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A guide to register a phone in Turkey

You may have heard stories about foreign mobile phones being blocked in Turkey, so we thought we would take a look at the details, how to avoid the block, and how to check if a phone has been registered.

Contents:

What gets blocked?

A phone will get blocked if:

  • It is a foreign phone
    i.e. it has been purchased outside of Turkey

    AND

  • You put a Turkish SIM card into the phone.
    A foreign phone will not get blocked if you are simply roaming using a foreign SIM card

How long before the block happens?

Generally a phone will be blocked 1-2 weeks from the first use of the Turkish SIM

How do I check if my phone has already been registered in Turkey?

You can visit the following website to see if your phone has previously been registered: http://www.mcks.gov.tr/tr/imeisorgu.php

  1. Enter your IMEI number (dial *#06#, or look by/under the battery)
  2. Enter the security code in the field "Karakterler"
  3. Click the "Sorgula" button

You should now see a report on the IMEI number you just entered. Below is a guide to the different registration statuses:


How do I register a foreign phone?

To register a foreign phone in Turkey (i.e. you wish to use a Turkish SIM card in a foreign phone for longer than one week), you must follow the procedure below. You may register one foreign phone in a 2 year period.

Checklist:

  • Imported phone with note of the IMEI number (dial *#06#, or look by/under the battery)
  • Passport with entry stamp dated within the last 30 days. Note: the phone will be registered to the owner of the passport.
  • Residency Permit (Note: not strictly a requirement - let us know your experiences in the comments and we will update the article)

Process:

With the above items, follow the process below to register your phone:

  1. Tax office (map)
    Note: office closes for lunch
    Note: payment can also be made at a Ziraat bank
    1. Go straight to the desk directly in front of the main entrance, they will give you a short form to fill in (Full Name, Passport number, IMEI number)
    2. Take the form to the payment desk opposite and pay the tax (cost: 115TL)

  2. Harbour Police (Customs) (map)
    Note: only open between 8.30-11.30am and 1.30-4.30pm
    Note: this process is a requirement for applications since October 2013

    1. Fill in another similar form (Full Name, Passport number, TC/residency number), they will give you a printout detailing your most recent exits and entries. Check that you have an entrance into Turkey within 30 days. (cost: 0TL)

  3. Authorised Phone shop
    (check the providers' website for locations, e.g. for Turkcell: Midtown AVM, opposite Bodrum Marina, Bodrum HSBC near the market, or the main Turgutreis branch)
    1. Give the tax form and the customs printout to the staff, they will complete the required forms and help you setup your new phone (if applicable). (cost: 50TL - excludes SIM cost if you require a new SIM)

Total cost: 165TL
Estimated Time: 2 hours (assuming all offices are open!)