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Moving to Turkey

Moving to Turkey from Dubai in 2021 takes careful preparation and attention to details and documentation. We provide everything you need to know before moving from Dubai to Turkey. Start your move today by obtaining up to 6 competitive moving to Turkey quotations FREE.


Modern Turkey was founded in 1920, by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), who defeated the previous Ottoman rulers. The changes implemented by Ataturk changed Turkey into a forward-thinking, secular, predominantly modern Muslim nation.

Turkey is a large, roughly rectangular-shaped, country of over 780,000 km². Known as the crossroads of Europe and Asia it borders eight countries and has shorelines along the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea.

With Ankara as it’s capital and Istanbul as it’s the largest city, other major urbanised areas are Izmir, Bursa, Antalya and Mersin.

Turkey is regarded as a newly industrialised country with the 17th largest GDP in the world. The country is one of the world's leading producers of textiles, agricultural products, transportation equipment, consumer electronics, home appliances and motor cars. Tourism is also a fast-developing sector with nearly 35 million tourists arriving per year. Turkey rivals Greece, Italy and Spain with resorts such as Antalya and Mugla becoming very popular.

The climate in Turkey is quite varied. The Mediterranean and Aegean shoreline enjoy warm dry summers and cool winters. Areas along the Black Sea received the highest volume of rain. Conditions are harsher in the interior areas and tend to be more sharply contrasting with some areas experiencing very cold winters.

Living/Lifestyle in Turkey

When moving to Turkey, the majority of ex-pats are likely to be based in Istanbul. New arrivals will find themselves in a very large, bustling, cosmopolitan city. The country is made up mostly of moderate Muslims and many aspects of life are quite liberal compared to much of the Middle East (for example). There are many places of worship for Christians and even Jews.

Turks are very friendly towards their guests and it is not unusual to be invited to someone’s home for a meal. Taking flowers or chocolates/sweets is always appreciated.

Country Facts

Capital City: Ankara
Population: 80 Million
Languages: Turkish
Currency: Turkish Lire (TRY)
Time: GMT +3
Driving Lane Right
Domain: .tr
Dialing Code: +90

Turkey and Istanbul, in particular, provides a huge amount of leisure and general interest in the form of amazing restaurants, nightclubs, beaches, museums, cultural sites, bazaars and a huge choice of sports and pastimes to enjoy.

With its rich history, sightseeing opportunities are tremendous. The Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Christian churches of Cappadoccia, to name a few. Shoppers are also in for a treat, with leather goods, textiles, and carpets widely available at bargain prices provided you negotiate.

Under Turkish lights in the Grand Bazaar, a shoppers paradise and major center for tourists in Istanbul

What is the Cost of Living in Turkey (Major City)

  • The overall cost of living is fairly low. Istanbul ranks 338 (out of over 440 cities) in the cost of living index. A meal at a standard restaurant is likely to cost USD 5 per person with an imported beer priced around USD 3.30 and soft drinks around USD 0.65 per can. A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately USD 10.00 and a coffee typically sets you back around USD 2.00. At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around USD 0.50, a liter of milk approximately USD 0.75 and a dozen eggs roughly USD 1.80.

  • There is a variety of public transport in Istanbul, which includes private and public buses, a metro in the downtown area and the tram system, which covers a significant part of the city. There are also ferries, which are used by residents to cross the Bosporus. Taxis have a dual fair system with daytime fares being cheaper than nighttime fares. It has to be said taxi drivers are not always honest and will often try to charge the higher fare during the daytime. During the day taxis start at around USD 1.00 and cost 0.40 per KM. However, if you travel regularly, it is wise to consider a full-time car and driver. Petrol is relatively cheap at around USD 1.25 per liter.

  • Accommodation is generally good value. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in a reasonable area would be approximately USD 500 per month. A typical 3 bedroom house in a suburb would cost around USD 800-1,000 per month.

  • Basic monthly utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around USD 70. Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately USD 0.15 per minute and fast broadband internet is roughly USD 20 per month.

(Source – NUMBEO)

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Healthcare in Turkey?

Free healthcare is available to all Turks and the medical system has been overhauled in recent years to a decent standard. However, it still lags behind much of Europe and so it is most likely ex-pats in Turkey are more likely to opt for private healthcare.

Private clinics and hospitals in Turkey provide high-quality healthcare with extremely well-trained staff, and well maintained medical equipment. Doctors, nurses, and specialists are much more likely to be able to speak good English private facilities. In many cases such as the American Hospital Istanbul, there is a collaboration with North America Health faculties and centers, which provides ultra-modern, cutting-edge treatments to inpatients and outpatients.

Your medical policy provider can recommend lists of private clinics and hospitals within your area. It is a good idea to establish slowly and make sure the emergency numbers are at hand. The emergency number for ambulances is 112. Ambulances from private medical establishments I’ve generally well maintained and provide a much faster response time is that public ambulances.

Pharmacies are plentiful throughout Turkey and Istanbul in particular. You will find that pharmacies are generally very well stocked many medicines are available without a prescription and generally, the cost of medication is much lower than North America or European countries.

The main entrance of Istanbul University on Beyazıt Square, Istanbul

How about Schooling in Turkey?

For children between the ages of 6-18. Both primary and secondary education in public school is free to Turkish national and foreign children. All children will learn at least one foreign language the choices are usually French German Spanish or English, however, the whole school curriculum is conducted in Turkish which may prove troublesome for foreign students especially those whose parents do not plan on living in Turkey long-term.

The majority of ex-pat children are probably best served by attending an international school, of which there are several, especially in Ankara and Istanbul. Preplanning is a must since many of these International schools have limited spaces and consequently, long waiting lists. The cost of international schools in Turkey is significant with annual tuition fees ranging between US$ 6000-10,000.

What Moving Documents do I require?

When moving to Turkey from Dubai, importation of Household Goods and Personal Effects

  • Original Passport (with a work permit if applicable)
  • Detailed Packing list in English or Turkish.Letter to customs
  • Original Bill of lading / AWB
  • Tax identification number (TIN)
  • Property title deed or rental contract

For a more in-depth look at the documentation, please check the International Association of Movers.

Useful link(s);

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Turkey from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.

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