In Turkey you must be at least 18 years old in order to drive a car and at least 17 to drive a motorbike. The driving test comprises a practical and theory test, which has been recently made tougher in order to meet European Union regulations, with EU-compatible license being issued towards the end of 2015.

You should note that foreign visitors or residents are not required to complete the national test should they have passed it in their own country.

Foreign visitors

If you are travelling through Turkey and are not going to be there for more than 90 consecutive days, you may drive using a driving licence issued in your home country and nothing else. The only condition for this is that it has a photo for identification purposes. If not, then you must obtain an international driving license.

Expat residents

Expats in Turkey are not required to take the Turkish driving test either, however you are required to obtain a notarized Turkish translation of your driving license, which should be kept together.

A foreign national can drive in Turkey with a foreign licence for six months. After six months, it must be converted to a Turkish licence. Application can be made to any Traffic Registration office, and the foreign driving licences will not be returned to holders.

Despite this, some insurers require you to apply for a Turkish driving license within 12 months of your residency, otherwise they will invalidate your insurance.

Applying for a Turkish license

If you wish to receive a Turkish license and already have a foreign license, you are still not required to take the national driving test. Instead, you must obtain and submit the following documents to the Driver’s Association Office, which is located at your local Transport Registration Department.

Required documents:

  • valid driving license
  • notarized translation in Turkish
  • residence permit (Ikamet) or Turkish I.D. (copy and original)
  • 5 passport-sized photographs
  • Criminal report obtained from your local courthouse (12 month validity)
  • Health report and blood group certificate, either from a state or private clinic
  • Receipt of payment of license fee (depending on vehicle class)
  • Payment of shipping of license

Your original license is returned to you on completion of the process.

Turkish driving test

If you move to Turkey without a driving license and wish to drive, you must take the national driving test, consisting of the following requirements:

  1. First-aid and road traffic awareness
  2. 12 hours of practical training
  3. Theory test
  4. Practical test

First-aid and road traffic awareness

You will not be able to complete your driving test for at least one month after moving to Turkey, as this is the length of time it takes to complete 10 hours of first-aid and 8 hours of traffic awareness classes.

A medical certificate and eyesight test are also required.

Practical training

Prior to 2013, Turkish citizens had a notoriously easy time passing their driving test, resulting in a high rate of traffic accidents and road deaths.

For this reason, practical training was increased from 10 hours to 12 hours, which must be completed before taking the practical test.

Theory test

The theory test is a set of 100 questions which test your knowledge on the Turkish highway code, of which at least 70 must be answered correctly. While it is only available in Turkish, you are allowed to be accompanied by a translator.

Practical test

Again, until recent years the driving test in Turkey was scandalously easy, with some successful attempts even involving driving in a straight line for two minutes and nothing more.

With the new classification of EU-compatible licenses however, you can be sure the tests are now much more stringent. For example, while tests previously lasted a minimum of 15 minutes, they must now be at least half an hour.

After passing

Once you have passed your driving test, you must present your theory and practical certificates to the Transport Registrar (Trafik Tescil Müdürlüğü), along with:

  • proof of identity (original and copy)
  • copies of your school diplomas
  • medical certificate and document stating blood group
  • passport-sized photographs

Note that any documents not in Turkish must be accompanied by a notarized Turkish translation.