The most important things to do when starting to live in Turkey

Once you make the decision of settling in Turkey for a long or short period, and regardless whether you want to buy a house or rent one, you will have to go through a variety of paperwork processes.

This article will provide a comprehensive manual to all the paperwork you will have to go through after landing in Turkey.

Buy a Turkish sim card:

We recommend this to be your first step, since you will need to write down your Turkish phone number in almost all of the following paperwork. You can buy a sim card from the selling points available in the airport, any shopping mall or authorized agents located throughout the city.

In order to complete this process, you need a valid passport and an amount of money in Turkish Liras to buy and activate the sim card.

Get a tax number:

This number is used as a base for many paperwork in Turkey. You can apply for the tax number from the local tax office.

In order to complete this process, you need a valid passport and to write down an address in Turkey.

In case you have lost or forgotten your tax number, you can go to the tax administration website and make a direct and easy inquiry.

Opening a bank account:

Any foreigner can open a bank account in Turkey. It is a highly recommended step to do considering how much it facilitates the daily and monthly transactions in Turkey or abroad.

Each bank has its own terms and required documents with many small differences, such as:

  • Valid passport.
  • Tax number.
  • Phone number.
  • Prove of address (any official document connecting the address to the name of the applicant such as title deed, a rental contract or a recent bill either in Turkey or in the country of origin).
  • Filling and signing the bank forms.

Residence Permit (Ikamet Izni):

The application for the residence permit must be submitted before the expiration of the entry visa. You apply for it through obtaining an appointment of interview. Afterwards, you prepare all the required documents mentioned in the appointment application form. You should be present in person on the given appointment date and time at the address given for the interview on the appointment application form.

There are different kinds of residence permits depending on the status of the applicant:

  • Short term residence permit.
  • Investor residence permit.
  • Long term residence permit.
  • Family residence permit.
  • Student residence permit.
  • Ownership residence permit.

The required documents for residence permit application differ according to its type, however having a valid passport is the common requirement for all.

Buy or rent a property:

There are many real-estate options in Turkey with lots of facilitations and with competitive and feasible prices worldwide (in case you decide on buying a real-estate we highly recommend having a real-estate agent to avoid any entrapments or mistakes). When buying a real-estate in Turkey, it is easier to get a residence permit and you can apply for the Turkish Citizenship in case the necessary conditions are met.

As for renting a property, you can do so for a reasonable amount of monthly payment with the condition of having a valid residence permit. In case the property is in a residential compound you have to register your information at the compound administration.

When buying a real-estate you will have to get an earthquake insurance policy (DASK) from the designated insurance offices. As for when you rent a real-estate, make sure to request a copy of this policy from the owner since it will be requested in the coming paperwork.

Activating the water, electricity, and gas meters:

This will require a process made in the public administration of water, electricity and gas in the area of which the property is registered to.

In order to complete this process, you will need the following:

  • A tax number or a valid residence permit.
  • The meters numbers which you can get from the compound administration or by coping them directly of the meter itself.
  • A copy of the rental contract or title deed.
  • A copy of a valid passport.
  • Amount of insurance paid to the administration of water, electricity and gas according to the size of the real-estate, noting that it can be returned upon closing the meters for any reason as a long as there is a bank account.
  • The Earthquake Insurance policy (DASK).

Registering at the directorate of Civil Status:

This process will result in producing a document containing specified address information and number of family members. This document is requested for the following paperwork processes:

  • To complete the residence permit application.
  • To enroll in schools or universities.
  • To open a bank account.
  • To establish and register a company.
  • To get an investor (work) license.
  • Some time it is requested for the renewal of short-term residence permit.
  • To apply for the citizenship.
  • To enroll in the UN program or to apply for immigration to another country.
  • For Family reunification in turkey.

A copy of this document is registered at the Mukhtar office (the Mayor).

Registering at the Family Health Center (Aile Sağlık Merkezı):

Family Health Center is a public governmental clinic which provides basic medical services for the residence of a neighborhood free of charge. You can register at these centers from the General Administration of Family Health Centers normally located within the directorate of civil status. You will be assigned to a specific Family Health Center according to availability of vacancies.  In order to benefit from these centers services, you should be either enrolled in the Turkish Social Security System (SGK) or have an insurance based on your residence permit.

Buying furniture:

Turkey is known worldwide as one of the most famous and highly reputable furniture manufacturers. You will have a variety of choices in style, quality and price. The real-estate agent can/will sometimes assist you in buying the furniture and making sure you get the best deals.

Some example of famous furniture stores in Turkey:

  • Masko.
  • Istikbal.
  • ModaLife.
  • Doğtaş.
  • Elfimo.
  • Çelek.
  • Ikea.
  • And many others.

Important advice regarding Internet/phone service contract:

You have to pay attention to the following points when signing Internet/phone service contract:

  1. Most Internet/phone service contracts are for the duration of two years. You may try to negotiate with the selling agent on reducing the duration to be for one year with little chance of approval.
  2. In case you want to terminate the contract, you have to notify the internet/phone company three months prior to the contract expiration date. İf you fail to notify them accordingly, your account will remain opened and bills will accumulate until you get a call from the company lawyer informing you that you have to pay the accumulated amount otherwise the case will be moved to the Turkish court of law.