2 Ways to get a Turkish Driver’s License for Foreigners – Full Guide

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If you are looking for ways to get a Turkish Driving License? You are in the right place!

As a Turkish lawyer, I will outline the general processes for obtaining a Turkish driving license.

There is a very easy way to get a Turkish Driving License and a normal way to get a Turkish Driving License.

A foreigner can get a Turkish Driving License in two ways.

If you have a foreign driving license, you can easily convert a foreign driving license to a Turkish Driving License with some paperwork.

Alternatively, foreigners can enter exams to get a Turkish License.

In this post, I am going to explain these processes. Let’s start.

1. Easy Way- Converting Your Driving License

Converting your driving license is a lesser-known but effortless way to get a Turkish License for foreigners.

84 countries’ driving licenses have convertible status according to international agreements signed by Turkey.

This means if you hold a valid driving license from the countries listed in the table below, you can get a Turkish driving license with very simple paperwork without a driving exam.

A sample Turkish Driving License
Courtesy of Turkish Population Registry

The list of countries that issue convertible driving licenses to Turkish driving license

If you hold one of the driving licenses of the countries mentioned in the table, you are exempt from the driving exams.

Czech RepublicChileCentral African RepublicCuba
Costa RicaDenmarkDR CongoEcuador
ItalyIndonesiaIvory CoastKazakhstan
San MarioSpainSenegalSouth Africa
South KoreaSeychellesSerbiaSlovakia
UzbekistanUnited Arab EmiratesUnited Kingdom (UK)Uruguay
83 countries’ driving licenses can be converted into Turkish Driving Licenses. Source Turkish Population Registry

The biggest drawback of this method is that the Turkish authorities will take your original driving license and deliver it back to your country’s issuing authority.

After converting, you can no longer use your country’s driving license in Turkey.

Additionally, you must still fulfill age, education, and health requirements.

You should be over 16 years old for motorcycles, and to drive a regular car, you should be over 18 years old.

The education requirement for obtaining a driving license in Turkey is the completion of elementary school level education.

Unfortunately, you cannot convert a USA driving license to a Turkish driving license. Yet, you can use a US Driving license in Turkey for up to 6 months.

Although UK driving licences are easily convertible to Turkish Driving Licenses, you may need some practice before driving in Turkey.

Traffic flows from the right direction in Turkey, unlike the United Kingdom.

You do not need to have a Turkish License to drive in Turkey. You can drive with your foreign driver’s license for up to 6 months. You can see more details in my article, Can Tourists Drive in Turkey? A Turkish Lawyer’s Guide.

1.2 Documents required to convert to a Turkish Driving License

The process is very straightforward and painless.

You can apply to any population registry (Nüfus Müdürlüğü) to convert your home country’s driving license to a Turkish driving license.

Population registries are located in any city and major district in Turkey.

Be sure to make an online appointment (especially in metropolitan areas) when you are ready to submit the documents.

The documents required are:

  • Your Driving License (original and color photocopy)
  • Translation of your Driving License (obtained from a Turkish Public Notary or Turkish Consulate) 
  • Passport
  • Health Report checking health requirements.
  • One time fee
  • One biometric photograph
  • Certification for blood type
  • Education documents (Proving that you have at least completed elementary school level)
  • Criminal record

Source: Turkish Population Registry website.

If you need driving tips, please check my comprehensive article on driving in Turkey.

2. Normal Way – Obtaining A Turkish Driving License with Exams

The course length is around 3 three weeks. Then you have to take the written exam, and you will be required to pass the driving exam.

If you have an unconvertible driving license (like a US or Australian Driving License) or do not have any driving license, you should first enroll in a driving course for theoretical studies.

Steps for Getting A Turkish Driver’s License.

2.1. Find a school for driving courses.

You need to take 30 hours of theoretical classes before you can take the written exam. The courses are about traffic rules, first aid, mechanics and related subjects.

In these courses, you are taught common-sense rules and information every driver should know.

2.2. Pass the online exam

You will be given a book when you enroll in the course. Also, a quick search on the internet will reveal other books and supplementary study sources in foreign languages.

Additionally, do not worry about the exam language.

The Turkish driving license exam is online, and foreigners can take the exam in Arabic, Chinese, English, German, French, Persian, and Russian.

The exam has 50 questions with multiple options. You need to answer 35 questions correctly to pass the exam.

2.3. Take the Driving Lessons

After passing the written exam, you must take 12 hours of driving lessons. After these courses, you are eligible for the driving test.

If you fail the driving test, you can take the test three more times.

If you pass the test, you will be given your temporary driving license, and your permanent driving license will arrive by mail.

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3. The advantages of having a Turkish Driving License

After six months of your entry to Turkey, your foreign driving license is invalid. The monetary fine for driving with an invalid license may be a small penalty.

Yet, there are other consequences of not driving with a valid driving license in Turkey.

The first one is insurance coverage.

If you are not driving with a valid license in case of an accident, insurance will not cover the damages and compensation. Especially the compensation for third parties can be a huge blow to your finances.

Secondly, not having a valid license and damaging a person’s health and well-being can be considered a serious criminal offense.

The other advantages of having a Turkish Driving License are listed below.

  • A Turkish driving license makes renting a car in Turkey easier and lowers your insurance premium for car rentals as well as your own car.
  • Turkish driving license is EU compatible, and you can use it in EU countries as a valid driving license.
  • You will have a valid ID and will not need to carry your passport while driving.
  • You can indefinitely have the right to drive in Turkey without any time limit.

Also, if you wish to learn my tips on renting a car in Turkey or driving in Turkey, please check my article on “Essentials of Renting A Car in Turkey and Driving Tips”

A Street View from Izmir City Center

4. Driving Without A Turkish Driving License in Turkey

Actually, you do not need a Turkish Driving License for short stays. Tourists with a foreign driver’s license can drive in Turkey for up to 6 months.

As a general rule, all foreign driving licenses, including USA driving licenses are valid in Turkey. as long as driving licenses have a photo and are written in the Latin alphabet.

Click to learn more about your driving license validity and things to know about driving in Turkey.

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13 thoughts on “2 Ways to get a Turkish Driver’s License for Foreigners – Full Guide”

  1. Hi, I am planning to retire in Turkey as I really loved it when I came for a visit. I think that we have decided that getting Turkish citizenship is not something we plan to do, but we do intend to buy a property. Do you have any knowledge about us bringing our vehicle and motorcycle with us when we move. The basics information I have read is that it has to be continually renewed while we are there on a 2 year basis. What I don’t read about is if there is every an opportunity to convert it?

    Also I have read your information on drivers license, but on another website I read that there are some relaxed rules for ‘pensioners’ to obtain a Turkish permit from usa, that we only need to take the written exam. Do you know anything about that ?

    One last question do you see any advantage that we may not be aware of, that would change our mind about obtaining Turkish citizenship?

    • US citizens need to take written as well as practice to get a Turkish driving license. The written exam can be taken in English and driving is easy if you know how to drive. Some countries are exempt from driving exams and written exams but not the US because the agreement is signed by the US.
      You can bring your car to Turkey permanently, but there are insanely heavy taxes and you have to pay for them when you import them. I can understand why you would like to bring your car. Car is expensive in Turkey, not because we can not import them but half their value is government taxes. We envy American car prices.
      You can use your car for a limited period and take to Greece for a while and return it back later. One of my frişend has two cars, he parks one in Bulgaria for six months and takes the other next six month.
      The major advantage for an American to obtain Turkish citizenship is the Turkish free health system. The Turkish health system is very good and you can buy thousands of dollars worth of health with few dollars. Even private health care is cheap compared to US, and Turkish citizen expenses are mostly covered by the Turkish government. You may require to pay a flat fee monthly, but it will be a lot cheaper and better than most US insurances. Hope this helps

  2. I might not have worded my comment correctly regarding bringing a car to turkey for the USA. can we ever get it registered in turkey if we have a residence there? What would it involve?

    We don’t plan to go back to the USA, and what would happen then? Like if we die or get to an age where we should stop driving altogether?

  3. In regards to the driver’s license you mentioned that the biggest drawback is that as a foreigner. your original drivers license will be sent back to the country’s issuing authority. What does this mean exactly and what will happen to that license?

    Will I be able to get it back if I go to my home country?
    If so, where should I collect it or will it be cancelled in my home country?

    • I think it is a precaution to prevent you to use your home country’s license when you have a Turkish one. You can ask your country’s consulate about what happens to your existing driving license.

  4. I’ve read online that the Turkish driving lessons are in cars with stick shift–not manual transmission. I have been driving for over 40 years, but can only drive an automatic car. Is it possible to pass the driving test on a car with automatic transmission? Also, is there a maximum age for driving in Turkey (I am over age 60).

    • Manual transmission is the norm in Turkey. Additionally, there is no limit on the age of driving. My father is over 70 and still driving very nicely without a problem.

  5. Hi,I’m 17 years old and living in Canada I do not have a drivers license and since I am going to Istanbul this summer I was wondering if I could get my license there and then take the test in Canada again so that I can have my canadien license as well is that possible?

    • In Turkey, the driving age is 18 for this reason you cannot get a driving license in Turkey. Converting Turkish license to Canadian is a matter of Canadian Law, for this reason a Canadian lawyer can tell you the process.

  6. Dear Efe,

    First, thank you for the already noted advices.

    For people from the 83~ countries signed to the license conversion agreement, do they HAVE to convert their license, or can they opt to take the full driving course/exams in Turkiye like people from Canada/USA and then get to keep both licenses?

    • If you convert you have to your Turkish license in Turkey. You can keep both your licenses but if you get a driving license in Turkey, you have to use that one.

  7. When I become a Turkish citizen do I have to take driving course and tests to get a drivers license. I currently have a US license.

    • No, you do not need to change your driving license when you become a Turkish citizen. Turkish citizens can also use foreign driving subject to time limitation that I outlined above.

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