Turkey is an iconic tourist destination where you can also relocate to with your remote job. The country offers some great residency options, so staying long-term and working remotely shouldn’t be a problem. Indeed, many people have already discovered the Middle Eastern gem and Turkey continues to be popular among digital nomads.
Turkey is known for its very affordable prices, amazing food, and hospitable and warm people. This country can suit everyone’s needs, with its coastal cozy towns and bustling metropolises. Are you looking into Turkey as a new destination for remote work? Read the article to learn more about your opportunities in this incredible country.
Turkey for digital nomads and remote workers
Have you been looking into Turkey as one of the potential places for relocation? There are so many reasons why digital nomads move to Turkey. In fact, I also have spent some time there and can only recommend this place for remote work!
You can choose between dozens of wonderful Turkish cities: from relaxing sandy beaches to bustling megapolises. Turkey has much more to offer than the average European country, plus you can enjoy hundreds of hours of sunshine every month!
Turkey is a multicultural country, offering a home for everyone, hence digital nomads from around the world feel quite happy there. Additionally, it has some of the oldest history on the continent, breathtaking landscape, a mix of European and Islamic cultures, and of course, delicious cuisine!
With a relatively low cost of living (as little as $500 a month), you can enjoy a high-quality lifestyle. Check cities like Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Kaş, Kalkan, Çeşme or Kuşadası. But how does one work remotely as a freelancer or digital nomad in Turkey and not get into trouble?
Can you work remotely in Turkey?
Generally speaking, yes you can and it would be perfectly legal. You can work remotely as a:
- An employee of a foreign company
- Business owner, etc.
The classic example of a remote worker in Turkey is a foreign employee working for a foreign company, where the employer is situated outside of the country. The Law on International Workforce Law of Turkey states that “Foreigners are …. Forbidden to work or be employed without obtaining a work permit.”
However, if remote work doesn’t benefit a local person or entity and is not compensated in Turkey it will be allowed under the Turkish regulations.
You should make sure that you have clients from abroad and that all your payments go through to your bank account abroad. So, by law, you won’t be considered as you are working in Turkey. Hence, that way you can avoid legal issues with the Turkish government.
You can work remotely in Turkey and even transfer funds from your personal account abroad to an account at a Turkish bank without consequences. For example, you are a US citizen and are being paid from a U.S. source to a U.S. bank account, it will be highly unlikely that Turkey would investigate your case.
This is, of course, assuming you are not interacting with clients in Turkey or working at a local branch office.
However, when staying over 6 months in Turkey, you need to make sure your immigration status is correct and check if you owe any income tax.
Work permit while working remotely from Turkey
As an online worker or freelancer, you won’t need a work permit in Turkey. As long as you aren’t doing any business directly with Turkish people or Turkish companies, being paid by them, or issuing invoices.
Visa and residence permit while working remotely from Turkey
Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and many other nationalities can either enter Turkey for 90 days without a visa or with a simple e-visa. The process of obtaining one is very simple and cheap.
For example, all European citizens can enter Turkey visa-free and stay for up to 90 days within a 180 days period. However, citizens of the USA or Canada will need to submit an e-visa application before coming to Turkey.
It’s possible to obtain e-visa 24/7 anywhere with an internet connection. The applicants will receive the visa after they fill in the necessary information concerning their identity, passport, travel dates and the visa fee online payment.
Note that e-visa is only valid when the purpose of travel is tourism or commerce. For other purposes, such as work and study, visas are given by Turkish Embassies or Consulates.
However, renewing e-visa is not as easy as getting it, or in fact, even possible. Because you can only stay for 90 days every 180 days. To stay longer than this period remote workers either need to leave the country for another 90 days or apply for a residence permit.
Apply for a residence permit in Turkey as a remote worker
Fortunately, Turkey offers some uncomplicated residency programs almost everyone can apply for. You can get a so-called “digital nomad visa” in Turkey by applying for a residence permit. The main ways of getting a permit are quite simple – either rent an apartment for a year or enroll in a university or sign up for a language program.
With a residence permit comes the requirement of having a rental contract and proving that you are financially able to live in Turkey.
The proven way for digital nomads has been renting an apartment for a year. You will only need the rental contract. Before you decide, you can go to Turkey’s official government website to find out the entry visa requirements for your country of origin and learn more about obtaining a long-term visa.
In case you choose to rent an apartment for a year, you will need:
- The completed Turkish tourist visa application form.
- Your valid passport or another travel document.
- Two photographs in accordance with the Turkish visa photograph requirements.
- Statement of income or saving
- Travel insurance
- Travel Itinerary
- Proof of accommodation
Make sure you gather all the necessary information BEFORE you submit your application since you will have 30 days to complete it since you first applied.
Go to the official website to find the form:
Entry visa requirements https://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa
Residency permit/tourist visa https://www.e-ikamet.com/en
Working remotely from Turkey: Taxes
Taxes should be your concern when working remotely abroad. While you are working for a company abroad or having your own business you don’t need a work permit in Turkey, but you must consider where you are paying income taxes.
If a digital nomad stays a long amount of time in Turkey and gets paid in a local bank account, she/he will need to file and pay income taxes there. For that reason, we recommend keeping all your income in a foreign bank account.
Consequently, if you are being paid from for example a U.S. source to a U.S. bank account, it is highly unlikely you will ever pay taxes in Turkey.
Here is some legal information in regard to remote workers in Turkey:
If a person stays less than 183 days in Turkey:
- Taxpayer status – limited, taxed abroad
- Turkish income tax liability – the associated salary/income isn’t subject to income tax in Turkey
- Tax implication – none
If a person stays more than 183 days in Turkey:
- Taxpayer status – you might be considered as a full taxpayer depending on the double taxation agreement
- If a double taxation agreement isn’t applicable – full taxpayer
- Turkish income tax liability – depending on the double taxation agreement
- Tax implication – none
Working remotely from Turkey: Social security
Depending on the country you are from and where you pay social security, different rules might apply.
- If your usual country of residence is part of the European Convention on social security or bilateral social security agreement with Turkey – you won’t have to pay for social security in Turkey
- If your usual country of residence isn’t a part of the European Convention on social security or bilateral social security agreement with Turkey – after an exemption period of 3 months, you should contribute to the Turkish social security
Coworking spaces in Turkey
So are you on your way to Turkey with the motivation to work remotely? The last detail will be to decide where you want to work from:
- Home office
- Coworking spaces
After living and working remotely in Turkey, we could tell that Turkish apartments and cafes can get pretty damn loud.
When living in a Turkish city, coworking spaces might be the best option for you, especially in hectic Istanbul. There you can find large and small offices that you can share with other freelancers and remote workers.
New coworking spaces are popping up around Turkey. Most have evolved into more than an office, but also a growing community, meetup place, and a space to network and socialize.
The most widely known and established coworking spaces in Istanbul are:
- Workington, Joint Idea, Habita, and Impact Hub are the most popular by a wide range of freelancers,
- More creative professions favor Kolektif House, ATÖLYE, Plaza Cubes and eOfis
- In Izmir, you can find Coza, Origin, and With Coworking
- In Fethiye, nomads like Hipokampus
Want to move to Turkey and work remotely?
To work remotely from Turkey, you, of course, will need a suitable job to drive some income to your wallet and an employer who is compliant with the fact you are working abroad.
Here at Support Adventure, we’re known as the expat outsourcing company as we hire talented people from around the world who want to work online from anywhere.
We have open positions for Helpdesk IT Support and Service Desk Coordinator. If you have experience or even interest in IT, don’t hesitate to apply for a remote job with us here!