Relocation to Antalya: what to be prepared for when moving to Turkey


Antalya 2020 vs Antalya 2022

My wife and I moved to Antalya at the beginning of 2020, right before the coronavirus lockdown and border closures. For two of us, we had 200 thousand rubles at a lira exchange rate of 10 rubles and a monthly income of 150 thousand rubles – my business was just starting to develop.

Looking back, we understand that we would never have moved now under such conditions, although the lira has since fallen in price by almost half. Now you should have a financial pillow for 2-4 months at the rate of at least $ 1-1.5 thousand per person per month.

In two years, the cost of living in Turkey has changed a lot, prices have increased by 2-4 times, moreover, for everything from bread and bus rides to household appliances.

Rent has even risen in price by 5-10 times – if in January 2020 we quietly rented a 1 + 1 apartment in Konyaalti for 1.5 thousand liras, now it is difficult to find housing for this money even in the most remote areas of Antalya.

According to our calculations, for a family of two to live with dignity (visit a cafe at least once a week, buy a gym membership, do not save on food and travel) and at the same time make savings, you need to earn at least 150-200 thousand rubles a month.

Another annoying change difficult to obtain a residence permit. Until March 2022, it was issued for both one and two years – there were very few refusals. Now the maximum period is six months, cases of refusal have become more frequent.

Many also write that the gech (migration service) began to demand confirmation of the availability of money in the applicant’s account (on average, 40 thousand lira per person for six months).

However, as is often the case in Turkey, each case is different. But I still recommend that you prepare bank statements showing that you regularly receive cash receipts, and also put as much money into the account as possible.

How to get a residence permit in Turkey

Now about how to get an ikamet (the so-called Turkish resident card, similar to a driver’s license). I’ll make a reservation right away that the rules are constantly changing and any recommendations quickly become outdated, so I will limit myself to only the main theses.

To begin with, about the residence permit itself. The easiest way is to get a tourist visa – it is given for long-term rental of an apartment. When looking for housing (best to do this on immediately negotiate with the landlord that you will need the presence of the owner at the notary when certifying the lease agreement – without this, now a residence permit will definitely not be given.

remember, that You cannot work on a tourist residence permit in Turkey, for this immediately deported. But you can work remotely for companies from Russia or other countries – in my case, no one has ever had any questions.

Before arriving in Turkey, apostille all documents, especially marriage and birth certificates. Also prepare bank statements from the accounts – upon arrival, they, along with the above documents, will need to be translated into Turkish and notarized.

Already on the spot, make insurance for each applicant – the price of an annual policy for a residence permit varies from 150 to 1,000 lira ($ 10-70), depending on the set of options and the franchise. Most likely, it will cover up to 40-50% of the cost of basic medical services, but not everywhere and not always. More advanced insurance (analogous to the Russian VHI) will cost 3-6 thousand liras per year ($200-400).

After collecting all the documents, you can apply for a residence permit – do it can be online. The approval process can take 1-2 months, so I recommend doing it immediately after arrival, because citizens of the Russian Federation can spend no more than 60 days in a row in Turkey without a visa. At the same time, it is allowed to stay in the country for no more than 90 days every six months.

Opening an account and the need to learn Turkish

Due to problems with Russian cards, it makes sense to issue a Turkish one. Until recently, this was easy to do, but after the influx of emigrants in March, banks tightened the conditions. Now, even if you have an ikamet (identity card of a foreigner living in Turkey), you often need a deposit of $1,000, or €1,000, or 10,000 liras.

At the same time, I know recent examples when our compatriots applied for a Ziraat Bankası card in Antalya without a residence permit and a deposit, only with a passport. Many more recommend Deniz Bank and Kuveyt Türk.

Therefore, you should set aside 1-2 free days and walk around the offices of banks – it happens that even in different branches of the same network, different requirements are imposed on customers.

Just in case, it’s better to immediately issue a local analogue of the TIN (Vergi Numarası, it is given at the tax office) and registration at the place of residence (it is done in Kaymakamlık, it has its own in each district) after registering water and electricity meters for yourself – in the district administration and district branch of the service provider, respectively). And take the apartment rental agreement with you to the bank – they may also ask for it.

Based on the experience of visiting banks and other government places in Turkey, I can say that, if there is such an opportunity, take with you a person who speaks good Turkish. Even in such institutions, not everyone speaks English.

You will need a Turkish card in any case – although the media often writes that in Turkey it is perfectly possible to pay and withdraw money from the Mir card at Turkiye Is Bankasi, Ziraat Bankasi and VakifBank ATMs, in fact, in most cases they do not work anywhere.

So far, transfers through the Golden Crown in dollars and lira are saving, but it is not known how long this system will work with Russian cards.

Unpleasant surprises

Life in Turkey has several features that may surprise foreigners unpleasantly.

First of all, expensive mobile communications and home internet. On average, the cost of a mobile package is 70-90 lira per month. For this money you will get 10-15 GB of Internet, up to 250 SMS and up to 250 minutes for calls within the country. There are no unlimited packages. Wi-Fi will be even more expensive – on average, 150 liras per month at a special rate for foreigners. The actual speed is about 50 Mbps, which, in my experience, is enough for remote work, watching movies, and so on.

The second important point is the need to register a mobile phone in Turkeyso that his IMEI is not blocked after 120 days. This can be done on E-Delvet (analogous to “Gosuslug”), the fee is 2,730 lire.

Third – need to be constantly monitored. Over time, you even begin to get used to the peculiar attitude of the Turks to the time and given promises. However, this does not eliminate the need to carefully check the execution of tasks – from calling the master at home to preparing your order in a cafe.

The main mistakes of emigrants

Since the beginning of a new wave of emigration to Turkey, I began to notice that newcomers make a number of the same mistakes, which significantly complicate their life here.

1. Do not prepare a financial cushion. Unfortunately, some of our compatriots come to Turkey without any serious savings at all, arguing as follows: “The main thing is to leave the country, and then we will figure it out on the spot.” As a result, as a rule, this ends in an inglorious return to their homeland after a couple of months – I have already seen several such examples.

2. Hope to find a job in Turkey. According to the latest data from the Institute of Statistics (TÜİK), the unemployment rate in the country is 12%. It is almost impossible for a foreigner to find a job in Turkey, especially a highly qualified one. The maximum that you can count on is a seasonal part-time job in a hotel. But even to get at least to the reception, you need to know Turkish – Turks do not like being served by foreigners, especially without knowledge of their native language.

3. Don’t try to learn Turkish. Foreigners greatly overestimate the benefits of English in Turkey. Even in resort regions like Antalya and Alanya, or in multinational Istanbul, only service workers and young people speak English.

Therefore, it is better to start learning Turkish even before leaving, in order to master it at least at a basic level. Practice shows that knowing even simple colloquial phrases makes life in the country much easier, and the attitude of the Turks towards you will be much more loyal (up to discounts).

4. Do not have clear plans for the future. Unfortunately, in the last two months, I have increasingly come across the fact that people from the former CIS come to Turkey, not really understanding what to do next. Practice shows that only a few have a plan for further action (for example, settle in Turkey or move to another country within 1-2 months).

From my own experience, I can say that relocation is a very complex and responsible matter, which should not be taken too lightly. And in order not to be disappointed in emigration and not to return home with nothing, I strongly recommend that you honestly answer the question: “Do you need this? Do you really have good reasons for moving right now, without preparation, or “everyone is running and I ran”?

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