Before you travel for Istanbul be sure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you travel to Istanbul or you may not be admitted.
Obtaining a Work Visa
All international staff must obtain a work visa before they are employed at Sabanci University. You should keep in mind that bureaucracy in Turkey is slow and painful. You can estimate that obtaining all the paper work necessary to apply for a working visa could last up to four months. The sooner you send all the necessary documentation to the university the better.
Human Resources will request several documents from the Council of Higher Education in Ankara (YÖK) and the Ministry of Interior. You might have to wait around two months until this paper work is finalized. Then you will have to contact the Turkish Embassy or the consulate in your home country (or country where you are residing at the moment) and present these documents together with a visa application and a visa fee.
Because Turkish embassies and consulates may work a bit different, it is best to call to request information on how to obtain a working visa. In some cases the consulate might process the visa but in some countries only the Embassy can grant visas. The fee can also be different, but you should expect to pay around 60 €.
In any case you must do this in person. You are not able to send the documents by post or ask somebody else to present the documentation on your behalf. Still, the process is quite straightforward. After you apply you will have to wait one or two days before you are able to pick it up. The waiting depends on how busy the particular embassy or consulate is, but if you are in a hurry you should let them know in advance and they might be able to give your passport with the visa faster.
The visa will be stamped on your passport. Do not be surprise to read ‘single entry’. Turkey offers only single entry visas because all foreigners are required to register at the police after they enter the country. After this registration you will obtain a residence permit which will allow you to leave and enter Turkey without problems. Do not attempt to leave Turkey without processing your residence permit. You will be charged a fee and even worse you might not be allowed entrance.
The validity of the visa should not matter either. When your visa is expired you can continue to work at Sabanci if your residence permit is valid. Please make sure that the residence permit is always up to date. Also, when you change your address this should be notified to the police right away.
Family reunification laws in Turkey are very weak or non-existent I should say. If you are married to a Turkish citizen you are not granted any special status. At most you are given the right to stay, but in order to do so and breath Turkish air you must pay around 600 TL fee per year. If you want to work you still have to go through the same paper work as any other foreigner.
Obtaining a Residence Permit:
You must obtain a residence permit (Ikamet Tezkeresi) from the Istanbul Police Department (Istanbul Emniyet Müdürlüğü) after you enter Turkey with your work visa. This little blue booklet will allow you to leave and enter Turkey freely, since your work visa is a single entry only.
You can apply on your own, but this is not recommended because it is very hard to find somebody in the police department who speaks English and you can spend hours in a line trying to understand what to do or where to go. Fortunately, the university can apply for a residence permit on your behalf, but you will have to pick it up afterwards. It should take one or two weeks for the police to process and issue your permit. Human resources will guide you and will give you an appointment document for your pick up date.
Remember you must provide Human Resources with a copy of your residence permit. Since your residence permit was issued through Sabanci University, your residence permit does not allow you to work for another entity.
Be careful with the validity dates of your residence permit. When the expiration date approaches you should contact human resources. They will request and extension and a new validity date will be stamped on your residence permit. Also, changes on your marital status or address should be notified to the police right away.
You can use your residence permit booklet as an identification document, which means you will be able to leave your passport at home. In Turkey is not uncommon to see police requesting identification without any apparent reason, so it is important you keep it with you at all times.