Turkey has become a haven for many expats who either buy or rent property and live here all year round. If you are thinking of making this move, there are probably many questions going through your mind. So our local experts have put together a list of questions and answers most frequently asked by people looking to become expats in Turkey. Please click on the vertical sliders for the answers.
Should I buy or rent property?
A lot of ex-pats will rent property for the first six months. This gives them the chance to get to know the area and also to find out whether they can handle the process of moving away from friends and family back home.
The six months rental period is also a great introduction to day to day living in Turkey, which is very different from any holiday period. After the six months, some expats go on to buy property, some carry-on renting property, but in a different area and others return back to their home country.
What is the cost of daily living in Turkey?
This will depend on which area of Turkey you are thinking of moving to and also your lifestyle. The basic household bills will consist of electricity, water and council tax. Other bills that will come into consideration are rental costs and maintenance fees if you are going to live on a complex. Optional bills are gas which is delivered in bottles and satellite TV packages.
Buying a vehicle here is a shockingly expensive venture and maintaining a vehicle is quite expensive due to the cost of petrol and insurance; however, public transport is still cheap. Smokers will find themselves buying roughly €6 for a pack of cigarettes. Average prices of beer vary from € 2-3 in the resort of Altinkum to €4-5 in resorts such as Bodrum. Last but not least, we mention food shopping which is very cheap if you are buying from places like the local market, but the convience items from home are dear.
Can I work in Turkey?
Working in Turkey as a foreigner is allowed only IF youhave been issued an official governmental working permit. Unfortunately they are not issued to everyone, only the professions where it has been proven that a foreigner is needed-- i.e. jobs as a holiday rep or English teacher. When applying for the working permit, you must already have the job and the employer will apply on your behalf.
We advise that you do not consider working illegally in Turkey as the penalties are very harsh and can include deportation as well as a hefty fine. Please also remember that buying a business does not automatically entitle you to work legally--in fact it is a very complicated and slippery slope to navigate business ownership in Turkey. Many foreigners will attetst to the unforgiving slant the regulations have towards foreigners paying mre than locals for most items of business entrepreneurship.
What about medical treatment?
As a foreigner you will not be entitled to free medical treatment so you should ensure that you have medical insurance. This can be taken at in your own home country or from insurance companies in Turkey. Having said that, helath care , in general, is really quite low cost and many foreigners come here specifically for "health tourism" or in otherwords, regularly visit to have high quality procedures done at very low costs.
Can I stay in Turkey on a Tourist Visa?
You can stay in Turkey on a tourist visa ONLY 90 days out of 180 days stipulated on your visa. Be careful to not overstay and bans on entry and/or heavy fines are ommon punishments for "overstays". If you plan to stay continuously or more days than the visa will allow, you must apply for residency status, which is very cheap, considering, and is fairly easy to get--albeit through a rigid procedure, which governmental websites will explain.
It is commonly understood by the expat locals here that not every office in Turkey will follow the same rules and procedures, though they should be uniform. Therefore, you would do well by asking local expats how to best navigate the system if looking to move here.
Can I apply for Turkish citizenship or get lifetime residency?
Turkish citizenship can be gained after three years if you marry a Turkish person. If single, you may apply for citizenship after 5 years of uninterrupted residency, but only if you have also NOT been out of the country more than 180 days in those 5 years. It will be required , as well, for you to have good 'reason" to ask for citizenship and if you have a basic command of the Turkish language.
If you applyfor residency on the basis of Short Term Residency, you will be able to get a 1 year permit--particulalry if you own proery here. After being here with 8 uninterrupted resident permit years, you may apply for a lifetime, Long Term Residency permit, but you must NOT have been out of the country for more than 600 days the previous 5 years before you apply. During the five year period, you are allowed to leave and enter the country as many times as you like. The application process is relatively straight forward however you must display a general knowledge of the Turkish language.
What is the crime rate in Turkey?
There is a relatively low crime rate; however, we still advise that you should not give any opportunities for crime to happen to you. Keep an eye on belongings when out and about in public and ensure your home is locked and secured. Crime is at its highest during the summer tourist months.
Can I use my English cell phone?
You can but we advise that you buy a Turkish phone and credit as calls from Turkey to the UK are very expensive. You will also not be able to buy credit for English phones here. you may try to replace your home sim cards with local sim cards and use your foreign phones here--but it is not guarnateed to work and for certain, after approximately 3-4 weeks the government shuts off the ability for you to use them and force you to buy locally (unless you register your phone with the local government).
With tech savy adults, using a personal computer, laptop or Ipad, Skype has full phone service at a very modest price.
Can I bring my pet into Turkey?
You can and in order to do so, you will need a health and rabies certificate. The pet must also be more than 3 months old.
What is the weather like all year round?
Turkey is a very large country and the weather will vary from area to area. The summer months of August and September can get very hot while the winter months of February and March tend to be filled with rain.
In Bodrum, Jan and February--even March can be downright cold and wet with some fairly big stroms flaring up, but usually every 2 or 3 days the sun comes out and you can be glad you are here! The other months are as expected: April and early May , as well as September and October are "shoulder months and the absolute best weather for touring and travel--though you will need to come during June, July, and August to swim, sail, and take part in all the seasonal things Bodrum is famous for.
How can I Keep in touch With English news?
In most of the Ex-pat resorts, English newspapers are sold. There are also Turkish newspapers printed in English. To catch up with western news and programs, the simplest thing to do is to buy a satellite package. There are many available and they all vary in price.
Would it be possible to bring over furniture from my home country?
This can be done by using a cargo company but the red tape and cost involved makes this process very stressful. Furniture is very cheap in Turkey so we advise selling your furniture back home and purchasing brand new when you get here.
Can I open a bank account in Turkey?
Yes, you will need to obtain a tax number first and this is gained by going to the tax office with a photocopy of your passport. After that you will need to take your passport and new tax number to the bank.
I have heard that Turkish saving accounts in bank have high interest. Is this true?
The average rate of interest is 8% and this depends on how much money you deposit in the bank. You can withdraw and deposit money on one day of the month and the bank will inform you of the date.
What is it like to drive in Turkey?
The big cities can be nerve wracking for even the most experienced drivers but in many of the smaller resorts, driving is a pleasure and leads you to see some wonderful places of interest. Just remember that driving is done on the right and you must carry your license and passport with you at all times.
Do I need to know the Turkish language to live in Turkey?
In most ex-pats areas the locals speak fluent English and it is possible to get by without knowing the language. If you decide to stay in a remote village then there may be some communication problems with the neighbors if you do not the basics of the language. Having said that though, the Turkish people are very friendly and responsive if they hear you attempting to talk the language so always make the effort even if it is only to say "hello"