How Long Can Ukrainian and Russian Nationals Stay in Turkey Under Visa Exemption?

Ukrainian nationals with a national biometric identity card or an official or ordinary passport may stay in Turkey without a visa for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days.

Russian nationals with an ordinary passport may stay in Turkey for 60 days upon first entry for a maximum of 90 dayswithin a period of 180 days without a visa for tourist and business visits. Russian nationals may extend their legal stay in Turkey to 90 daysif they leave Turkey at the end of the 60-days' stay period and re-enter Turkey. Service passport holders, on the other hand, are exempt from a visa for 30 days, provi ded that they do not exceed 90 days every 180 days, and diplomatic passport holdersare exempt from a visa for 90 days.

Ukrainian and Russian nationalsmust obtain a residence permit if they wish to stay in Turkey for longer than the period allowed by the visa exemption or for more than 90 daysin a 180 -day period. Residence permits are issued for different durationsdepending on the type of the residence permit.

Can Ukrainian and Russian Nationals Work During Their Stay in Turkey?

Ukrainian and Russian nationalscan work in Turkey provided that they obtain a work permit. The workpermit must be obtained before the foreign national startsworking in Turkey. Foreign nationals working in Turkey without a workpermit may face deportation and may be banned from re-entering Turkey for a certain period of time. In addition, administrative finesmay be imposed on foreign nationalsworking without a workpermit and their employers. A visa exemption or residence permit does not grant the right to work.

What are the Work Permit Evaluation Criteria?

Pursuant to the International Labor Code numbered 6735 and the Regulation on the Implementation of the International Labor Code, there are certain criteria that must be fulfilled by employersand which are taken into account by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security ("Ministry"). One of these criteria isthe obligation to employ at least five Turkish nationalsin the workplace for which the work permit is requested. In other words, the employer must employ at least five Turkish nationalsfor each foreign national. Pursuant to another criterion, the employer'spaid -up capital must be at least TRY 100,000 or gross sales must be at least TRY 800,000 or exports in the previousyear must be at least USD 250,000. Apart from these criteria, there are other criteria taken into account by the Ministry. In principle, employerswishing to employ foreign nationalsin Turkey must meet these criteria. However, variousexceptionsto these criteria may be granted. Indeed, although these criteria might seem challenging for employers, currently, the Ministry isgenerally granting exceptions to certain criteria.

Application Procedure

Work permit applicationsare separated into (i) applications from abroad and (ii) domestic applications. Foreign nationals who do not reside legally in Turkey are required to initiate their application process from abroad and in thisrespect, they must apply for a work visa in the first place. On the other hand, if the foreign national islegally residing in Turkey, he/she can initiate the work permit application processin Turkey without applying for a work visa. In order to complete the application, the employer and the employee are required to provide the necessary documents and apply to the Ministry. Pursuant to the relevant legislation, this application must be submitted within 30 daysfrom the date the applicant isprovided with the reference code which isgenerated upon the visa application. However, in practice, the period may be shorter.

How Long Does the Application Take?

Depending on the workload of the Ministry, the evaluation process may take up to four-eight weeks as of the submission of the documentsrequired for the application to the Ministry. Taking into account the process of collecting the necessary documents by the applicant and the employer and the evaluation processregarding the work visa and work permit application, the processmay take up to two monthsin total.