Here is a handy checklist of the things you need to do and the places you need to visit during your first few days in Turkey to ensure you do not run into problems later.
Sign up for a Turkish mobile number
Before you do anything, sign up for a Turkish mobile number so that you can communicate easily with friends and family.
You will have 3 Turkish mobile network operators to choose from Turkcell, Vodafone, or Türk Telekom. You can compare pricing and packages online before you commit to one.
After choosing your preferred operator, you only need to visit the closest branch office, and the customer representative will sort out the rest.
If you are importing your mobile phone from abroad, you will also have to register that. Here is how you can do it.
Find somewhere to live
If you are moving to Turkey, you already know you should be applying for a residence permit within 30 days of your arrival. And to get a residence permit, you will need to sort out your living situation quite fast.
Before you can buy or rent a home or even open a bank account, you will need to get a tax ID. (Here is how you can get one.)
Your address is also essential when choosing schools for our kids.
Sign up for health insurance
Health insurance is one of the essential parts of your stay in Turkey. You won't be able to apply for the government's universal healthcare insurance SGK until after you have stayed for a year so, you will have to get private insurance.
To apply for residency, start a job, or get married, the government will also want you to prove valid and comprehensive health insurance.
Regarding your rights foreigners have regarding healthcare and what you need for your insurance, head here.
Register with the local migration department
To ensure you are a legal resident, you will have to apply online to the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management and then register with your local migration authority as soon as you can.
Sorting out your residency and migration status as soon as possible is crucial if you do not want to overstay your visa and get fined or possibly even deported.
Get a bike
Get a bike if you can, especially if you live in a smaller city or town where the public transportation links are not that good.
If you don't have a car or motorcycle, this could help you get around in the city, in addition to busses or metros where available.
With a bike, you will get some good exercise and be able to explore the area at a much faster pace.
And if you would like to learn more about live-saving bike routes and apps, check out our must-have Turkish apps article.
Open a Turkish bank account
After you arrive in Turkey, you will get by with your foreign credit card for a bit, but opening a Turkish bank account will save you many extra costs.
If you are starting a new job or renting a home, you will be asked to provide your Turkish bank account details.
Although most banks will ask for proof of address before you can open an account, depending on the amount you will deposit, you may also be able to open one as a non-resident.
Here is more about opening a bank account in Turkey.
Sort out your employment
If you won't be living on your savings or are not retired, you will need to find a job to stay afloat in Turkey. You will also need a work visa, so make sure to ask whether the company will sponsor you or not. Alternatively, you could set up your own business.
The most sure-fire way to get a job would be to secure an offer before you arrive in Turkey.
Using job search and networking sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, or Kariyer.net are good places to start, especially now that there are many remote working options.
However, there are also certain professions foreigners are barred from when working in Turkey.
Get your new home connected
Suppose you have signed your rental contract or transferred the title deed in your name. You have completed the first step in setting up your new home. But to be able to live there, you will need to sort out the utilities.
Especially as things like the internet can take time to get connected at your new home, we would advise you to make an application as early as possible.
Using electricity, water, or gas under someone else's name is also illegal and may incur fines; hence, you should apply to the relevant government departments to initiate the registration.
For more information on the topic, read this.
Sort out your family's education needs
If you have kids, you will want to sort out their school/college/university arrangements as soon as possible.
Depending on your address and the city you live in, you may also have more limited schools to choose from for younger children. So, you may want to choose your home accordingly.
If you'd like to learn about Turkey's education system, head here.
Explore your new home!
You are now officially ready to start an exciting new chapter in life.
Although the newness may feel daunting, you will soon realize that you are in a paradise of diversity with endless locations to explore and different cultures to embrace.
So go and start exploring your beautiful new home!