Expats considering a move to Turkey will naturally have many concerns about life in this culturally-rich country. From their safety and security to healthcare and schooling concerns, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about expat life in Turkey.
Are there international schools in Turkey?
There are numerous international schools in Turkey, and most are based in Ankara or Istanbul. These schools teach foreign curricula including the International Baccalaureate, British and American. There are good British, French and German schools in Turkey. Tuition at these schools can be steep, and due to the high demand, places can be limited and parents should plan well in advance.
Although expat children are allowed to attend Turkish public schools, most expat parents choose to send their children to international schools. Although expats who have young children and who plan to stay in Turkey for a long time should maybe consider sending their children to local schools. This will assist them in learning the language, assimilating into the culture and making local friends.
Will I find good healthcare facilities in Turkey?
There are many private and public hospitals in Turkey. The quality of healthcare varies, but hospitals are generally efficient and doctors well-trained. Turkey has actually gained a reputation as a medical tourism destination, particularly in the area of cosmetic surgery, dentistry and fertility treatment. This may have something to do with the fact that healthcare in Turkey is generally cheaper than most expats will find in the rest of Europe. Pharmacies are also plentiful in the main cities and towns. Expats shouldn’t struggle to find most over-the-counter medications.
Is it difficult to import my car into Turkey?
Expats moving to Turkey may want to carefully consider whether they should bring their own car with them. The process for importing a car into Turkey can be complicated and expensive. The Touring and Automobile Club of Turkey regulates the process. Expats will need to submit numerous documents, after which they will have to get an Alien Vehicles Temporary Entrance Carnet to import their car.
Is Turkey safe?
Turkey is generally a safe destination for expats, but an ongoing threat of terrorism has been cause for concern for many considering a move there. A number of local and regional terrorist groups have carried out attacks in the country. Although, the number of attacks has declined dramatically as the government has put many operations in place that have clamped down on these groups. Authorities act quickly against such attacks and view the protection of foreign visitors and residents as a priority. Expats living in Turkey should keep abreast of local developments and always exercise caution and awareness if visiting popular tourist spots and when using public transport.
It is difficult to get a work permit in Turkey?
Unfortunately, getting a work permit for Turkey can be difficult as there are restrictions on which jobs are available to foreigners, and employers will also have to prove that a local does not possess the skills required for the job. For this reason, it is recommended that expats get a job and apply for their work permit before they arrive.
The application process does involve quite a bit of paperwork and co-ordination with one's employer. Expats will have to send in an application with the Turkish embassy nearest to them, while their employer applies with the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Both of these applications must be submitted within 10 days of one another, and may take up to 30 days to be approved.