Help & Advice
We are often asked questions about moving and living in Turkey so we have grouped some useful information together below for you to have a read and think about. Of course if you would like more specific info- just drop us a line!
Financing the Dream
Ideally a budget should be decided upon before the dream hunting begins but we all know it doesnt always work out that way. More often then not that dream house is found first and then the buyer tries to find a way to afford it. The fınancial options tend to be savings, inheritance or remortage. Its important to know when these monies will be available before the official leap is taken and the process of buying a property starts, as turkish house sales can be quite quick, anything from 6 weeks to 3 months. One other option for consideration is to remortgage in Turkey, 50-65% of the mortgage will be financed, the buyer has to come up with the rest. With shorter repayment terms this can be an appealing but the repayment rates do tend to be higher than that for Turkish citizens. Speak with the local banks to see what the options are.
Bits to remember before moving….
Other than packing your suitcase there are a few things to consider before leaving, among them are: Are all your legal & fınancial affairs in order?- dont forget to tell your bank about your move abroad to avoid any security concerns and freezing of your accounts. Have you arranged for your pension to be paid into a turkish bank account?? If you still have a property in the UK- make sure you have someone to keep an eye on it and organise the bills to be paid online.
Shipping to Turkey
Although it is much easier and cheaper to buy furniture from here in Turkey it is possible to ship furniture and other personal items that you dont want to leave behind. Various companies will ship goods to Turkey, search the internet and find a reputable shipper and definitely ask the advice of those who have done it before!!. A residency permit is required before any personal items from Turkish customs can be cleared. As a resident of Turkey and bearer of a valid residency permit you are entitled to bring in your personal items (including furniture) into the country without paying import duty provided the items arrive in the country within 6 months of arrival.
The goods will need to be collected personally from the turkish port of entry or by someone with Power of Attorny to collect on your behalf. If collecting personally a turkish translator will be required unless you can speak Turkish fluently. The following documentation is required for non turkish nationals: a passport with valid entry date , goods inventory including serial numbers and make/model and cash not credit card for any import tax due. Please note import tax is normally charged per item.
When importing used household goods and personal effects they must be considered for own use, the goods must arrive no earlier than 2 months before arrival and no longer than 6 months after arrival and electrical goods must be compatible with number of members in family. Any duplicate electrical goods will incur tax of 15-17% of the sale value in Turkey. Electronic goods highly are highly taxed so it is not recommended to bring these in.
If costs are incurred the good news is the tax percentage has been decreased from 10% down to 5% of the value of the product shipped. Please also note that when shopping online and arranging deliveries to Turkey there is a tax free limit on your shopping of 75 Euro. Anything over this amount and inport tax will be charged.
Average Cost of Living
For a two-bedroom apartment, monthly electricity bills vary from 80 to 200 lira per month. The primary contributing factor for high electricity bills is air conditioning units that consume a lot of power. For this reason, some people lower their electric bill by installing stand up fans or ceiling fans.
Generally, gas is only used in Turkey for the oven. Rather than being connected through pipes, it is sold in large bottles of which the current price is approximately 70 lira. Depending on how much the gas hob is used , a gas bottle will last an average of 6 to 9 months.
Slowly, the old-fashioned water meters are being phased out and replaced with pay-as-you-go meters. Costs vary from averaging roughly 1 Turkish lira per cubic meter. A large family should factor in approximately 30 lira a month for water. Please note the bills are every two months.
For permanent all year round living, the Internet will cost about 50 lira a month. If the property is only being used as a holiday home, you can rent dongles from companies who will deliver them to the door or there are now pay as you go internet options in some areas.
The charge for council tax varies depending on the number of people on the tapu (title deeds) and the price of the property. An average 2-bedroom apartment can expect to pay roughly 150 lira a year but it can be higher depending on where you live.
Rubbish Tax is a one-off annual tax collected with the council tax and is around 80 lira a year.
Dask (earthquake) insurance is compulsory by law. The cost varies between companies who use the square meterage of the apartment to calculate it. A 70-square meter apartment is roughly 250 lira a year. Obviously, the cost rises if the policy is upgraded to include contents and fire insurance.
If you purchase an apartment in a complex, a monthly maintenance fee is required. This fee goes towards costs such as communal electricity, water, swimming pool maintenance and any other communal facilities as agreed by the official management committee. They vary from complex to complex from 300 to 2000 lira a year.
Paying Council Tax
Foreign nationals are required by law to pay property tax. Check with the local Belediye ‘Council’ to see when payments are due, payments are paid annually or twice a year. Payments can be made in cash at the local office, a form of Id and the tapu will be required to make payment. Someone else can pay on your behalf as long as they have the appropriate documents. The council can confirm when the payments are due, if the payment is late a small fine will be incurred.
A standard toursit visa permits a stay in the country for 90 days out of 180 – so for 3 months in one 6 months period. If you have a property here it is possible to apply for residency. The process can now be completed on line,various forms of documention will be required and there is a fee to pay. When applying for residency it is now necessary to have health insurance, this can be purchased privately at one of the turkish insurance companies or the bank. It is also possible to opt in with the local government SGK scheme.
Other residency permits include: Short Term Permit – up to a maxium of 2 years. Current passport must be valid for 2 years plus 60 days. Family Resident Permit – up to a max of 3 years. There is no limit to the number of children (under 18) to be included on the permit. All passports must be valid for the duration of the permit plus 60 days. A student Resident Permit – for up to 12 months. A letter of consent from a parent or guardian is required.
N.B please note the 120 days & 180 days out of Turkey in any 12 months rulings have been abolished. Please visit https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr for further information on residential applications and the online application form.
Your car in Turkey
It is possible to drive to turkey with your car and belongings tow in but it is good to note that as a ‘foreign car’ it can only stay in Turkey for 6 months and then has to go out of the country for another 6 months. Bringing your car over can be a complicated and expensive process, check out The Touring and Automobile Club of Turk, they regulate the process of importing a car into Turkey.
Cars can be shipped in on a temporary basis, 6 months, but not on a permenant basis unless you are a citizen of Turkey or you have proof that you will be working in a full time permanent position, you are retiring or moving to the country permanently. Documentation required for shipping includes: Passport, Drivers licence (International), Vehicle Title and Registration and a Turkish Auto Insurance certificate.
Another alternative is to buy a car over here – a cheaper alternative or a second hand car. Your driving license will also be considered foreign and will be valid for 6 months after which a Turkish licence must be applied for, educational certificates will be required when applying. Other travelling options include car hire if you want to get out and about every once in a while. Or there is good old turkish transport, cheap & reliable. They don’t have much of a train network in this area but their coach service is fantastic and so is the Dolmus.
Be sure to have some form of Id on your person, especially when travelling throughout Turkey as ID spot checks are carried out and it is compulsary to provide ID on request. It can be quite an experience being pulled over to the roadside and asked for your papers by the Turkish Traffic Police or stopped by the local Gendarma but rest assured it is for your own safety unless of course you have been speeding or doing something naughty! (??)
Many people in Turkey do not make wills as property is automatically given to spouses or the blood relatives, 25% of the real estate goes to the spouse with the remaining 75% going to the children of the deceased. UK wills for turkish property can only overide the turkish inheritance laws if a judge approves the will. Therefore it is a good idea to organise a turkish will so all assets can be divided amongst loved ones as so wished. One other thing for consideration is that unlike the UK Turkey does not have any inheritance tax! We recommend independent advice be sought relating to any enquiries regarding the above as personal situations may alter the process and outcome.
Learn the Lingo
Have a go at learning the language! Its not always easy but you wont regret it if you do. Find a teacher or teach yourself, use an app or decide to learn a word or phrase a day. You will be surprised how much you pick up just living here and you will find yourself settling in quicker with the local community and making friends.
Bringing the Pet over
Various documentatıoin is required including:
1) A rabies vaccination certificate from an accredited veterinarian, issued not later than 15 days prior to entry
2) An International Certificate of Health issued not later than 15 days prior to entry
3) A written statement from an accredited veterinarian that the animal is at least 3 months old
4) A pet identification card
Your pet must be micro chipped with a 15 digit microchip.
They must be vaccinated within a year of travel to turkey. A minimum of 30 days post vaccination a blood titer test needs to be taken . As long as the test is negative 3 months later the pet can enter turkey. The pet must be re-examined within 48 hrs of travel . Within 10 days of entry into Turkey an accredited vet must complete the Veterinary Certificate for Turkey.
You need to research on the internet which airline is best to fly with re: which airlines let you fly with animals, which animals and the costs but please note it is necessary to contact them directly to make the final travel arrangements.
Working in Turkey
The Turkish government is warming to the idea of foreign nationals working in Turkey, more and more people are being granted a permit to work legally. But please note the minimum wage is low and a lot of the jobs lack the benefits you would expect it the UK. So don’t just upsticks on a whim and think you can get a summer bar job..its not that simple.
Foreigners are unable to do certain jobs in Turkey e.g. in hospitals, qualified trades, legal offices etc. However there are jobs where being a foreigner can be an advantage. Teach English as a second language, be a holiday rep or think about internet free lancing. Each of the previous jobs has its own set of criteria and does depend on how many native turks the establishment has employed.
Applying for a work permit is becoming easier and can be applied for either from Turkey or abroad. If the application is filed from abroad it needs to be submitted to the the consulate of the Republic of Turkey in the country of permanent residence. The application should have a work contract, letter of assignment or documentaion stating company partnership. The employer in Turkey has to submit an online application with additional information and documentation within 10 working days of the candidates application.
If working for yourself or an employer a National Insurance contribution should be paid providing healthcare cover and in the long term a pension on retirement.
Bringing Money into Turkey
There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency or Turkish lira that can be brought into Turkey. however large amounts should be declared on arrival and specified in the passport. If coming from a non EU country with more than 10,000 Euro a declaration form needs to be completed at HR Revenue & Customs.
There is a 5000 USD or equivalent limit on taking Turkish lira or other currencies out of Turkey. Amounts exceeding this must be declared. A turkish resident must buy the monies from a bank in Turkey and have this noted in their passport. A non turkish national needs to have declared the foreign currency on arrival. A bank voucher is required if the turkish lira is re-exchanged into foreign currency.
Medical Care in Turkey
Since April 2014 health insurance is now compulsory to all residents of Turkey under the age of 65.
You can obtain health insurance from a private company, get a quote from the local companies or search online. And/or choose to join the governments healthcare scheme, SGK. this is only available after ı years residency in the country.
SGK or Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu is the Turkish governments health insurance scheme.Under the scheme the insured is entitled to healthcare in the state hospitals & clinics. Healthcare included: operations, treatments & pregnancy. Some private hospitals also accept SGK with discounted healthcare rates of 30-70%.
Cost per month for SGK is approximately 395tl (2016 price – increases every year) this applies to both married couples and single people. Dependents under the age of 18 are automatically covered under the main policy holder.
To apply for SGK a turkish residence permit and proof of living in Turkey on a permanent basis is required. A doctors report proving no pre exisiting chronic conditions must also be submitted with the application.
In general there are many hospitals across Turkey both public and private and the cost of healthcare is considerably cheaper than Europe. Turkey is now becoming one of the go to countries for cheaper medical treatment especially in the fields of Cosmetic Surgery, Dentistry and Fertility treatment. Living in an urban area will give access to good quality private hospitals whereas living in a more rural area means travelling further afield for healthcare. If a hospital visit is required dont worry as most private hospitals will have an english speaking Foreign Patients Department.
Unlike the UK in Turkey you can get many UK prescription drugs over the counter and considerably cheaper. If it isn’t stocked then the chances are it can be ordered in, even from abroad. There is always at least one eczane in each town with a duty eczane open over the weekend and at night. Check in the window of any one to see which duty eczane will be open.
Going to the Dentist
Turkey’s private dental facilities offer high quality affordable treatments in a vacation like environment. With a little bit of research both on the internet and via word of mouth you can find a good English speaking local dentist. Thanks to Turkey’s lower cost of living and consequently cheaper Dentistry its possible to save on average up to 70% on dental work compared to the UK.
www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-turkey, www.expatexchange.com, www.expatarrivals.com, www.turkishliving.com/forums/dalyan-forum and www.mymerhaba.com
Dalyan Lovers & Expats – Facebook page
Doc Martins Surgery for Expats in Turkey – Facebook page