Friday, 30 July 2010

Retiring in Turkey – the low down

Living out your golden years in Turkey is a tempting prospect. The summers are long and so are the beaches. Living costs are low and, depending on where you are, you’re well positioned to take advantage of low-cost carriers for quick trips back to see your family.

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing. What about health care? Visas? Driving? Language barriers? Here’s a few things you’ll need to take into consideration. For clarification or any other issue, please call us.


As we’ve already discussed over the past few weeks, you’re still able to do the visa hop every 90 days to renew your tourist visa. However, if you’d like to avoid this hassle, it’s best to apply for a residence permit.

Health insurance

Unfortunately, Turkey lacks a public health system, and the European Health Insurance Card isn’t valid. You’ll need to cover your own health expenses. If you’re lucky enough to have private health insurance, check that you’re covered in Turkey. If you don’t, it’s worth looking into private insurance. You can be insured from your own country or you can use a reputable Turkish-based insurance company such as:

* Anadolu Sigorta
* Acibadem Sigorta
* Aksigorta
* Allianz Sigorta
* Axa Sigorta
* Yapi Kredi Sigorta


It’s not essential to learn Turkish, especially if you’re living in built-up areas. However, learning a few words will help you ease your transition and forge relationships with the local population. There are a number of organisations that help foreign nationals learn the lingo.

* Cactus Language
* Language Teaching
* Culture and Communication Skills Consultancy
* Tutorcom
* Reed Co

Stay in contact

Hopefully you’ll remember to tell your family and friends where you’re going. Believe me, they won’t thank you when they feel like a Turkish holiday and want to use your spare room. And you’ll be gazing forlornly at the letterbox come Christmas time when you haven’t received a single card. More boringly, don’t forget to inform the tax office and any relevant pension organisations of your whereabouts. 

It’s also a good idea to register at your local consulate. In case of any natural disasters or emergencies consular staff will be able to track you down and provide any relevant help.
Also make sure you inform your electoral office so when election day rolls around you’re still eligible to cast your vote.

Driving in Turkey

If you arrive in Turkey on a tourist visa you can keep your car in the country for six months in a 12-month period. If you leave the country during this period you can either take your car out of the country or to a customs depot.

It’s fine to bring your car into Turkey permanently if you’re retired – as long as you have a residence permit. You’ll need to register your vehicle at the Turkish Touring and Automobile Club
For this you’ll need the following documents: your passport, residence permit, retirement documents (translated into Turkish), car registration documents and a written guarantee stating that you will pay the customs duties should you leave Turkey permanently without your car. 

The TTAC will then give you a permit which you can take to the nearest customs office and register with them.

You can also buy a car in Turkey, providing you have a residence permit. In this case, you must insure the vehicle, and in many cases you will need to get a Turkish drivers’ licence - although you should check with your consulate to see if your country's licence is relevant in Turkey first. To obtain a Turkish licence you will need to have your home country’s licence translated into Turkish and notarised. You’ll also need an application form, three passport photos, a residence permit and a medical certificate from a Turkish hospital. For more information see here


Thankfully, you won’t have to leave Rover or Fluffy behind. However, you won't be able to bring the whole menagerie: you can currently bring just one dog, cat, bird or ten fish with you. You'll need legal advice if you'd like to bring more. 

Dogs must have rabies, parva, distemper, hepatitis and leptospiroz vaccinations and cats must be vaccinated against rabies. This must be done more than 6 months and no less than 15 days before you travel

You'll also need your pet's health records and a veterinary health certificate issued no more than ten days before departure. These papers will need to be stamped by your home country's agriculture department before you leave.

Don't forget to check with your airline to find out what you’ll need to do to transport them over. 

Pension payments

If you’re from the UK, you’ll need a Life Certificate, which you can get from the Department of Work and Pensions. This proves that you’re still alive and eligible for pension. You’ll need to fill this out and return it to Pension Services asap.