Official information British people moving to and living in Turkey need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.
For information on getting a COVID-19 vaccine as a UK national in Turkey see our coronavirus travel advice page.
Before you go
See our travel advice for Turkey for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.
Visas and residency
British Citizens travelling to Turkey for tourist or business purposes are able to travel without a visa for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period – see entry requirements for Turkey in our travel advice.
If you plan to stay in Turkey longer than 90 days, you must apply for a residence permit before the 90 days ends or apply for a longer-stay visa before you travel – see information about residence permits.
You will need a residence permit to import your personal belongings or car – we recommend you contact the Turkish Consulate General in London for information.
You do not need a residence permit if you hold a valid work permit – see work permit as a residence permit.
If you are required to provide UK criminal records as part of your residence permit application, contact ACRO Criminal Records Office.
See our travel advice for Turkey.
Turkey and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.
European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are not valid in Turkey.
You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK.
The NHS has information for people moving abroad.
Turkish universal healthcare
You can join the Turkish universal health scheme (Genel Sağlık Sigortası, GSS) if you have been resident for 1 year or more with a residence permit that is still valid.
Married couples may qualify for joint membership where one is the policyholder and the other is the dependant spouse. However, a British national who receives a UK state pension can only be a member of the scheme as a policyholder, not as a dependant spouse.
You should contact your local Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK) office for more information on the scheme.
Working in Turkey
Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).
See how to apply for a Turkish work permit. You must apply for a work permit from the UK at the nearest consulate (London or Edinburgh). You will need to make an appointment at the consulate and both you and your employer will need to submit information.
Employees in Turkey must pay part of their earnings into the state-run social security scheme (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, SGK). However, British nationals working in Turkey but paying UK National Insurance contributions do not have to contribute to SGK because there are reciprocal social security agreements between the UK and Turkey.
We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Turkey.
You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
Life certificates for UK state pensions
If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.
Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.
Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.
If you contribute to the Turkish social security scheme (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, SGK), you, your spouse and your children are insured for:
- work injuries and work-related illnesses
- medical care
- illness and pregnancy care
Only Turkish citizens can get disability benefit.
Driving in Turkey
If you are bringing your car into Turkey, you need:
- registration papers and a driving licence
- full insurance
- a carnet de passage
If you are a resident in a territory other than Turkey you can import your vehicle, which is registered in your country of residence, for private use in Turkey. You can keep your vehicle in Turkey for 730 days. After this period you have to stay abroad for at least 185 days. It is not possible for you to bring your vehicle again without staying abroad for 185 days even if it is another vehicle. After the end of this period you can bring your vehicle again to Turkey for another 730 days.
Take care when travelling by road throughout Turkey, particularly at night. Approach checkpoints slowly and follow the instructions of security personnel. Roads between the major cities are generally in excellent condition, but can be poor in remote, rural areas. Accidents are common and mainly due to poor or reckless driving.
If you drive in Turkey, you must have either an International Driving Permit or a notarised copy (in Turkish) of your UK driving licence. If you stay in Turkey continuously for more than 6 months, you must convert your UK driving licence into a Turkish licence. Provisional driving licences aren’t recognised. If you intend to bring a vehicle registered in another country into Turkey you should familiarise yourself with the relevant Turkish customs regulations.
You will need an ‘A’ category standard motorcycle licence to hire a motorcycle over 35kw in Turkey. An ‘A1’ category ‘light motorcycle’ driving licence is only suitable for motorcycles below 125cc. By law you must wear a helmet. Failure to do so could result in a heavy fine. Don’t drink and drive. The police will breathalyse drunk drivers, fine you on the spot and immediately confiscate your licence for 6 months.
See travelling with pets.
Turkey uses the emergency number 112.
If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
Accommodation and buying property
Other useful information
Returning to the UK
To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.
Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Turkish authorities. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.