How to open an account in Turkey: step-by-step instructions


Today Turkey is one of the most popular holiday destinations among Central Asian countries. Its visitors enjoy high-quality service and inexpensive holidays in the best resorts of the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. More and more non-residents invest in Turkish real estate. If you about to make this country your home or start a business, you will need a local bank account. Companies here do not suffer from double taxation. It is one of the main advantages of the financial and banking structures. You can benefit from a bank account by paying fees without any struggle. On the other hand, using a non-Turkish credit card will make you pay a commission (except for partner banks).

How to open a bank account in Turkey for a non-resident?

Most banks do not have any special requirements for foreigners.

Turkish banks are known for the transparency of information. Therefore, when submitting documents, you will have to provide data on the origin of finances and the place of work. The language barrier can be a little tricky. Most employees speak Turkish, but there could be someone who communicates in English.

Benefits of having a Turkish bank account

Having your local bank account gives you several privileges. You will be able to manage your financial affairs with easiness like in European or American banks.

The advantages are:

  • You will not need to exchange money during your stay.
  • When buying a property, it won't be a problem to transfer money.
  • To obtain a residence permit or citizenship, you will need to have a certificate of deposit.
  • You can carry out several banking services: loan repayments, payment of fees, taxes, bills, buying items online, etc.
  • You can save money when paying for purchases (no conversion fee).

Choosing a bank to open an account

To start a business project, getting your account is an important step. For non-residents, there is a list of legislative rules and regulations based on the Law on Foreign Citizens and International Protection. It aims to protect the rights of foreign investors and their assets and provide the most transparent services. The choice of the right bank for you depends on your financial goal.

Today, there are about 50 banks in Turkey. We will get into more detail in this article. There are state, private and investment banks. Each of them must be a member of the Association of Turkish Banks. When choosing a bank, you should learn more about its branches (local and international), ATM availability, etc.


Important to know!

The information below is going to be useful for foreign entrepreneurs. Commercial and state banks have several differences. Many foreign nationals who own a business prefer to open accounts in commercial banks (for example, AK Bank, Is Bank, Yapi Kredi Bank, FinansBank, etc.). They have discounts and benefit from the services. All the data does not go to the Turkish Tax Inspectorate.

Commercial banks cannot block their client's card. They only have the right to request data on the money transfers.

To choose the right bank, we advise you to ask professionals. The right agency knows the nuances of the local financial market, its benefits and risks. When buying a property, many real estate agencies offer their advice.

How to open an account. A step-by-step guide

This procedure is obligatory to obtain a residence permit, transfer funds when buying a home, pay utility bills, make purchases. Also, you don't need to carry cash with you and keep it in the house.

How do I open an account? It is not difficult at all.

Step 1. You will need to get a tax number. Get the TIN at the local Tax Office or Vergi Dairesi Müdürlüğü. Take a passport and a copy of it. If there is no queue, the whole procedure will take no more than 10-15 minutes.

It is important to remember that you can carry any financial operations only after 24 hours from the date you receive your tax number. It is due to the entry of personal data into databases and registers.

Step 2. Choose the bank, focusing on the services and your requirements. Check the reliability of the online payment system. For example, if you choose to make online payments from abroad (utility bills, taxes, etc.)

The buyers from abroad need to know that if they want to get a mortgage loan, they have to have an account at the same bank, which will issue the loan.

Step 3. Open an account as a non-resident.

You have to collect the following documents:

  • Tax number.
  • The passport with the entry stamp and its translation.

Important to remember!

The total number of days you can stay in Turkey should not exceed the time allowed by law. The passport should be valid for at least six months.

  • Your ID card and the certificate of registration. Some financial companies require a notary-certified translation of the documents ( including your registration) with an apostille.
  • A document that confirms your address in Turkey. It can be a utility bill (water, electricity) issued within the last three months or a rental contract.
  • A SIM card (preferably Turkish). It is not possible to use local Internet banking via other operators.

At the bank, the employee fills out all the documents, taking into account the information received from you. After you sign the forms, the bank account is assigned immediately. However, you will have to wait for your Visa Card or Master Card for a week. Sometimes it takes up to ten days.

Some banks may refuse to receive an invoice without a residence permit. In this case, you can choose another bank.

Latest updates on opening a bank account for non-residents

Every year new laws and amendments are adopted. Financial security always comes first. Until recently, you could bring your ID and the passport, the TIN and the certificate of residency in Turkey. Existing legislative norms allowed a flexible attitude towards investors from other countries.

In the winter of 2018, most banks changed this procedure after receiving instructions from the Supreme Audit and Regulation Authority of Banking. It shapes the entire industry and improves the protection of the rights of investors. The new regulation obliges a non-resident to have a residence permit in the Republic of Turkey. It is mandatory for private and legal entities. Until now, the residence permit question for potential investors has not been fully resolved and remains controversial. The main reason is the impossibility of coordinating the banking system with the authority that issues residence permits. To get one, you need to have an account, and vice versa - to open a bank account, you need a residence permit.

At the moment, it will be more difficult for a non-resident without a residence permit to open an account. However, it will not be an issue if you depose a large sum in cash or foreign currency. We recommend you prepare for negotiations.

Why do Turkish banks refuse to open an account?

Potential clients discover that after the coup attempt, the banks have become more selective. They may require additional documents to register a new account. However, in many cases, the reason for a stricter attitude is the desire to improve efficiency. We are talking about the so-called 'dead accounts'. Customers create them only to obtain a residence permit. In this case, the funds are paid only for the time required for the paperwork in the migration service. The client withdraws money in a few days, and the financial structure receives 'empty' clients. Banks are not interested in this strategy.

The second reason for refusal is citizenship. Sometimes the residents of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan face this issue. The regulations change depending on the political situation.
You can discuss the nuances in advance.


What kind of clients do Turkish banks want to have?

Of course, those individuals who have legal jobs. You have to be sincere and explain your purpose (for example, dividends, profit from commerce, etc.). If you work for a local company, it will be enough to show your contract. It will boost the trust level and certify the place of residence.

At the moment, in the Turkish banking system, everything is quite simple. It is possible to resolve emerging issues in one way or another. Thousands of non-residents open their bank accounts every year. The service scheme allows you to trust the local banks.


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