Europe

Books about Bulgaria

Disclaimer: as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Travel guides for Bulgaria Lonely Planet Romania & Bulgaria “Lonely Planet Romania & Bulgaria is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Absorb the vibrant landscape by hiking the Carpathians, relax on Bulgaria’s Black …

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Social Security in Spain

Social security arrangements in Spain are extensive and expensive. They are also rather complicated and, very likely, different from those to which you are accustomed. Yet it is well worth getting to grips with them before you need to make use of the services provided.

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Tax: the Taxation of Companies in Spain

In Spain, companies are taxes in a variety of ways. Understanding the system – and how it will work best for you – is essential if you want to do business in Spain via a company. This is an area where detailed professional advice is a must but it is still helpful to have a basic understanding of the system before you see your accountant.

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Tax: the Taxation of Individuals in Spain

Spain has what looks like a relatively simple tax system, particularly if you are not tax-resident in Spain, but it is still important to understand how it works. It also offers lots of opportunities for fine tuning your tax position in order to reduce the taxes you will have to pay in Spain or elsewhere.

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Property Investment in Spain

Many people made a lot of money out of investing in property in Spain. Unfortunately, those who invested just before the 2007 crash lost a lot of money. Is now the time to look again at investing in property (real estate) in Spain? What and where should you buy? How should you do it?

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Renting a Property in Spain

We all need somewhere to live. Find out the rules about renting a property in Spain – and how to do it. Whether it is a holiday home, a permanent residence or something that falls between the two, the Spanish system can give you some surprises!

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Debt Collection in Spain

For any business or individual, debt collecting is sometimes a tedious necessity. In Spain, it can be very slow and, all too often, unproductive. You can maximise your chances of success by taking some basic and inexpensive precautions and planning ahead. This guide covers what to do and how to do it.

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Starting a Business in Spain

Starting a business in a new country is exciting and it can be very profitable. It will certainly change your life! However, if you get it wrong it can prove to be a financial disaster and could change your life in all the wrong ways. Getting it right needs a bit of luck but, much more, hard work and thorough preparation. This guide will help you make the most out of this opportunity.

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Voting & Politics in Spain

Spanish politics is a complex and fractious subject. You’ll learn more about the average Spaniard’s views by sitting in a bar and chatting than you will from guides like this, but I hope this overview is useful (it might prepare you for the pub conversations).

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Wills for use in Spain

Let’s be clear. If you have any assets in Spain – a house, a business, a car, a bank account or pretty much anything else – you should make a Will valid for use in Spain. If you live in Spain this is even more important. This guide tells you how to go about making a Will in Spain.

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Employment Law in Spain

Some people work for the same employer, without incident or trouble, for years or decades. Others are not so lucky and encounter difficulties from unsafe working practices to racial or sexual harassment.

This guide gives you initial guidance as to what to do if things go wrong.

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Family Law in Spain

Family law is immensely complex because families are immensely complex. It also – together with criminal law – reflects the nature of the historic and cultural basis of a society much more clearly than any other aspect of law. How a society deals with the family is absolutely central to that society’s core values.

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Getting a Divorce in Spain

Divorce is one of the most common risks associated with living in another country. The reason why is subject to some debate but meeting new people, drink, sunshine and the fact that you are not under the immediate eye of your family or neighbours probably all contribute. So, in some cases, do lurking problems that existed before the move. Whatever the reason, lots of people end up seeing a Spanish lawyer about divorce. Fortunately, the system works well.

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Inheritance Planning in Spain

Nobody wants to face up to the inevitability of death and so most people never do any inheritance planning. That’s a great pity. It could not only save them and their heirs a fortune but it should also greatly reduce the stress when you die. Inheritance planning is one of the most cost-effective things you can do. Whatever your age, do it now!

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Inheritance in Spain

Nowhere can a bit of forward planning produce such simple and dramatic results as in the area of inheritance. It can save you untold grief and inconvenience – and tens or hundreds of thousands of whatever currency you use to define your wealth. To think about this planning, you need to understand the inheritance rules in your part of Spain.

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Dealing with a Death in Spain

Every country and culture has its own way of dealing with a death. From the bureaucracy to the ritual and the conventions surrounding bereavement, the process in Spain is likely to be different from what you are used to. Depending upon where you come from, it could be very different indeed.

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Criminal Law in Spain

Crime and criminal cases in Spain should be of interest to everybody who lives there, however honest you may be. What happens if you are arrested? Will you be locked up before your trial? Will you be entitled to legal representation – and how can you get it? What punishments do you face? This guide seeks to cover these issues.

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Consumer Protection in Spain

What happens when you buy something and it doesn’t work? Or which is dangerous? Or which works for a short time and then breaks? Or which is just a million miles from what was described when you bought it? Or when someone supplies you with a shoddy service?

Spain has a number of ways of helping you.

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Public holidays in Spain

You’ll find a full list of national and regional holidays here. However, don’t forget that each municipality will have two additional public holidays; often celebrating the local saint or an event of local importance. Some notes about the major holidays, mainly for our readers in the East:  

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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider. How do you obtain a card? You obtain a card by contacting the health insurance institution where you are insured and which is therefore responsible for assuming your healthcare costs. For more information, see this website. Who can benefit from the card? To be eligible for a card, you must be insured by or covered by a …

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Healthcare in Spain

Click where you see  for more information Emergency numbers Call 112 – the general emergency number or 061 for an ambulance Languages spoken: Spanish, English, French and German. The quality of healthcare in Spain Spain has an excellent quality of healthcare. It’s routinely ranked amongst the world’s best. The WHO Healthcare Index put Spain 7th of 191 countries ranked. Of course, if you live in …

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Education in Spain

Education in Spain is often very good, but can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. Whether your child receives a good education will be, in the main, down to the school you choose for them. Whether you go down the route of private or state education, there is a good selection of schools available in Spain.

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Driving in Spain

Every year, hundreds of thousands of foreigners drive in Spain. Many worry about it before they do it for the first time. Very few worry the second time. This guide sets out some common-sense preparations and precautions to keep you safe.

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Doing Business in Spain

Doing business in Spain is an enticing prospect. It is a large market (46 million people) and a trillion dollar economy. It has a very large expat population and over 75 million tourists per year, which opens a number of unique opportunities. So how do you do business in Spain?

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Drinking & Driving in Spain

A couple of decades ago, drinking and driving in Spain was commonplace. Today it is not.

As in many countries, this reflects a change in the public perception of what is acceptable conduct but in Spain it also reflects much more police activity and substantial penalties – including disqualification from driving – for those arrested and convicted.

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Cultural Differences in Spain

The cultural differences between various countries are fascinating and, often, surprising. Understanding them is hugely important if you want to survive – and thrive – in a country that is not your own. Recognise them. Understand them. But don’t be frightened by them.

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Countries in the EU

EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within its internal market. Twenty-two member-countries – plus four that are not members of the EU – have abolished passport controls for movement between those countries. The area covered by these arrangements is known as the Schengen area. Nineteen member-countries have adopted the euro as their currency. …

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Transport links with the Costa del Sol in Spain

Getting to the Costa del Sol Getting to the Costa del Sol by air If you’re flying into the Costa del Sol, chances are you’ll be landing in Malaga International Airport (AGP). The airport is made up of three terminals. It handled over 14million passengers in 2015. You’ll find plenty of places to load up on shopping or feed and water …

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Spain – Facts & Figures

Spain is a hugely popular destination for both expats and tourists. It has been a world power for over 500 years. Its huge empire has left its mark across the world. More than 400 million people speak Spanish as a native language – a number surpassed only by Mandarin.

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The Internet in Spain

Introduction Spain is fairly well served by internet providers, though service can be patchy outside of urban areas. Shopping around is paramount if you want to get a good deal – many providers offer promotional prices for new customers, or waive installation fees for a limited time. Internet penetration in Spain According to Internet Live Stats, 82.2% of the Spanish population …

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The Currency in Spain

The euro in Spain Spain joined the European Union (EU) in 1986. It was one of the first countries to adopt the euro (having previously used the Spanish peseta), in the first wave of 1999. The fixed conversion rate was €1 to 166.386 ESP (Spanish Peseta). From 1999 to 2002, Spain was in a ‘transitional’ status – meaning that both …

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The Climate in Spain

Spain is the most climatically diverse country in Europe and in the world’s top ten. Generally, on the coast, it enjoys warm weather all year round and, inland, hot summers and cold winters, especially at higher altitude.

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Road Accidents in Spain

Accidents on the road are an all-too-frequent occurrence and, even though the rate of accidents has been significantly reduced by increasing safety regulations and by creating stricter rules, there is still a high number of such accidents in Spain. In 2016 there were over 100,000: 9,755 involving hospitalisation and 1,810 fatal.

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Autonomous Communities in Spain

“Autonomous communities” (comunidad autónomas) are the political and administrative regions of Spain into which the whole of Spain is divided. There are 17 of them – plus two “autonomous cities” – Ceuta & Melilla in North Africa.

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The Climate of Italy

If you’re hoping to live or work in Italy, look closely at the climate in the city you’re considering – and, if possible, visit at different times of year. A warm, sunny spring can turn fast into an unpleasantly hot summer. Winters are generally bearable across the country, but some places come with risks of storms.

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Germany – Facts & Figures

Germany is one of the big players in the European Union. It’s often referred to as the EU’s de facto leader, or the economic powerhouse of the union. It’s got the biggest population, the largest GDP, and the most exported and imported goods in the EU.

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Public Holidays in Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an Orthodox Catholic country, but it doesn’t celebrate the swathe of Saints’ days that some other Catholic countries (e.g. Spain) do. As well as the major Christian holidays, Bulgaria focuses on its own history, culture and military talent.

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Dealing with the Administration in Turkey

Dealing with the administration in any new country is tough. Turkey is better than some, and worse than others.

It’s probably worth remembering during the more trying moments that you will experience that there will probably be some Turk in your country at that very moment having exactly the same difficulties with your administration.

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Trusts in Turkey

As in many countries, Trusts can be a very useful tool when managing your affairs in Turkey. They’re useful for both foreigners and native Turks. They are especially useful when managing your inheritance but they have other applications too.

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Inheritance Planning in Turkey

Inheritance planning (sometimes known as ‘estate planning’) is a concept that does not have a universally agreed definition. Here, the two terms are used interchangeably. It is different from, but related to, general financial planning.

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Renting a House in Turkey

Many people coming to Turkey decide to rent a property here. There are several reasons. They may just prefer renting property. They may be sent to Turkey for a fairly short time in connection with their work and find that renting a property in Turkey is more cost-effective than buying. They may decide to rent for a year whilst they look for a property to buy. They may decide to put their cash into a business rather than into a property in which to live.

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Property Development in Turkey

Property development is the process of building new property: homes, hotels, factories etc. It can either be the development of land into buildings – in which case it can either be previously undeveloped land (green field sites) or land that has previously been used for some other purpose – or it can be the re-development of existing buildings

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Defective Products in Turkey

In Turkey, defective products are dealt with under the general law and, in particular, under the Code of Obligations and the Consumer Code.

However, there are some issues regarding claims arising out of defective products which are worth grouping together and it is those issues that form the substance of this guide.

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Contracts in Turkey

Most countries in the world use one of two basic systems when it comes to contracts: the Continental European (Roman Law/Napoleonic Law) system or the Anglo-American system. The system in Turkey is modelled on the Continental European system but has been updated and (in some respects) simplified.

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Powers of Attorney in Turkey

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorises another person to do something such as signing a document, opening a bank account, or attending a meeting on your behalf and with your full (or, at least, some limited but defined) authority.

The contents of a Power vary a lot depending upon what it is to be used for. However, the process of making one is always the same.

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Notaries in Turkey

Notaries play an important role within the Turkish legal system. This will be of no surprise if you come from a mainland European country but quite surprising if you’re used only to systems in places such as the US and the UK: the so-called Anglo-Saxon legal tradition.

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Lawyers in Turkey

The main source of professional legal help available in Turkey is the lawyer (avukat). There are about 95,000 practising lawyers in Turkey. About 90% are generalists, covering most or all aspects of the law. All of them are professionally qualified and regulated by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (Türkiye Barolar Birliği or TBB).

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The Turkish Legal System

Turkey has a very effective legal system: sometimes slow, but fully functioning.


Unlike in some countries, you do not need to ‘buy’ the judges, but you do have to be diligent and pursue your case to make sure things happen without any unnecessary delay.

Recent changes following the 2016 ‘coup’ have not helped either its efficiency or credibility.

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Taxes on Companies in Turkey

Some businesses operate as sole traders. These businesses are not taxed separately as businesses (but do have to account for VAT). The profits that they make are simply treated as the income of the sole trader.


These are seldom used by foreigners.

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Starting a Business in Turkey

Turkey is very welcoming when it comes to people wanting to set up new businesses. They realise that new business boosts the economy and creates local employment – and they also recognise that, for historical reasons, Turkey lacks some of the skills required by innovative businesses in the 21st Century.

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Receiving Your Pension in Turkey

When you live in Turkey there are no restrictions upon receiving any pension to which you are entitled in another country. It is, in essence, treated just like any other income – although it is sometimes taxed at a lower rate. The policy on this changes often.

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Religion in Turkey

Religion in Turkey is as old as Turkey itself – which is very old. Islam is still a massively important part of Turkish culture, even though increasing numbers of Turks (and, in particular, of younger Turks living in the western part of the country) are becoming more secular and less strict in their observance of religion. At the same time, many in the centre and east of the country are becoming more religious and conservative.

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Drink & Drugs in Turkey

Turkey is rather schizophrenic when it comes to its attitude to alcohol and drugs. As a substantial wine producer it is, perhaps, not surprising that social attitudes to the consumption of alcohol are very relaxed. As an Islamic country, it is perhaps equally unsurprising that their attitudes towards drunken behaviour are unaccepting and uncompromising.

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Healthcare in Turkey

Healthcare is right at the top of people’s concerns when moving to – or even visiting – a new country. Will it be of a good standard? How do I access it? What will it cost? Will the doctor – and the nurses and other health workers – speak my language?

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Education in Turkey

Your children will have a great time living in Turkey. Because of the climate and the freedom that children still enjoy in a country largely free of crime, they will probably lead a far more active and outdoor life than they would have done in your own country.

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Health Insurance in Turkey

This guide looks at short-term health insurance in Turkey (travel insurance), as well as health insurance for residents – going over options for state insurance and private insurance. Will I be able to obtain health insurance in Turkey? Fortunately, there are now many more products on the market than there were ten years ago. Just as fortunately, many offer good cover. …

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Home & Contents Insurance in Turkey

Your home in Turkey is a very expensive asset that you should think carefully about insuring. Whilst your contents are not as valuable as your home, they will still cost a lot to replace and so most people will also want to insure these. If you insure them at the same time as you insure your home, the extra cost is often small.

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Local Press and Other Turkish Media

Turkish media is varied and competitive on the surface – but much of the media, across all mediums, is owned by large conglomerates with other business interests. This means that Turkish news media, whilst it does cover stories from different angles, is somewhat restricted in its viewpoints.

Despite this, I would recommend that anybody living, working or doing business in another country makes an effort to consume local media. It is a great way to learn about the culture, as well as current events, and Turkey is no exception!

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Public Holidays in Turkey

This guide lists the national public holidays of Turkey, and gives a little background on the meaning and importance of the days.

Turkey is a secular country, but its population is almost entirely Muslim; so it is no surprise that this is reflected in their national holidays.

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The Climate in Turkey

So, instead, we’ll take a look at the seven regions of Turkey. Truth be told, even the regions are large enough and varied enough in weather and climate to make it worth your while to check out the average climate in specific cities – but this guide should give you some idea of what you’ll experience. The date below was …

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Investing in Property in Turkey

When you’re looking for property in Turkey, the first thing you need to know is what’s available: not the specific houses or apartments but the types of property commonly found. Just as important are the typical prices you will have to pay for any given type of property.

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Learning Turkish – in Turkey or ‘back home’

Learning Turkish is important if you’re going to be spending a lot of time in Turkey.

The good news (if you’re a Westerner): it is written in the (slightly modified) latin alphabet. You won’t have to learn a completely new script.

The bad news: the language may not seem intuitive to most Europeans and Americans. Turkish base words can stand alone – prefixes are not part of the language – but are built in complexity by the addition of suffixes. Words can therefore get very long!

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Bringing Your Money to Turkey

When you move to Turkey you will have a major decision to make about what to do with your money.

Obviously, your day-to-day expenses will be in Turkish lira, but it will probably be that all or part of your income will be coming to you in another currency; and it will almost certainly be that your savings and investments will be in another currency.

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Bringing Your Pet to Turkey

Many people worry more about how they’re going to take their pet to Turkey than they do about any other aspect of their move.

Fortunately, the rules aren’t complicated and most people don’t experience any major problems when importing a pet into Turkey.

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Bringing Your Car to Turkey

In Turkey, cars and fuel are expensive. The price of a car, both new and second hand, is likely to be much higher than ‘back home’.

It therefore looks an attractive option, especially if you live in Europe, to drive or otherwise import your car to Turkey. An added advantage is that you can take some of your possessions with you. Can this be done?

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Bringing Your Possessions to Turkey

When moving – especially when moving to another country – having your personal possessions with you can be comforting. Moreover, it can be less daunting to bring stuff with you than it is to sell or find storage old possessions – and buy everything again!

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Coming to Turkey as an Asylum Seeker/Refugee

Introduction Turkey is the world’s largest host country of registered refugees. Almost all of the refugees in the country come from Syria – there are some 2.7million displaced Syrian citizens currently in Turkey. Despite this, expats have, in the main, been largely unaffected by the refugee crisis. Firstly, the overwhelming majority of refugees are in the east of Turkey – …

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Coming to Turkey to Join Your Family (Immigration/Visas)

Foreigners wishing to join their family in Turkey will need to obtain a Family Residence Permit. See our Guide to Residence Permits in Turkey for information about residence permits. Can I get a Family Residence Permit? Family Residence Permits can be granted to: A foreign spouse (but not an unmarried partner) Foreign children (under 18) Dependent foreign children (typically, disabled) A spouse’s …

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Coming to Turkey as a Student (Immigration/Visas)

Introduction Turkish schools (primary & secondary education) and its colleges and universities (tertiary education) are of high quality and relatively cheap. Most international students come to Turkey from Western China (the Xinjiang Uyghur region, where Turkish is spoken) and other Turkic countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. There are very few Western students in Turkey specifically for the …

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Coming to Turkey as a Tourist (Visas)

In 2015, 41million people visited Turkey. In 2016, largely as a result of the combination of the conflict in Syria, political uncertainty in Turkey and terrorist attacks, the number fell to about 31million. Local reports suggest that tourist numbers increased sharply in 2017, mainly because of an influx of tourists from Russia and the former Soviet Union. Video guide to …

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Residence Permits in Turkey

A person wishing to live in Turkey will, in many cases, need a special visa authorising entry to the country (see our other guides on immigration). However, in other cases, they will merely need a residence permit. Any person who wishes to stay in Turkey for more than 90 days in a 180-day period requires a residence permit. This is …

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Immigration & Visas in Turkey

Immigration into Turkey has changed a lot in recent years. Generally, it’s easier. We have a more settled system with only one department – the Department of Immigration – in charge. Thank goodness. A great deal of information is now available online. All of this is a huge change from only ten years ago!

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Transport Links to and around Turkey

Getting to Turkey is simple. Getting around Turkey requires a little more thought, but the public transport system is fairly modern and the roads are improving all the time. If you don’t know the language, it is particularly important to plan ahead if you want to use public transport in Turkey. Work out your route from the comfort of your …

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The Internet in Bulgaria

Depending on where you are in Bulgaria, the internet can be surprisingly speedy or hair-pullingly slow. The popular expat city of Varna, for instance, has notoriously bad internet speeds – whilst little Pazardzhik (with around 70,000 occupants) has the fastest internet speeds in the country.

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The Climate of Bulgaria

Although Bulgaria is not a huge country (at 110,994 square km), it does straddle several climate zones.

Temperatures depend on where you are – the southwest, by the Mediterranean sea, is mildly subtropical. The plains of the country are temperate. The mountainous regions are much colder (great for skiing).

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Religion in Spain

Click where you see  for more information Introduction Whilst you might not see much of the Spanish population in church every Sunday, you’ll certainly experience some dramatic examples of religious culture in the form of parades, processions, costumes and rather a lot of days off work. If you’re of a different religion, fear not! Although communities of minority religions may be …

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Buying a New Property on the Costa del Sol

For this see our Guide to Buying Off-Plan Property on the Costa del Sol. It describes, in particular, how to buy a new property in the area of Andalusia/Andalucía – which contains the Costa del Sol. See a map here. Please note that certain aspects of the law in Spain vary from one “autonomous community” (comunidad autónoma) to another. For …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol to Retire

Visas for retirement Strictly speaking, this is settlement for people who are “not economically active” – i.e. people who are not working or running businesses but living off their investments, pensions and capital. There are no age limits. These visas are fairly easy to obtain. You need to show that you can afford to support yourself (about €26,000 per year …

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Doing Business on the Costa del Sol

The scope of this guide This guide offers tips for doing business in Spain. It describes, in particular, how to do business in the area of Andalusia/Andalucía – which contains the Costa del Sol. See a map here. Please note that certain aspects of the law in Spain vary from one “autonomous community” (comunidad autónoma) to another. It does not …

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Dealing with an Accident on the Costa del Sol

The scope of this guide This guide is about accidents in Spain and what to do when you have one. It deals only with general accidents. It describes, in particular, how to deal with an accident in the area of Andalusia/Andalucía – which contains the Costa del Sol. See a map here. Please note that certain aspects of the law …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol as a Tourist

Tourist visits to the Costa del Sol Citizens of any nationality can visit Spain as a tourist (meaning somebody who is visiting on a short-term basis and who is not coming to Spain to work). Entry into Spain for stays not exceeding ninety days in any six-month period is subject to the conditions set forth in Regulation (EC) Nº 562/2006 …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol for Other Reasons

The scope of this guide This guide deals with the rights of people other than those covered by our other immigration guides (links at the end of this guide) to enter Spain – and therefore the Costa del Sol. Examples of people entitled to come to the Costa del Sol It is extraordinary to think that there are so many …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol as a Refugee

The scope of this guide This guide discusses who is entitled to refugee status in Spain and how that status must be claimed. What is a refugee? Spain accepts the definition of a refugee contained in the Geneva Convention: A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol to Join your Family

The scope of this guide This guide looks briefly at what’s involved in joining a close family member in Spain. The rules governing this are complex. You can get more information from our long video interview about emigrating to the Costa del Sol from the link on the right. How can you join a family member in Spain? You’ll need …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol – Residence by Investment

Residence by Investment Like many similar countries, Spain has a programme of settlement by investment for: Investors who make a significant investment in Spain in the form of: Real estate assets (€500,000) Shares or bank deposits (€1 million) Public debt (€2 million) Business projects in Spain considered to be of general interest to the country An investment visa permits you …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol to Work

The scope of this guide This guide covers the visas you’ll need to work in the Costa del Sol. It does not cover the visas you will need to start a business in the Costa del Sol – for this, see our Guide to Coming to the Costa del Sol to Run your Own Business. Short term visits to work …

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Coming to the Costa del Sol as a Student

Spain hosts a lot of international students that come to our country for a wide range of educational approaches – from simple Spanish-language courses, to the highest level university degrees. A student visa will last for the duration of the course (whether it’s just a few days, months or up to 1 year). If you continue studying in Spain for …

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Cultural Differences on the Costa del Sol

The scope of this guide This guide is about some of the main cultural differences you’re likely to come up against on the Costa del Sol. Expat culture Most of this guide will talk about the Spanish culture on the Costa del Sol, but one has to remember that this Spanish & Andalucian culture is mixed with, and influenced by, …

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