Retiring in Turkey: a complete guide
If the prospect of a retirement relocation is appealing, Turkey is worth considering. This complete guide looks at what you might expect if you move, from house prices to visas.
The allure of Turkey is rising within the US. In the first half of 2022 alone, 377,000 made the trip for a visit – a rise of more than 76 percent on pre-pandemic levels in 2019. But what about making the move for the longer term? Turkey offers many appealing benefits for those abroad after they finish working.
Beautiful cities, coastal wonders, and hot climates create an exciting lifestyle change.
A country with one of the richest histories in the world, it’s not short of places to explore – including dozens of UNESCO heritage sites. But beyond the adventure, there are wonderfully colorful cities and world-famous coastal hotspots to enjoy. It’s no surprise that Turkey holds a real appeal.
The famous hospitality of Turks, paired with the lower cost of living compared to the US, adds to the attraction. Of course, it’s a huge move – particularly to a country where only 15–20 percent of the population speaks English. But the welcoming nature of locals alongside the varied lifestyle that retirees can lead contribute to Turkey’s appeal.
What is the average cost to retire in Turkey?
If you’re looking to relocate to a place where your money goes a little further, Turkey is certainly a viable option. T
The cost of living is, on average, 53 percent lower than in the US, with even urban life coming in at a significantly lower price than you’ll find stateside.
Dining out is also cheap. The average price of a full meal, including mezze and mains, can be as little as $6 while shopping at local markets will make eating even cheaper.
Transport is equally low cost; lengthy bus trips can cost $5, while you can sometimes fly to other European destinations for around $40.
What visas do I need to retire in Turkey?
There are no specific visas for retirees moving to Turkey. Instead, those looking to make the move must complete an application for a residence permit.
First, this will be in the form of a short-term permit, which you’ll have to arrange within the first month of your stay through the Turkish Ministry of Interior’s website.
Your short-term permit is issued every two years. However, once you’ve lived in Turkey for eight years, you can apply for a long-term residency permit that extends indefinitely.
Whether you are applying for a short- or long-term visa, you’ll generally be required to show evidence of adequate assets. There is no set amount here as it depends on whether you have dependents, but a single person can expect to need the Turkish minimum wage as their monthly income.
Where are the best locations in Turkey to retire?
Where you settle down in Turkey depends entirely on the retired lifestyle you hope to lead.
Do you want to spend your post-work days on the beach, away from the big cities? Or, instead, do you want to soak up the country’s culture, from its bustling bazaars to ancient ruins?
You’ll need to do your research into which area best suits your dream retirement, but some of the most popular locations to retire in Turkey are:
What are my healthcare options in Turkey?
The healthcare system in Turkey comprises both public and private health services. Turkey's primary body responsible for providing healthcare is its Ministry of Health.
The quality of healthcare in Turkey can vary, depending on the quality of infrastructure in the area. As you might expect, larger cities like Istanbul boast better services than more rural areas, and in the latter, locals are less likely to speak English.
Residents in Turkey under the age of 65 are required to have either public or private health insurance, while non-residents can apply for public health insurance once they have lived in Turkey for more than a year.
Understanding the housing market in Turkey
The low housing price in Turkey is one of the biggest draws for retirees who want to get more for their money.
Rent in Turkey is significantly lower than in the US. This can vary hugely depending on where you live and the sort of place you want to rent or buy. Renting in Istanbul, for example, would be more expensive than in a more rural town or village.
Living within your means is always important, so even though housing in Turkey is far cheaper than in the US, be sure to weigh up your financial situation before signing up for a place.
If you’ve retired early, for example, your monthly income may not afford you the life of luxury that you were expecting – so keep attuned to your future financial situation.
What happens to my retirement benefits if I retire in Turkey?
If you’re serious about moving to Turkey in retirement, one thing that’s likely to be on your mind is whether you’ll still receive your retirement benefits.
The good news is this: even when you are living abroad, your eligibility for Social Security payments is the same as when living in the US. So, if you’d receive them while living at home, the same applies if you were living in Turkey.
However, it’s also important to remember that you’ll still be taxed on your worldwide income. So, if you’re living in Turkey as a retiree, this won’t exempt you from filing your tax returns.
The warm climes and lower cost of living make Turkey an attractive place to retire. Before making any significant decisions, it’s always helpful to get the advice of an expert who can offer personal advice on the lifestyle your financial situation can afford. A financial advisor can help you plan and realize your dream retirement.
Senior Content Writer
Rachel is a Senior Content Writer at Unbiased. She has nearly a decade of experience writing and producing content across a range of different sectors.