Turquoise card, as a new practice, provides its holder the right to work and reside for indefinite period in Turkey and also provides the relative of the holder the right to reside in Turkey. Turquoise card is regulated under International Labour Code numbered 6735 for the first time. Turquoise Card Regulation(“the Regulation”) has been published in the Official Gazette dated 14.03.2017 and numbered 30007. Accordingly, the Regulation encompasses application, evaluation and transition period for holding a turquoise card by foreigners and the relatives and the exercise of the rights.  

As per the Regulation, turquoise card may be granted to foreigners who are;

  • persons considered to be highly skilled workers due to their educational level, wage, professional qualification and experience, contribution to science and technology and other related qualifications,
  • persons considered to be highly qualified investors due to the level of value their investment or exports, the volume of employment they provide, their contribution to science and technology, and other related qualifications;
  • scientists and researchers who contributes to the scientific and technologic development or whose studies and researches are internationally accepted to have strategic importance in science, industry and technology fields for Turkey;
  • internationally successful foreigners in cultural, artistic, or sports activities; and
  • foreigners who contribute to the international recognition or promotion of Turkey or the culture of the Turkey, who act in favor of matters on national interest at the international level.

Accordingly, any foreigner residing in Turkey shall apply for turquoise card vie web site. Foreigners residing in abroad shall apply for Turquoise Card through Turkish foreign representative offices where the foreigner resides. The relative of the foreigner shall apply for residence permit at the same time with the turquoise card application. However, in case of lack of documents and information regarding residence permit application, the relative of the card holder can apply to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security(“the Ministry”) for residence permit within 90 days as of the entry date into Turkey provided that not exceeding visa period. 

The Turquoise Card application is evaluated by “point-based system”. The regulation specifies criteria in point-based system according to the quality of the foreigner. If the foreigner obtains the required point, the application results in favour of the foreigner. For instance; criteria for craftsmen are based on reputation and qualification of the artwork, national and international awards and other related criteria. 

The Turquoise Card is granted for three years as transition period. International Labour General Directorate appoints an expert to observe the activities and the commitments of the card holder and to prepare monitoring report in twelve month periods. The Turquoise Card holder applies for the cancellation of the transition period reservation within 180 days before the expiry date of the transition period. Application after the expiry of the transition period will be refused and The Turquoise Card becomes invalid.  

The expert prepares the final report within 30 days following the card holder’s demand for the cancellation of the transition period reservation. The turquoise card is granted for indefinite period in case the demand is appropriate and the final report is in favour of the card holder.   

The Turquoise Card may be cancelled under the circumstances mentioned under Article 22 of the Regulation. For example, if the card holder; 

  • does not enter Turkey within 6 months or continuously stays in abroad for more than two years without force majeure,
  • does not work at least one year continuously,
  • loses his skills to obtain the Turquoise Card and the expert mentions this situation in the report,  

Consequently, Turquoise Card provides more convenience for the high qualified workers and investors to enter, reside in and leave Turkey compared with the previous system.