An Expat’s Guide to Turkey

Turkey is a modern democracy situated on the shores of the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. This country, with a population of almost 75 million, is a fast growing and developing economy at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Working in Turkey as an expatriate will give you a chance to experience the diversity of culture, history and landscapes. This is a major tourist destination, so you will be able to enjoy the country in a closer and more personal way.

Before relocating to Turkey, it is very important to get as many facts as possible about life in the country, and the conditions and challenges you will face on arrival. This should make your transition into Turkish life easier. These are important points to note:

Visas and work permits

Turkish visas are of three types:

Tourist or visitor visas: These are applied for online and are valid for 90 days.

Work permit: Anyone who wishes to work as an expat in Turkey must obtain a work permit. This can be a tedious process where both you and your employer submit lengthy paperwork to the government. You must also demonstrate that you have skills not readily available in the country to qualify. The processing period is about two months.

Residence visa: After obtaining a work permit, you must apply for a residence visa within a month. This should be done before you start working. It requires proof of residence and a bank statement with enough funds to live in Turkey.

Finding a job

The easiest way to find a job and relocate to Turkey is to use relocation service companies. These charge a fee, but provide almost every service you require such as:

  1. Finding you a job.
  2. Processing your visa application.
  3. Accommodation and transportation arrangements.
  4. School searches for your children.
  5. Arranging familiarization tours.

Food, Culture and politics

Turkey has a very diverse culture with 99% of the country following Islam. Turkey is however a secular democracy with a republican government. Turkish people are very friendly and open. Turkish cuisine is one of the most varied and diverse in the world.


You will have a varied choice of various accommodations in Turkey without a problem. These include everything from apartments to luxury villas. Engage the services of a real estate agent and you should have no problem finding suitable accommodation.


Turkey has a good public transportation sector, with buses and taxis available almost everywhere. You may also opt to drive in Turkey but be prepared for hectic and careless driving by other motorists.

Cost of living

Turkey generally has a much lower cost of living than any other developed country. You should expect to live a comfortable life on much less than you are used to. The larger the city, the more expensive it will be, and this is no different from everywhere else in the world.

Education and medical care

You will need to get private medical insurance since Turkey’s public health system caters to citizens only. There are very good private hospitals and medical insurance plans. The same is true for schools.

Security and safety

Turkey is relatively a safe country and with few personal security problems. It is however important to be wary of petty theft in crowded places.

If you are planning for a road trip in UK, then you would want to book driving test and get familiar with the road safety rules. Moving to any country can be a positively life changing experience. Turkey, more than any other place in the world, will give you every reason to make a fresh start.