American Research Institute in Turkey



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) what 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. 

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.  Permission for work at a museum library, such as Topkapı or Istanbul Archaeology Museum,  may also require permission from the Ministry of Culture in Ankara and therefore require more time to process.  With this in mind scholars hoping to work in these locations should begin the application process well 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 the research permit from the institution, and in addition secure a research visa through the Consulate prior to entering Turkey, and 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 in any collections in museums other than library need both a research permit and a research visa. In some cases museum researchers may make use of 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). Applicants should send a copy of the application also 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.  Names and addresses for the institutions or directorates will be provided by the Turkish Embassies and Consulates. A descriptive list of state and private museums is accessible on the website of Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Linked here are a translation of the application regulations and the research permit application form (.pdf format or .doc format) for researchers. For more specific information, please contact the ARIT directors in Istanbul and Ankara.

  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 need to study (preferably 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 (you may use the MSWord document attached here as a format). You should attach a scan of your signed cover letter and a scan of the photo identification page of your passport. (You do not need to sign the application form when sending it via e-mail).    

  4. You may apply from abroad or from within Turkey.  Please be advised that the application may take some time to process and it may be worth allowing several months to obtain the permit. Also please note that permissions can only be given for work within a single calendar year, so if you plan to do research that spans a calendar year, such as from November 2014 through March 2015, you may need to renew the premit 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
Tel:  (90 312) 508 60 00
Fax:  (90 312) 508 60 47

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

RESIDENCE PERMIT: Applications for residence permits, which are usually based on the research visa, should be made within 30 days of arrival in Turkey. Information in Turkish language about residence permits for long-term stays is also accessible through the Ministry of Interior. A new e-ikamet application webpage has opened through the General Directorate of Migration Management.

NOTE: For specific questions on obtaining research permits for museums and archives, please contact the ARIT directors in Ankara or Istanbul.  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).