Overview of Immigration to UK from Turkey
Net migration from Turkey to the UK has risen in large numbers since the 1980s, with the number of Turks living in the UK estimated to be around 500,000 in the year 2011.
These include people who have Turkish parents or a Turkish ancestral background, covering both Turkish nationals and Turkish Cypriots.
The majority of the Turkish population in the UK is located in London, with particularly significant concentrations in areas such as Barnet, Enfield and Edmonton. These areas are known for their enclaves of Turks and Turkish communities, with provisions such as local newspapers, schools and mosques specifically serving the local Turkish population.
In order to immigrate to the UK from Turkey, you will first need to obtain an eligible visa. These come in a wide variety, such as ones that allow you to work, set up a business or join family members in the UK.
Some of these will also allow you to settle permanently in the UK by applying for indefinite leave to remain.
UK Work Visas for Turks
Many Turks immigrating to the UK will be looking to work in order to earn a living.
If this applies to you, you will first need to apply for a work visa before travelling to the UK and undertaking paid or unpaid work.
Of the UK’s work visas, the most commonly applied for is the Skilled Worker visa, which allows foreign workers from a range of skills and professions to come to the UK and work in eligible jobs. In order to be eligible for this visa, you must:
- Work for a UK employer who has been approved by the Home Office
- Be sponsored by your employer to work in the UK through a certificate of sponsorship
- Work in a job that’s on the list of eligible occupations
- Meet minimum salary requirements for your profession
These requirements are also similar to other UK work visas. For example, most UK work visas will require you to have a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from an employer.
Other work visas that the UK offers as potential immigration routes include the following:
UK Business Visas for Turks
The UK additionally has separate visas for foreign nationals who wish to come and set up certain kinds of businesses in the UK.
In order to be eligible for these visas, you will need to have sponsorship from an authorised endorsing body and also meet certain minimum English language requirements.
Both visas will require you to prove that you have enough money to support yourself while in the UK. In addition, you must have at least £50,000 of investment funds in order to be eligible for the Innovator visa.
It’s also important to note that only the Innovator visa is a viable route to long-term settlement in the UK. The Start-up visa will only allow you to stay in the UK for an initial 2 years, after which you may switch to the Innovator visa or another type of visa, if eligible.
UK Spouse Visa for Turks
If you’re a Turkish national who’s looking to settle in the UK long-term with your spouse or partner, you may be eligible for the Spouse visa.
To be eligible for this visa, your spouse or partner must be one of the following:
- A British or Irish citizen
- Settled in the UK, such as through indefinite leave to remain, pre-settled status, settled status or proof of permanent residence
- An individual with a Turkish Businessperson visa or Turkish Worker visa
- An individual with refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK
In addition, you must fulfil a number of important eligibility criteria, such as:
- Having a genuine and subsisting relationship with your spouse or partner
- Intending to live together permanently in the UK with adequate accommodation that doesn’t require access to public funds
- Meeting the minimum financial requirements, which will normally be a shared income of at least £18,600
- Meeting the minimum English language requirements
The UK Spouse visa will allow you to stay in the UK for 2 years and 9 months, after which you can extend it for another 2 years and 6 months. You will then be able to apply for permanent settlement after 5 years.
UK Family Visas for Turks
The UK also offers immigration visas if you have family members other than spouses or partners in the UK.
These are known as Family visas, and allow you to settle in the UK with an eligible family member, including the following:
- Fiancés, fiancées or proposed civil partners
- Relatives who’ll provide long-term care for you
Like the Spouse visa, all types of Family visa require the family member you’ll be joining to have settled status in the UK, such as through British or Irish citizenship, or through the EU Settlement Scheme.
Each one of the Family visas available also have individual eligibility requirements you must meet. For example, if you’re applying to join a relative who’ll be providing long-term care for you, you must prove that you require long-term care to do everyday personal and household tasks, and that this care isn’t available in your home country.
All types of Family visa can lead to permanent settlement in the UK.
How Do I Apply for a UK Visa?
You must apply for a UK visa online through the Gov.uk website before you travel to the UK.
As part of the application process, you will have to fill in an online application form with personal details and details that confirm that you’re eligible for your chosen visa.
You will also have to upload a range of supporting documents. These will include things such as documents to confirm your identity, documents to confirm your eligibility to work or settle in the UK, and documents regarding your previous immigration history or visa applications.
You may also have to attend an appointment at a visa application centre to give your biometrics information.
There are six visa application centres in Turkey:
After you’ve submitted your application, the Home Office will then process your application and confirm that you’re eligible for a visa. If your application is approved, you will then be able to travel to the UK.
If your application is refused, you may be eligible for either an administrative review or an appeal. You may wish to talk to an immigration lawyer at this point for further help or support; our advisers are on hand if you need advice regarding your situation on (+44) 333 4149244.
How Can IAS Help?
The Turkish population in the UK is steadily growing, with the number of people immigrating rising every year.
If you’re a Turkish national looking to apply for a visa in order to immigrate to the UK, IAS can help.
We are a team of experienced and empathetic immigration advisers who are well-versed in international legal matters and the UK immigration system. We have the tools and knowledge to ensure that you’re able to immigrate to the UK with as few complications involved as possible, from when you start your application to when you settle into your new UK home.
Whether you need help with assembling your supporting documents for your visa application, unsure of what you need to do to become eligible to immigrate to the UK, or need practical help with the logistics of moving to a different country, we can help.
Last modified on July 17th, 2023 at 7:50 am
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Turkey does allow for its citizens to hold dual citizenship, which means that you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship without having to renounce your Turkish citizenship.
To apply for British citizenship, you must spend at least 5 years in the UK, with at least a year of this time being with indefinite leave to remain.
After this time, you’ll be able to apply online to become a fully naturalised British citizen.
As a citizenship candidate, you’ll need to have passed the Life in the UK Test, meet the minimum English language requirements, and also be of good character.
You also should not have:
- Spent more than 450 days outside the UK during the 5 years before your application
- Spent more than 90 days outside the UK in the last 12 months
- Broken any UK immigration laws
You will be able to access the NHS while you’re in the UK, but only if you’ve paid the immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS).
The IHS is a mandatory payment that all foreign nationals must pay before coming to stay in the UK long-term.
The IHS costs £624 a year for every adult applicant and £470 a year for all applicants under the age of 18.
You will be able to access the NHS for free and therefore no longer have to pay the IHS once you gain indefinite leave to remain status.
Yes. As Turkey is a non-EU, visa-required country, you will need to apply for a Standard Visitor visa to come to the UK even for short or temporary visits under 6 months.
These visits will allow you to visit the UK and see family and friends, engage in tourism, carry out certain business activities and undertake short study or leisure courses in the UK.