UPDATE: As of October 2015, a person now has 120 days from the time of entering Turkey to register the phone.
Recently, we have had a TON of questions and comments about registering cell phones in Turkey. I have shared what I know in these recent posts. It would be wise for you to read them, and especially, the updates and comments. Many questions have been asked and answered in those comments. Once you have read them, you will see how much trouble foreigners have had with registration. You are not the only one! Most problems have been caused by Turkcell – who is clearly not doing their job! Unfortunately, the BTK is not following up with it. So we are forced to find an easier solution. I have finally done that. We can register ourselves online!
Here are links to the the prior posts:
- Another Update on Cell Phone (Mobile Phone) Registration in Turkey of Phones Purchased Abroad
- Additional Information on Registration in Turkey of Mobile Phones Purchased Abroad
- Foreign Cell Phone Registration in Turkey
Below, I will list the necessary steps to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, my husband did the final steps for me (the online registration) and we did not take screenshots. I strongly advise you get someone fluent in Turkish to help with that. Also included on tips for registering minors, what to do if you thought your phone was registered but find out it’s not, how to get a tax refund, rules for registering, and other information.
1- WHO HAS TO REGISTER? Any phone purchased outside of Turkey must be registered. That means both Turks and foreigners must register foreign phones. 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.
2 – WHEN MUST YOU REGISTER? You must register your phone within 120 days (changed from 60 days as of October 2015) of entering Turkey. Make sure the stamp in your passport is legible!! If the date can not be clearly read, you will have to go to the main police station to get a printout of your entries. In Ankara, that is next to the Anka Mall.
3 – COUNTING CALENDAR YEARS – The law says one phone registered per person per two “calendar years.” There is no definition of a calendar year so I tested it. I did not wait two full years to register my phone and it worked. For example, if the first phone is registered December 31, 2013, one could register another phone on January 1, 2015. That’s two calendar years, but actually only one year and a couple of days.
STEPS FOR REGISTRATION:
I. Go to the Bank to pay tax first
- 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 the form for you kimlik number (and any other 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 most phones 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.
II. Go to the PTT to get a password
- Go to any PTT. Get a number for the counter at the machine. It will be the first option, the second option if you are handicapped (engelli).
- Wait for your number to show up and go to that counter.
- At the counter, say, “E-Devlet Şifresi almak istiyorum.” E-Devlet is the keyword for the portal where you can do a number of government processses. Şifre is password. Almak istiyorum is I would like to get/purchase.
- You will need your kimlik number (see #2 above), your passport, and your residence card/permit.
- They must type in everything to their system exactly as it appears on your documents. They will need your place of birth. This must be taken from the resident permit and typed in exactly. For example, mine was “A. B. D.” They had to type it with the periods and spaces for the system to accept it.
- The current cost for this is 2TL.
- They will return your documents to you and give you something like a letter. Tear off the edges and the passport is inside.
- You do not need to send in any of the documents to the BTK.
III. Online Registration:
- You will need the PTT password, and all of the above listed documents, including the bank receipt.
- You will need a Turkish speaker to help you maneuver the website. Unfortunately, I did not take screen shots when registering.
- Go to this website: https://www.turkiye.gov.tr/btk-imei-kaydet. Click on “Kimligini Simdi Dogrula” and enter your TC No (kimlik) and the PTT password. It will take you to a page to register.
- First, it will ask you to set up a new password. Then you will easily register using your passport, kimlik, and paid tax receipt.
- This process takes about 15 minutes.
IV. Check the Registration:
- After registering the phone, your phone is actually only “temporarily” registered until the proper authorities (BTK) reviews it. 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.
- This message means the system is temporarily out of order:
Sistemde yaşanan bir teknik aksaklık nedeni ile işleminiz tamamlanamadı
- This message means it is not registered:
KAYITDIŞI OLDUGU TESPİT EDİLEN IMEI
- If your phone was not registered, the most likely reason is that there was a typo in your name or IMEI number during registration. My registration was final in less than 30 minutes after registering online!
- “IMEI NUMARASI KAYITLI” – The cell phone is REGISTERED!
- If you feel you need to call the BTK, they do have English speakers. The number in Ankara is 0312.294.9494.
- If you decide to register at a store, do not let them charge. I have heard of charges from 20TL to 70TL. Registration fees should not be charged by a store!
- Apparently, the website to check the registration may not always be right. One woman registered four phones at Turkcell- different family members. She later received messages from Turkcell that they were not registered. According to the link, they were not registered. She called BTK and two were registered.
- If you need to register the phone again because you encountered a problem, you must still be within 60 days of entering the country. Otherwise, you will need to register after you leave and enter the country again. Once it is registered properly, you will NEVER need to do it again.
- If you registered through any provider and later learned the registration did not go through, you may be able to get the tax refunded. According to one reader: She went to the tax office. They said they will deposit the money in the bank account within 15 days. Just few tips:
- in the receipt from the bank it is written the name of the Vergi Dairesi you have to go to. You absolutely need to go there.
- take the papers of the payment (copies are fine too), kimlik, passport and your bank account information.
- Once in the “vergi dairesi” you need to fill in a simple form.
- If the person registering is a minor, under 18 years, the phone must be registered by a parent. See, http://www.mcks.gov.tr/tr/KonuDetay.php?BKey=40. Accordingly, one reader wrote, “Since my son is a minor, I could make the request on my husband’s name and use his account. Normally you must have a turkish bank account on your name in order to ask the money back.”
Good Luck and Don’t Give Up!!