When I was working as Legal Counsel in the Turkish branch of Tesco, one of the main queries of the expats was whether they could drive with their United Kingdom (“UK”) driving licence in Turkey.
In this article, I will share my knowledge on using a UK driving licence in Turkey.
I also will explain alternative options and how easily you can obtain a Turkish driving licence, and some tips that can be useful to you.
Can you drive in Turkey with a UK Driving Licence? As a general rule, you can use your UK driving licence for up to 6 months starting from the day that you enter Turkey. Provisional Driving Licences are not valid in Turkey. (Turkish Road Traffic Regulation Article 88)
This guide is intended for UK Driver Licence holders, you can also read my “Can Tourists Drive in Turkey?” article for more general information.
How long can you drive with your UK Driving Licence in Turkey?
Your driving licence is valid for 6 months upon your entry date to Turkey. Six months or the two year period does not indicate the total time you stayed in Turkey during several trips.
Simply put, every time you exit and enter Turkey, you will have six months to use your UK driving licence.
After six months, you need to replace your driving licence with a Turkish Driving Licence.
However, it is a straightforward procedure because UK Driving Licence holders are exempt from any driving exam. Yet, you still need to fulfil age, education and health requirements.
Read my article “2 Ways for Foreigners to get a Turkish Driver’s License.” for more information. I also outlined the documents required for replacing your UK driving licence with Turkish below in this article.
If you are a Turkish national who has a UK driving licence in Turkey, you can use it for up to 2 years without replacing it with a Turkish driving licence.
However, Turkish nationals need to translate their driving licence after 6 months through a public notary or Turkish consulate. (Turkish Road Traffic Regulation Article 88)
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I also always get their full coverage insurance — which is usually less than $10 USD per day.
Do you need to carry your passport with you while driving in Turkey?
Turkish people have the compulsory duty to carry their ID cards with them at all times. The same obligation applies to all foreigners/tourists. Foreigners are also expected to carry ID with them. The valid ID for a UK citizen is their Passport or Turkish Residence permit.
Especially in vacation spots, police are usually okay with seeing only your driving licence. However, there may be instances, they may wish to see your passport, as well.
Also, you need your passport to prove your entry date to Turkey, because your UK Driving licence will be valid for 6 months starting from the entry date, which is stamped on your passport.
Do you need to translate your UK Driving Licence to drive in Turkey?
There is no specific requirement for you to carry a notary approved translation of your driving licence in Turkey.
On the other hand, if you are staying longer than a usual holiday, I would advise you to obtain a notarized Turkish translation of your driving licence.
This practice is also suggested by the British Government website on their Turkey Travel Advice page.
The notary translation of your driving licence is a simple procedure.
You need to visit one of the many public notaries located in every central town. The transaction will not take long, but completion will depend on the speed and availability of the translator. The cost will be around 50 £.
Should you use an International Driver’s Licence (IDB) in Turkey instead of a UK driver’s licence?
International Driver’s Licence is also valid in Turkey. If you have one, you can use it, as well. However, if you have a UK Driving Licence with a photo, you do not need it.
Can you use a Motorcycle with your A1 category UK driving licence?
With “A” category standard motorcycle licence, you can ride a motorcycle over 50cc in Turkey.
With the “A1” category “light motorcycle” driving licence, you can only ride motorcycles below 50cc.
In all instances, you are required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. It is strictly regulated, and traffic fines are very high in Turkey.
Can the British have a Turkish driving licence?
British citizens can obtain a Turkish Driving Licence. If you do not have a driving licence from the UK, please read “2 Ways for Foreigners to get a Turkish Driver’s License.”
If you already have a UK driving licence, please read the required documents below.
How can you replace your UK driving licence with a Turkish driving licence?
To convert your UK Licence to a Turkish Driving Licence, you can apply to any population registry. ( Nüfus Müdürlüğü)
The documents required are:
- UK driving licence (original and colour photocopy)
- Approved translation of your UK driving licence (can be obtained from Turkish Public Notary or Turkish Consulate)
- Health Report checking driving requirements.
- One biometric photograph
- Declaration of blood type
- Education documents (Proving that you have at least completed elementary school level education)
- Criminal record
Source: Turkish Population Registry website.
You can check with the nearest Turkish Population Registry located in every major town for more detailed inquiries.
How to Rent a Car in Turkey?
You can hire a car from Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, Budget, and many other local and international brands. Most of the global car rental companies have operations in Turkey.
Please use the internationally known brands for renting a car. Renting from local companies may not be trustworthy and may demand additional charges at the end of the contract.
Before renting a car, I usually check car rental companies’ scores and reviews at Discover Cars.
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Insurance when renting a car
All cars in Turkey are insured with mandatory traffic insurance. This insurance covers your liability for damages that you may inflict on other people or vehicles.
Due to heavy car sale taxes, cars are a lot more expensive in Turkey than in Europe or the United Kingdom.
For this reason, the mandatory insurance limit sometimes is not enough to cover all of the third party losses.
Also, compulsory insurance does cover your losses if the incident occurred because of your fault.
As a person who does not like risks, I always obtain full insurance from my rental company. I would advise the same, but the decision is yours.
How much should you pay when renting a car in Turkey?
Price car rentals are around 20-40 Euros per day, excluding fuel costs. The car rental price and availability significantly differ from city to city.
Click to read my article for additional renting and driving tips in Turkey.
The most important thing that you should not do while driving in Turkey
Do not drive after you drink alcohol. The alcohol limit is low in Turkey, and it is strictly regulated.
It was easy to convince traffic police in my childhood days, but those days are long gone.
In Turkey, commercial drivers have zero limits for alcohol. Regular drivers like tourists and citizens are subject to an alcohol limit of 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood.
This limit is lower than the UK alcohol limit, in the UK legal limit is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.
The alcohol test is a breath test conducted by police officers. If you pass the threshold, your driving licence is suspended for 6 months, plus a monetary fine will be applied.
In serious cases (like accidents), you may be subject to a blood test for alcohol.
If alcohol is found in your blood, even if you have no fault at the occurrence of an unwanted incident, you may be deemed guilty, you may be charged seriously, and insurances may not cover your losses.
So be safe and use taxis when you use alcohol. You can come back later to retrieve your car.
Police checkpoints are important
There are checkpoints at the exits and entrances of major settlements. Please drive carefully and slowly near these checkpoints. These are both traffic and security control points. Follow the lead of the police on these points.
How is the road quality in Turkey?
According to the World Economic Forum 2017 data, Turkish road quality is the same as the United Kingdom and better than South Africa.
Turkey has a higher road quality than many European countries. (Click for WEF Road Quality Index) In road quality. Turkey ranks 28th among 138 countries worldwide.
Although roads between and around major hubs are in excellent condition, be careful on less-travelled roads in rural areas.
The speed limit in Turkey
The speed may be a mystery to foreigners because of conflicting speed signs. As a general rule, stick with these limits
- 50 km / h inside town and cities
- 90 km / h on regular intercity roads
- 110 km / h on inter-city divided roads
- 120 km / h on motorways/highways
Is parking free in Turkey? Are there any parking meters in Turkey?
Unless otherwise indicated in writing or by a sign, parking on roadsides is free in Turkey. Observe the locals, and you can park as locals do.
Which fuel stations should you use in Turkey?
The services you get in gas stations differ very much. My first choice is OPET because of their clean toilets. The other brands that you can use are Shell, and BP.
You do not have to worry about running out of gas.
Gas stations are plentiful, and nearly every fuel station has a small shop where you can buy snacks and drinks.
Additionally, most of them have a windshield cleaning service available free of charge.
What should you do in case of an Emergency in Turkey?
The general emergency phone line is 122. The Turkish police phone line is 155; in remote rural areas, you can call a gendarme with 156 phone numbers.
Also, you should call your rental car company for specific instructions in case of any car damage.
Friday 30th of July 2021
HI Are you able to tell me the consequences if I leave my UK registered car in Turkey for more than 2 years?
Sunday 1st of August 2021
The regulations on this matter are complicated, but I would park my car in one of the EU territories as a safer route. A Greek Island, Cyprus, Bulgaria would be a better option to avoid any disputes.