Many justifiable reasons indicate that choosing Turkey as your new home is a wise move, including the warm climate for the majority of the year and a low cost of living compared to other countries. Before you make the leap though, some research, and honest soul searching is needed. We collected nine questions you must ask yourself before making the big decision.
1. Have you done your homework?Before you buy a property in Turkey, research the local infrastructure and amenities. If you have health conditions, and the nearest hospital is in the next town, this can hamper your peace of mind.
Expats with children should pay a visit to local schools. Choosing to live in a small remote village, if you have no plans to drive a car, will mean that constant forward thinking and planning is needed.
Likewise in some undeveloped areas, Internet connection can be ad-hoc and telephone lines are not yet installed, so if you want to stay in consent contact with family and friends, these locations are not suitable for you.
2. Can you afford the lifestyle you are thriving for?It is difficult for a foreigner to get a work permit in Turkey, despite the government promising that they will ease the process. Therefore it is imperative to have enough funds to cover living expenses. An overseas pension can be transferred to this country, and anyone with a lump sum of cash, should consider bank accounts with high interest saving rates, averaging between 8% and 10%.
3. Are you in good health?You will require compulsory medical insurance if you are under 65, and if you plan to apply for residency. This is the standard SSGK Turkish government policy. A trip to the doctors can cost about 150tl for consultation and serious conditions such as a heart attack, can incur costs of 20,000 lira or more. Therefore, medical insurance is essential and this should be factored into your living costs.
4. Are your children moving with you?You can place your children into a Turkish government school, which will help them integrate into daily life but while children pick up the language with ease, parents often struggle.
The inability to help children with homework and lack of knowledge to their education process can be intimidating for some parents. Alternatively, you can place your child into a private fee paying school.
5. Are you clued up on visa regulations for Turkey?To enter the country you will be required to apply for an E Visa online, which allows you to stay 90 days out of a 180 day period. After this, you will need to apply for a residency permit and existing requirements are including:
A valid passport
Photocopies of the last entry stamp into Turkey
Photocopies of the last page, detailing your identity
Five recent passport-sized photographs
A valid Turkish tourist visa
Proof of address
Property title deeds or rental agreement
Turkish Bank statement proving you have funds to support yourself
A Turkish Tax Number, from the local Tax Office where you plan to reside
6. How much will you miss your family and friends?Most people, especially of retirement age, often remark on how much they miss their family, more so the grandchildren. Flights to Turkey can be considered still cheap but most of the time you will be reliant on Skype, so a fast speed Internet access is essential. Unless you or your family have regular funds for travelling costs, expect to go months without seeing them.
7. Can you avoid the Expat Syndrome?In some cases, expats within three years of relocating fall fowl of the expat syndrome. This is the period of time, when dreams of lying in the sun and living a stress free life are no longer exciting because the expat is simply bored.
Many end up in local bars, day in and day out, while others, claim the lifestyle is not what they thought it was and return home or move onto pastures new. It is important when thinking of relocation to ensure your day is filled with interests and hobbies. It is time to start that painting course, write that book or simply indulge in a love of travel.
8. Are you interested in learning a different language and culture?You will have your own beliefs and customs, but you should attempt to learn as much as possible about the local culture. It is a good idea to enrol in a language course. Locals appreciate an effort to learn Turkish and you will find it beneficial for day to day living. Likewise, investigate culture and religious aspects such as the month of fasting, typically known as Ramadan. It is likely that your future neighbours will be participating in it.
9. Are you thinking of bringing your family pet with you?Transporting an animal into Turkey is not always easy. You must visit your vet to arrange import documentation and health certification for your pet. Any animal travelling across borders must be identified by standard ISO-compatible microchip; because some pet carriers will not transport an animal without this. More importantly be sure that your family pet will be able to handle the difference in climate and environment.
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