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Moving To Istanbul, Question...

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Hello! I will be moving to Istanbul from Prague at the beginning of July. The moving companies' quotes are too high for me and I was thinking of renting a van and move there myself. My question is related to the customs at the border, what's the worse-case scenario? I've read that if the belongings are under 1500 Euros, it's ok. I will have NO furniture, just a lot of books, some DVDs, some glasse and plates and pots and pans and a laptop computer (an old one)... Will I be able to get into the country?

Thanks in advance for helping me! ;)

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;) I just want to say welcome to our forum. I'm afraid I can't help you with this but I think we have members who have come by road/sea with vehicles who I'm sure will be able to help you.
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;) I just want to say welcome to our forum. I'm afraid I can't help you with this but I think we have members who have come by road/sea with vehicles who I'm sure will be able to help you.

Thanks for your welcome! :PI just want to precise the fact that the van will then be returned to Prague and that I will enter the country with my Swiss passport (I'm not Czech), in case that changes anything...
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Thanks for your welcome! ;)I just want to precise the fact that the van will then be returned to Prague and that I will enter the country with my Swiss passport (I'm not Czech), in case that changes anything...

Hi Kamdine - you can get part loads with removal companies and also other firms.

Laptops can be funny - the customs are supposed to register it on your passport, but i have brought in a few with my hand luggage when flying and never been stopped or declared them.

If you pack everything in boxes be prepared for a long wait as customs have the habit of opening everything, they also like bribes big time!!

My stuff came by sea and container and cost me in excess of 500gbp in bribes!!

I think some of the other members have come through the istanbul border with cars and vans so hopefully someone may give you a better idea.

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You don't have to pay bribes....

You pay bribes becouse you want to pay bribes..

If the import documentation and goods brought inside legally, according to the import regulations then no one will have problems.

Always consult licenced customs broker before you leave your country and always have contact details of a customs broker here in TR to get in touch in case you have a problem while the entry...

Make sure that customs broker in TR will be based in the same city where you are crossing the borders...

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You don't have to pay bribes....

You pay bribes becouse you want to pay bribes..

Come on Zehra, get real, nobody wants to pay bribes but if you want to get the job done without having to go back and fore half a dozen times you have no alternative.

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Thats exactly what I am saying baykus, you don't have to pay bribe.... thats if you have prepared you shipment properly, if you don't you are either left to give bribe to clear the things or leave them at the customs at your own expense..

That's also why I say you need customs clearance agent on both end of the business so that if something goes wrong it will be at their own expense and not yours...

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thats if you have prepared you shipment properly .quoteWell I'm afraid that often that is impossible because you ask one official what you need had he will tell you 1,2,3 so you get them and go back but you see another official who says you don't need 2 , you need 5 and then somebody else want something different again.

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They simply can't do it like you say it provided that you declare it all on documents and that you paid your duties accordingly..

If their only intention is to take bribe...

I personally wouldn't give it and let them cause me trouble if they can, I would sleep at the borders and call the embassy or whatever I can by means of communication...

We, be it Turks or foreigners should always turn down those officers willing to take bribes so that we stop them from hoping to get some after...

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I can see Baykus's point of view. You just want to get your goods and take them home and get on with your new life, not be stuck for days at the entry port trying to get release of your things. It's easy to say you shouldn't give bribes but when you don't know much Turkish and you don't know where to report this behavior and if you did would it help?

Forigners who are tying to set up home here don't want to cause problems so usually take the easy way out.

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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for all the replies. I am now in Istanbul and I will write about my moving experience, maybe it could help someone who will be in the same situation I was!

So, my friend and I rented a car in Prague. We were NOT supposed to take in into Romania, Bulgaria or Turkey, but we decided to ignore that. Nothing happened to us, but it was foolish, I agree. Second thing is the car we rented was too small to fit all my things in... Anyway, we drove from Prague to Istanbul. We heard that the road insurance in Serbia was mendatory and cost around 120 Euros, so we decided to go through Romania. Big mistake. The roads there are bad and it took us a loooooong time to drive through. In the end we made it to Istanbul. It took us 3 days. Romanian and Bulgaria customs were a breeze, they checked the car's papers (thankfully they didn't see the car wasn't supposed to enter their countries) and the passport and customs were easy (my friend has a US passport, me a Swiss one). Entering Turkey was not complicated but it took us over 3 hours at the border, it was the high-season and very VERY crowded. I was worried about my things (the car was completely packed) going through customs, but it was so crowded and they were so stressed that I was just waved through. No worries at all!

So, we made it, it was easy. All we bought were freeway stickers/vignettes for the countries we drove through (except Slovakia because we were there only for about 40mins and we decided paying for a vignette was pointless).

Anyway, that was it. Driving was easy and pretty fun. But... as I mentioned earlier the car was too small, so I had to go back to Prague (!) for the rest of my things. You CANNOT rent a car in Turkey if you want to leave the country, for insurance reasons. That was NOT cool. So finally a friend lent me his car (after going to a notary public to officially have it in writing that he is lending me the car). At the Turkey/Bulgaria border, I had to get a 'green card' which is a paper required for the car. Then I drove back to Prague, this time going to Serbia. You do NOT have to pay road insurance. In fact the Serbia freeways, customs and custom officers are all great! Avoid Romania, go through Serbia! The problems I had were at the Bulgarian and especially Hungarian borders. My passport is Swiss, the car was Turkish, registered to somebody else than me. Plus it was completely empty. So I was accused of smuggling heroin and the car was thoroughly searched! It was a nuisance but since I had nothing to hide, all in all, it was almost fun... :birgits_coffee[1]:I stopped to sleep for a few hours and 30 hours after leaving Istanbul I was in Prague. Then I loaded the car and drove back to Istanbul, without stopping. No problems at the borders, again! Plus this time there was nobody at the Turkish border, so it took me barely 10 mins to cross.

And that's my adventure. All I want to say is: driving is long, but it's cheaper than a moving company (yes, even though I had to drive back and forth, with gas and all, I saved money. The cheapest quote I had been given was 3000 Euros!!!)... And now I'm in Istanbul, enjoying life! :)I hope this helps! If any of you ever read this and are thinking of driving to Istanbul, don't hesitate to ask me questions! :cheer[1]:

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Quite an adventure Kamdine. Good luck with your new life, and keep posting about your life in Istanbul please.

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Well done Kamdine, that sort of story is a pleasure to read.

 

Çukurbağlı's blog. Warning - takes you off the forum and into the www.wilderness

 

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