Studying in Turkey offers a unique and enriching experience for international students, with a growing reputation for quality education and a wide range of English-taught courses across different fields.
In addition to the numerous benefits of studying in Turkey, the country’s universities are particularly generous in offering scholarships to international students. These scholarships serve as a gateway to quality Turkish higher education, making it more accessible and attractive to students from all around the world.
Turkey’s dynamic society and vibrant culture add to the enriching experience, and the affordable cost of living and tuition fees make it an appealing destination for those seeking a high-quality education without breaking the bank.
Furthermore, Turkey’s strategic location allows for easy travel to nearby countries, making it an excellent base for exploration. This is an added benefit of embarking on a memorable academic adventure in Turkey, where East meets West, and modernity blends seamlessly with tradition.
Here is a 101 guide complete with all the details on various processes that you need to follow to study in Turkey.
How to apply for a Turkish visa
You can arrive in Turkey either on a student visa or a tourist visa. Being a student, you can get both; however, it is recommended that you get a student visa. In both cases, if you plan on living in Türkiye long-term, once you get there you will have to apply for a residence permit.
In order to get the visa, you may take two different routes.
Apply through Authorized firms such as Anatolia Travel Services. This method can help you obtain a student visa, work visa, or travel visa.
The second method is to get an e-visa, for which you can apply online. However, this visa is only applicable for travel and trade purposes.
Turkish visa document requirements
You need to meet the following requirement to obtain a visa for Turkey.
Be accepted onto a program in Turkey. You can only apply for a visa once you’ve received an official acceptance letter from a university in Turkey.
A valid passport. This is pretty obvious but some people forget to check the expiring date on their passport before applying for a visa.
Your Biometric photos must be in compliance with the Turkish visa requirements. Turkish authorities have listed all the requirements on this website from photo dimensions to the background color and from photo quality to how you must look into the camera.
Proof of a booked flight ticket. It should be a two-way ticket.
Travel insurance proof. An international travel agent can help you with this.
Proof of financial resources. The Turkish authorities want you to show that you have enough money to live in Turkey during your studies and pay the study fees. You will need to present some documents as evidence. This could be your bank statements, proving you have the required amount, a letter of scholarship, if applicable, and a letter of sponsorship, if your parents or another person will be sponsoring your stay and education in Turkey.
Visa payment fees are mentioned here in PKR.
After completing the visa process, it is essential to prepare certain important documents for legal procedures that you would be following after landing in Turkey.
There are several important measures you need to take almost immediately after arriving in the country such as obtaining a SIM card in your name, your tax number, equivalency certificate, and residence permit.
The following step-by-step guide may help you.
Obtain a telephone number
You need to get a phone number in order to open a bank account and to communicate with officials during the completion of legal procedures for the residence permit and equivalency certificate.
The government department will notify you about these documents through text message. So, a SIM card in your name is the first requirement.
To obtain a SIM card you need a valid passport. Once you get your residence permit, it is recommended that you transfer your SIM to your residence permit.
Get your tax number
There are two methods to obtain a tax number: one is through an online application and the other is visiting any tax office near you.
The tax number is necessary for important payments and processes, opening a bank account, or registering your mobile phone.
Once you receive your residence permit card, you will have your foreign ID number on it. You can use your foreign ID number for all legal issues; however, until you receive it, the tax number is the ID number you will be using.
To obtain your tax number you can visit the official web page of the Tax Office at https://ivd.gib.gov.tr.
Click on the ‘Application for Non-Citizen’s Potential Tax Number’ button on the bottom of the page and fill in the required details. Please enable cookies and pop-ups on your browser since your Tax ID number will be given to you as an official letter in a PDF format.
If you cannot apply online for a tax number, you must visit the nearest tax office in person with your passport.
How to apply for a residence permit in Turkey
• Firstly, fill out an online application form, from the e-ikamet website.
• Then collect the required documents till your appointment date. A list of the required documents can be seen here. It is rather long and includes a residence permit application, a photocopy of your passport, four biometric photographs, health insurance proof, a statement of sufficient funds in your account, etc.
• Make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months.
As an undergraduate student in Turkey, you are required to get a Turkish equivalency to complete your university registration.
There are two ways to get a Turkish equivalence certificate. The first is to obtain your Turkish equivalency in Pakistan, however, for that, you’ll have to visit the Turkish embassy in Islamabad. The second method is to get your equivalency in Turkey.
The complete guide to the process is available here.
If you’re a student of International Baccalaureate, to get your documents attested, you can visit this site.
Life in Turkey could be a bit difficult for Pakistani students who may experience cultural shock especially when faced with a language barrier. We have a separate article on cultural shocks Pakistanis may encounter in Türkiye
Key survival tips
The weather in Türkiye remains cold mostly throughout the year. So, be prepared and take warm clothes and jackets with you.
Take your extension wires and universal adapters, as the plugs in Türkiye are different than those in Pakistan.
Turkey has student discounts almost everywhere, so, don’t forget to ask before you pay. Metro card will reduce your transportation costs, so get one immediately.