Foreign cell phone registration in Turkey [Cihan News Agency (Turkey)]
(Cihan News Agency (Turkey) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Earlier this year I received the following question from Zoheb Nensey: "I recently became interested in writing about the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) registration law after my experience with it.
I went to try and get my phone registered, only to be told that I could not register it at the airport office of Avea (my wireless provider) because the registration fee has to be paid at a tax office. I've read through the law in order to try and figure out what it requires, and it doesn't seem to specify where the registration should be done, merely that it has to be done through a central database that reports the registration of all cell phones. I was wondering if you had any guidance on writing about this issue, as I want to write a piece that explains how the law works and says that the process should be streamlined so that any registration fees could be paid at the carriers' offices."
According to a new law, you must now pay a TL 100 registration fee on all cell phones purchased abroad and brought into Turkey. But even so, because it is a fixed fee, unless you use a very inexpensive phone it may still be cheaper to buy your phone abroad and pay the fee than it is to buy it in Turkey.
It is important to note that this tax will be paid under the name of the cell phone owner, and the name on the receipt for the tax payment should be the same as it is on your passport.
After you get the tax office receipt, then you register the phone at any subsidiary of a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operator for a fee of approximately TL 10-20.
Bringing a new phone from abroad should not be so difficult.
Online registration is now available
Fortunately, the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications has reviewed and revised the registration procedures. Now the IMEI registration can be done online without going to a GSM subsidiary.
You still have to pay the TL 100 fee at a tax office or one of a list of banks determined by the Ministry of Finance. After that, you can complete the registration application on the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) website using the e-government system (http://www.mcks.gov.tr/tr/index.php).
You must submit information from the tax receipt and your ID, and the system will confirm that the tax was paid and will check your identity using the national police department's records.
When compared with 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.
The other problem, the fact that no more than one registration is allowed under one name for a period of two years, still exists. Some people thought that changing their passport would help them to register a second telephone; it won't. One of my friends brought a cell phone from abroad last month. He paid the tax, then 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 so he couldn't register another.
Finally, it's worth remembering that cell phones purchased abroad will work for 30 days after you activate it in Turkey before service will be blocked. So if you are staying in the country for less than 30 days, you might consider not registering it at all and just using a Turkish SIM card.
NOTE: Berk Çektir is a licensed attorney at law and available to answer questions on the legal aspects of living in Turkey. Please kindly send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a sender's letter is published, names may be disclosed unless otherwise expressly stated by the sender.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is intended to give basic legal information. You should seek legal assistance from a licensed attorney at law while conducting legal transactions and not rely solely on the information in this column.
BERK ÇEKTIR (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CIHAN
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