In Turkey, mobile phones are registered by law. The measure was taken to combat illegal imports, so each device is assigned a unique number. All foreigners who want to stay in Turkey for more than 120 days and use a local SIM card must register their phone and pay a tax. The system that controls the connection of numbers to Turkish mobile operators is called CEIR. After purchasing a SIM card you will receive a YASALUYARI (“legal warning”) text message every 30 days with the number of days remaining: 90, 60, 30. After 4 months, the phone will simply stop picking up the network.
But there is an alternative:
1.buy a local phone for which all fees have already been paid. In this case, there is no need to register, because by activating the Turkish SIM card in the Turkish phone, all the data will automatically be transferred to the CEIR system.
2. To avoid having your phone blocked, you need to register your phone’s IMEI beforehand. To do this, you need to visit your local tax office – Vergi Dairesi, taking the following documents with you:
- Ikamet card
- Turkish Tax ID number
- Passport – original and copy (departure date must be within 120 days after locking the smartphone)
From January 1, 2023, the tax for registering a foreign phone in Turkey is 6,091 lira – about $325.
Important: Turkish SIM-card must be registered on your name.
How can I find out IMEI?
You need to dial dial *#06# combination on your telephone. If your phone has two slots, you will get two codes. You have to register only one that will be used with Turkish SIM-card. You can also register the phone yourself using the e-Devlet system. The registration page is: https://www.turkiye.gov.tr/btk-imei-kaydet.
Although there are many online “best practices” that can help you avoid official registration, we recommend that you do not resort to them but only follow local rules and laws to avoid conflicting situations.