Expat Living in Turkey: A Useful Guidebook for Practical Matters

Expat Living in Turkey: A Useful Guidebook for Practical Matters
Expat Living in Turkey - The Samurai Way!
Written on: 11 May 2018

Regardless of your nationality, expat living in Turkey is a subtle blend of good and bad. Most of the time, the dream of an expat life by the sea can be fully indulged in, as we soak up the gorgeous weather, dine al fresco and enjoy a laidback lifestyle.

Inevitably, though, we must deal with the processes of day-to-day living, whether this is navigating offices for residency permits or trying to figure out finances in two currencies. The good news is when it comes to practical situations needing our attention, there is always a solution. Here is our guide for almost every dilemma that arises in a life abroad.

Expat Living in Turkey - The Samurai Way!

Making the Move

The biggest and most stomach-churning moment of an expat lifestyle is making the decision to move to Turkey and committing to seeing it through. An avalanche of “if, but, when, and how” questions run through people’s minds and far from helping, they cloud our judgement. To help decide if being an expat is for you, see these lifestyle questions to ask yourself before moving.

6 Benefits of Moving to Turkey

Turkey has a lot to offer expats, and this is evident by the thousands of foreigners living all over the country. Including financial incentives, a vast real estate portfolio and of course, the gorgeous weather, found out what lifestyle benefits you can tap into, when you move here.  

Places in Turkey Where Expats Live

If you want to be in like-minded company, the good news is that expat communities exist in many destinations in Turkey. Including Istanbul, they mostly settle in the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resorts. Places like Didim are particularly popular with British expats while Alanya has gained a reputation as a cosmopolitan hub for Europeans and Russians, and Middle Eastern nationalities often favour Bursa and Yalova.

Helpful Tips for Buying Property in Turkey

First-time buyers in Turkey might be nervous at navigating a real estate system that is different to their home country, but it is quick and straightforward to complete. However, the tip is to carefully choose your home according to your lifestyle needs and wants. Find out how to do that here.

Apps for Expat Living

Ah! The wonders of technology go a long way in making our lives easier and better. Whether it is handling our finances, communicating with loved ones, or travelling around, you’ll like our list of apps for expats in Turkey.

What is the Cost of Living?

The cost of living in Turkey varies dramatically from the big cities like Istanbul to the smaller expat resorts like Didim. Your lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, and being a car owner also make an enormous difference. Having said that running a home is immensely cheaper than in the UK, and there are ways to be frugal and save money. Read about them here.

Getting a Residence Visa

Many years ago, when expats first started living in Turkey en-mass, ferry runs were how we stayed in the country legally. However, the Turkish government naturally wanted to know about all these foreigners living in their country, and they introduced the residency visa, with little communication and haphazard rules from town to town. Thankfully, after much trial and error, the streamlined process is much easier to complete. In this article about residence permits in Turkey, we talk about the process and what you need to apply. 

Working in Turkey as a Foreigner

The days, when you could catch a one-way flight ticket to Turkey and work cash in hand, while you spend your days in the sun are gone. Although some foreigners do work illegally in Turkey, it is just not worth it because you face deportation and/or fines if you get caught. Most working expats like teachers or executives live in big cities, while international holiday companies in the coastal resorts employ hotel and airport reps. A working permit is a must, and there are certain professions that foreigners cannot do in Turkey. Read about them here.

Expat Banking in Turkey

Banking in Turkey as a foreigner is easy because there is so much choice. Many expats who don’t work have deposited money in high-interest savings accounts starting at roughly 10%. They withdraw this interest every month and live off it. Hence they don’t have to touch their net worth. This is a popular thing to do so banks in places with large expat communities often have English speaking staff, and with a variety of banks like HSBC, Garanti and Denizbank all clambering for your money, the choice is immense. Read our guide to the Turkish banking system here.

When Problems Arise

We love living in Turkey, but it isn’t an exclusive utopia. Like other countries, there may come a time when problems arise. Studies have shown that expats who are able to navigate times of trouble and forge for themselves, an idyllic lifestyle display specific characteristics that stand them in good stead. Including flexibility and an acute sense of curiosity, read more about those character traits here.

Learning Turkish

For most of our expat customers, this is often the most frustrating aspect about expat living in Turkey. Some say they forget what they’ve learnt while others say they struggle to grasp the grammar rules. Pronunciation is also another problem that arises. We say take it easy and don’t be too hard on yourself. Make learning Turkish fun, and it won’t be so much of an ordeal. It is also helpful to know that in many of the Mediterranean and Aegean coastal resorts, English is widely spoken. Our hints and tips for learning Turkish in an uncomplicated way will help.

Lastly, we hope our blog provides you with a wealth of helpful information but if you have any more questions about living and buying property in Turkey, feel free to contact us.

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