If you are a foreigner, you are allowed to drive with a foreign license in Turkey for six months only. After this period, you are required to change your license; failure to do so may result in a fine. However, in practice, few traffic policemen in Turkey are aware of this requirement. Additionally, according to the regulations, you need to show your passport with a stamp of the last entry.
If you already have a valid International Driver’s License, the process could be smoother for you. By converting to a Turkish Foreign Driver’s License, you’ll be able to drive around Istanbul and other parts of Turkey without any worries. This step isn’t just about convenience; it’s also a legal requirement to avoid potential fines or penalties.
When Should Foreigners to Apply for a Turkish Driver’s License Replacement?
Wondering when it’s the right time for foreigners to get a replacement for their Turkish driver’s license? Here’s the deal for foreign citizens who already hold driver’s licenses from other countries:
- If you’ve been living in Turkey for a continuous period of 6 months through a short-term Touristic residence permit ID Card, keep reading.
- If you currently possess a valid International Driver’s License, that’s another key point to consider.
- Planning to cruise around Turkey for more than 6 months using a foreign or local vehicle? Pay attention to this.
It is important to note that in the event of an accident, the insurance company will not cover damages if you do not have a driver’s license. Since 2018, Nüfus has been issuing and replacing driving licenses, and it is necessary to make an appointment online.
Required Documents for Getting Driver’s License in Istanbul
If you are a foreigner, the following documents are required to replace your license:
- Translated and notarized driver’s license.
- The original license and a COLOURED copy.
- Residence permit or work permit.
- Certificate of medical examination, signed by an ophthalmologist. If you have already had an eye exam in Turkey, you will receive a general certificate from your Sağlık ocak. If not, you will need a special certificate from the hospital.
- Receipt for the fee paid (there are three different receipts).
- Biometric photo ID. Although the website indicates that only one photo is needed, two are often required.
- Card with blood group. You can obtain this from any hospital or provide a statement stating your blood type.
- Education diploma or certificate. In Turkey, people without an education (at least 4 classes) cannot obtain a license. If you graduated from school or university in Turkey, bring the relevant documents. If you have a foreign diploma or certificate, a denklik may be required (sometimes only a certified translation and a copy are enough).
- Certificate of absence of criminal record, which can be obtained from E-devlet.
Sometimes, the following documents may also be requested:
- Copy of the main page of the passport and the page with the entry stamp.
- The blue folder you purchase there.
- Marriage certificate.
It is important to note that not all cities require you to bring all documents for your license at once. You can initially bring only the translation of the license and work permit. They will then send a request to your country, which can take up to 2 months.
The full fee for 2023 is 2,489 liras, payable at any PTT post office. There is no need to retake exams. If you have had a name change, your license will be issued in the name you currently have in the system. If you have not changed your passport, you will receive your license in your old name.
Process of Getting Driver’s License in Istanbul
Once you have submitted all the documents (after verifying the authenticity of your license), you will receive a temporary license that you can use to drive a car. Your license will be taken away and sent back to your home country, and you can claim it from your traffic police. Your new Turkish license will be delivered to your home address within 7 days.
You can exchange your license even if it is expired. The new Turkish license is valid for 10 years, and it is relatively easy to change it afterward. If you leave Turkey, the term is reset. Therefore, if a foreigner leaves the country once every six months, you do not need to change your license.
If you want to take the exam in English, when enrolling in a driving school, do not forget to mention this.
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