Although Turkey has a strict policy about foreign-plated cars entering the country, it is doable if you play by the rules, follow specific guidelines and prepare to pay a hefty customs tax. To import your car for the length of your stay, you must get a temporary entry card, known as carnet for foreign vehicles (blue card). You can temporarily import your vehicle for private use as long as it is registered in the country of residence. The maximum time that the person can stay with his/her vehicle in Turkey is 730 days. These time limits are valid in case the person and vehicle stay abroad for 185 days before re-entering. If you hold a retirement visa, your vehicle may stay in Turkey for 1 year. Or if you are a foreign diplomat you will be granted a diplomatic license plate, free of tax, from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Residency permit (for work, education or retirement)
- Work permit, if employed
- If retired, a document showing pension value
- If a student, a certificate from your educational institution
- Driver’s license (and copy)
- Passport (and copy)
- Vehicle ownership documents
- Proof of insurance (must be valid in Turkey)
- Security deposit, determined by the age and size of your vehicle. This can be paid in cash or substituted by a bank guarantee
- Completed and signed
- Delivery receipt report of the vehicle from the associated Customs Directorate
All foreign documents must be translated and notarized before submitting them to the related branch of the Turkish Touring and Automobile Association. In addition to the card, you must pay a considerably high customs fee based on the specifications of vehicle at the Turkish Customs Office. Next, you need to register your vehicle at the Traffic Registry Office, where you’ll receive your foreign resident’s license plate, valid for the duration of your residence/work permit.
Renting or Buying a Car in Turkey
A simpler and more advisable option than importing your own car is to rent or buy one in Turkey. If you have a residency permit and a valid license, you can easily buy a new or used car from a dealership. Do note that, due to high taxes, cars cost much more than they do in other countries. A cheaper option would be to rent one and there are many trustworthy global and local rental firms that will be happy to help you with short or long-term rentals.