So, you are moving to Turkey — or at least you have actively started researching about it. But you have one big question on your mind: What happens to my car?
Whether your car has so much sentimental value that you can’t bear to part ways with it or it’s a classic that cannot be replaced, you may want to bring your vehicle into the country you are moving to.
Especially if you are a fan of road trips or have a lot of stuff to bring or are simply anxious about investing in a new mode of transport in a country whose legal and banking system is completely foreign to you, it’s normal to want to bring a part of your old life into the new.
Turkey imposes quite hefty taxes on automobiles could also be pushing you to explore the option of importing your own vehicle into the country. Not to mention that the more luxurious your car is considered (cars belonging to the upper E and F segment, such as Bentley Continental, Audi R8 or Aston Martin Vanquish, etc.), the more tax you will have to pay.
The whole importing and registration process can be confusing so, getting legal help is the safest way to go. But here is a general overview of the process and a walkthrough of the steps you need to take:
To be able to temporarily import a foreign-plated vehicle, you must meet a series of conditions.
- You must be a resident in the country where your vehicle is registered (e.g., be a resident or national with indefinite leave to remain in Germany with a car registered there).
- You must not have spent more than 180 days in Turkey within the last year. So, you are better off trying to bring your car in as soon as possible after moving to Turkey.
Officials at the Police Headquarters will check your passport for entry-exit stamps, going back a year from the date of your arrival to see if you have stayed at least 185 days in your country of residence. If you took a gap year or were touring the world by staying in different countries over the past year, you may not qualify to bring in your car.
The good thing is that these 185 days do not have to be continuous or uninterrupted.
- It should also go without saying that the car must be registered in your name. Your car will be registered in your passport, so you can only bring in one vehicle. You are allowed to bring your trailer or caravan with your vehicle.
But what if you, personally, don’t want to make the grueling days-long journey with your car?
Perhaps you have a family member or a friend willing to bring your car into Turkey for you.
- In that case, you’ll have to give power of attorney to the person that will bring your car into Turkey. They will be asked by the Customs Office to produce written proof of this (translated and notarized or obtained via the consulate). You cannot circumvent the 185-day rule by asking someone else to import your vehicle as both you and the driver must have remained outside of Turkey for at least 185 days within the last year to qualify for this scheme.
You have to pre-declare your intent to import your car into Turkey for a temporary period and private use only, complete with information about yourself and your vehicle (registration, the purpose of visit, work permits, etc.) before you enter Turkey. The Turkish Ministry of Customs and Trade has created an app to make the screening process at customs easier and reduce waiting times. You can reach the webpage through this link.
After having submitted this form to customs, you’ll need to apply to get a Foreign Vehicles Temporary Entry Certificate (Yabancı Taşıtlar Geçici Giriş Belgesi - YTGGK). Also called a Blue Card (though not blue anymore), this can be obtained from the Turkey Touring and Automobile Association (TURING).
Before you apply to get a YTGGK, however, you’ll need a residence permit. After receiving your permit from the Directorate General of Migration Management, you’ll need to start collecting your documents.
The documents you’ll need:
- Residence permit (for work, retirement or to study)
- Work permit or retirement visa (or a document from your country’s social security institution evidencing your pension payments)
- Student certificate (if still studying)
- A valid passport and its photocopy
- A valid international driver’s license and its photocopy
- Proof of vehicle ownership (vehicle registration certificate and purchase invoice)
- Green Card Insurance/ proof of insurance (should be valid in Turkey)
- Security deposit (to be paid in cash or via bank letter of guarantee. The amount is dependent on how new your car is and the engine’s size. You will get it back after you re-export your vehicle.)
- Completed blue plate application form (See it here.)
Warning, hidden cost: You’ll need to have all of these official documents translated into Turkish and notarized.
After obtaining your blue card
You’ll need to go to the Turkish Customs Directorate to pay your customs fee – this may be more than you expected. (see. security deposit above.)
Then you’ll need to register your vehicle at the provincial Traffic Registry Office, which will issue you with a foreign resident’s license plate. This will only be valid for the duration of your stay in Turkey, i.e. until your residence or work permit expires.
Points to consider
There are some caveats to importing a foreign vehicle, however. You will only be able to use your car for a maximum of 2 years, or 730 days to be exact, in Turkey.
After your 2-year time limit is up, you’ll need to take your car out of Turkish borders, and both you and your car must stay out for 185 days before you can bring it back in. If you are only staying in Turkey for up to 2 years or can juggle this switch every 2 years, it could be considered feasible.
You also won’t be able to rent your car to others. Likewise, you won’t be able to lend or sell it to others in Turkey, regardless of their nationality.