Turkish law requires foreign scholars to obtain official permissions and visas to carry out research at institutions in Turkey for each calendar year. Three considerations include 1) which visa a researcher enters the country with, 2) will the researcher need a research permit and if so, what procedure is used to acquire the permit, and 3) will the researcher need a residence permit. In general, researchers should seek permission to carry out research from the director(s) of the institution(s) where they intend to work; this includes researchers who wish to work in libraries housed in Turkish museums. A letter of consent from the host institution should accompany an application for a research visa to the Turkish Consulate.

Please review the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage, Permissions Regarding the Cultural and Scientific Activities of Foreign Nationals in Turkey

LIBRARY and ARCHIVE PERMITS: For library or archive research with tenures of less than three months, most foreign scholars may enter Turkey on a tourist visa and apply for research permission from within Turkey. Research at a museum library, such as Topkapı or Istanbul Archaeology Museum, may also require permission from the Ministry of Culture in Ankara that takes time to process. Scholars planning to work in these locations may wish to apply in advance of their arrival in the country.

Scholars wishing to carry out research in Turkey for terms longer than three months should apply for a research permit from the library, archive, or other sponsoring institution. In addition they must secure a research visa through a Turkish Consulate prior to entering Turkey. Finally, they need to get a residence permit from local authorities within 30 days of arrival. Non-U.S. researchers should consult the Turkish Consulate for specific procedures.

MUSEUM COLLECTIONS PERMITS: Those who wish to work with collections in museums other than library may need both a research permit and a research visa. In some cases, museum researchers may use a tourist visa (confirm with the museum director). Researchers should submit their research permit applications to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums (Kültür Varlıkları ve Müzeler Genel Müdürlüğü, or KVMGM) and send a copy of the application to the directors of the relevant museums. To expedite the process, the application should contain specific and complete information about the material for study. In addition, if the material they wish to work with is part of an excavation or survey, researchers must submit a letter with their application that is signed by the project director giving permission to carry out the research. The names and addresses for the institutions or directorates may be provided by the Turkish Embassies and Consulates. A descriptive presentation of state and private museums and a comprehensive list are accessible via the website of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. For more information, please contact the ARIT directors in Istanbul and Ankara.

The permit application form for researchers is linked as Ek B on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage.

  1. Applicants should fill out the research permit application form legibly, preferably typed.  Include a photocopy of your passport identification page.
  2. Write a cover letter to the KVMGM explaining your project, what items you wish to study (with inventory numbers if possible) and where they are housed, sign and date it, and state that the application forms are attached. You may write it in English, but a letter written in Turkish will expedite the process.
  3. Send the form and accompanying documents by mail (preferred) or fax to the KVMGM. If you wish to apply via e-mail, the application forms should be sent as a document file. Attach scans of your signed cover letter and the photo identification page of your passport.
  4. You may apply from abroad or from within Turkey. The application may take time to process. Please note that permissions can only be given for work within a single calendar year. If you plan to do research that extends beyond a calendar year, you may need to renew the permit or make a separate application for each year.

It is necessary to send a copy of the results/report of your research to the KVMGM to ensure that your file is complete, otherwise the ministry may deny your future requests for a research permit. If you plan to use the library in a museum, you may apply directly to the museum director.

T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı
Kültür Varlıkları ve Müzeler Genel Müdürlüğü
II.Meclis Binası Yanı
Ulus, Ankara 06110
Turkey Tel:  (90 312) 508 60 00
Fax:  (90 312) 508 60 47
E-mail:  [email protected]

RESEARCH VISA: Instructions for requesting a research visa are available through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage. Application should be made through your local Turkish Consulate. Contact information is accessible via the Turkish Consular webpage.

RESIDENCE PERMIT: Applications for a residence permit (ikâmet) based on the research visa, should be made through the local authorities within 30 days of arrival in Turkey. Information about residence permits for long-term stays is  accessible on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage.

NOTE: Researchers who plan to carry out archaeological excavation and/or survey, underwater archaeology, and/or research on cadastral registers will continue to send their application forms to the Turkish Embassy Consulate that offers the service nearest their location and in addition, submit information for the ARIT Review of applications (see archaeological excavation and survey permit procedures here).