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Concise information on cellphone registration in Turkey.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Where can I register my cellphone?

You may register your phone with any subsidiary of a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operator for approximately TL 10-20 or online through the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) e-government website ( for free.

What steps should I follow?

According to the law, you must pay a TL 115 registration fee (tax) on all cellphones purchased abroad and brought into Turkey. This fee should be paid to tax offices or specific banks designated by the Ministry of Finance. It is important to note that this tax should be paid under the name of the cellphone owner and the name on the receipt for the tax payment should be the same as it appears your passport.

After making this payment, the cellphone owner can go directly to a GSM operator to register the cellphone or register it online through the BTK's e-government system. The Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications recently reviewed and revised the registration procedures, which is why International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) registrations can now also be done online without going to a GSM subsidiary.

You still have to pay the TL 115 registration fee at a tax office or at one of the banks determined by the Ministry of Finance before you can complete the online registration. It should be noted that online registration is more cost effective and more efficient compared to registering your cellphone at a GSM subsidiary.

What documents do I need?

If you are registering your phone at a GSM operator, you should personally visit the GSM subsidiary with your phone, your passport and proof of payment of the TL 115 registration fee. For online registration, you need to have access to the e-government system. You must submit information from the tax receipt and your ID and the system will confirm that the tax was paid by checking your identity using the national police department's records. Compared to the old practice, the online system is, of course, faster. But hopefully it will be possible to do the tax payment online in the future as well to eliminate the need to go to a tax office

How many cellphones can I register under my name?

A person is not allowed to register no more than one cellphone under their name for a period of two years. Some people believed that they could use their second passport to register a second cellphone but this wasn't the case. One of my friends brought a cellphone from abroad last month. He paid the tax but when he went to a GSM subsidiary to complete the registration, he was informed that he had an IMEI registration under his name from the previous year and thus couldn't register the second phone.

How many days do I have before my phone is blocked for use?

It should be noted that foreign cellphones cannot be registered to just any passports; the cellphone owner should have left the country and should register the cellphone within 30 days of their date of arrival in Turkey. In some very exceptional cases where officers do not stamp your passport, you may need to obtain official records from a police department showing your date of entrance.

What if I am a foreigner in Turkey?

Foreigners with a residence permit are subject to the same conditions as Turkish citizens and can register their cellphones by following the same procedures as explained above. However, the conditions for foreigners without a residence permit are slightly different. Such foreigners should also register their cellphones within 30 days of arriving in Turkey but they can only use the phone with a Turkish SIM card that is registered in their name. For instance, a foreigner staying in Turkey for more than a month who wants to register his cellphone in Turkey with a Turkish SIM card that is registered in another person's name will not be able to use the phone unless he purchases a Turkish SIM card registered in his name.

So if you are a foreign visitor in Turkey, it's worth remembering that cellphones purchased abroad will work for 30 days after you activate it in Turkey with a Turkish SIM card before the service will be blocked. If you are staying in the country for less than 30 days, you don't have to register your phone at all and can just use your own SIM card or a Turkish SIM card.

NOTE: Berk Ecektir is a Turkish lawyer and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living and doing business in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to If a sender's letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise is expressly stated by the sender.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should get legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jun 17, 2013
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