UPDATE – April 2017 – Since I find that I get a lot of questions in comments that have already been answered in the more recent blog post (linked above) – I will no longer accept or respond to comments on this post. Nor will I respond to those that have been answered on the newer post.
It has been a while since we posted about cell phone registration. I don’t claim to be an expert – but I can tell you what I know so far. It is basically a two-step process, unless you fumble.
It may also be helpful to review the prior posts – including the questions and answers in the comments. Those can be found by clicking these links from December 2012:
- Additional Information on Registration in Turkey of Mobile Phones Purchased Abroad
- Foreign Cell Phone Registration in Turkey
I am partially through the process now. Here’s what I know:
WHO HAS TO REGISTER?
Any phone purchased outside of Turkey must be registered. There is a short period if you are only visiting, where you do not have to register the phone. The timeline is not exactly clear. But a Turk or a foreigner living in Turkey must register any phone bought from abroad.
STEP 1 – AT THE BANK
- You must pay a fee (tax) at a bank branch. Almost every bank does this. This link provides the list of banks: http://www.mcks.gov.tr/tr/KonuDetay.php?BKey=40
- At the bank, they will need your passport, your kimlik number, and the IMEI number for your phone. They are not concerned about the date of entry at the bank. But make sure it is legible and the correct amount of days. You will need that in the next step. The kimlik number is NOT the number in your residence permit book. It is a separate number. If you don’t know your kimlik, you can find it using this website: https://tckimlik.nvi.gov.tr/YabanciKimlikNo/KisiBilgileriSorguModul.aspx. Be very careful when filling out this form. Names must be exactly as registered. For example, under “Adi” I filled in my first name and both of my middle names. My parents names are written with their first and middle names. After running the search, it will show your kimlik number. Print the form and carry it with you. It will make your life so much easier – at doctors offices, at banks – almost everywhere you go.
- If you don’t know how to find the IMEI number, google it. It’s very easy. For example, for the Samsung S4, you simply dial *#06# and it will appear.
- The fee/tax will be paid at the bank. It is currently 131.50 TL.
- Be sure to get a receipt and check the IMEI number, kimlik number, and name are correct before you leave the bank.
STEP 2 – AT THE SERVICE PROVIDER
I have not gotten to the next part yet – the actual registering of the phone. But here is what I know and what I believe.
- After paying the tax, you must take your phone to Vodafone, Turkcell, or Avea. It does not matter if which company. If you have a Vodafone plan, you can still register it at the other company. But not all branches register the phone. This website has links to excel spreadsheets with all current locations for registering phones: http://www.btk.gov.tr/tuketici/sss/sss.php?kategori=G. The links to the spreadsheets are under the third frequently asked question. If you right-click on the page, you may have an option to translate the page – not perfect, but helpful. Under the 2nd question are the names of the three companies. Click on the name and the spreadsheet will open.
- Go to the company of your choice. Expect a problem, that way if all goes well, you will be happy. You will need your passport. Make sure your last entry date to Turkey is legible – otherwise, you will find yourself heading to the main police station to get a list of your entry dates. UPDATE Feb. 3, 2015: I went to Turkcell even though I use Vodafone service. They said they couldn’t register it, but I pushed them. Apparently, they send a message and receive a text message (SMS) with a password, in order to start the process. However, it does not have to be your number they send the message to, as long as it is a Turkcell number. So even though I was registering my phone, which has Vodafone service, i was able to do it at Turkcell using a friend’s Turkcell number. The friend simply forwarded the SMS (with the password) to me.
- In addition to your passport, you also need to bring the receipt from the bank, your kimlik number, and the IMEI number from the phone again. As I mentioned, I am about to do this part again. Just to be safe, I will also bring my residence card. These are the documents listed under the 3rd FAQ in the above link.
- As far as I can tell, this must be done within “one month” of entry. There is no definition of how long a month is.
When Must the Phone Be Registered?
That brings us to the final “thing I think I know.” The law says one phone registered per person per two “calendar years.” There is no definition of a calendar year. But I have a friend who tested it. She did not wait two full years to register her phone and it worked. For example, if the first phone is registered December 31, 2013, according to her experience, one could register another phone on January 1, 2015. That’s two calendar years, but actually only one year and a couple of days. I am going to try this and will let you know how it goes!
I suggest asking someone fluent in Turkish to look at the above links for you if you have other questions. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, and share your recent experiences.
UPDATE: Feb. 3, 2015 – HOW WILL YOU KNOW THE REGISTRATION IS FINAL? After registering the phone, your phone is actually only “temporarily” registered until the proper authorities review the paperwork. You can check the status by plugging your IMEI number into this website: https://www.turkiye.gov.tr/imei-sorgulama. If you get the following message, it means that the phone is temporarily registered, and you should check back for the final determination:
IMEI numarası abone kayıt merkezince geçici olarak kayıt altına alınmış olup Kurum tarafından evrakları kontrol aşamasındadır.
If your phone was not registered, the most likely reason is that there was a typo in your name or IMEI number during registration. It would be wise to check these numbers on the paperwork before you leave the provider’s store.
UPDATE: February 18, 2015 – STILL WAITING – I have been checking the status of the registration every day. it’s been a full 10+ business states, and the phone is still only temporarily registered.
UPDATE: March 3, 2015 – I checked the website again. It’s been about a week or so since I last checked it. The Turkish message is:
KAYITDIŞI OLDUGU TESPİT EDİLEN IMEI
That means the phone did not register. However, it is still working and I have not received an SMS message to inform me that it is not registered.
UPDATE: MARCH 4, 2015 – We called BTK. They said Turkcell deleted the registration. We called the Turkcell store and the person answering said they would not do it in the store, it must be the headquaters. She didn’t know why this would be deleted. We asked her if we can get the original paperwork back (because I now only have a copy of the receipt from the bank). She said she will check with her coworkers there since there was no one else in the store yet.
We will try to get the original paperwork from the bank (either from Turkcell or the bank where we paid the fee) and then apply for registration again at Vodafone, my service provider. The law allows 60 days to register after entry to the country. My time which will expire on the 5th or 6th of March.
UPDATE: MARCH 5, 2015 – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! – Thanks to a student at ODTU, I learned that registration could be done completely online – without the help of a mobile phone company – especially not Turkcell! You will need a password for the system which can be purchased for 2TL at any PTT. I will be writing a new blog post on this soon with the “how to” details. In less than 30 minutes, we registered the phone ourselves and checked the link above. “IMEI NUMARASI KAYITLI” – The cell phone is REGISTERED!