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Things to Know Before Moving to Turkey



Many people have already tried the adventure of moving to Turkey.

Located between Europe and Asia, and endowed with a cultural, natural, and gastronomic heritage recognized worldwide, Turkey offers a good quality of life.

Prices are relatively affordable, and the territory is easily accessible thanks to fairly limited formalities. Discover all the things to know before moving to Turkey in our article.

Do I Need a Visa to Move to Turkey?

Entering Turkey is very easy for EU, UK, and US citizens: an identity card or a valid passport is enough. No visa is required.

However, if you are staying for more than three months and do not have a work contract, it is necessary to obtain a long-stay permit (ikamet), the duration of which cannot exceed the validity of the passport.

It is therefore necessary to regularly renew these documents in order to remain in good standing.

Moving to Turkey: The Work Permit

In the case of a stay for professional reasons, the work permit replaces the residence permit.

You must first obtain a work permit through your employer.

It is then possible to apply for a work permit or visa (calisma vizesi).

These procedures can take a long time to be completed and require being recruited beforehand: you should not wait until the last minute, and it is strongly recommended that you do this before you begin your expatriation to Turkey.

The diplomas and certificates required for your file must all be translated into Turkish.

Work or residence permits are renewable several times, and after 8 consecutive years of living in Turkey, it is possible to obtain permanent resident status.

Moving to Turkey for Studies

In the case of expatriation to Turkey for studies, the visa must be obtained before leaving the country of origin, upon presentation of a letter of admission to a Turkish institution.

Good to know:

  • This application can take up to two months to process.
  • The student visa does not allow you to work in the country.

How Can I Work After Moving to Turkey?

The Turkish economy is rather dynamic and diversified.

Expats are, for the most part, sufficiently qualified and work mainly in the service sector.

Many international companies have chosen to settle in the country, especially in Istanbul and Ankara.

Several hundreds of Foreign companies are established there, in various fields:

  • Automotive
  • Finance
  • Transport
  • Hotel and restaurant industry
  • Textiles
  • Construction.

The job opportunities for expats in Turkey are therefore numerous.

But, once again, it is advisable to find a job (or at least start prospecting potential employers) before leaving.

Depending on one’s skills, it is wiser to aim for sectors with high potential such as:

  • English language teaching
  • Tourism
  • International trade.

It should be noted that, as in other countries, several sectors of activity are closed to foreigners who consider moving to Turkey:

  • Public and government administration (army, police, civil servants)
  • Accounting
  • The legal profession can only be practiced in the form of legal advice
  • Health care professions (nurses, doctors, pharmacists, etc.).

What Health Coverage is Available for Expats in Turkey?

The quality of health care provided in Turkey is quite adequate, especially in the major cities. In some establishments, it is even of a very high standard.

However, the differences between the private and public sectors are glaring, and expatriates usually do not seek treatment in public hospitals because of the unsatisfactory conditions of care and management.

Private medical care is very expensive: it costs around 80 euros to see a general practitioner.

Health Insurance Regulations for an Expat in Turkey

All foreigners studying or working in Turkey are required to have health insurance, which is a condition for obtaining a work or residence permit.

Seconded workers remain covered by their country’s health insurance system, while employees of the Turkish system must be attached to the local social security system (Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu, SGK).

However, this coverage is very inadequate: not all care is covered, especially dental care, and the remaining costs for the insured can be very high.

This is why most foreigners choose to take out international health insurance for their expatriation to Turkey.

International Health Insurance for Moving to Turkey

This type of coverage is offered in the form of insurance contracts at the 1st euro/dollar, and covers routine health care, hospitalization, and repatriation, anywhere in the world.

It is an efficient and flexible solution that allows you to optimize coverage and reimbursements, but also to access useful services such as English-speaking assistance.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.

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