ECAA – Ankara Agreement

The ECAA (European Community Association Agreement) Turkish Businessperson visa was intended for Turkish nationals over the age of 18 who either wanted to start a new business in the UK or to come to the UK to help run an established business. This visa category was removed when the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020.

However, although the doors are now closed for new applications under the ECAA Ankara Agreement, people holding the ECAA Businessperson visa as of 31 December 2020 can continue to live and run their businesses in the UK. They and their family members can still extend their visas under the ECAA Ankara Agreement.

Although new applications for the Turkish Businessperson visa are now closed, children under 21 can still apply to join their family members in the UK who hold the ECAA Businessperson visa. However, partners of Turkish Businesspersons may not apply from outside the UK.

What you can and cannot do

Turkish Businessperson visa holders can run their business in the UK, start another business, close a business and start a new one, be a partner in an existing business, study and do voluntary work in the UK.

After having run the business for five years, the Turkish Businessperson may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). This permits them to settle in the UK and continue with the running of their business. After 12 months under ILR, they may apply for UK nationality.

The Turkish Businessperson and their dependent family members cannot apply for public funds or work as employees.

Family members

The following can be dependants of a Turkish Businessperson:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • Child under 21 – including if they were born in the UK during your stay
  • Child over 21 if they are currently in the UK as the ECAA Turkish Businessperson’s dependants

Partners of Turkish Businesspersons can apply for an extension if they were dependents as of 31 December 2020. They will also be eligible to apply for ILR once they meet the requirements.

Dependent children of the Turkish Businessperson or children of their partner can apply to come to the UK to join to the Turkish Businessperson.

ECAA – Ankara Agreement (Turkish Worker)

The ECAA European Community Association Agreement between EU and Turkey allowed Turkish workers to continue to work in the UK under a specific arrangement between Turkey and the EU. This visa was removed once the Brexit transition period ended on 31 December 2020.

Although the doors are closed for new applicants, existing Turkish Workers who hold the ECAA Turkish Worker visa as of 31 December 2020 can continue to live and work in the UK. They and their family members can still extend their visas under the ECAA Ankara Agreement and can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of legal stay in the UK.

To qualify for an extension, they must already have a valid Turkish Worker visa. If the applicant is successful in their visa extension application, they will be allowed to stay in the UK as a Turkish ECAA worker.

After five years, the Turkish workers may apply for indefinite leave to remain. This would permit them to settle in the UK. After 12 months under this status, it is possible for the individual to apply for UK nationality.

Family members

The following can be dependents of a Turkish worker:

  • Husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried partner
  • Child under 21
  • Child over 21 if they’re currently in the UK as dependant

Partners of Turkish worker can apply for an extension of their visas if they were dependants as of 31 December 2020. They will also be eligible to apply for ILR once they meet the requirements.

Dependent children of the Turkish Worker or children of their partners can apply to come to the UK to join the Turkish Worker.

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