All you need to know about bringing your car to Turkey
Bringing a car into Turkey from abroad might sound like a way to save money. Yet the truth is the process requires careful planning and adherence to legal regulations. Both foreigners moving to Turkey and Turkish citizens returning from overseas should understand procedures, taxes, and the necessary documentation to ensure a stress-free process, which is guaranteed without research and careful planning.
This article provides tips to help navigate the process. However, rules and regulations always change, so check official websites before completing any actions. Familiarize yourself with the country's import regulations by contacting the Turkish Consulate in your country of residence or visiting the official website of the Turkish Customs and Trade Ministry of Interior for the most up-to-date information. Also, ensure vehicles comply with specific regulations, as any non-compliance may result in delays or refusal of entry. So, what do you need to know, and where do you start?
About Bringing a Car into Turkey
Temporary Entry Versus Permanent Importation of a Car
To temporarily bring a car into Turkey, opt for a temporary importation procedure for tourism or short-term visits. This allows vehicle use in Turkey for a limited time without paying import taxes. Different time regulations apply for those intending to import a car into Turkey permanently. Turkish citizens returning from abroad can bring one vehicle without paying customs duties, provided they have resided overseas for at least two years. However, non-citizens and citizens who have not met the residency requirement are subject to taxes depending on the vehicle's value, engine displacement, and age.
Foreign Vehicles Carnet (Blue Card) for Turkey
This is essential to the process, but please note that retired foreigners must be residence permit holders. The Yabancı Taşıtlar Geçici Giriş Belgesi – YTGGK, also called the Blue Plate Card, will firstly be needed at the customs office and then later at the Turkish government registration office of the district where you will register the vehicle. For up-to-date information and fees associated with the Foreign Vehicles Carnet Blue Plate Card, please see the official website here, which also links to the application form - https://www.turing.org.tr/en/foreign-vehicles-carnet-blue-card/
How Long Can I Keep the Car in Turkey?
The maximum time for importation is 730 days before the vehicle must leave Turkish borders. However, if you travel around Turkey on a tourist visa, you can only stay for 90 days out of 180 days. On both occasions, the vehicle must leave with you. For residents, both you and the car must stay out of Turkey for 6 months to repeat the process. Please note this process can only be repeated twice.
Required Vehicle Documents
Proof of Ownership: Original vehicle registration document (title) or certificate of ownership from the country the person resides in.
Driver's License: Carry a valid driver's license issued in your home country or an international driving permit (IDP) alongside your domestic license.
Passport and Visa: Ensure your passport and relevant visas are up-to-date and valid for your stay.
Proof of Insurance Policy: Obtain international traffic insurance coverage valid in Turkey. Either purchase this in advance or obtain local insurance upon arrival.
Power of Attorney: If foreign persons cannot be present during customs clearance, they should appoint a power of attorney to act on their behalf.
Customs Declarations: Complete necessary customs forms and declarations, which vary depending on the purpose and period of import.
Customs Clearance Requirements for Turkey
Upon arriving at the border in Turkey, proceed to the nearest customs office or designated point of entry to complete customs clearance requirements. Here are the general border steps involved.
Vehicle Inspection: The Turkish customs office will inspect the vehicle's condition, identification number, and compliance with safety standards.
Customs Declaration: Submit required customs declaration forms, providing details about the vehicle, value, country of origin, and personal information.
Payment of Customs Tax: Pay the customs fee based on the vehicle's value, engine size, and age. Carrying sufficient funds in local currency or having a valid credit card is advisable.
Temporary License Plate: You sometimes need a temporary license plate (a transit plate) to legally drive the vehicle in Turkey under temporary customs clearance until you receive permanent registration.
Vehicle License Registration: After completing the procedures at the customs office and paying the necessary fees, visit the local Traffic Registration Directorate (Trafik Tescil Müdürlüğü) to obtain the vehicle registration certificate.
Important Points to Remember
185 Days Residence Duration: Foreign car owners must stay outside Turkey for at least a 185-day time limit in the previous 12 months to import vehicles registered in their country of residence for private use.
Other Drivers: Your vehicle brought into Turkey temporarily may only be driven by the vehicle owner, their spouse, parents or children who also reside abroad. Except for emergencies, nobody from these individuals can drive the vehicle even if the owner is in the car.
Transfer of Ownership: You may not transfer ownership of your foreign plate vehicle in Turkey to someone else.
MA-MZ Foreign License Plates: The vehicle license plates are given by the Ministry of Interior to the vehicles imported temporarily within the temporary entrance carnet for foreign cars.
Buying a Car in Turkey Instead
People often decide that the hefty taxes and strict regulations make bringing a car into Turkey worth it. So, deciding whether to buy a car in Turkey depends on several factors, including your circumstances, financial situation, and specific needs. It is cheaper and more convenient to stay in Turkey for a short period to rely on public transportation, car rentals, or ride-sharing services.
Buying a car in this scenario may involve additional expenses, such as registration fees, insurance, maintenance issues, and potential depreciation when you leave the country. Overall, it is advantageous for foreigners who plan to live in Turkey permanently. Owning a car provides convenience and flexibility.
Buying a car involves upfront costs such as the purchase price, taxes, registration fees, insurance, and maintenance. Research the local market to understand the prices of new and used cars and ongoing expenses like fuel prices, insurance premiums, and maintenance costs. Compare these expenses with alternative transportation options to determine the financial feasibility. You will be surprised at the tax-free cars and incentives that car dealer forecourts often offer.
Foreigners buying a car must be residency permit holders. They will also pay three applicable taxes, and the cost of a brand-new vehicle includes these. They are value-added tax (Katma Değer Vergisi), special consumption tax (Özel Tüketim Vargisi), and motor vehicle tax (Motorlu Taşıtlar Vergisi)
The one aspect of Turkey's car values that surprise foreigners is that they don't lose value. In many foreign countries, as soon as you drive the car off the forecourt, it has instantly lost value, but this is not true in Turkey. You can actually make money when you sell a second-hand car.
Also, About Living in Turkey
Residency Permits: The following article will help you know how to get a valid residence permit. Anyone who plans to live in Turkey for more than 90 days out of 180 days will need a residency permit, and the benefits are worth it.
Moving to Turkey: There is much to do in the country, from exploring the historical sites and places of natural beauty to indulging in adventure sports or soaking up the delightful sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters. Such is the appeal that hundreds of thousands of foreigners live permanently in Turkey.