How to register a phone in Turkey and avoid blocking

According to Turkish law, if you bought a smartphone outside the country, you need to register it within 120 days. Otherwise, the phone will be locked and you will not be able to use calls, SMS and mobile Internet functions. However, there are several ways to bypass this restriction and use your phone without registration.


When a phone is blocked in Turkey, regardless of the SIM card used (your country or Turkish), the network connection module is blocked – the GSM or WCDMA module, which is associated with the unique IMEI number of the phone. This number automatically enters the database of the Information Technology and Communications Authority of Turkey.


If you use your SIM card, you will not receive a blocking warning, instead the phone will simply stop working. However, when using a Turkish SIM card, you will receive an SMS notification, which will provide you with a legal reminder to register your phone within 120 days.


If you do not register your phone, you will not be able to make or receive calls, send and receive SMS, or use the mobile Internet. However, you will still be able to connect to Wi-Fi. It is important to note that if you leave Turkey after blocking your phone and return to the country a few days later, the block period will not be reset.


Unfortunately, there is no public database where you can check whether your phone is locked or not. Such data is not provided publicly.


But not all tourists are required to register their phone in Turkey. If you are in the country as a short-term tourist and stay less than 90 days, you do not need to register. However, if you plan to stay in Turkey for more than 120 days, you will need to register your phone.


To register your phone in Turkey and pay the tax, you have two options:


  1. Electronic registration through the E-Devlet portal – a local analogue of government services. You can register through your personal account on the E-Devlet website. However, this option is only available to those who have a residence permit – ikamet.


  1. Personal visit to the tax office. You will also need Ikamet to register your phone.


Both registration options are only available to those who have a residence permit in Turkey. One foreigner can only register one phone every three years. If you plan to purchase another phone abroad during this period, you will have to wait until the three-year period is up.


It is important to note that this information should be verified with your local authorities and tax office as rules and procedures may change over time.

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