Work Permits & Citizenship by Investment Options in Poland & in Turkey

ADMD Law Office, Istanbul
Rima Wojczulis

I. Work Permits in Poland


a. Work permit exemptions

Citizens of the Member States of the European Union or the European Economic Area, as well as citizens of Switzerland - in contrast to citizens of so-called third countries - enjoy a special status in terms of the possibility to legally take up employment in Poland, which results from the freedom of movement of workers. The basic principles of the free movement of workers:

  • seeking employment in another EU state
  • taking up employment in such a country without the need to apply for a work permit
  • residing in that country for professional reasons
  • remaining in the country even after the expiry of the employment contract
  • being treated as equal to the nationals of that country as regards employment, working conditions, and other social and tax advantages

These foreigners do not need a work permit.

There are other persons exempt from work permit requirement in Poland; those include:

  • family members of EU/EEA foreigners, i.e. spouse, direct descendant, direct ascendant
  • persons with refugee status, subsidiary protection, permanent residence permit, long-term resident's EC residence permit, a permit to stay for humanitarian reasons, etc. in the Republic of Poland (and their family members)
  • spouse of a Polish citizen (if they hold a temporary residence permit on the territory of Poland granted in connection with entering into marriage
  • students of full-time studies taking place in Poland
  • graduates of Polish secondary schools, full-time higher education studies
  • teachers of foreign languages who work in kindergartens, schools, institutions, centers, etc.


b. Types of work permits in Poland


Apart from the above exemptions, foreigners require a work permit to work in Poland and there are five (5) different types of work permits issued.

Type A work permit is issued to a foreigner performing work in the territory of Poland based on a contract with an entity whose registered office, place of residence or branch, plant, or another form of organized business activity is located in the territory of Poland. Type A work permit is issued for a period of up to three (3) years.

Type B work permit applies to foreigners who serve on the management board of a legal person entered in the register of entrepreneurs or a legal person that is a capital company in an organization or manages affairs of a limited partnership or a limited joint-stock partnership as a general partner or proxy. Type B permit can be issued for no longer than three (3) years unless the legal person employs more than 25 people - then for no longer than five (5) years.

Type C permit is issued when an employee works for a foreign employer and is delegated to Poland for a period exceeding thirty (30) days in a calendar year to a branch or plant of a foreign entity or an entity related to the foreign employer.

A work permit type D is required if a foreigner works for a foreign employer who does not have a branch, or another form of organized business activity in the territory of the Republic of Poland and is delegated to the Republic of Poland to provide a temporary and occasional service (export service).

A work permit type E is required if a foreigner works for a foreign employer and is delegated to the territory of the Republic of Poland for a different purpose than indicated in the permits type B, C, D.


c. Documents required to obtain work permits in Poland


  1. Application for work permit for foreigner;
  2. Employer's declaration of no criminal record (the declaration can be signed only by the Employer - it cannot be signed by the employer's proxy)
  3. Documents confirming employer’s identity:
    1. a copy of identity card or a copy of the completed pages with data from travel document - if an employer is a natural person,
    2. an extract from the National Court Register (KRS) or another relevant register, containing current data as of the date of applying - if an employer is a legal person,
    3. partnership agreement - if employer represents a limited liability company in an organization or a civil partnership,
    4. notarial deed of incorporation - if employer represents a joint-stock company in an organization;
  4. Copy of all filled-in pages from a valid travel document of the foreigner who is the subject of the application, and in case the foreigner does not have a valid travel document and it is impossible to obtain it - a copy of another valid document confirming his/her identity;
  5. Proof of payment of duties;
  6. Power of attorney - in case the posting employer does not apply personally.

Individual types of different work permits may require additional documents in addition to the above listed.


II. Work permits in Turkey


a. Work permit exemptions


Except for nationals of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, all foreign nationals must obtain a work visa and a work permit to work in Turkey.


b. Unconditional work permits in Turkey


Unconditional work permits are granted to foreigners who meet the following criteria and submit documents obtained from official authorities in the Republic of Turkey indicating that they meet these criteria:

  • Foreigners whose parents or children are Turkish Citizens,
  • Foreigners who are married to a Turkish Citizen for at least three (3) years,
  • Foreigners who have residence permit within the framework of the practices of the Administration for Turks Living Abroad and Related Communities,
  • Foreigners who have a residence permit because of humanitarian considerations,
  • Foreigners who have obtained a residence permit as a result of being a victim of human trafficking,
  • Foreigners with a residence permit who have the status of a stateless person.


c. Types of work permits in Turkey


As per International Labor Law No. 6735, which entered into force on August 13, 2016, a work permit shall be granted to individuals whose foreigners work permit application is approved for a maximum of one (1) year, provided that it does not exceed the term of the labor contract they signed with the employer. This is the so-called ‘work permit for a definite period’. At the end of this period, foreigners who want to extend their work permit are granted a permit for a maximum of two (2) years, provided they continue to work in the same workplace. On the third and subsequent applications, a work permit is granted for a period of up to three (3) years.

Foreigners with a long-term residence permit in Turkey and a work permit for at least eight (8) years are eligible to apply for an Indefinite Work Permit. Foreigners who have a work permit for an indefinite period can enjoy the same rights as Turkish citizens. They cannot, however, exercise rights such as military service, employment in public institutions, or the right to vote and be elected.

The Ministry grants an Independent Work Permit for a specific period and evaluates it based on the following criteria: education and professional experience, contribution to be made to science and technology, contribution to the investment in Turkey, the capital to be invested in Turkey.

Turquoise Card is a special type of work permit with an unlimited duration that allows foreigners to live and work permanently in Turkey and automatically allows their spouses and children to stay. The Turkish Turquoise Card Regulation is based on Articles 11 and 25 of the International Labor Law No. 6735. Foreigners who qualify must fit into one of five categories:

  • expertise in a specific field;
  • large-scale investor;
  • work as a scientist or researcher;
  • be successful on a global scale in cultural activities, art, or sports;
  • contribute to Turkey's and its culture's promotion.

Different types of permits require various types of documentation, such as:

  • labor contract,
  • invitation letter,
  • application letter for the work permit,
  • foreign personnel application form,
  • photocopy of the passport,
  • copy of the diploma translated into Turkish by certified translators or official institutions,
  • notarized power of attorney, etc.

There are two ways to apply for a work permit in Turkey. Which one a person chooses is determined by where they currently reside, whether in Turkey or abroad.

Those who wish to apply for a work permit while physically present in Turkey must obtain an electronic e-Visa or a sticker Visa before entering the country. Following that, the person must submit an online application for a tourist residence permit ID card. When applying for a work permit, the residence permit ID card's remaining validity period must be at least six (6) months, and the foreigner must have a labor contract. Turkish employer shall lodge for work permit through the online application to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in Turkey. The application form and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Ministry within six (6) working days. Otherwise, the entire procedure will have to be repeated. If the work permit is approved by the Ministry, the employer shall pay the required fees, and once this is completed, the employee may begin working for the employer.

The foreign employee shall first sign a labor contract with the Turkish employer before applying to the Turkish embassy or consulate in his current country of residence. Employee should provide his employer with the 10-digit number he received from the Turkish mission. Employers shall complete all of the required information and upload all required documents into the online application system. When the work permit application is approved, the foreigner should proceed to the foreign representative office to pick up the work visa and pay the consular fee. All documents shall be submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security within ten (10) days, or the entire process shall be repeated.


III. Citizenship by investment in Poland


Two EU member states (Bulgaria and Malta) currently have programs in place that grant citizenship to investors under less stringent conditions than standard naturalization. An individual does not need to be physically present in the country or have other tangible ties to the country in the case of these Member States before obtaining citizenship by investment. The acquisition of citizenship in an EU country implies the acquisition of EU citizenship and thus freedom of movement between countries. Therefore, The Polish legal system does not have a system of citizenship for investment.

The only way for investors to obtain Polish citizenship is to apply for a residence card, stay in Poland for a specified amount of time, and then apply for Polish citizenship. A number of requirements shall be met by the investor in order to obtain Polish citizenship. First, the foreigner shall invest €100,000 in a business with a minimum annual profit of €15,000. Other requirements include living in Poland for at least three years on the basis of a permanent residency permit, having a residence card, running a profitable business, paying taxes, living in Poland for an uninterrupted period (interruptions are permitted, but not for more than ten months during the entire stay), having a stable source of income, a stable place of residence in Poland, and speaking Polish at the B1 level.


IV. Citizenship by investment in Turkey

A decision adopted by the Council of Ministers and published in the Official Gazette on January 12, 2017, introduced the possibility of obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment in Turkey. To obtain citizenship, a person shall meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • purchase of a real estate property in Turkey with a minimum value of $250,000; such property shall have a no-sale annotation for at least three years; or purchase of a real estate with property ownership or a construction servitude with a minimum value of $250,000;
  • a fixed capital investment of at least $500,000 in a Turkish corporate entity;
  • provide employment for at least 50 people in Turkey;
  • deposit a minimum of $500,000 in Turkish banks with the annotation of keeping the deposit for at least three years;
  • purchase a minimum of $500,000 in Turkish public bonds and keep them for at least three years;
  • purchase and hold at least $500,000 in Turkish real estate investment fund or Turkish venture capital investment fund shares for at least three years.

The process of obtaining Turkish citizenship is divided into three stages: fulfilling one of the investment conditions and receiving a receipt from the appropriate authority, obtaining a short-term residence permit, and applying for Turkish citizenship by investment. All procedure can be completed by a representative of a foreigner without even entering into Turkey.