FAQ’S Retirement in Turkey


Choosing to live or spend your retirement in Turkey, or for that matter deciding to move anywhere abroad raises many questions. Oceanwide Properties have sold many Turkish properties to Brits and Europeans that have decided to make the jump and head to Turkey. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

Four months prior to reaching retirement age you can contact the International Pension Centre in the UK and discuss your wish to retire to Turkey and claim your state pension from Turkey. Please see the following address and links for up to date information and procedures:

UK Address for Enquiries: International Pension Centre, The Pension Service 11, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1LW. Tel: +44 (0)191 218 7777 (Mon-Fri 8am to 6pm)

Best website for information: https://www.gov.uk/claim-benefits-abroad 

Yes your NHS entitlement could affect your SGK entitlement. The SGK health insurance policy clearly states that to qualify you should not be entitled to any other state or government health scheme overseas.

At present, it is not compulsory for those over the age of 65 to take out Turkish health insurance, or join the SGK system, in order to apply for short term residency. The residency laws are changing so this may not be the case in the future.

Generally yes, the cost of living in Turkey, especially along the coast, is still far cheaper than the UK. Rises in inflation have pushed prices up over the past few years, but daily living expenses, groceries, utilities and Turkish property prices are still low in comparison. Your pension will stretch far further in Turkey! It is worth keeping in mind though that Istanbul, like London, can be pricey. Those looking to retire to Turkey normally choose to reside in areas along the Southwest coast like Fethiye, Calis, Ovacik, Kalkan and Uzumlu. Here the Turkish property prices, costs of eating out, alcohol and daily living can be very reasonable.

Inheritance laws in Turkey are different to the UK. We at Oceanwide Properties advise our clients with Turkish properties to have a Turkish will drawn up to avoid any complications should anything unforeseen happen. Under Turkish inheritance law, a spouse is only entitled to receive 25% of the estate, the children receive an equal share of the remaining 75%.  A UK will should be accepted in Turkey, but organising it’s acceptance can be a lengthy (and costly) process therefore it is far better to have a Turkish will in place.

If you are planning to live or retire to Turkey you will need to organise the following:

Foreign Identity Number (Yabanci Kimlik Number) and Turkish Tax Number. If you are planning to purchase a Turkish property, pay utility bills, rent a property long term, open a bank account, take a Turkish driving license or reside in Turkey over 90 days, a Turkish Tax number and Foreign ID number is vital. The tax number is issued at the local tax office (Vergi Dairesi), the Yabanci Kimlik number from the nearest city foreign police department.

Residence Permit. Foreigners looking to stay for extended periods of time in Turkey, more than the 90 days in 180 days holiday e-visa allowance, will need to obtain a residence permit. It is possible to get a residence permit for 1 or 2 years (short term), a long term residence permit (permanent) may also be available to some that have officially resided in Turkey for over 8 years. Applying for a residence permit can by time consuming and a number of documents are required. It’s a good idea to either employ a local runner specialising in applications, or take a fluent Turkish speaker with you if your language skills are not up to scratch. Please see question on ‘how to apply for a residence permit’ for more details.

British Citizens:

Yes. Providing you haven’t officially resided in another country for more than 15 years, you retain the right to vote in the UK general and European elections.

Yes, UK citizens living in Turkey are still entitled to receive their state pension. Before your move to Turkey you need to speak to the UK department for Working, Jobs and Pensions and make them aware of your intentions. Do however keep in mind that, although you will be residing in Turkey, normal government cost of living with adjustments may still be applied.

The NHS is a residence based healthcare system meaning you are not entitled to treatment if your permanent residence is  in Turkey. This matter is currently under discussion and Brits living abroad, that have paid over 7 years National Insurance contributions, may be entitled to free NHS care in the near future.

We have heard of many cases where ex-pats living in Turkey, who retain a registered UK address and GP, still receive NHS treatment on their visits home. This may be possible but is not officially allowed.

*Disclaimer: Legalities and processes in Turkey are constantly on the change. Although Oceanwide Properties do their best to ensure that all information on our site is correct, we are not financial or legal advisers. If you have any concerns, it is always best to check with an official adviser or authority.

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