Bringing along their cherished possessions helps many expats make themselves at home in their new country. Besides, if you do not intend to live in Turkey, taking with you the personal belongings you want to keep may prove less expensive than renting a storage unit.
Here is an overview of moving to Turkey.
If the bulk of your packing-list is composed of clothing or other light items, you may consider flying with it. Many airlines entitle you to 30kgs of free-of-charge luggage, with the possibility of increasing your baggage allowance for an extra fee.
You can otherwise ship small quantities of goods through your local post office or a private shipping company.
Following a specific procedure will allow you to import heavier items (furniture or other household goods such as carpets and ornaments for example) without paying import duty, provided you hold a valid residence permit.
The shipment has to be declared to the customs department within 6 months following your first entry into the country. The required documents include a proof of residence matching the shipping delivery address, a detailed inventory of the shipped goods (including serial numbers for electronic devices), and a power of attorney in case you hire a proxy to collect the shipment on your behalf.
Many international removal companies provide tailor-made services, including door-to-door pick-up and delivery, tracking systems, and diverse insurance plans covering the accidental damage that might occur during transportation.
It is advised to ask several companies for quotes on the basis of a full, detailed shipping-list specifying the value of the goods. In any event, you should always read your moving contract carefully before signing the waybill. Your list should mention whether any items are fragile and if anything needs to be handled with caution.
Good to know:
The number of electrical items you can import free of duty is limited. Once the quota is reached you will be charged a special custom tax on each additional item (around EUR 15 for a television for example).
Goods shipped to Turkey without prior notice to the customs office and worth over EUR 30 are subject to a duty of about 20%.
Importing your car
Subscribing to an international vehicle insurance (also called Green Card) at the border is a mandatory requirement to import a private vehicle into Turkey. The cost varies with the validity period, from EUR 63 for 15 days to EUR 315 for a year.
You can drive your car on foreign plates for a period up to 2 years, provided that both the vehicle and yourself have been abroad for 185 days before entry. Simply register it with the customs — here again within 6 months following your arrival in the country — with the vehicle ownership documents, your passport and driver's license. The procedure is free of charge.
After 2 years you will need to apply for Turkish plates (Blue Plates), which can only be granted to expats residing in Turkey for work, education or retirement purposes. The regulatory institution, Turing, charges procedure fees that vary with the age and size of the vehicle but are always quite hefty (some expats reported paying as much as the original price of the car).
Good to know:
You can bring a caravan or a trailer together with your car.
You can sell your car to another foreigner residing in Turkey, but not to a Turkish national.
Expats who entered Turkey with a car should request authorisation from the customs office before leaving the country without the vehicle — for holidays for example.