So you’ve bought your property and are ready to take the plunge to live in another country. Well done and the good news is that moving over here is relatively smooth as long as you plan and research beforehand.
Before You Go
Ensure that your legal and financial affairs are in order in your home country first. This includes telling your bank that you are coming to Turkey so they don’t freeze your cards out of security concerns. If you are living on a pension, this can be paid into your bank account in Turkey. If you are still keeping a property in your home country, it is worth asking a close friend to keep an eye on it, and all bills can be paid online.
Otherwise, the only other thing you need to do is pack your suitcases. Some people want to bring their furniture over from the UK to Turkey, but this is a costly affair and can see your furniture stuck in customs for many months. It is much easier and cheaper to buy all your furniture here.
Learning the Language
Many people have good intentions of learning Turkish and then further down the road, beat themselves up because they are not as advanced as they hoped they would be. The truth is that in many of the expat resorts, the locals speak English and you can get by without knowing any of the language at all. Having said that, still, trying to learn one word a day help you to communicate and make friends with non-English speaking neighbours and friends.
Health insurance and Residency
A tourist visa only allows you to stay in the country for 90 days out of 180. If you want to stay for longer, you will need to apply for a residency permit. This official government website enables you to complete the whole process online. Depending on your personal situation, the system will refer you as to which documents you need to provide and how much you will pay. You will also need to have health insurance or opt into the government SGK scheme. The process may seem daunting at first, but certain companies can help with applications, or alternatively staff at our Istanbul, and Fethiye offices can give further advice.
Taking your Car into Turkey and Driving
Foreign cars can stay in Turkey for 6 months at a time. After that, they have to be taken out of the country for another six months. Due to the hassle, expats prefer to buy cheap cars here in Turkey. Likewise, you can drive on a foreign driving licence for up to 6 months before you have to apply for a Turkish one for which you need to show educational certificates. These rules and system were set in place at the beginning of 2016 and authorities and expats are still trying to settle into using the system. However, most expats just use public transport since it is cheap and frequent.
Further Reading: See all our articles about buying property and living in Turkey.