Turkish government legislation regarding the country’s SGK (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu) mandatory health scheme for foreigners has now been ratified and is law. This means that British passport holders with residency permits of a year or more will be required to register at their local SGK offices before the end of this month.



Officials have confirmed that the new law is now active and Fethiye’s 2000 plus British residents will be required to pay a monthly premium to benefit from Turkey’s comprehensive health service at the same rates as their Turkish neighbours. One important point remains to be clarified; the rules relating to those British residents who still have cover under the NHS scheme in the UK. Ministry officials in Ankara are now deciding whether individual UK nationals will have to produce their own evidence of existing NHS health cover in the UK or a general letter from the UK Health Ministry, sent direct to the TC Health Ministry on behalf them all, will suffice.

Hopefully, sooner rather than later, the a circular will be issued by the relevant ministry clarifying the situation but the meantime and crucially, the deadline for registration is 31st January 2012 and those of Fethiye’s 2,272 (2011 figures) British passport holders with residency permits failing to do so risk being fined a hefty 886TL. Official sources say that at this stage registration is essential and the details will be clarified at a later date.

As a consequence UK passport holders with residency permits of a year or more are required to register with the SGK, which in the circumstances is preferable to a fine.

An individual will be obligated to pay 2,500TL a year (nearly £1,000) when and if the rules are applied although a married couple will have to pay the same (2,500TL for two). However, an unmarried couple will have to find an extra 5,000TL a year (nearly £2,000 at today’s rate of exchange).

Expat internet chat rooms and forums are buzzing with many voicing concern over the apparent failure by the authorities as well as local and national English language media to cover this important topic. However, as until yesterday so much of the detail remained unclear and open to speculation, in their defence, it has been a tricky subject to write about with any accuracy but with the deadline fast approaching, Jane writing for Land Of Lights has liaised with local and regional sources and have created some guidelines for their readers.

The situation is understood to be as follows:

o Turkish people are already well aware that the SGK Ministry in Ankara has been working towards streamlining registration and health insurance payments over many months and are now in the process of introducing a mandatory health scheme for foreign nationals (of some countries) who have Turkish residency permits of a year or more.

o All Fethiye’s UK passport holders with residency permits of a year or more should attend the SGK office in Tuzla Mah. Adnan Menderes Bulvari No: 29/A Fethiye. If you are reading this but are not a resident of Fethiye, Muğla, please locate your nearest SGK office or visit www.sgk.gov.tr for further information.

o Applicants must visit the SGK office in person, taking with them their residency visas and passports with a photocopy of each. If they are married they will also be asked for their marriage certificate, together with a Turkish translation by an official translator, which has been certified by a Notary Public.

o The cost of the scheme is, at present, 212.76TL a month. UK nationals should be aware that regardless of how much time they spend in the Turkey and whether or not they have their own private health insurance they will be required to register as long as their residency permit is for a year or more.

o A married couple will pay the same amount too provided they can produce their marriage certificate, together with a Turkish translation of it from an official translator, certified by a Notary Public. Without this they will each be subject to a 212TL monthly payment. Any children under 18 are also included so bring birth certificates and official copies (see above.)

o The monthly payment will mean eligibility for the same services as Turkish nationals at medical centres, polyclinics, hospitals and chemists and means, for example, substantial saving on prescriptions. However, the official line is that for foreign nationals, even with SSK cover, no pre-existing or chronic illnesses will be covered by the scheme.

o At the moment there is some confusion as to whether it is necessary for individual applicants to prove that they are not covered by the British NHS but sources say that at this stage registration is crucial and these matters will be hopefully be dealt with at an official level.

o Readers may well have questions of their own that have not been answered here. We will now work on a FAQ story, which will be published as soon as possible.

o This legislation applies to UK nationals with residency. All other foreign nationals with residency status should contact their own embassies.

Relevant updates on the SGK issue and how it effects foreign nationals will appear as soon as we have them.  Watch this space.

Jane Akatay

The Real World Impacts of this Legislation on People

The subject has caused months of angst amoungst British Expats.  For a full blow by blow account of some the frustrations and questions of a proportion of visitors and residents check out the discussion starting on the www.calis-beach forum here.