Shipping and Moving to Turkey

In Moving Guides by Steven Kane

We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to Turkey from the UAE. Turkey is a popular destination for relocation from Dubai/Abu Dhabi and serviced well by moving companies.

Turkey requires returning citizens to have lived outside of Turkey for at least two years, before allowed to import used household goods duty free. However there are a lot of rules governing foreign nationals/returning citizens regarding customs clearance, please talk to your mover prior to your relocation.

There are a number of ways to ship goods to Turkey such as Sea Shipping, Air Shipment and Road Transportation each method has it’s own pro’s and con’s.

Sea Shipping to Turkey (20ft/40ft Container)
+ Safest option for goods to be transported when shipped in a container.
+ Cheapest option for large amount of goods to be shipped.
+ Most control, as you are going from Port to Port – not crossing borders and least amount of 3rd parties.
– Not cost effective when shipping small volumes of goods.

Cost of  sea shipping to Turkey approx. : AED 14,000+ (20ft) / AED 19,000+ (40ft)

Sea Shipping to Turkey (LCL – Shared container)
+ Good option cost wise when shipping between 3-8 Cubic Meters rather than taking an entire container.
+ Fairly safe when shipment is properly crated and secured.
– Shipping routes might not be direct and transit times can be longer than a sole container.
– Loss of control, 3rd Parties get involved with the handling of shipment which can bring additional charges.
– Shipments less than 2 Cubic Meters are subject to minimum charge.

Cost of  LCL sea shipping to Turkey approx. : AED 1,000+ Per Cubic Meter

Air Shipping to Turkey
+ Quickest method of shipping. Few days to reach rather than weeks.
+ Could be cheapest option in small volumes less than 300-500 KG
– Most expensive way to ship on weight basis. Priced based on volume-metric weight or actual weight which ever is more.
– Susceptible to poor handling and damage by baggage handlers.

Cost of  Air Shipping shipping to Turkey approx. : AED 20+ Per KG

Road Transportation to Turkey
+ Can be cheapest option with shipments less than a half container requirement. 12-15 Cubic Meters or Less.
– Crossing many borders, can be subject to customs inspection and damage
– Can be problematic with transit times due to the variants of customs clearance time between borders.
– Not many moving companies provide this option due to the number of things that can go wrong.

Cost of Road shipping to Turkey approx. : AED 800+ Per Cubic Meter

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Moving Documents Required in Turkey
When moving to Turkey from Dubai, importation of Household Goods and Personal Effects
• Original Passport (with a work permit if applicable)
• Detailed Packing list in English or Turkish.
• Letter to customs
• Original Bill of lading / AWB
• Tax identification number (TIN)
• Property title deed or rental contract

Overview of Turkey
Modern Turkey was founded in 1920, by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), who defeated the previous Ottoman rulers. The changes implemented by Ataturk changed Turkey into a forward-thinking, secular, predominantly modern Muslim nation.

Turkey is a large, roughly rectangular shaped, country of over 780,000 km². Known as the crossroads of Europe and Asia it borders eight countries and has shorelines along the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea and Black Sea.

With Ankara as it’s capital and Istanbul as it’s the largest city, other major urbanised areas are Izmir, Bursa, Antalya and Mersin.

Turkey is regarded as a newly industrialised country with the 17th largest GDP in the world. The country is one of the worlds leading producers of textiles, agricultural products, transportation equipment, consumer electronics, home appliances and motor cars. Tourism is also a fast developing sector with nearly 35 million tourists arriving per year. Turkey rivals Greece, Italy and Spain with resorts such as Antalya and Mugla becoming very popular.

The climate in Turkey is quite varied the Mediterranean and Aegean shoreline enjoy warm dry summers and cool winters. Areas along the Black Sea received the highest volume of rain. Conditions tend to be harsher in the interior areas C consent to be more sharply contrasting with some areas experiencing very cold winters.

Capital City: Ankara
Population: 80 million
Language(s): Turkish
Currency: Turkish Lire (TRY)
GDP per capita: USD 9,520 (2016)
Drives on the: Right
Time: GMT +3
Internet domain: .TR
International dialling code: +90

Expats in Turkey
When moving to Turkey, the majority of expats are likely to be based in Istanbul. New arrivals will find themselves in a very large, bustling, cosmopolitan city. The country is made up mostly of moderate Muslims and many aspects of life are quite liberal compared to much of the Middle East (for example). There are many places of worship for Christians and even Jews.

Turks are very friendly towards their guests and it is not unusual to be invited to someone’s home for a meal. Taking flowers or chocolates/sweets is always appreciated. Bringing alcohol as a gift is also appropriate but only if you are certain the person drinks alcohol.

Turkey and Istanbul, in particular, provides a huge amount of leisure and general interest in the form of amazing restaurants, nightclubs, beaches, museums, cultural sites, bazaars and a huge choice of sports and pastimes to enjoy.

With its rich history, sightseeing opportunities are tremendous. The Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Christian churches of Cappadoccia, to name a few. Shoppers are also in for a treat, with leather goods, textiles, and carpets widely available at bargain prices provided you negotiate.

Cost of living (Istanbul)
The overall cost of living is fairly low. Istanbul ranks 338 (out of over 440 cities) in the cost of living index. A meal at a standard restaurant is likely to cost USD 5 per person with an imported beer priced around USD 3.30 and soft drinks around USD 0.65 per can. A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately USD 10.00 and a coffee typically sets you back around USD 2.00. At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around USD 0.50, a liter of milk approximately USD 0.75 and a dozen eggs roughly USD 1.80.

There is a variety of public transport in Istanbul, which includes private and public buses, a metro in the downtown area and the tram system, which covers a significant part of the city. There are also ferries, which are used by residents to cross the Bosporus. Taxis have a dual fair system with daytime fares being cheaper than nighttime fares. It has to be said taxi drivers are not always honest and will often try to charge the higher fare during the daytime. During the day taxis start at around USD 1.00 and cost 0.40 per KM. However, if you travel regularly, it is wise to consider a full-time car and driver. Petrol is relatively cheap at around USD 1.25 per liter.

Accommodation is generally good value. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in a reasonable area would be approximately USD 500 per month. A typical 3 bedroom house in a suburb would cost around USD 800-1,000 per month.
Basic monthly utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around USD 70. Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately USD 0.15 per minute and fast broadband internet is roughly USD 20 per month.
(Source – NUMBEO)

For children between the ages of six and 18. Both primary and secondary education in public school is free to Turkish national and foreign children. All children well at least one foreign language the choices are usually French German Spanish or English, however, the whole school curriculum is conducted in Turkish which may prove troublesome for foreign students especially those his parents do not plan on living in Turkey long-term.

The majority of expat children are probably best served by attending an international school, of which there are several, especially in Ankara and Istanbul. Preplanning is a must since many of these International schools have limited spaces and consequently, long waiting lists. The cost of International schools in Turkey is significant with annual tuition fees ranging between US$6000-10,000.

List of some international schools in Istanbul

American College

British International school

Euro Sun exclusive international (preschool)

Istanbul International Community School

Istanbul International School

Keystone International School

Pierre Loti School

Tarabya international schools


Free healthcare is available to all Turks and the medical system has been overhauled in recent years to a decent standard. However, it still lags behind much of Europe and so it is most likely expats in Turkey are more likely to opt for private healthcare.

Private clinics and hospitals in Turkey provide high-quality healthcare with extremely well-trained staff, and well maintained medical equipment. Doctors, nurses, and specialists are much more likely to be able to speak good English private facilities. In many cases such as the American Hospital Istanbul, there is a collaboration with North America Health faculties and centers, which provides ultra-modern, cutting-edge treatments to inpatients and outpatients. Your medical policy provider can recommend lists of private clinics and hospitals within your area. It is a good idea to establish the slowly and make sure the emergency numbers are at hand. The emergency number for ambulances is 112. Ambulances from private medical establishments I’ve generally well maintained and provide a much faster response time is that public ambulances.

Pharmacies are plentiful throughout Turkey and Istanbul in particular. Some of these are(Four hours a day. You will find that pharmacies are generally very well stocked many medicines are available without a prescription and generally, the cost of medication is much lower than North America or European countries.

Useful link(s);
Turkish trade/customs
Things to do in Turkey

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Turkey from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.

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