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What is Turkey’s Turquoise Card System?

Posted on 21 November 2017

Turkey’s Turquoise Card is a point-based application system aimed at attracting highly skilled foreigners and high-level investors to Turkey with the right to work and live in the country indefinitely.

Many have said it is Turkey’s equivalent to the USA green card system. Called Turkuaz Kart in Turkish, it was unveiled in the Official Gazette in March 2017, after an earlier announcement in 2016 by the Turkish government.

Regulation for the Turquoise card of Turkey is based on Articles 11 and 25 of the International Labour Force Law No. 6735. The general principle is to attract professionally successful people to contribute to the Turkish workforce and economy by offering them VIP citizenship.

Requirements are based on many factors including education level, field knowledge and experience, science, technology and art contributions. The V.I.P citizenship covers all aspects of living in Turkey including living, travelling, money matters, inheritance, and property ownership.

People are also invited to apply for the turquoise card of Turkey if they are making a sizeable investment in the country that would, for example, generate mass employment in a specific area or make a significant contribution towards an industry regarding advancement.

Managed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, dependents and spouses of applicants contributing significantly towards the labour force or economy are also eligible for Turkey’s Turquoise Card.

Foreigners who may be eligible must fall into one of five categories

  • Highly skilled profession
  • Mass investor
  • Be a scientist or researcher
  • Be globally successful in cultural activities, art or sports
  • Contribute to the promotion of Turkey and its culture

Anybody who does not fall into one of those five categories but still wishing to live and work in Turkey should instead look at the standard residency and work permit systems for foreigners.

Application for the Turquoise Card of Turkey

Applicants living abroad can apply using the assistance of the Turkish consulate in their country. Alternatively, a foreigner living in Turkey can apply directly to the Labour Ministry with their Turkish ID numbers.

Documents needed are the application form, passport copies, conformity certificates from relevant public institutions recognised by the general directorate, qualification certificate, and contracts of employment. If the person is applying based on investment, they will also need to show the level of investment, how many people will be employed, and export predictions.

Evaluation of the turquoise card application happens using a scoring system defined by the Directorate General. Applicants must reach a specific amount of points to be successful. Elements of the scoring system include educational qualifications, level of wages, knowledge of foreign languages and career history.

If the application is approved, after a transition period of 3 years, a further request can be made to extend the turquoise card indefinitely. During the 3-year transition period, the Ministry of Labour will monitor all and any domestic and international activity.

Male Turquoise cardholders do not have to complete the compulsory military service, neither can male or female card holders stand for election in local politics.

The card may be become invalid or cancelled if the foreigner becomes a risk to public order, security or health. Likewise, if circumstances have changed from their application or they have broken the law to find themselves facing deportation.

Authorities can withdraw approval if it is proven any part of the application was made under false pretences or if the foreigner has spent a year without working or stayed outside of Turkey for two years.Likewise, the applicant must come to live in Turkey within six months of the approval date.

The applicant can also cancel the card, and if at any time it is withdrawn, their relatives and dependents will also have their right to work and live in Turkey denied.

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