It was written on 15 June 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.
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This guide is about driving licences in Turkey: whether you can use your current, foreign licence; for how long; and how to convert it to a Turkish licence.
Driving in Turkey can be complicated not only because of the roads and the traffic but also because of the complexities surrounding driving licences.
Turkey has agreements with 50 countries (see www.trafik.gov.tr) permitting visitors to use their home licence with a photograph during visits of up to six months. The period depends upon the country you are from. The periods for each country are listed on the website. It is available only in Turkish but translates quite well using Google Translate.
It covers most countries from which visitors are likely to come to Turkey.
For countries not on this list, or if your licence does not bear a photograph, you can ONLY use your home licence in conjunction with an International Driving Permit An international driving licence (more properly called the International Driving Permit or IDP) is, as the name suggests, recognised internationally. This includes in Turkey.
There are two types of international driving permits. These are based on the two conventions under which various countries agreed to adopt them. Turkey requires what is known as a ‘1949 Convention IDP’. The people who issue the permit will know this, but it's worth reminding them.
The agency that issues IDPs is usually the main motoring association in your country. A Google search will reveal where you need to apply in your country.
See the accompanying images for an example of a UK IDP.
The cost of obtaining an IDP varies from country to country but is typically about €20.
Note that an IDP is not the same as an international driving licence. An IDP is not a legally recognised document giving you the right to drive. It is, rather, evidence that you possess such a licence in your own country.
An application for an IDP cannot be made more than three months before the date when you intend to use it. It is valid for 12 months. It must be used in conjunction with and presented with your own national driving licence.
Although the IDP document is valid for a period of 12 months, it can only be used in Turkey at any one time for a period of six months. So, for example, you could go to Turkey in January and remain there until April (four months) and then return in September and stay until the end of October (two months) using the same IDP as the total time spent in Turkey in the calendar year is no more than six months.
The important thing is that you do not spend more than six months in the calendar year in Turkey driving on your combined 'home' driving licence and IDP.
After that, you must convert your licence and validate it for use in Turkey. This will usually apply to people who are resident in Turkey.
This is bureaucratic but relatively simple. You do it at the local traffic department. There is no driving test or health check.
You will need to produce:
Your existing driving licence
An official translation of the licence
Two approved biometric photographs
Your residency permit
A health certificate, valid for one year. This can be obtained either from a state hospital or a private hospital.
A certificate showing your level of education (in Turkey only people educated to at least primary school level are allowed to have a licence).
A certificate showing your blood group.
You also have to pay a fee.
Once you have obtained a licence, there is no expiry date.
It may seem like a lot of bother to go through converting your driving licence but, trust me, it's a lot less bother than not doing it and getting caught. As it's a relatively simple process without even a test, you really have no excuse!
|Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
|Driving in Turkey
Rules of the road and things to look out for
|International Driving Permit
History & current information (Wikipedia)
I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.Başak Yıldız Orkun 15 June 2017
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