As a Turkish resident, registration of your mobile phone is necessary. You will need to get your phone registered if you’re importing your own phone from your home country. On the contrary, if you’re buying a new phone in Turkey, you do not need to get it registered.
Buying a Mobile Phone in Turkey
Buying a phone in Turkey is easy. You can buy from any mobile phone shop in your district, but it is advised to buy your phone from reputed electronic shops like MediaMarkt, Teknosa, Apple Inc etc. You can even shop online and purchase a phone through reliable Turkish online websites like Hepsiburada, Gittigidiyor etc. After you make a purchase, keep your invoice safe. It will be used as a warranty in case of technical problems or other problems.
A Word of Caution: Do Not buy a second hand (used) phone in Turkey. There are chances it might be stolen and as soon as you start to use the phone, the police might hold you responsible for the act. They can trace you through the IMEI number of your purchased phone.
Mobile Phone Registration in Turkey
If you plan on using your existing phone, the one that you have brought from your country, you will need to register it. Registration has to be done within 120 days of your arrival in Turkey and before you buy a sim card. The mobile registration fee is 1,500 TL. You can pay this fee in any of these two ways:
Visit a Tax Office in Your District
Every district has its own tax office. Visit a tax office with your phone, IMEI number, passport, and residency card. If you are unaware of your IMEI number, you can obtain it by dialing *#06# on your phone and the number will be displayed on your screen.
Alternatively, you can pay the registration tax at any one of these banks:
- Halk Bankası
- Vakıflar Bankası
- ING Bank
- HSBC Bank Şekerbank
- Garanti Bankası
- Ziraat Bankası
- İş Bankası
Communicating with Turkish officials can be difficult, if you do not know the local language. When you walk into the office for registering your phone, you can say Telefon Kayıt Vergisi which means Telephone Registration Tax. The officials will then understand why you are here. They will complete your transaction and give you the receipt. This receipt will be required by the GSM operator companies when you buy a new sim.
Pay Your Mobile Phone Tax Online
You can also pay your mobile registration tax online if you have an e-devlet account. In case you do not have an account, you can get the account credentials from one of the PTT Central Directorates or its authorized branches with your residency permit card and passport. Once you get your account credentials from PTT, you can register your IMEI by visiting here.
Buying a Local Sim in Turkey
Buying a local sim is the next step. There are three GSM operator companies in Turkey:
- Türk Telekom
You can buy a prepaid sim card directly from one of the Vodafone, Turkcell or Turk Telekom branches with your valid passport. But if you want to get a postpaid sim card (postpaid line) and pay a fixed price per month, you need to provide these documents:
- Original and two copies of your valid passport
- Short Term Residence Permit or Work Permit (whichever is applicable)
- Any one Utility Bill for the past two months at the registered address (this is required to prove your address)
- Application form when buying a sim
Restrictions Pertaining to Mobile Phone Registration in Turkey
Please keep in mind that you can register only one phone against a passport once in three years so, choose your telephone wisely. If you want to register a new phone, you will have to replace the the old IMEI number with your new IMEI number. You will also have to pay the tax again (1,500 TL) and then your new phone will be registered.
Registered mobile phones work only with sim cards issued on passport holder’s name. For instance, after registering your phone against your passport, you give it to your spouse. Your spouse buys a new sim card on her/his behalf. The phone will not work with this new sim. The sim card has to be on your name.
If you miss the due date for your mobile phone registration in Turkey, you will have to leave and re-enter the country to register your phone.