialist will monitor the domestic and foreign activities and commitments of the cardholder. The designated specialist will also prepare reports every twelve months according to set criteria specified by the General Directorate.

If the appointed specialist requires any additional information or documents, the cardholder is obligated to submit these within 15 days of the time of the request. If any discrepancies arise from the reports, the cardholder has a three-month period to rectify them. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the card.

Requests to remove the transition period are made within the last 180 days of the three years. Upon approval by the end of the three-year transition period, the Turquoise Card becomes indefinite. If an application is not submitted within this period, the Turquoise Card becomes invalid.

Holders of the Turquoise Card are...

• Exempt from compulsory military service required by the law of male Turkish citizens
• Do not have the right to vote and be elected and to work in public offices
• Can benefit from the social security system of Turkey (SGK)

Applicants will receive the same benefits as a Turkish citizen regarding residence, travel, work, investment, commercial activity, inheritance, movable and immovable business, and remuneration. However, if the law requires the person to be a Turkish citizen, the rights and benefits shall not apply. In exceptional circumstances, the Turquoise cardholder and their relative may be granted Turkish citizenship if they are not a threat to national security, public order or under the transition period.

Residence Permit Application for the Relative of Turquoise Card Holder

It is essential that the residence permit application for the Turquoise Card holder's relative is submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in accordance with the Turquoise Card application procedure and at the same time as this application. However, in the absence of the information required for the authorization of applications for a residence permit at the time Turquoise Card application made from abroad, these applications made to the Ministry within ninety days starting from the entry date, with a condition not to exceed the period of the visa or visa exemption.

For the residence permit application to be made for Turquoise Card holder's relative, the documents showing the marriage bond for the spouse of the foreigner and the custody relationship and the dependency for the child should be attached to the application. Read more about the Residence Permit in Turkey.

Can a Turquoise Card be Cancelled or Revoked?

If the cardholder does not come to Turkey within six months of approval or is abroad for more than two years in one continuous period without proving force majeure, the card will be revoked.

Other situations include...

• The applicant has been working illegally
• The applicant did not retain employment for one continuous year
• The applicant submitted false or misleading information, and documents
• The candidate does not fulfill requests for documents or evidence within the transition time
• The applicant has been denied legal permission to enter Turkey or deported
• His/her work causes disruption to public order, security or health

The applicant can also request the cancellation of the card by himself in which case it loses its validity.

Further Information

We help customers of Antalya Homes to apply to the Turquoise Card scheme. Alternatively, if you don’t plan to work but are investing 250,000 USD in real estate, you may be interested in the fast track citizen program instead. If you want to live in Turkey and buy a property, contact our offices via email, telephone or by visiting them in person to discuss your options with a local expert real estate agent.

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