Do I Need a HES Code as a Tourist in Turkey?

Living in the center of Istanbul we are constantly showing our HES code at every government building, shopping mall, and metro entrance that we visit from 15th of January 2021 onward.  For any foreigner with a Turkish Foreign ID number it is easy to do by using the “Hayat Eve Sığar” application. And yes tourists can use this too, but do tourists in Turkey really need a HES code to get around?

As of 30 September 2020, Tourists also need to have a HES code (Hayat Eve Sığar) to enter shopping malls, government buildings, or when they take any public transportation, local and inter-city, in Turkey, except for domestic flights. 

On most locations where you would need a HES code to enter, there is always someone ready to assist, and will help you to get a HES code to use during your time in Turkey. For example at Cevahir, the biggest shopping mall of Europe, they have placed a little booth to help the tourists to get a HES code to be able to enter the shopping mall. 

Cavahir shopping mall Istanbul with HES code

There are other ways that you as a tourist can get a HES code. We explain more about that in one of the subheadings below. One great way to get a HES code is from the App, but this still has some flaws, it could be very useful if you can work around it. 

Although the HES code is not being checked at every location yet, this will probably be stronger enforced in the future. So be ready and make sure you have access to all touristic sites that you want to see during your time in Turkey!

Do you want to know what restrictions are in place in Turkey at the moment? Here your will find the latest update regarding the Lockdown in Turkey, and what you have to keep in mind when you travel to Turkey.

Do you want to know the easiest way from the Istanbul Airport to the City center? Check out our detailed instructions here.

What Is the HES Code?

The HES code (Hayat Eve Sığar) has been implemented by the Turkish Ministry of Health to help bring down the amount of Covid-19 patients. The HES code will keep track of your activities, like use of transportation and visits of high traffic areas. 

If someone who was with you at this location has been tested positive in the next couple of days the idea is that you will get a warning to watch your own symptoms and to avoid spreading it to others. 

The “Hayat Eve Sığar” application makes it easy to generate and manage your HES codes. And when requested at any location you can show a QR-code that the application has generated for you to be scanned.

How Do I Get a HES Code as a Tourist in Turkey? 

To be able to get a HES code in Turkey you would need a Turkish SIM card, because you would need to be able to send a SMS to number 2023 with the details to receive a HES code back.

Each Sim card can only provide one HES code. So if you are planning to use a travel agency to see more of Turkey it might be easier to ask them to help you get your HES code. A Turkish SIM card can be obtained at the airport, but it is much cheaper if you will get one at a location around the hotel or Airbnb where you will stay. 

What details do you need to fill out when sending an SMS to 2023? You would need to send the following details in a specific order to receive your personal HES code:

  • Country
  • Passport number
  • Year of birth
  • Last name
  • Duration of HES (travel days + 7)

The SMS should look like this when you plan to travel through Turkey for 30 days: 

“HES CAN 123456789 1983 Smith 37” 

The message that you will receive back will contain your HES code. The HES code consists of letters and numbers and is a personal code. For example: “U36H – 3829 – S4

Personally we find it easier to use the “Hayat Eve Sığar” application, because it is easy to share with the persons who ask for it, and easy to manage also for your minors. 

As mentioned above you would need a Turkish phone number to receive a confirmation code to start using the App. In the App you would need to register your name, Passport number, and year of birth in order to get a HES code.

See steps below to get HES code after confirming your Turkish number to login to the application. 

Start Screen Click on My HES Codes
HES code Register
Choose Register
HES Register foreign national
Fill out your Details to register. Make sure you choose “I am a Foreign National”
My HES Codes list Empty
Your list of HES codes is empty. Choose Add new Code
The list with your HES codes. Click on one to see the QR-code
HES QR-code
This QR-code can be scanned at needed locations

This might be very stress full to get your HES code and use it, but don’t forget to enjoy your stay in Turkey. Make sure to enjoy a real Turkish breakfast or one of the delicious Turkish desserts when you are working on getting your HES code for Turkey!

Check out these articles for more information:

How Do I Get a HES Code as a Foreign Resident in Turkey?

For foreign residents who have a Blue Card or have a Turkish ID number that starts with 97, 98, or 99 you are required to have a HES code. For all locations a Tourist would need a HES code and additionally you are also required to have a HES code to be able to travel on domestic flights. 

So if you are planning to use Turkish Airlines or Pegasus to make a domestic flight in Turkey you need to have and submit a HES code during the booking procedure.

A Turkish foreign resident in Turkey has to follow the same direction regarding the HES code as all Turkish citizens. 

You could get a HES code by sending a SMS from your Turkish telephone number. You can do this by following this direction:

After sending your SMS you will receive the following message back to confirm your HES code:

But especially if you live in Turkey we would recommend for you to use the App “Hayat Eve Sığar”. You can find this app by searching in Google Play store or the Apple store, for “HES kodu”. 

You will see the following App:

You will see the following App:

Install the App and confirm your Turkish mobile number, and register with your Turkish ID number to get the HES code. 

Start Screen Click on My HES Codes
HES code Register
Choose Register
Fill out your Details to register. Make sure you choose “I am Turkish Citizen”
My HES Codes list Empty
Your list of HES codes is empty. Choose Add new Code
The list with your HES codes. Click on one to see the QR-code
HES QR-code
This QR-code can be scanned at needed locations

Do I Need a HES Code for My Children?

For Children under the age of 2 years no HES code is needed. But for children from 2-18 years of age a HES code is needed. You can get the HES code in the Application  “Hayat Eve Sığar”, or by sending a SMS with the details of your child to 2023.

HES code for Child

What details do you need to fill out when sending an SMS to 2023? You would need to send the following details in a specific order to receive your personal HES code:

  • Country
  • Passport number
  • Year of birth
  • Last name
  • Duration of HES (travel days + 7)

The SMS should look like this when you plan to travel through Turkey for 30 days: 

“HES CAN 123456789 2009 Smith 37” 

Does the HES Code Replace a Visa for Turkey?

No, the HES code doesn’t replace the need for a visa to enter Turkey. You are still required to have a valid visa to enter into Turkey. You can apply here for an entry visa for Turkey. 

For most owners of an European Passport it is no longer required to apply for a visa online. You are able to get a 90 day visa for a period of 180 days at the border. You can find the visa requirements for all countries here

The difference between the visa and the HES code is that a visa is required to enter Turkey, the HES code is needed to enter any mall, government building or public transportation during your visit in Turkey.

What is the official website regarding information about the HES code and the App?

The official website for information about the HES code is https://hayatevesigar.saglik.gov.tr/index-eng.html

Where can I find HES code information from Turkish Airlines?

You can find relevant information regarding the HES code and Turkish Airlines here.

Do I need a HES code to take a Taxi?

No, a hes code is not needed when you want to use a yellow taxi. You can find more information about the availability of Uber in Turkey here.

Is the Lockdown in Turkey Affecting Me as a Tourist?

Tourist where not affected by the lockdown in Turkey, and that will continue to be the case. But if you want to know if touristic places are open during the lockdown, and what you have to keep in mind when visiting Turkey, check our blog about that here.

Sim & Leo

During all our travels and living abroad we really got to know the flavors of the world. Now we are living in Turkey for some years, we love to discover the country in different ways, and then share our experiences with you. Discovering new places doesn't come easy, but we want to help with that!

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