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Living abroad guide

Find information that suits your needs or interests: visa procedures, find a job abroad, accommodation... Expats share info, tips and advice with you.

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Generalities

General information
  • Turkey is known as a tourist hub for its economic, cultural and religious backgrounds. It has both breathtaking landscapes and a fascinating history.

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  • Located in Central Europe, Germany is a major destination for expatriates worldwide because of its prosperous and stable economic and political situation.

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  • Alicante is one of Spain's main tourism destinations. Its different neighborhoods and its architecture depict its rich cultural and historical heritage.

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Formalities

Visas, passports and entry requirements
  • Nationals of the European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland do not require a visa to travel to France. A valid passport is enough.

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  • If you and your future-spouse share the same foreign nationality, you can be married by either Turkish officials or your own officials at your embassy.

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  • EU and EEA members will not need a visa, nor will those who are nationals of a 100 or so other countries that are visa exempt.

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Visas

Work visas, work permits, working holiday visas and residence permits

Work

Labour market, how to find a job
  • Known as the Pink City, Toulouse attracts not only tourists but also expatriates who wish to live and work in France.

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  • Expats seeking to work in France might want to consider the popular tourist destination Nice, located on the Côte d’Azur in the South of France.

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  • A popular expat destination in the South of France, Marseille has employment opportunities for foreign job-seekers in France.

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  • In addition to it's impressive scenery, Lyon is also one of France's major economic hubs, making it ideal for expat job-seekers.

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  • Located in the Pas-de-Calais region, Lille is very welcoming towards expatriates. It provides various career prospects for highly-skilled job-seekers.

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Accommodation

How to rent a house or an apartment, leases and rental agreements
  • Expats looking for accommodation in France will find a wide range of options. Naturally, renting will be more expensive in cities than in rural areas.

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  • If you wish to settle in France, but without the hectic lifestyle of the capital, you can turn to Toulouse to look for accommodation.

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  • Nice is a popular destination amongst expats and tourists located on the French Riviera. It has stunning vistas with ocean and mountain views.

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  • Marseille is considered to be an idyllic French seaside city, comprised of over 100 villages, with a range of accommodation for expats.

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  • Lyon is a popular with expats and students alike. As a result, there is an abundance of rental accommodation available.

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Study

Student visa, University registration
  • France is a top destination for foreigners wishing to pursue their higher studies in Europe thanks to its prestigious universities.

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  • The best way to learn a language is to go the country where the majority of the population speaks it, and to practice on a daily basis.

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  • Though the English language is widely used, it will obviously be helpful to familiarise yourself with the Turkish language if you are moving to Turkey.

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  • If you are looking for a school for your child or looking into further education, Turkey offers a range of options.

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Health care

Public and private health systems
  • France is renowned for its impressive socialised healthcare system that provides quality care to all French citizens.

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  • Foreign nationals living in South Africa have easy access to healthcare services, however it is recommended that expats invest in health insurance.

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  • Turkey has a developed health care system, including quality services and facilities. Foreigners can easily access to these in times of need.

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  • Germany offers quality health care services at all levels, whether private or public, but foreigners have to subscribe to health insurance beforehand.

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  • Health care in Spain is free of charge, except for dental care services. Expats are also required to contribute to the social security service.

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Bank

Open and manage a bank account
  • There are international, national and online-only options when it comes to banking in France, so opening an account should be fairly straightforward.

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  • Turkey hosts many national and international banks. Hence, foreigners can easily open a bank account provided they have necessary documents.

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  • To open a bank account in Germany, you will need a valid passport and a residency certificate. Procedures are rather simple and should not take long.

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  • Spanish residents and non-residents are allowed to open a bank account in the country. Non-residents, however, have to produce a non-resident certificate.

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Tax

Tax system, income tax
  • There are several types of tax you will need to pay if you are a resident in France, such as social security, VAT, and income tax, amongst others.

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  • Turkey has one of the Middle-East's most competitive tax systems. However, income tax, corporate tax, value added tax and wealth tax may apply.

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  • German income tax is deducted on a pay-as-you-earn basis. If your original country has a double taxation agreement with Germany, you must pay income tax.

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  • There are several taxes that are applied in Spain, including income tax and VAT. You could be eligible for deductions or rebates in some cases.

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  • Belize is known as a 'tax haven' with a favourable tax system. However, there are numerous applicable taxes including income tax and business tax.

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Transports

Train, bus, plane, car rental
  • Travelling has never been easier in Toulouse, thanks to its well-developed transport network that will allow you to get around, day or night.

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  • If you aren't keen on travelling around Marseille on foot, there are various transport options from the subway to shuttle boats.

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  • In addition to an airport for international travel, Bordeaux's transport network includes buses, trams and water taxis to help you get around.

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  • Lille is not only connected to other major European cities such as London and Brussels, but it also hosts a developed internal transportation network.

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  • Whether you opt for public transport, car rental or cycling, Nice offers a well connected transportation network.

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Driver's licence

Driving requirements
  • If you are a non-EU national, you will be required to convert your driving licence to a French one within certain timelines. EU nationals can drive with

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  • If you wish to drive in South Africa, you can drive with an international licence, or (in most instances) the licence of your country of origin.

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  • Drivers from certain countries may drive in the UAE with an official translation of their licence. Others will need an Emirati or international licence.

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  • There is a wide road network in Turkey, and expats can use their licence from their country of origin for the first 6 months.

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  • EU/ EEA nationals may drive in Germany with their national driver's licence, while non-EU/EEA citizens may do so for up to six months only.

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Removal

moving, formalities and useful tips
  • If you are moving to France you should consider hiring removal experts who will be able to handle moving your belongings over.

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  • Relocating to South Africa requires appropriate planning. You should look to hire an international mover who will take care of moving your belongings.

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  • If you are moving to Turkey, you will likely want to take your belongings with you. In this case, it is good to consult a moving company in advance.

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  • It is best to hire relocation experts if you intend to move to Germany and need to transport your belongings

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  • Relocating to Spain requires appropriate planning. It is better to hire removal experts who will take care of all related formalities on your behalf.

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Communications

Phone line, internet provider, post office
  • France has a well-developed telecoms network that will help you keep in contact with friends and family back home, as well as any new friends in France.

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  • As the most developed African country, South Africa has a modern telecommunications network including several service providers.

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  • Turkey enjoys wide telecommunications coverage. You can access phone and internet networks almost everywhere in the country.

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  • Germany has a well-developed communications network with numerous types of connection on offer at affordable prices. Free wi-fi can be hard to come by.

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  • Although the landline market remains monopolised by a state operator, Germany has several mobile service providers. Coverage varies between providers.

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Leisure

Sports, leisure and cultural activities
  • You can spend your leisure time exploring all that Toulouse has to offer, be it skiing or visiting museums.

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  • Nice's heritage and beauty is not limited to its beautiful beaches. Many leisure activities are available for all tastes and ages.

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  • The famous French wine region of Bordeaux has a plethora of leisure of activities to keep expats busy, from dining to sports.

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  • Marseille is a dynamic city, ranking as the European Capital of Culture in 2013. In fact, the Phocaean city offers a wide range of leisure activities.

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  • One of the world's most beautiful cities, Paris holds a huge historical and cultural heritage which you can discover during your leisure time.

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Miscellaneous

  • Travelling to France with your pet involves several health formalities under certain conditions. Make sure to enquire about these beforehand.

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  • The French lifestyle is oft romanticised and, for the most part, it lives up to expectations. With great food and rich history, France has a lot to offer.

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  • Besides vaccination and implantation of an identification microchip, your pet will also require an import authorisation to travel with you to South Africa.

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  • Despite being a continuously developing country, South Africa holds a deep cultural and historical heritage that you can discover during your stay.

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  • Turkey has numerous options to keep your child occupied, from day care centres to all manner of entertainment options.

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