Turkey: Rules and regulations for starting a business in this country

Image of Istanbul with Suleymaniye Mosque during sunset.

In this article you will get familiar with the rules and regulations for starting a business in Turkey, the way of getting a business license in Turkey, and the regulation regarding entry and residence in Turkey.

Rules and regulations related to starting a business in Turkey

It has been about a few years that Iranians’ investment in Turkey has been increased. There are several goals pursued by investors to enter Turkey. Anyway, many of them enter the tortuous cycle of starting a new business in a new country. According to their limited information in this regard, plenty of them face problems.  In the following part of this article from Sindbad we are going to review the rules and regulations for starting a business in Turkey.

How to get a business license in Turkey?

In the last ten years there have been lots of changes in the rules and regulations related to starting a new business in Turkey; lots of these changes aimed at encouraging more and more foreign investors. Nonetheless, the last law on employment of foreign nationals in Turkey was adopted in 2003. Based on this law, issuing the work permission can be done by one center which should have been done by several centers previously. All these reforms led Turkey to promote in Trade Ease Index. The following figure also shows the improvement of this country’s ranking.

Based on the law, there are three groups of work permission provided. These groups include long-term and unlimited work permits for independent and independent employees, and exceptionals. According to the law, foreigners can use a long-term and unlimited work permit, provided that the necessary conditions are met. Based on the employment contract, the validity period of the long-term work permit is one year and is issued for work in a specific workplace and with a specific profession. At the end of one year, the work permit for the same career and in same place of work is extended for another three years. After three years, this permission can be extended for another six years.

If a foreign national has resided and worked in Turkey continuously for at least eight years, the unlimited work permission can be issued without considering the working condition of Turkey and geographical limitations. Independent work permission is issued for the foreigners who have been resided in Turkey permanently for at least five years and also if they have not been employed by the employer during this period. The condition of giving exceptional work permission is limited with law. The work permission of these people are different from dependent and independent workers and in is unlimited in term of time. To receive work permission, the foreign investors can apply for a work permit from their home country or country of residence in the offices of the Republic of Turkey in that country. After completing the file, the application will be sent to the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs by foreign missions. Within three days from the submission of the application for employment in Turkey to the representative abroad, the necessary documents will be delivered by the employer to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. After work permit issuance by Ministry of Labor, The applicant must apply for a work visa within two days at a foreign representation in Turkey. If the applicants for a work permit have resided for at least six months, they themselves or their employers can submit the necessary documents to the Ministry of Labor. Also, in this case, there is no need to obtain a work visa after confirming the work permit.

You must apply to the Ministry of Labor two months before the expiration date to extend a work permit. The Ministry of Labor has to review the applicant’s case and announce the result within a maximum of ninety days. However, if the documents are incomplete, these period will be extended for ninety days after completion of the case.  The Ministry of Labor can investigate the person in question from security sources. After investigating the case, the Ministry of Labor can either accept the application or reject it.

If the Ministry of Labor accept the application of the applicants, the applicants applying from Turkish representation offices abroad must obtain a work visa from the same place and refer to the Office of Foreign Nationals in Turkey. Applicants from within Turkey can go directly to the Foreigners’ Office at the provincial police station. If the application for employment in Turkey is rejected, the applicant may appeal against the result within thirty days after the notification of the result. If the Ministry of Labor responds negatively to the objection, the applicant can file a lawsuit.

Turkish laws and regulations regarding businesses

Buying and selling antiques or importing and exporting them to Turkey requires a legal permit. Due to the fact that people with fake titles and under the cover of agents of different organizations refer to you and ask you to provide identity documents. Before responding any question, it is needed to require them to direct you to the nearest police station without any physical contact.

There are many cases in which our compatriots have started to work in the production or service centers of this country regardless of employment regulations and the necessity of obtaining a work visa; this issue has led to the violation of their rights by employers and company owners and on the other hand has led to the arrest and dismissal of these people. Iranian citizens must apply for a work visa if they wish to work in this country and before traveling to this country, submit their application for an entry visa with the right to work to the representative of this country in Tehran.

During the travel with personal vehicle, you will be inspected by the police. Besides observing traffic laws, you should bring the necessary documents and cooperate with the police in this regard.

Under new laws of Turkey, if the owners of buses, trucks or private cars at the time of entering the country pick up illegal traveler without passport or with forged passport or the passport without entry stamp or even try to carry some illegal goods (such as drugs) even in small quantities, their vehicle will be confiscated in favor of the government of that country.

Laws on entry and residency in Turkey

Similar to other countries all over the world, Turkey It follows a series of special rules and regulations regarding the entry and residency of foreign nationals. Hence, before entering to this country it is needed to be familiar with these regulations. Some of them are mentioned in the following part.

  • Our compatriots when entering the border points of Turkey, it is necessary to make sure that their passports are sealed with the stamp of entry to that country. It should be noted that even if the Turkish border police are negligent, the passport holder is accused of illegal crossing in the eyes of the competent Turkish authorities, and the consequences will be borne by him or her.
  • At present, Iranian citizens can travel to Turkey without a visa and stay in this country for a maximum of 3 months. It is possible to travel to this country with vehicles (buses and trains) and planes. It is emphasized that if you travel by land, travel with tours and buses belonging to reputable companies and pay attention to safety recommendations.
  • Staying in Turkey for more than three months requires official permission from the authorities and extending the period of the stay. Therefore, staying more that allowed time results in fines and even expulsion.
  • According to the Vienna Convention, due to the abolition of the necessity of having visas between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey in case of departure (transit) from that country, Turkish border guards are not allowed to detain or interrogate Iranian nationals on the pretext that their destination country’s visa is forged. Obviously, in case of dealing with such cases, you should refer it to the nearest representative office of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Turkey to be considered.
  • Complaints received by our country’s representative in Turkey indicate that the airport or border police treated them inappropriately on the pretext that their passports were forged. In case of similar cases, it is necessary to report to the nearest representative office of the Islamic Republic of Iran as soon as possible to be investigated.

The last word

Turkey is the destination for many foreign investors including Iranians. In recent years, the number of Iranians entering the country for various purposes, including starting a business, has increased significantly. Lack of knowledge of the laws and regulations of this country is one of the issues that cause major problems for investors.



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