Navigating your way: Resources for expats in Turkey

Published 26.09.2017 00:00
Navigating your way: Resources for expats in Turkey

Welcoming people from all over the world, Turkey is one of the favorite spots for expats to move in to, and there are some government and volunteer organizations to help guide expats through their new life in the country

With the end of summer and the coming of fall, many new foreigners may be joining the ranks of expats in Turkey. While this is a wonderful country to reside in, with its deep history, spectacular landscape, excellent weather and rich culture, like most any country as a foreigner, we sometimes need to wade through bureaucratic requirements and piles of paperwork. The following are some of the top resources for visiting foreigners or expats in Turkey

ALO 157 and ALO 170

The Department of Immigration has an extremely helpful call line for foreigners with migration issues, referred to as the Communication Center for Foreigners or Yimer in Turkish, which is easily accessible by simply dialing 157 from Turkey and by calling +90 312 157 11 22 from abroad. This call center is open seven days a week and 24 hours a day and assistance is available in Turkish, English, Arabic, Russian, Persian and German. Established two years ago in August, this telephone helpline should be the first go-to for any foreigner with questions regarding entering, staying or exiting Turkey and how to go about obtaining a residence permit.

Dialing 170 from Turkey and +90 216 170 1122 from abroad will get you in touch with the Labor and Social Security Communication Center, which is where you can find answers regarding all subjects related to working and obtaining social security in Turkey and also has representatives available that speak English you can request to be connected with.

Doc Martin's Surgery for Expats in Turkey What started as a Facebook group aiming to assist expats by providing information on official procedures in Turkey, has since also blossomed into a blog, which contains 25 different topics on a wide variety of subjects of interest to expats. The Facebook group Doc Martin's Surgery for Expats in Turkey was begun by British expat Martin Redman and Bodrum resident for nearly a decade, as a means to share information on official procedures pertaining to expats.

Since it started in 2014, there are now over 11,000 members, all of which are expats, and British expat and Alanya resident Elaine Spencer has joined the ranks as admin. Don't be mistaken by the name, this group has absolutely nothing to do with surgery, per se, it is just a comical take on the popular U.K. television character Doc Martin and the notion of fixing all sorts of problems expats can face. This Facebook group is a question and answer info site aiming to clarify official procedures regarding expats in Turkey and is not intended for the usual "chitchat" that takes place on other expat groups.The information gathered on the Facebook page has been compiled into files related to subjects such as the application processes regarding e-visas, residence and work permits, health coverage, driving licenses, registering mobile phones, buying and selling cars and getting married in Turkey, which you can access at

YabangeeA website run by and for Istanbul expats to inform them of activities in the city by way of entertaining articles, which also hosts a number of event series, also has a section entitled Yabangee Essentials devoted to deciphering the residence permit process as well as the guide: Your Residence Permit in 13 Easy Steps. The website also has an Advice & Info section, which contains articles on topics such as obtaining work permits and getting married in Turkey as well as learning Turkish.My MerhabaMy Merhaba is one of the most active and longest-standing expat community web portals in Turkey. Since its founding in 2003, the website has been a constant excellent resource offering a comprehensive calendar of events in Istanbul and Ankara as well as sections such as Getting Settled and Survival Basics that offer sound advice on all official procedures in Turkey. Another great feature of My Merhaba is the dozens of member interviews and articles from where you can catch a glimpse into the lives of other expats from all over Turkey and also operates a members forum.

Inter NationsThe global expat community Inter Nations has four active branches in Turkey, namely in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Bodrum, all which host regular events and special interest activities for members. However, in addition to being one of the best ways to socialize as an expat in a foreign land, their local guides available on their country websites, such as Istanbul at Your Fingertips, offers informative articles on expat-related matters.

Yell Ali YellAli is a company that has been assisting foreigners in Turkey in a variety of areas such as legal services, residence and work permits, health insurance and driving licenses, since their opening in 2013 from their headquarters in Istanbul's Esentepe and now with branches in Fethiye and Bodrum.

In addition to offering a wide variety of relocation services, the YellAli website,, is extremely informative for expats with the sections Ali's Advice and Ali's Articles devoted to subjects such as living and working in Turkey, banking, buying property and other legal services for foreigners. You can ask any question you like and they will seek the answer and they also offer online insurance quotes for health, property or cars and there is also a Find Your Trader section, where you can fill out a form online to find a business and quotes.

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