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)
Contrary to common belief, you do not need an International Driving Permit in Turkey. You can drive and also rent a car with your UK driving licence in Turkey.
This guide is intended for UK Driver Licence holders. You can also read my “Can Tourists Drive in Turkey?” article for more general information.
1. 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 for driving in Turkey.
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)
If you’re ready to get your car rental in Turkey, my short answer is, I recommend and personally use Discover Cars. The website searches for both international and local companies, so you always get the best rates.
I also always get their full coverage insurance — which is usually less than $10 USD per day.
2. 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.
Yet, most of the time police are very easy going towards tourists, especially during the summer holiday season.
3. 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 £.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Can you rent a car with a UK Driving Licence in Turkey?
You can rent a car with a UK Driving Licence in Turkey. Your UK Driving Licence must have a photo. Some rental companies may deny renting a car to people who are younger than 21.
Most of the global car rental companies have operations in Turkey. You can hire a car from Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Alamo, Budget, and many other local and international brands.
Renting from local companies with low ratings in Discover Cars may not be the best idea. Unknown companies with poor reviews may result in additional charges at the end of the contract.
8.1 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 damages.
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.
8.2 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.
🚗💨 Want to book your car rental? Click the link to book directly with Discover Cars, which searches all national and local companies to get you the best rates.
9. Is driving in Turkey the same as the UK?
While most universal aspects of driving are applicable in both Turkey and the UK, such as obeying traffic signals and speed limits, there are significant differences in the driving experience in the two countries.
The major differences between driving in Turkey and UK are;
9.1. Driving Side
The most important difference is that vehicles drive on the right side of the road in Turkey, and the driver’s seat and controls are on the left-hand side of the vehicle.
This is the opposite of the UK where vehicles drive on the left side of the road, and the driver’s seat and controls are on the right-hand side.
9.2. Road Signs:
Road signs in Turkey follow international standards and are usually in Turkish. However, they are generally easy to understand since they use standard symbols.
9.3. Driving Behaviour:
Turkish drivers are known to be assertive, and it’s not uncommon to see drivers suddenly changing lanes or turning without signalling. Traffic in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara can be dense.
9.4. Rules and Regulations:
While the general rules of the road are similar, there are specific laws and regulations for driving in each country.
For example, in Turkey, the use of the car horn is quite common, while in the UK, unnecessary use of the horn can be penalised.
Click to check my article to learn everything you need about the differences in driving in Turkey.
The most important thing that you should not do while driving in Turkey
Drinking is legal in Turkey, but Do not drive after you drink alcohol. The alcohol limit is low, 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 insurance may not cover your losses.
So be safe and use taxis when you use alcohol. You can come back later to retrieve your car.
Click to read my article for additional renting and driving tips in Turkey.
10. 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.
11. How is road quality in Turkey?
According to the World Economic Forum 2019 data, Turkish road quality is better than Italy, Greece, Australia and South Africa.
Turkey has a higher road quality than many European countries. (Click for WEF Road Quality Index) In road quality. Turkey ranks 32th among 141 countries worldwide.
Although roads between and around major hubs are in excellent condition, be careful on less-travelled roads in rural areas.
12. The speed limits in Turkey
The speed may be a mystery to foreigners because of conflicting speed signs.
As a general rule, stick with these speed limits when driving in Turkey.
- 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
13. Is parking free in Turkey? Are there any parking metres in Turkey?
There are no parking metres on public roads 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
Turkey Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Turkey?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from SafetyWing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Turkey?
Rarely — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Turkey, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Turkey. (Read more)
🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Turkey?
Yes — Renting a car in Turkey is one of the best ways to explore the seven regions of Turkey! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Turkish companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)
🏩 What’s the best way to book my Turkey accommodation?
🎫 Do I need a visa for Turkey?
Likely Not — U.S., Canadian, and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Turkey but check here to see if you do need a Turkey travel visa.