Are you considering living abroad in Turkey? This comprehensive guide provides all the essential information and tips to help you navigate your new life in this beautiful and culturally rich country.
Discover the allure of living abroad in Turkey, with a special focus on the vibrant city of Istanbul. As a globally significant metropolis, Istanbul offers a bustling economy and rich cultural experiences. While Turkey overall boasts a lower cost of living compared to many other countries, Istanbul's expenses can be relatively higher. Nevertheless, the city presents an accessible and comfortable lifestyle for individuals with diverse backgrounds. Its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East allows for convenient travel opportunities, while maintaining a generally safe environment with low crime rates.
Are you considering living abroad in Turkey? This comprehensive guide provides valuable information and insights to help you navigate your new life in this beautiful and culturally rich country. Whether you are moving to Turkey for retirement, as a digital nomad, or as your new home base, this guide covers essential topics such as the application and residence permit process, tax considerations, healthcare, recommended places to live, and cost of living calculations. By following this guide, you can better understand the relocation process, potential challenges, and the advantages of living in Turkey.
Turkey offers a diverse range of alternatives for expats, thanks to its unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures. Whether you prefer the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle on sun-drenched beaches or exploring vibrant, ancient cities with bustling Middle Eastern marketplaces, Turkey has something for everyone. However, it's important to note that adjusting to life in Turkey can pose challenges due to significant cultural differences.
Before making the move, it's crucial to understand the relocation procedures and residence permit requirements in Turkey. This section will guide you through the necessary steps and provide tips to ensure a smooth transition. It will cover topics such as visa requirements, work permits, and the process of obtaining a residence permit.
Understanding the tax system is essential for expats living in Turkey. This section will provide an overview of the tax regulations and obligations you may encounter as an expatriate. It will cover topics such as income tax, property tax, and any tax treaties that Turkey has with other countries.
Access to quality healthcare is a crucial aspect of expat life. In this section, you will learn about Turkey's healthcare system, including both public and private options. It will cover topics such as health insurance requirements, the availability of English-speaking doctors, and the quality of medical facilities in different regions of the country.
Choosing the right location to live is essential for a fulfilling expat experience. This section will highlight some of the best places in Turkey for expats to consider, taking into account factors such as affordability, lifestyle, safety, and access to amenities. Regions such as Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, and Cappadocia will be discussed in detail.
Understanding the cost of living is crucial for financial planning. This section will provide insights into the cost of living in Turkey, including accommodation, transportation, groceries, dining out, and other daily expenses. It will offer practical tips on how to budget and calculate an estimated cost of living based on your lifestyle preferences.
For those seeking long-term immigration or retirement options, Turkey provides various opportunities. This section will explore the available options, such as the Turquoise Card system, which grants permanent residence to foreigners. It will also discuss retirement programs and incentives offered by the Turkish government for foreign retirees.
Living cost-effectively is important for many expats. This section will provide tips and strategies to save money on accommodation, transportation, and food expenses in Turkey. It will cover topics such as renting vs. buying property, public transportation options, grocery shopping, and dining out on a budget.
If you're considering investing in property or obtaining Turkish citizenship, this section will provide a comprehensive overview. It will explain the regulations and processes involved in buying property in Turkey as a foreigner and outline the requirements for obtaining Turkish citizenship through investment or other means.
Get acquainted with some essential facts about Turkey, including its population, capital city, official language, time zone, neighboring countries, and country dial code. These facts will help you familiarize yourself with the basics before your move.
In this section, you will find valuable insights and tips from expats who have lived or are currently living in Turkey. Their firsthand experiences and perspectives will provide you with practical advice and unique insights into life in Turkey. Topics covered may include the pros and cons of living in Turkey, cultural nuances, safety considerations, and more.
Whether you're seeking adventure, a lower cost of living, or a rich cultural experience, living in Turkey can be a fulfilling and exciting endeavor. By following this comprehensive guide, you will be well-equipped to navigate the challenges and make the most of your expat life in this captivating country.
If you are considering living in Turkey, it's important to understand the visa and residence permit requirements. This guide will provide you with detailed information on how to navigate the necessary procedures and ensure a smooth transition to your new life in Turkey.
EU nationals, excluding Cypriots and Latvians, do not require a tourist visa to enter Turkey. They can enter the country by presenting their identification documents, such as an ID card, and stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
US citizens need to obtain an electronic Turkish visa before their arrival in Turkey. They must register online on the designated platform for electronic visas. The cost of the electronic visa for US citizens is approximately $51.50, which includes a $50 visa fee and a $1.50 service fee. The visa allows them to stay in Turkey for 90 days within a 180-day period.
Non-US citizens should visit the Turkish eVisa platform to check their specific country's visa requirements and fees for entry into Turkey.
Foreigners who plan to stay in Turkey for up to two years, including retirees, can obtain a short-term residence permit known as "e-Ikamet." This permit is renewable and can be used as a retirement visa. After eight years of holding a residence permit, foreigners can apply for permanent residency and retirement in Turkey.
To obtain a residence permit, applicants must provide proof of sufficient income to support themselves. The income requirement is aligned with the minimum salary in Turkey, which was approximately ₺5,004 per month (around $280) as of 2022. There are no restrictions on starting a business, purchasing government bonds, or investing in real estate.
The application process for a residence permit can be initiated through the website of the Turkish Ministry of Interior. To complete the process and pay the necessary fees, an appointment must be booked with the local Provincial Directorate of Immigration (DGMM).
Turkey offers a "Golden Visa" program, officially known as the Citizenship by Investment program. This program allows foreigners to obtain Turkish citizenship through investment. It is one of the most affordable programs worldwide, with a relatively low financial commitment and a processing period of approximately two to three months.
To be eligible for Turkish citizenship through the Golden Visa program, expats can invest:
Spouses and dependent children under the age of 18 can also apply for citizenship along with the main applicant.
Turkey does not currently have a specific digital nomad visa. However, entry to Turkey is relatively easy, allowing a 90-day stay for tourism purposes. It's important to note that a tourist visa does not permit employment in Turkey.
According to Turkish law, foreign nationals within the scope of the law are prohibited from working without obtaining a work permit. Therefore, if you wish to work in Turkey as a freelancer or remotely, you must apply for a work permit and register yourself as a Turkish business.
While it may be unlikely that relevant Turkish authorities discover your remote work activities, it is essential to adhere to the legal requirements. The concept of remote work is not yet fully integrated into Turkish employment law.
Understanding the visa and residence permit requirements is crucial when planning to live in Turkey. Whether you are a tourist, retiree, investor, or digital nomad, knowing the specific regulations and procedures will help you navigate the process smoothly and enjoy your new life in this culturally rich country.
Turkey offers an attractive cost of living for both individuals and families looking to live abroad. The expenses vary depending on the city, but overall, Turkey is known for its affordability. Here's a breakdown of what you can expect when it comes to living costs in Turkey.
The average estimated cost of living in Turkey ranges from $1,000 to $1,200 per month. For a family of four, the projected monthly expenses without rent are around $1,251 (or ₺22,450), while for a single individual, it amounts to approximately $357 (or ₺6,410) without rent.
Compared to countries like the US or UK, Turkey offers significantly lower living costs. The monthly cost of living in Turkey is approximately 63.4% less than the US average. Even in major cities, which are typically more expensive, the cost of living in Turkey remains relatively affordable.
When compared to other European countries, Turkey stands out for its affordability. If Turkey joins the European Union, Istanbul is projected to become the least expensive capital city in Europe, surpassing places like Romania and Bulgaria. In fact, the living costs in any Turkish city, such as Antalya, are expected to be similar or lower than those in other European cities.
Here's a comparison of the cost of living per month for one person in various European cities and Turkey:
In addition to the low cost of living, Turkey offers favorable pricing when converted to dollars. For example, Istanbul provides an efficient and well-maintained public transportation system, including trams, subways, buses, cable cars, and ferries, which surpasses the alternatives in many American cities. Starting prices for public transportation in Istanbul are as low as ₺0.30 or ₺2.5.
If you compare the cost of living in Turkey to that of a mid-priced city in the United States, you can expect a reduction in your monthly expenses by around 60%. Here are some statistics comparing the monthly living costs in Turkey and the United States:
Turkey compared to the US:
The US compared to Turkey:
While living in Turkey is not generally considered expensive, the costs can vary depending on the location. Istanbul, being the most expensive city and the largest metropolis in Turkey, tends to have higher living costs. However, even in Istanbul, it is possible to find affordable accommodations. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of the city can be rented for less than $500 per month. Considering Istanbul's rich history, vibrant culture, and excellent standard of living, this additional cost is quite reasonable.
If you choose to live outside of Istanbul, you can save approximately 20% on living expenses by relocating to another large city in Turkey.
Now let's explore the estimated cost of living in specific cities in Turkey:
These figures provide a general idea of the living costs in different cities in Turkey. Keep in mind that prices may vary based on personal preferences and lifestyle choices.
Understanding the living costs in Turkey is crucial for planning your budget and ensuring a comfortable life abroad. By considering these factors, you can make informed decisions when it comes to your expenses and enjoy the affordability that Turkey has to offer.
When considering living abroad in Turkey, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the average and minimum salaries in the country. This information will provide valuable insights into the cost of living and help you plan your finances accordingly. In this guide, we will delve into the average and minimum salary figures in Turkey, with a focus on Istanbul, the country's most expensive city.
As of July 2022, the average monthly wage for an employee in Turkey is approximately ₺7,830 (or $435). This figure encompasses various expenses, such as housing, transportation, and other services. It's important to note that salaries can significantly vary across different professions, so it's essential to research industry-specific salary ranges.
In Istanbul, the costliest city in Turkey, the average monthly salary is around $984. If you are a foreigner planning to live in Istanbul, it is advisable to have a monthly income higher than the average salary to maintain a middle-class lifestyle. This serves as a baseline reference to estimate the actual cost of living in Turkey's major metropolis.
In Turkey, the standard work week consists of 45 hours. Any additional hours worked beyond the set weekly hours are paid at a rate of 50% per hour. After completing one year of employment, employees are entitled to a minimum of 14 days of vacation. It's important to note that Western holidays like Christmas may not be automatically recognized as days off, unless explicitly stated in your employment contract.
To provide a clearer picture, here are average monthly salary figures for selected professions in Istanbul:
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a 30% increase in the minimum wage, setting it at ₺5,550 ($306) as of July 2022. Previously, in December, the base minimum salary for 2022 had been raised by over 50% to ₺4,253, averaging at $236 based on the current exchange rate. It's important to stay updated on minimum wage adjustments as they may impact living expenses and your financial planning.
Understanding the average and minimum salaries in Turkey, particularly in cities like Istanbul, is crucial for planning your budget and assessing your financial feasibility. Keep in mind that these figures are subject to change, so it's essential to stay informed and research specific industries and regions to gain a more accurate understanding of living expenses in Turkey.
Turkey is a country that offers a diverse range of cities with unique features, making it an attractive destination for expats. Whether you're seeking a bustling metropolis, a tranquil coastal town, or a city rich in cultural heritage, Turkey has something to offer. Here are some of the best cities to live in as an expat:
Istanbul is a city that continues to captivate expats with its cultural diversity, vibrant atmosphere, and rich history. As the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul is a melting pot of Eastern and Western influences, offering a unique blend of traditions and modernity. With its bustling markets, stunning architecture, and world-class cuisine, Istanbul provides an immersive experience for expats looking to embrace Turkish culture. Additionally, the city's vibrant nightlife and proximity to the Bosphorus Strait add to its allure.
Antalya is a city located on Turkey's stunning Turquoise Coast, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and modern amenities. Expats are drawn to Antalya for its picturesque beaches, vibrant resorts, and warm climate. The city also presents a range of opportunities in the tourism industry, making it an attractive destination for those seeking employment or business ventures. Moreover, Antalya's historic center, Kaleici, provides a glimpse into the city's ancient past, with its well-preserved landmarks and charming atmosphere.
Known for its luxurious lifestyle and exclusive resorts, Bodrum is a popular choice for expats seeking high-class living in Turkey. Located on the Aegean coast, Bodrum offers a stunning coastline, crystal-clear waters, and a vibrant nightlife. The city is home to upscale restaurants, boutique shops, and upscale marinas, attracting a cosmopolitan crowd. With its Mediterranean charm and beautiful scenery, Bodrum is an ideal destination for those looking for a sophisticated and relaxed lifestyle.
For expats with a passion for history and heritage, Bursa is a city worth considering. As the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa boasts a rich historical legacy and architectural wonders. The city is known for its impressive mosques, ancient bazaars, and thermal baths. Bursa offers a blend of traditional Turkish culture and modern amenities, making it an intriguing destination for expats looking for a city with a deep sense of heritage.
Izmir, situated on the Aegean Sea coast, is a popular choice for expats looking for a relaxed and retiree-friendly destination. With its warm waters, pristine beaches, and pleasant climate, Izmir offers an ideal setting for a leisurely lifestyle. The city boasts a long coastline with numerous Blue Flag-certified beaches known for their cleanliness and water quality. Expats in Izmir can also explore its well-preserved ancient ruins and enjoy the city's fusion of tradition and innovation.
Alanya is a rapidly developing city that has gained popularity among expats in recent years. Located on the Mediterranean coast, Alanya offers a vibrant expat community, affordable living costs, and a pleasant climate. Expats can enjoy beautiful beaches, explore historical sites such as Alanya Castle, and indulge in various water sports and outdoor activities. With its growing infrastructure and increasing number of amenities, Alanya provides an exciting and dynamic living environment.
Situated on the southwestern coast of Turkey, Marmaris is a paradise for sea lovers. The city is renowned for its stunning marina, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking coastline. Expats in Marmaris can enjoy a range of water activities, including sailing, diving, and swimming. The city also offers a vibrant nightlife scene, bustling markets, and a blend of traditional and modern Turkish culture. Marmaris provides a tranquil yet lively environment for expats looking to immerse themselves in coastal living.
When considering living in these cities, it's important to note that the cost of living can vary. It is advisable to research and consider factors such as housing, healthcare, transportation, and overall lifestyle when making a decision. Additionally, each city has its unique charm and attractions beyond what has been mentioned, allowing expats to explore and discover their own favorite spots.
By choosing to live in one of these cities, expats can experience Turkey's rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and warm hospitality while enjoying a fulfilling and rewarding life abroad.
Turkey has a universal healthcare system that covers all Turkish citizens, as stated by the World Health Organization. The country's healthcare system is ranked 70th out of 191 countries, while the United States is ranked 37th in comparison. The standard of medical care in Turkey can vary, but major cities like Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir boast private hospitals with English-speaking doctors who have received training in the US and hold international accreditation. These hospitals often provide high-quality care following Western standards.
When living in Turkey, it is necessary to purchase personal health insurance along with a temporary residency visa. Numerous well-known foreign health insurance providers operate in Turkey, such as Allianz, AXA, or Mapfre. The cost of health insurance varies depending on factors like age and coverage options. On average, a 36 to 45-year-old individual can expect to budget around $35 or ₺325 per month for health insurance. These plans typically cover all emergency costs up to 100% and 60% of non-emergency medical co-insurance.
To reduce medical expenses, foreigners who have lived in Turkey for more than a year and hold a temporary residency visa may apply for Turkish health insurance. However, it is often recommended for foreigners to obtain additional insurance to gain access to private hospitals, especially for medical reasons that require specialized care.
Foreigners residing in Turkey are required to have health insurance when applying for a work or residence permit. If your home country's health insurance program complies with Turkish law, you can utilize it to meet this requirement. The Turkish government has implemented mutual agreements with several countries, including Germany and France. If you are covered by a health insurance program in one of these countries, you will also be protected while in Turkey. However, it's important to note that the UK does not have such an agreement with Turkey. In cases where there is no mutual agreement, it is advisable to obtain health insurance specifically designed for foreigners in Turkey.
Once you have health insurance in place, you can access healthcare services in Turkey. The country has a wide range of medical facilities, including public hospitals, private hospitals, and clinics. Public hospitals offer healthcare services at affordable rates, but there may be longer waiting times and language barriers can be a challenge. Private hospitals, on the other hand, provide a higher level of service and often have English-speaking staff. These hospitals are generally well-equipped and can offer a more comfortable and efficient healthcare experience.
When seeking healthcare in Turkey, it's essential to keep the following points in mind:
By understanding the healthcare options available in Turkey and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure that you and your family receive appropriate medical care and enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life while living abroad.
The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira (₺). As of the current exchange rate, $1 is equivalent to ₺17.97, and €1 is equal to ₺18.38. It's important to keep track of exchange rates to understand the value of your money while living in Turkey.
Turkey imposes an income tax on all income, ranging from 15% to 35%. If you are a foreign citizen residing in Turkey for more than six months in a year, you are considered a taxpayer and must pay income tax on your worldwide earnings. It's crucial to familiarize yourself with the tax regulations and consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance.
If you decide to purchase property in Turkey, you will be subject to property taxes. When receiving the title deed, known as TAPU, you will typically need to pay property taxes at a rate of 4% of the purchase price. This expense should be taken into account when budgeting for your property purchase.
There are certain exceptions for non-residents who stay in Turkey for six months or more due to work, business operations, or fulfilling specific requirements of the Turkish Income Tax Law. Non-residents are taxed only on income earned within Turkey. It's advisable to seek professional advice to understand the specific tax rules that may apply to your situation.
When living abroad, it's crucial to understand how foreign exchange works and how international transfer fees can impact your daily expenses. Here are some important considerations:
Wise.com is a recommended banking solution for those living overseas. It offers convenient services for managing your money efficiently. Some key features include:
By utilizing the services provided by Wise.com, you can streamline your financial transactions and minimize unnecessary fees while living in Turkey.
Remember to always stay informed about the latest regulations and seek professional advice to effectively manage your money and taxes while residing in Turkey.
Living abroad in Turkey brings with it certain tax obligations that expats need to be aware of. In this section, we will discuss the factors that determine tax residency in Turkey, the taxation of international income, and the existence of double taxation agreements. Understanding these aspects will help you determine if and how much tax you should pay as an expat in Turkey.
To determine your tax residency status in Turkey, several factors are taken into consideration:
As an expat tax resident in Turkey, your worldwide income will be subject to taxation. This means that not only the income you earn within Turkey's borders but also your income from abroad will be taken into account for tax purposes.
If you are working in Turkey as a digital nomad, any revenue generated from your work will be taxable. It's essential to keep accurate records of your income and expenses to fulfill your tax obligations accurately.
Expats working in Turkey are also subject to social security contributions. The combined Social Security tax rate is currently set at 15%. Here's a breakdown of the components:
It's important to consider these additional costs when calculating your overall tax liability as an expat in Turkey.
Turkey has established double taxation agreements with various countries, including the United States and several others. These agreements are designed to prevent taxpayers from being taxed twice on the same income in both their home country and Turkey.
If you are a tax resident of Turkey and your home country has a double taxation agreement, you may be eligible to claim a tax credit or an exemption for the income tax you paid in your home country. This can help reduce the overall tax burden on your international income.
However, it is crucial to review the specific provisions of the double taxation agreement between Turkey and your home country to determine the extent of the benefits available to you.
Understanding your tax obligations as an expat living in Turkey is vital to ensure compliance with the local tax regulations. Remember to consider the factors that determine tax residency, the taxation of international income, social security contributions, and the existence of double taxation agreements. Consulting with a tax professional familiar with Turkish tax laws is advisable to navigate the complexities and optimize your tax position as an expat in Turkey.
Obtaining a legitimate stay in Turkey is relatively straightforward. Unlike many European countries with strict guest limits, Turkey offers a direct path to residency and even Turkish citizenship. This flexibility provides expatriates with a sense of security and stability in their new home.
One of the significant advantages of living in Turkey is the affordable cost of living. Prices for goods and services are generally lower compared to other countries, and when converted to US dollars or euros, the expenses become even more reasonable. This allows individuals to enjoy a higher standard of living and better quality of life on the same salary or income.
Turkey is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage. From ancient Byzantine and Ottoman architecture to archaeological sites and historical monuments, the country offers a unique blend of history and beauty. The pristine beaches along its three coastlines rival those of popular Mediterranean destinations like Greece, Italy, and Croatia, with turquoise waters and picturesque scenery.
Although Turkey is officially a secular country, the dominant religion is Islam, and the cultural influence of Islam is significant. The daily calls to prayer, which can be heard five times a day, may initially feel unfamiliar to those coming from non-Muslim majority countries. Additionally, cultural and social norms may differ from Western cultures, particularly regarding the role of women. It's important to approach these differences with an open mind and engage with the local community to gain a deeper understanding.
While English is commonly spoken among younger generations and in tourist areas, navigating Turkish society, particularly when dealing with government authorities or customer service, may be challenging without knowledge of the Turkish language. Learning basic Turkish phrases and expressions can greatly facilitate everyday interactions and enhance integration into the local community.
Turkey has a more relaxed approach when it comes to adhering strictly to rules and procedures. Coming from a Western nation, it might take some adjustment to the more flexible and informal attitude towards rules and regulations. It's important to be prepared for unexpected changes or deviations from planned schedules and to approach such situations with patience and adaptability.
Living in Turkey offers a unique experience with its blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture. While there are some challenges to consider, the benefits of a lower cost of living, ease of visa application, and the warm hospitality of the Turkish people make it an appealing destination for those looking to live abroad. By embracing the opportunities and being open to new experiences, one can create a fulfilling life in this captivating country.
Is it possible for foreigners to live in Turkey?
Yes, foreigners can live in Turkey with ease for a period of up to three months. However, if they plan to stay longer than three months, they are required to obtain a residency permit.
Is the cost of living in Turkey high?
The cost of living in Turkey is relatively affordable. Excluding rent, the estimated monthly expenses for a single individual amount to $358 (₺6,415). Compared to the United States, Turkey has a 60.23% lower cost of living. Additionally, the average rent in Turkey is 85.66% cheaper than in the US.
Can US citizens establish residence in Turkey?
US citizens who wish to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days need to obtain a residence permit after arriving in the country, in addition to their work permit and work visa. The Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) website provides information on residence permits.
Online Application: Fill out the visa application with your passport details.
Payment: Use a credit card to make an online payment.
Email Confirmation: After payment confirmation, your visa will be emailed to you.