One of the most important aspects of moving to Turkey and making a life there is the prospect of getting married to a Turkish citizen. As a foreigner living in Turkey, there might be several questions on your mind in this regard. It is only obvious to be curious if marriage to a Turkish citizen provides a residence permit, right to work, citizenship, or anything else that would make living in Turkey much easier.
Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out the answers to all these questions. But before we delve into the benefits of marrying a Turkish citizen, let us take a look at some of the general legal conditions for getting married in Turkey.
- Both parties need to be 19 years or older.
- Both parties need to be mentally stable.
- Neither party should be closely related to the other.
- If either party was previously married in any other country, they need to provide proof of divorce or marriage dissolution in the court.
- A marriage can be concluded by Turkish citizens as well as by foreign citizens living in Turkey.
- Turkey does not recognize same-sex marriages. Only heterosexual marriages are legally allowed.
Having covered the basics of marriage in Turkey, let us now take a look at some of the benefits you can expect as an expat marrying a Turkish citizen.
Will you Get Citizenship after Marrying a Turkish Citizen?
This is the most common and crucial question for any expat residing in Turkey. In the early days of the Turkish Republic, only a foreign woman marrying a Turkish man could acquire Turkish citizenship, and not the other way around. Gender equality was absent in the Turkish Family Law. However, with passing time and social revolutions, in the latter half of the 20th century, this discrimination based on the gender of the spouse was done away with and new laws have been implemented in its place.
However, this does not imply that you will immediately get citizenship after marrying a Turkish citizen. To prevent fake marriages for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship certain terms and clauses have been introduced. Let us take a look at the chief legal criteria for obtaining citizenship by marriage in Turkey.
- The validity of marriage needs to be proven according to the laws of the country in which the marriage took place.
- The duration of marriage should be at least three years at the time of the Turkish citizenship application.
- Husband and wife should be living together in the same house as a family, during this period.
- There should be no involvement in activities that goes against the family union, on part of either of the spouses. This can include prostitution, adultery, woman/man smuggling, etc.
- There should be no breach of national or public security by the applicant. A squeaky-clean legal record is advisable.
- If the Turkish citizen passes away during or before the process of application, his/her spouse shall not get Turkish citizenship and their application shall be concluded.
Note – All these criteria are verified by the administrative body of demographic affairs, after citizenship application. There is no guarantee of getting Turkish nationality after application.
Will you Get a Residence Permit after Marrying a Turkish Citizen?
In case you fail to get citizenship or there is a lot of time left before you can even apply for one, the next best option is to get a residence permit in Turkey. As an immigrant, all you need to live in Turkey is a residence permit. And getting married to a Turkish citizen can certainly prove useful in this regard. A foreigner married to a Turkish citizen can easily get a family residence permit in Turkey. Like always, this too has certain terms and conditions that you should be aware of.
- A family residence permit is issued to the non-Turkish family members of a Turkish citizen for a maximum period of 3 years at a time.
- In case of death or divorce of/with the Turkish citizen, the non-Turkish spouse can apply for a short-term residence permit.
- On completion of the stipulated period of 3 years, the foreigner can apply for a short-term residence permit in Turkey.
Will you get a Work Permit after Marrying a Turkish Citizen?
Although not compulsory, the next most important thing for an immigrant after a residence permit is a work permit in Turkey for the right to legally make a living in the country. Of course, you have to meet the requirements, but the government can be quite lenient in this regard as exceptions are made in case of granting work permits to foreigners married to Turkish citizens in certain cases. Let us find out about the criteria and the exceptional cases.
- Apart from legal marriage, the partners must also live-in familial unity. This is to prevent any false marriages.
- If an expat has been married to a Turkish citizen for 3 years or more, they are excluded from the work permit assessment criteria.
- Exceptional work permits can be issued to foreigners based on the nature of the job, academic qualifications of the applicant, their contribution to the national economy, and so on.
- A foreigner’s exceptional work permit in Turkey becomes null and void if their marriage to the Turkish citizen ends before the completion of 3 years.
- In case the marriage ends after three years, settled foreigners in Turkey remain eligible for an exceptional work permit.
Unquestionably, getting married to a Turkish citizen as a foreigner will always reap its fruits according to the Turkish marriage laws. However, you don’t necessarily need to get married for citizenship, residence permit, or work permit, since there are always other ways of legally acquiring them. A fraudulent marriage would not stand a chance in this regard since the Turkish authorities can be quite water-tight. Either way, you are the best judge for your life and we hope this article has been insightful in finding out the benefits of marrying a Turkish citizen.