27 things you'll need to do before moving to Turkey

Moving abroad can be a stressful experience, with millions of things to do. To ease the transition, we’ve compiled a checklist of everything you’ll need to do and think about before beginning your new life in Turkey

Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Wrapping everything up at home

  1. Forward your mail. If you know your address in Turkey check with your mail carrier to see can have your mail forwarded there.

  2. If you’ll be renting your home out when you leave, there are a number of things you’ll need to consider. You’ll need to find a property manager or trusted friend to look after the property, its tenants and any repairs. You will also need to inform your tax department as you might need to register as a non-resident landlord for tax purposes. You might also want to consider amending your insurance to take account of your expat landlord status. You will also need to inform your mortgage provider of your pending expat status. Get all minor repairs fixed before you go.

  1. Make sure you’re up to date with prescriptions and health appointments. Go to the dentist. Get an extra pair of glasses and have your eye doctor write out your current prescription. You can of course do these things in Turkey but during the settling in period it will take the pressure off.

  2. Update your will

  1. Sell anything you’re not emotionally attached to. Shipping your goods to Turkey is not always easy, and it’s cheap and hassle-free to buy new furniture and electrical items in Turkey.

expat life in turkey

Preparing for expat life

  1. Learn a few words of Turkish. You won’t have to be fluent but it’s worth going through a phrasebook and learn how to say a few basic phrases. You will find you are received warmly wherever you go if you make a small effort.

  2. Register with your country’s consulate. This is a safety measure that allows you to seek advice and help if you need to.

  3. Work out how you’ll keep in touch with friends and family back home. The internet makes it easy: Skype and Facetime are two common ways of keeping up with everyone. If you have a smartphone, you can take it with you to Turkey and use a local SIM if you unlock it first. However, calling your home country using phone credit will be very expensive, it’s best to stick with Skype, or Whatsapp, which allows you free calls and messaging. 

  4. Sort out health insurance. It’s now compulsory for all foreign residents to be part of the national health plan, which allows access to health services. It’s inexpensive (around 60 Euros a month) and largely good - but if you can afford to check with your bank or insurance company about private health insurance.

  5. If you’re planning to drive when you arrive, make sure you brush up on Turkey’s road laws before heading off. As well as driving on the right hand side of the road, there are a few differences to road rules. If you’re a European driver’s license holder, you may use this for the first three months, then you will require an international driver’s license. 

  6. If you’re looking for work, check out our guide to getting a work permit. It’s important you investigate finding work thoroughly before you move. Unless you’ll be working remotely you’ll need to find out if you are eligible to work in Turkey.

  7. If you have children, give their school plenty of notice that you’ll be leaving. Ask for transfer certificates and any information which will be relevant when you move.

Turquoise coast, Turkey

Getting finances in order

  1. Let your bank know you’re moving abroad. 

  2. If you haven’t already, set up online banking. It’ll make your life so much easier when trying to do banking and transfers when you reach Turkey.

  3. If you have investments, decide whether you want to keep these active. Some investments and savings accounts (like ISAs in the UK) depend on you being a resident in your home country. Check with your bank or investment broker.

  4. If you receive pension, let the pension department know you’ll be moving, too. You won’t be liable to pay tax on this income in Turkey.

  5. Cancel all unneeded direct debits.

Paperwork for moving to Turkey

Sorting out paperwork

  1. Make photocopies of all your important documents, such as birth certificate, marriage license, passport, drivers license and medical records. Give a copy of all of these to someone you trust for safekeeping, and take another set with you. It’s also worth scanning all these documents and saving them to an online database, like Google Drive.

  2. Check your passport will be valid for at least six months when you enter the country. As well as a requirement for some airlines, the process of applying for a residence permit (although much faster than it was) can still take a while.

  3. If you’re travelling with a pet, make sure its vaccines are up to date. Have a read here for more information on taking a pet into Turkey

  4. If you are leaving for a long period of time, you might want to consider giving power of attorney to a trusted friend or family member, so they can take care of your affairs while you’re gone. If you plan to return to your home country regularly this won’t be necessary.

Flying to Turkey

Last minute tasks

22. Let your local authority know you’re leaving so you can pay any unpaid bills.

23. Cancel all your utilities with sufficient notice.

24. Cancel your subscription to any clubs, periodicals, courses etc.

25. Inform the tax authorities that you’ll be leaving

26. Give your new address to friends and family

27. Pay all outstanding bills and loans.


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