Health-Care Services For Foreigners In Turkey

By Orkun Guner,
ADMD Law Office, Istanbul TURKEY 

The main purpose of this brief information note is to indicate the regulations of healthcare services and health insurances available for foreigners in Turkey.

The system of health-care is organized by this Ministry in different plans and departments with several laws in Turkey. The main principle is noted in Article 60 of the Turkish Constitution stating that every individual is entitled to social security and health benefits. The Ministry of Health is responsible to provide health-care and makes the organization sufficient for such services for all individuals, citizens or foreigners without consideration of race, language, religion, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief and/or economic and social status. Please note below the practical health service applications for foreigners in Turkey:

 Foreign Tourists

Foreign tourists that are not covered by any insurance system specifically designed for purposes of their visit can access healthcare services for free in emergencies. In accordance with Circular No. 2010/16 issued by the Prime Minister emergency healthcare services for all individuals are free without any distinction of private or public healthcare institutions. 

 Foreigners who are employed in Turkey under service contracts:

Social insurance that includes short and long term insurance branches is regulated by the Law No.5510, dated May 31, 2006 titled Social Insurance and Universal Health Insurance Law. Article 4 of this Law, provisions regarding the individuals deemed to be insurance holders are also be applicable to foreigners who work on service contracts, excluding the citizens of countries with which international social security contract is entered based on reciprocity principle. Individuals who are work in Turkey for short time periods on behalf of  non-resident establishments or under their own name and account who are still subjects of their own social security legislations are also not deemed to be insurance holders in Turkey. Consequently, foreign individuals, who are employed with service contracts excluding the international social security are regarded as insurance holders; for whom social security and health-care premiums shall be paid by their employees. Naturally such expatriates are eligible to use all healthcare services subject to their employment under payroll of a resident company. 

Citizens of a foreign country with international social security contract who work in Turkey

Turkey has signed and executed international social security contracts with many countries. These bilateral contracts determine the legislation applicable to foreign individuals who are employed in a foreign country and implementation of equal treatment between national workers and workers of the sending country. Issues related with the protection of acquired rights and consolidations for the duration of the insured services are promoted by these contracts. Accordingly if a foreign national of a bilateral contract party State with Turkey comes to Turkey for work under payroll of a Turkish resident company, he/she will be eligible to obtain social security and healthcare benefits in Turkey and in addition the social security continuity will be maintained in their home State subject to reciprocity. Please find below a short list of States that Turkey has a bilateral contact with this regards: 


Effective Date: 01.02.2005


Effective Date: 01.11.1965


Effective Date: 01.10.1969


Effective Date: 01.02.1968


Effective Date: 09.08.2001


Effective Date: 01.01.2005


Effective Date: 01.05.1968


Effective Date: 01.09.1985


Effective Date: 01.09.2004


Effective Date: 27.10.2004

BULGARIA (Transfer Agreement)

Effective Date: 04.01.1999


Effective Date: 01.07.2000


Effective Date: 01.01.2005


Effective Date: 01.06.1981


Effective Date: 01.12.2003


Effective Date: 01.03.2003


Effective Date: 01.06.1961


Effective Date: 01.01.1972


Effective Date: 01.08.1973


Effective Date: 01.05.1981


Effective Date: 20.11.2003


Effective Date: 01.12.1988

Foreigners who have residence permit: Universal Health Insurance

Universal health insurance means the insurance which ensures maintenance of healthcare status of individuals and the financing of costs arising when the individuals experience health risks. Individuals who are deemed to be holders of universal health insurance are listed in Article 60 of the Social Insurance and Universal Health Insurance Law. According to such Article: provided that principle of reciprocity is taken into consideration, individuals of foreign countries who have residence permit in Turkey and are not insurance holders under legislation of a foreign country are deemed to be holders of universal health insurance. In such a case a foreigner residing for more than one year in Turkey could apply to benefit from such universal health insurance in Turkey subject payments of insurance premium. 

Private Health Insurance Plans

There are many private hospitals and clinics and a wide range of Turkish and international companies offering insurance plans covering health-care in Turkey in addition to government insurtance systems. Private health insurance plans provide citizens and foreigners access to private hospitals and clinics selected by insurance companies. Foreigners are also eligible to access such coverage systems. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not a legal opinion. Legal advice should be sought independently based on specific circumstances.