Freelancer Visa In Turkey: The Ultimate Guide

Freelancer Visa In Turkey

Turkey’s allure goes beyond its rich history and stunning landscapes; it’s becoming a hub for freelancers seeking inspiration and opportunity amidst its vibrant culture. Worried of freelancer visa process? Worry Not! We’ve got you covered!

The freelancer visa offers a gateway to this dynamic environment, blending the freedom of freelance life with the unique experiences only Turkey can offer. Let’s embark on how you can unlock the doors to this exciting chapter in your career.

Let’s dive in!

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Does Turkey Have A Freelancer Visa?

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Freelance work is on par with regular employment in an office or entrepreneurship, meaning freelance activities cannot be banned in any democratic country. 

As for Turkey, freelancers’ way of earning a living is legal and desirable if you are a foreigner. 

If foreigners want to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days, they must obtain a residence permit (also referred to as a short-term residence permit or Ikamet). 

Turkey does not offer any separate residence permit for freelancers (known as a digital nomad visa in other countries). Still, you can freely apply for a residence permit for “tourist purposes”.

How To Get A Self-Employed Visa In Turkey?

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Under normal circumstances, the easiest way to receive a work permit or a work visa is through a Turkish company or employer that will sponsor you as a foreign employee. But what if you want to be your boss as a self-employed entrepreneur or are a digital nomad?

An independent work permit cannot be issued to any foreigner, and you must meet specific requirements. The permit cannot be granted indefinitely and will only be valid for a definite period.

Your application as an independent worker will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Your level of education
  • Your professional capacity and experience
  • The contributions you will make to science and technology
  • How your investment/work will benefit the national economy
  • The capital you will invest in Turkey if you are a shareholder of a foreign company

How To Apply For A Self-Employed Visa In Turkey

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To apply for an independent work permit as a foreigner in Turkey. You must have resided in Turkey legally and uninterruptedly for at least 5 years. 

Your work will have to positively impact employment in Turkey and create added value in economic development. Subject to the matters specified in Article 9 of the Law on Work Permits for Foreigners. 

While evaluating the “added value” your work will create on Turkey’s employment, related authorities’ opinions are considered.

Foreigners who hold a valid residence permit for at least 6 months, excluding residence permits for educational purposes, can apply directly to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

While evaluating whether the residency condition of these 5 years has been fulfilled, Turkey, unfortunately, does not count the periods you have spent as a student in Turkey.

However, if you came to Turkey with your spouse and children and all of you resided and received an education here within that time frame, the time they spent in Turkey as students is counted towards their residence permit.

After submitting the necessary documents, the ministry will evaluate your application, and you should hear back within a month.

If your application and work are deemed appropriate to be granted a permit within this category, you will be issued an “Independent Work Permit Application Document”. This certificate will be valid for 3 months from its issue date.

You will, in the meantime, be asked to establish your workplace. You will be granted your independent work permit after you submit your trade registry records to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

If your application is rejected, the authority in charge of keeping trade registry records and provincial police departments will be informed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. 

They will assess your residency situation to prevent unauthorized stays in the country.

Do You Need A Residence Permit If You Have A Work Permit?

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Your independent work permit will also act as your residence permit for the duration that your work permit is valid for, as long as the nature of your work does not change.

The Interior Ministry determines the permit’s duration according to the legislation on the residency and travel of foreigners in Turkey.

Suppose you are not granted an extension on your residence permit when the time is up, according to your independent work permit. 

In that case, the police directorate will inform the Ministry of Labor and Social Security of the situation. You will have 10 days to leave the country or apply for another residence permit.

What Documents Will You Need To Apply?

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To evidence legal and uninterrupted residence in Turkey for 5 years, you must receive a paper from the police stating so. 

This document shall be included among the papers you submit to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security as part of your application package.

While your application is evaluated, authorities may ask for documents proving that:

  • Your work/business activities will contribute to the national economy
  • You have sufficient income to carry out said business activity/scope of work
  • As for supporting and identity documents to submit to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

Suppose your work line is included within the scope of “professional services” (mesleki hizmetler). In that case, you must submit a document from the relevant authorities detailing your qualifications and the professional services you plan on providing.

*To carry out work in healthcare or education, you must obtain prior authorization from the Ministry of Health and National Education.

Remote Work, Freelancing And Being A Digital Nomad

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If you are a full-time remote worker and your company is located abroad, you receive your salary abroad; you are only subject to tax in that country. You will not have to pay separate income tax in Turkey.

Similarly, if you are a digital nomad and the company or companies you work for are not based in Turkey, you will not be subject to tax in Turkey. Still, you may be liable for income tax in your home country, depending on the amount you earn and its laws and regulations.

If a Turkish company employs you and wants to do some freelancing, you can only do so if it is based outside Turkey. The work permit issued by your Turkish employer only covers the work you do for them.

You cannot simultaneously have an independent and definite work permits from a Turkish company.

Is It Legal To Work As A Freelancer In Turkey?

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In short, yes and no.

You can register yourself as self-employed, which can be a rather stressful and costly process, and technically, you cannot work on a tourist visa or short-term permit as you need a separate work permit. 

If you try to apply for a work permit in Turkey, entrepreneurs need help establishing a Turkish company. You would need to be qualified to maintain one or get turned down.

One way to circumvent this is by having clients from abroad and ensuring your payments go through to your bank account back at home. So, by law, you are not considered “working in Turkey.”

However, things start to change when you work for a Turkish company or cut invoices and receive money for products and services inside the country. 

If you get paid by a local client while you do not have a work permit, your tourist visa and residence permit are revoked, and you run the risk of being deported.

How Does Freelancing Work?

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A freelance job is one where a person works for themselves rather than for a company. While freelancers take on contract work for companies and organizations, they are ultimately self-employed.

Freelancers are responsible for all sorts of things that traditional employees are not, such as setting their work hours, keeping track of time spent on different projects, billing clients, and paying their own employment and business taxes.

Freelancers are not considered “employees” by their companies but rather “contractors.”

Freelancing begins with a negotiation between the freelancer and the client. This can either be direct or indirect (via third-party freelance marketplaces).

While some freelancers specialize in a specific field, others provide a broader range of options. Most freelancing opportunities are posted on websites where digital nomads can choose their desired job or project.

Freelancers can be contractual or project-based and paid by the hour or per project. They can work at their own pace if they meet the customer’s requirements and the deadline.

One of the best advantages that freelancing can offer is flexibility.

What Types Of Freelancing Jobs Are There?

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Freelancing is in demand because it is profitable and manageable. As opportunities in freelancing grow, so do your chances of learning new skills and building a better career.

Here are the typical on-demand jobs in the freelance market.

Mobile App Development

A mobile application developer is a person who designs, creates, and updates applications for mobile devices and tablets. It can be either online or offline application development. 

Developers build mobile apps that take advantage of a device’s unique capabilities. For this reason, it is common practice for app developers to collaborate with a user experience designer.

The no-code app builder platform also helps developers build an app quickly without coding.

Content Writing

Writing for the web is a standard function of content writers, including everything from blog posts to social media posts. Other duties of a content writer are:

  • Composing blog entries and articles
  • Writing scripts for films and podcasts
  • Creating materials for social media platforms

Graphic Design

Graphic design is one of the most popular freelance jobs because business owners often look for new logos and marketing designs.

Graphic designers are becoming even more marketable, given the evolution of the marketing landscape that focuses on digital platforms.

Whether it’s a primary corporate logo or a complicated internet page layout, graphic designs are essential to any marketing strategy.

Social Media Management

In today’s industry, the fastest-growing freelancing position is social media management. With the rise of social media, firms are looking for new ways to engage with their customers online.

Using various tools, social media managers create, publish, and analyze social media profiles on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Social media management’s primary objective is to control a business’s online presence. 

Animation And Video Creation

Animators and video creators are the key players in the film and animation industry and will never go out of demand. They collaborate with creative professionals such as writers, designers, and voice actors.

Many companies also find it helpful to outsource their animation and video creations. That is why freelancing is becoming more popular these days. 

How To Work In Turkey As A Digital Nomad Or Freelancer

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Whether you seek more sun, beaches, or waves or want to experience a different culture to take advantage of working remotely, Turkey is a great place to start.

Becoming your boss via freelancing or transitioning into the digital nomad lifestyle is undoubtedly very attractive in today’s climate. 

Whether it is the lack of restrictions on your location, working times, or the beauty of working from somewhere new with spectacular views.

Instead of being crammed in a shoebox like an office, it is easy to see why more people are pursuing digital and remote work.

Naturally, if you have toyed with the idea, you have done some research. You come across this conclusion: it’s possible, especially if you earn in a foreign currency while working in a country where the domestic currency is not performing.

But Why Turkey?

Turkey might have been among some of the countries on your list of beautiful destinations to work. There are many reasons to dive into the digital nomadic lifestyle here.

With its sandy beaches and turquoise waters, the Mediterranean coast has more sunny days yearly than the average European country. 

Its multicultural history, breathtaking landscape, European and Islamic culture amalgam, and delicious cuisine. 

A relatively low cost of living (as little as 12,900 TRY a month) is why you may choose to live in Turkey to try out a nomadic lifestyle. Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Kaş, Kalkan, Çeşme, or Kuşadası should be enough to convince you.

Turkish people are also known for their friendly and hospitable demeanour, so you will feel welcome.

But how does one work as a freelancer or digital nomad in Turkey and avoid getting into trouble?

Conclusion

As the sun sets on our guide to Turkey’s freelancer visa, it’s clear that the journey ahead is as promising as the Anatolian sunrise. Armed with knowledge and the right documentation, the path to blending work with the beauty of Turkey is now open.

Here’s to new beginnings in a land where history, culture, and opportunity meet, ready to enrich your freelance journey.

Freedom Unleashed!

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