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UK Visas and Requirements for Turkish Citizens

Do Turkish citizens need a visa for the UK?

As a Turkish citizen, you will need a visa if you plan to visit, work, establish a business, study, or join family members in the UK. Turkish nationals have a wide range of UK visas available, including temporary work visas and long-term work visas, family visas, and business visas. Unfortunately, the ‘Turkish Worker visa’ and the ‘Turkish Businessperson visa’ are now closed to new applicants. However, existing visa holders can still apply for an ECAA visa extension. In this article, we will outline some of the most popular UK visas for Turkish citizens, including the eligibility requirements and the UK visa fees for Turkish citizens.

UK short-term visas for Turkish citizens

Short-term UK visas enable Turkish citizens to come to the UK to visit, work, or study. Some of the many short-term visas for Turkish citizens include the:

Standard visitor visa

The Standard visitor visa is the most commonly used short-term visa for Turkish citizens. Not everyone requires a visitor visa for the UK. Therefore, it is important to check online before applying1. As a Standard visitor visa holder from Turkey, you will be able to spend up to 6 months in the UK for any of the following reasons:

  • for tourism
  • to visit family or friends
  • to volunteer
  • to attend a meeting or interview
  • to take part in a school exchange programme
  • to do a recreational course
  • to study, do a placement, or take an exam
  • as an academic, senior doctor, or dentist
  • ·for private medical treatment

To be eligible for a Standard visitor visa as a Turkish national (i.e., UK tourist visa for Turkish citizens), you must:

  • intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • be able to support yourself and your dependants while in the UK
  • be able to pay for your return or onward journey
  • not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits
  • not make the UK your main home

Standard visitor visas cost £100. However, the fee is higher at £200 for those coming for medical reasons or as an academic. The application process can be completed on the Home Office website2.

UK work visas for Turkish citizens (long-term)

Several long-term UK work visas schemes are open to Turkish nationals, including the following:

Skilled Worker visa

By far, the most popular of all work visas is the UK Skilled Worker visa. The Skilled Worker visa is intended for overseas nationals with the skills and experience to carry out an eligible role in the UK. Skilled Worker visa holders can stay for up to 5 years, at which point it is possible to apply to permanently settle in the UK (indefinite leave to remain – ILR). Dependant family members can also join Skilled Worker visa holders and gain UK ILR at the same time.

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa as a Turkish national, you must:

  • Have an offer of a job from an approved sponsoring employer in an eligible role
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements (£25,600 per year, £10.10 per hour, or the ‘going rate’ for your job).
  • Meet the English language requirements

Your employer must have a sponsor licence granted by the UK’s Home Office. This will allow them to issue you with a Certificate of Sponsorship (UK CoS) which you must have before you apply for your visa.

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa, you will need to complete the online application form3, pay the application fee (between £625 and £1,423) and healthcare surcharge, and provide any documents requested by the Home Office. In addition, you will need to book and attend a meeting at your nearest UKVCAS office to have your identity checked, your fingerprints scanned, and your photo taken (your biometrics).

UK family visas for Turkish Citizens

The Home Office offers a number of UK family visas for Turkish citizens, including the:

Spouse/Partner visa

Under the family visa scheme, the UK spouse or partner visa enables a Turkish national to travel to and live with their UK-based partner. With a partner visa, you will be able to stay for up to 2 years and 9 months initially. You can then further extend for another 2 years and 6 months. After 5 continuous years in the UK, it is possible to apply for ILR.

To qualify for a spouse visa, you must be married to, in a civil partnership, or have been living for 2 years with a British citizen or a person who has settled in the UK. Applicants must also meet the minimum income requirement of £18,600 per year.

For those with children, an additional £3,800 a year is required for the first child and £2,400 a year for each additional child. This can be met through the joint income of both partners, in addition to pensions, savings, investments, and non-employment income (e.g., rental property income).

UK business visas for Turkish Citizens

And finally, the Home Office offers two UK business visas to Turkish citizens:

Start-up visa

The Start-up visa is aimed at overseas entrepreneurs who wish to come to the UK to establish an innovative business here. Unlike the innovator visa, which is for experienced businesspeople, the start-up visa does not require applicants to have investment funds.

As a start-up visa holder, you can stay for up to 2 years to set up your business, at which point you can switch to an innovator visa or another type of visa. You can also bring your dependant family members to the UK to live with you.

To qualify for a start-up visa, you must have a business idea that is endorsed by an endorsing body in the UK as being new, innovative, and viable. You must also be 18 years or over, meet the English language requirements, and have sufficient savings to support yourself while setting up your business.

To apply for a start-up visa, you must complete the online application form, pay the application fee (£378) and healthcare surcharge, and provide any documents required (including your letter of endorsement). You will also need to arrange a biometric appointment at your nearest UKVCAS office.

What if your visa application is refused?

If applying for a UK visa from Turkey, your application may be refused by the Home Office if:

  • You do not meet the UK visa requirements for Turkish citizens
  • You do not provide the necessary information and documents
  • The information on your application is incorrect
  • You are considered not to be of “good character” – i.e. if you have breached the immigration rules in the past or criminality

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to submit a fresh application, request an administrative review, visa appeal, or ask for a judicial review. In some situations, especially if you do not meet the eligibility criteria, it may be preferable to apply for a different type of visa.


References

1 GOV.UK: Check UK visa

2 GOV.UK: Visitor visa online application process

3 GOV.UK: Applying from outside the UK

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