I Want to Live and Work in Turkey

Financial District Istanbul

We may live in an ever changing world, but we also want to be masters of our own destinies and change our own worlds to suit our own plans which is why so many of us think about living abroad.  Some of us travel extensively, some wait until we retire and then move abroad, but some of us can’t wait and we want to go and live overseas and work to earn an income abroad as well. One nation that is becoming of increasing interest to internationally minded individuals is Turkey.  It offers such a fantastic quality of very affordable life – so if you want to live and work in Turkey but you’re not sure where to start, let us guide you.

If you want to visit Turkey temporarily and you herald from the UK you can simply buy a tourism visa at the Turkish port or airport you land at – it currently costs about ten pounds, if you herald from any other nation, check with your local Turkish embassy for entry requirements.  If you’re a Brit who will be in Turkey for less than three months this tourism visa will cover your stay.  However, if you plan on moving to live more permanently in Turkey you will have to apply for a permanent resident’s visa.  The fist step on the road to getting this is going with your passport to the local police headquarters and registering your presence in the nation.

The process to gain residency can change – so simply speak to the police about current legislation.  Be prepared to have to show a bank statement showing at least a small amount of savings so that the authorities can be satisfied that you can look after yourself financially speaking when living in Turkey.

Once you become resident in Turkey you officially become liable for taxation on your Turkish income, so if you find work in Turkey and are granted a work visa you will have to pay tax which is banded from 0% up to 45% – that’s the bad news.  The good news is that you’re usually taxed at source which makes it easier for you and you can make all sorts of deductions annually such as your rent, health insurance costs, some clothing, some food and some educational expenses – a good accountant can help you with your deductions.

If you move to live and work in Turkey and you become self-employed and open a bar or restaurant for example, you will have to submit a tax return and you will have to to make four advance payments of tax, one each quarter.  These will be based on your previous year’s earnings and amount to about 20% of your net profit.

As a foreign employee working in Turkey you will be expected to make social tax contributions too – these will be around a 5% tax on income up to a maximum limit, which is a lot less than locals have to pay – but then as a foreigner you are not really ever going to get anything back from the social contributions you make!  For example, some of the money goes towards schools and the health service, but most expats educate their children in international schools and have private health insurance…

To find work in Turkey you can begin looking before you even relocate.  If you’re a professional in a sought after industry you may be lucky enough to find a well paying job in Ankara or Istanbul, if you speak Turkish you stand a better chance – otherwise most Brits and foreign citizens living and working in Turkey are employed in the tourism or real estate industries.

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