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I am a US citizen with a (class B-P2 commercial) drivers license. I also have a valid IDP card to go with it, which I understand is not strictly required in Turkey but always nice to have when abroad anyway. It is my understanding that it is valid to drive in Turkey on a US license. In fact I have had multiple rental car agencies validate this and have had my license checked by the local police on several occasions and no problems came up.

However I have heard from several unverified sources now that this allowance is only true for visitors, not for residents. I have heard this variously defined as having a residence permit instead of a tourist visa, as having been in the country more than 90 days, or as having your last date of entry be more that 6 months old.

I cannot find a source on how this actually works or if this suggestion is bogus. As a long term resident with a residents permit (ikamet tezkesi) am I required to apply for a Turkish driver's license in order to continue driving long term?

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There doesn't seem to be too many English resources available on how to drive in Turkey with a foreign drivers licence as a Turkish resident. Google translate also doesn't help too much on their official site, which seems to lack this information.

Unfortunately the US embassy's site is also quite unhelpful. It does state then if your licence expires then you have to renew it in the US, you cannot do it at the embassy.

However according to the UK government's site about living in Turkey it says:

If you drive in Turkey, you must have either an International Driving Permit or a notarised copy (in Turkish) of your UK driving licence.

Angloinfo says something similar, but is more strict regarding whether you need a notorised translation or not:

Foreign residents of Turkey may drive using their valid foreign licence, however, a notorised translation of the licence must be kept with it at all times. A notorised translation can be provided, for a fee, by a Turkish translation firm offering notarisation and certification services, or by the relevant consular office (or embassy) in Turkey which has certified translators available.

It also says that if you want to get a local car, and get insurance for it, you might need to exchange your licence, as they will only accept Turkish ones.

So I'd advise you to get a notorised translation if possible. Apart from that you don't need to exchange your licence.

  • I'm aware of the renewal problem. My CDL has a very short cycle (4 years) and it's expired on me before. I once had to have somebody pick me up and drive me in the car I rented to the DMV on arrival in the US because it expired just before I returned for a visit. This is about the state of the info I know (even speaking Turkish I haven't found much more) but I'll post back if I ever get farther than this answer. Thanks for poking around. – Caleb Sep 2 '14 at 15:04
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From the UK Turkish Consulate in London:

"You can drive in Turkey with EU, US or International driving licence. You should have your driving licence, your passport and insurance documents of the vehicle with you in the car at all times, as you will need it if you are involved in an accident."

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    I know you can drive on those licenses, but that wasn't the question. The question is are you allowed to keep doing so long term. – Caleb Apr 21 '15 at 13:41

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