How to Get IstanbulKart? (Matching the HES Code + Using Tips)

Last Updated on September 24, 2021

Here you can find useful information about Istanbulkart, Istanbul’s Public Transportation Card for full access to Istanbul’s Underground, Bus Network, Ferries and Trams, including where to obtain, how to use, HES code matching and advice.


What is IstanbulKart?

Istanbulkart is the public transportation card of Istanbul, the cheapest and the most efficient way to get around Istanbul. You can access the whole public transportation system of Istanbul via this single transportation card. It is owned and served by the Municipality of Istanbul.

How to Get IstanbulKart? (Matching the HES Code + Using Tips)

Where can I obtain Istanbulkart?

Notice: We are taking complaints from the tourists saying they they are not able to buy Istanbulkart from the machines/kiosks at the airports or in the city center. We asked to the Municipality about the situation and got reply saying that;

“There are only “Limited Use Card” available at the airports or many kiosks in the city center. The actual “Anonym Card” is not available for purchase from the vending machines at the airpots! Limited card is the one with options for 1,2,3,5,10 pass and than throw away.”


These are the cards that you can purchase and use, providing a limited number of passes in public transportation. You can purchase the Istanbulkart from over 2,000 points such as subway, tram, ferry, metrobus and funicular stations via the yellow/blue vending machines or ticket-matics, and via kiosks located by the majority of the public buses’ stops.


There is also mobile app for the Istanbulkart, where you can use and load credits online, but as buying the card physically and using it very easy, we don not recommend the mobile app. It is a new app of the Municipality. If you are interested with mobile app, than you can find and read it by searching “istanbulkart” on AppStore or Google Play. Note that the app is in Turkish!!! Actually we didn’t understand why is this and did send many emails to the Municipality.

How to obtain Istanbulkart from the New Istanbul Airport?

You can purchase the Istanbulkart upon your arrival to the New Istanbul Airport (IST), from the 24 yellow/blue machines located at the -2 arrivals floor, or from the Havaist (airport shuttle) counters located along the exits, or the authorized exchange offices.

We recommend to obtain your Istanbulkart upon your arrival to the airport, because you’ll need to use it on the airport shuttles and public buses for getting to the city center. You can not pay cash to the shuttles or public buses.

“There are only “Limited Use Card” available at the airports or many kiosks in the city center. The actual “Anonym Card” is not available for purchase from the vending machines at the airports! Limited card is the one with options for 1,3,5,10 pass and than throw away.”

What is the card price?

Istanbulkart’s price is 13 TRY (No credits). This is the Anonymous Istanbulkart, recommended to travelers. There are also variety of Istanbulkart versions, designed for locals, and you don’t need them.

How much does it cost per ride?

The cost of 1-ride public transportation is 4,03 TRY.

Please cross check the pricing from iett.istanbul

How to load credit to the card?

Istanbulkart does not come with credits. You need to load credits (which is cash) to the card to use it. And it is very easy. You just need to place the card into the yellow/blue vending machines, wait for the machine scan your card and than deposit cash to load credits to the card.


You can also load credits from the Istanbulkart’s website from https://www.istanbulkart.istanbul/

Make sure you calculate your approximate use of card during your Istanbul stay and load that amount of cash (no coins) to the card. Because the yellow machines (most common) won’t give you any change in return. Only blue machines give you change in return and it is only 20 TRY banknotes, and up 3x 20 TRY cash back.

You can only put 5-10-20-50-100 TRY banknotes to the yellow machines, and 5-10-20-50-100-200 TRY banknotes to the blue machines.

How to Get IstanbulKart? (Matching the HES Code + Using Tips)

It may seem complicated so it is better you should put credit as low as what you need for public transport trips in the city. If you think you will make at least about 20 rides, than you should load 85 TRY to the card.

How to use the card?

After you load your card, you can use it within all public transports of Istanbul such as metro, subway, trams, funiculars, ferries, public buses with discounts. You will see card readers on the stations or inside the buses and you just need to put your card closer to the reader to use the card.

As the card is not a personal one, if you are a group, you can purchase only one card and can use the same card for each passenger. And also you don’t need a card for children that are under the age of 6.

Using Istanbulkart with HES Code

Due to latest Covid-19 precautions, you’ll need to activate a HES code when using using public transportation.

To activate the HES code, you should synchronize your HES code with your Istanbulkart. Otherwise you’ll not be able to use the public transportation.


Steps to match your HES code with Istanbulkart

  • You should send SMS to 2023 and type HES (space) Nationality (space) Passport Serial Number (space) Year of birth (space) Surname – i.e. “ARG” for Argentina, your passport number, year of birth and surname, HES ARG -PassNo -DoB -SURNAME
  • Upon getting your HES code, you should visit the Istanbulkart website on https://kisisellestirme.istanbulkart.istanbul (English language available)
  • And than you should select “I am a foreigner, I want to continue by my passport
    number.’’ box. Also note that your card number is your Istanbulkart serial number.
  • You can also get your HES code via the Hayat Eve Sigar mobile app, a e-Government portal. For official help, can contact the call center of Ministry of Health on +90 850 477 04 77.
  • For getting the HES code through your foreign GSM number, you may send an SMS to +90 555 944 3821 including your country code, passport serial number, year of birth and last name, respectively and interspaced.

IstanbulKart Online with Free Hotel Delivery/Airport Pick-Up

Istanbul Welcome Card offers online purchase of the IstanbulKart with free hotel delivery or airport pick-up. It is a great option for the ones who want to skip the hassle of waiting and buying along the machines, kiosks at the airports, tram/metro stations.

Your Istanbulkart will be delivered to your hotel (in the areas of Taksim, Sultanahmet, and Besiktas, AirBnb hotels are not included) or you can pick it up at the Airport (only between 8:00 AM and 11:00 PM).

Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

The is an innovative city pass. It includes fast track entry to 12 museums (Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Harem, Basilica Cistern, etc), 3 tours with historian guide, 20 rides with public transportation (IstanbulKart), Bosphorus Cruise and digital guide book and city map. It also offers 20% discounts at the most important Istanbul attractions on their shop. With this card you’ll skip the long ticket lines and not have to pick anything up.

Buy Istanbul Welcome Card Deluxe

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Valid for 7 days, free delivery to your hotel/airport pick-up and includes; Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace fast track entry tickets with 30 minutes guidance and Audio Guide App in 10 languages, Istanbulkart with 10 Rides, Bosphours Cruise (1,5 hours), Digital Guide Book and City Map.

Buy Istanbul Welcome Card Premium

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.


Combo Tickets for Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern

Valid for 3 days, digital pass, no need a printed ticket, guidance service with certified guides.

Buy Combo Tickets

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount.




46 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I got a IstanbulKart when I last visited Istanbul about 3 years go and I still have the card. I’m planning of coming to Istanbul in 3 weeks so will I be able to use my card if I top up again? Also how do I match HES code to my card after I fill in the form?

  2. Hi, can I use cards that were activated when I was in Istanbul this year and I am coming again to Istanbul, so can I use the same cards again or do I need to activate new cards? Thank you!

  3. As I activated my HES code it said that I am not allowed to leave Istanbul because I am not vaccinated. But I am fully vaccinated. Whom should I talk to to change that?
    It would be important for me because I am staying for half a year in Turkey.

    • Hi Anna, thank you. Well with new rules, you are unable to make travel between cities without being fully vaccinated. If you did get vaccinated in Turkey, than it should be listed on the HES (Hayat Eve Sigar) mobile application. If you don’t have the application, please install and check what to see there. If you need a direct help, you can read more on official https://hayatevesigar.saglik.gov.tr/index-eng.html or call the call center of Ministry of Health on +90 850 477 04 77

  4. I HAVE ISTANBUL CARD SINCE LAST YEAR. can I use it in October when I will visit the City without doing the actions with the HES code? If so, I can use it for other people, we will be a group? Thank you

    • Hi Bill, thank you. Well you can use your card for sure. For HES code, if you integrated with unlimited date option, I guess you can continue using it. If not, you need to integrate again. For the other people with you, they can’t use your card, they need to buy a card for their own. Best

  5. Thanks Ouissal, you tried to help. Firefox and iPhone unfortunately don’t work either. I have just visited two internet cafes that do not install Firefox, supposedly that causes problems. as a tourist it should be difficult to find your way around. does anyone know who to ask for responsibility about this mess?

  6. Hello eveybody, we had some issues registering IstanbulKart.

    We tried several times for each solutions, with same inputs:
    – from our Android (Chrome) —> error, session expired or not matching credentials
    – from our iPhone (Safari) —> error, session expired or not matching credentials
    – from our computer with Internet Explorer —> error, session expired
    – from our computer with Chrome —> error, session expired
    – from our computer with FireFox —> WORKING

    For us, only Firefox from the computer worked.
    Hope this helps.

  7. Update September 3rd, 2021: After several unsuccessful attempts to register the card on the website, I went back again to the Metro Office Taksimplatz. This time a lot of people were standing here and wanted to have their Istanbul card activated. The staff there were not only annoyed but also rude. They couldn’t help and don’t know when their system will work again. They didn’t want to tell me whether this only works with foreigners’ HES codes or with all of them. By the way, I use a Turkish SIM card. Terrible if you are only in Istanbul for a short time and then cannot use public transport.

  8. 2.September 2021: unfortunately the website did not work today and the istanbulkart could not be released. So I went to a metro office, where it was confirmed to me that activation is not possible at the moment. in Antalya it worked without any problems.

  9. This web site is not working. https://kisisellestirme.istanbulkart.istanbul/
    All time said Blocked:
    Web Page Blocked!
    The page cannot be displayed. Please contact the administrator for additional information.

    URL: kisisellestirme.istanbulkart.istanbul/

    Client IP: 181.47.6.120
    Attack ID: 20000018
    Message ID: 019584077037

    How can do? I have my Istanbul Card, no have turkish phone, I am from Argentina, Can use the Argentinian number for HES code? I f surewhen I fill the card for entry in Turkey, they will send a HES CODE by mail?
    I will arrive at night on the IST airport and need take the Havaist Bus to City. How can do?
    Also I need HES code for go by bus to antoher cities in Turkey? I know for domestic fligth dont need if you are a tourist, but for interuban buses, ex, Izmir, Ankara etc I will need this code?
    Thank you

    • Hi Alejandro, thank you for the feedback. Well actually I don’t know what to say about these complaints. You are right about all. I did send many emails and also call the Municipality about the problems but they seem to be not helpful. I don’t know why this is really stupid.

      For the kisisellestirme.istanbulkart.istanbul I can only advice to try again.

      For the HES code, you don’t need to have a Turkish SIM, you only need to send SMS. It can be from your own country phone. You should be able to send SMS to 2023 to get a HES code. Also if you are abroad at the moment, you can fill in the Turkey Entry Form at https://register.health.gov.tr before you travel. When you fill the form abroad with the negative PCR test result obtained in the last 72 hours before the trip, your personal HES code will be created automatically with the filled information. Entry Form to Turkey will be checked at the Turkish border.

      For SMS to 2023, by typing HES, your nationality (i.e. “ARG” for Argentina), your passport number, year of birth and surname, HES ARG -PassNo -DoB -SURNAME

      You can also get your HES code via the Hayat Eve Sigar mobile app, a e-Government portal but I am not sure how tourist can use it.

      If you want, you can also call the call center of Ministry of Health on +90 850 477 04 77 to ask your questions and get more information about the HES code or Hayat Eve Sigar application.

      Also for getting the HES code through your foreign GSM number, you may send an SMS to +90555 944 3821 including your country code, passport serial number, year of birth and last name, respectively and interspaced.

    • In case anybody else is having the same issue, this seems to be related to your IP address and from what I noticed the site does work when connecting with Turkish IP.
      If you are in Turkey site should work when you access it through wi-fi, otherwise try using VPN and setting your country to Turkey.

    • Hi Adeb, thank you for the feedback. Well what I learned from my call with the Municipality is that; “they no longer sell Istanbulkart on the yellow machines at the Istanbul airports and many kiosks in the city center”. And there seems to be no reason. What I also got is that “you are only able to purchase limited Istanbulcard at the yellow machines at the airport, which limited means, the ones with 1,3,5,10 pass cards, and you’ll use and throw away.

      One other option for actual Istanbulkart is using the mobile app, install on your smartphone, load ride, and use it with QR code when you get on the public transportation. The only problem with that is that you may lose your Internet connection at the metro station as you are under the ground :( And the Istanbulkart app is only in Turkish. What I can recommend is that whether you buy limited pass cards at the airport, or buy several tourist passes where they arrange the card for you and present it upon your arrival.

      I am sorry for my city and wrote complaints about that. Will update my page when I get more info. Best wishes.

  10. I have just checked like 10 machines at the airport and in the city, and kiosk and instabulkart is not available and nobody can tell me where to buy it 😔

  11. Hi there, what I understand do I need a Turkish sim card for my mobile phone to get a HES code???? I’m don’t have a smartphone.
    Fantastic information you are providing here.
    Thank you.
    Viveka

    • Hi Viveka, thank you. Well you are right this is kinda problem. You only need to send SMS to 2023 to get a HES code. You don’t need Turkish SIM card. It can be whether from your friend in Turkey (he/she can send SMS from their own phones, or you can fill in the Turkey Entry Form at https://register.health.gov.tr before you travel. When you fill the form abroad with the negative PCR test result obtained in the last 72 hours before the trip, your personal HES code will be created automatically with the filled information. Entry Form to Turkey will be checked at the Turkish border.

      For SMS, you need to send SMS to 2023, by typing HES, your nationality (i.e. “SWE” for Sweden), your passport number, year of birth and surname, HES SWE 123456789 1986 MADELEINE

  12. Jeg skal til Istanbul den 29 juli.
    Jeg har fyldt 50 lira og købte 3 Istanbul kort
    Men de virkede ikke.
    Hvad gøre jeg nu når jeg er i lufthavnen
    Hvem kan hjælpe mig?
    Jeg synes det svært med has kode
    Jeg er ældre syg dame.
    Tak for hjælpen

    • Hi Fatiha, sorry for the problem you had with Istanbulkart. Well you should ask about the problem where you bought it at the airport. This is the best option I guess.

  13. Hello there–

    Thanks for the informative page! I’m encountering a problem with the Instanbulkart link for matching the HES codes. Every time I click on the link, it’s coming up as blocked on my computer and phone, and I can’t get onto the website. Is this happening with other people or is it something that’s unique to me?

    Thanks, JW

  14. Hi, if we are 4 people to use one Istanbulkart, how we should proceed with matching with our four HES Codes?
    Should we purchase 4 istanbulkart to match with 4 HES codes for each person?
    Thanks in advance!

  15. Hi. is there the possibility to but IstanbulKarts on line with the option to pick up at the airport AND with the HES codes already matched (we provide the HES codes an all neccessary info)?
    i noticed there could be some issues with matching these 2 especially that you need a Turkish phone no to do it. thank you

  16. Can you please confirm whether tourist children are able to travel within Istanbul using public transportation, including trams, ferries, cable cars, at this time due to covid restrictions? If not, we should use taxi/Uber anywhere we want to go? We have 3 children, under 2 years, 5 years, and 7 years old.

    • Hi Rebekah, while tourists are exempt the restrictions, your kids will be counted as tourists for sure. Just make sure to have your papers showing that you are in Istanbul for touristic visit. Can be your hotel booking, etc. Expats are not counted as tourists.

  17. I came to Istanbul with my family,so I got istanbulkart for everyone. I have managed to activate only one,but for others it is impossible,it always returns an error even though I entered all the data as for the first one. Whom can I ask for help?

  18. Hi, if we are 4 people to use one Istanbulkart, how we should proceed with matching with our four HES Codes? On the website, there is possible to match one HES code only to one Istanbulkart…
    Many thanks in advance!

  19. I’ve used my card approximately after one month it had 60 lira but it was not working when i used it in bus later I recharged it again with 50 tl but it is still not working anyone help?

  20. Hello
    I purchased Istanbul card 12 years ago, continue used it till 2 months ago. The old version I own didn’t carry a number on it. I changed it with 70 TL. A new regulation of combining a HES cod with Istanbul card needs a number on card that I don’t have in my old card. I changed it with money but not working now. Is there a way to extract money from card or transfer the money to a new card to purchase, or, is there a way to pull back my money from card?

  21. Here it also says we need the Istanbul card for the havaist bus. But when we wanted to go from Taksim to new ist airport they didn’t want to let us pay with the card and now we have 60 lira on the card and left the country.
    So you give wrong informations.

    • Hi Svenja. Sorry for the inconvenience you had. Well HAVAIST is frequently changing their bus numbers, stops, timetables, etc. due to this pandemic year’s situation. It seems like they did change the payment options as well. While we mention this as a notice on the HAVAIST pages saying that “please double check it on their website” and giving the links, it is our fault that we should have updated HAVAIST page as well. There was no info on this page saying that you can pay HAVAIST by IstanbulKart. Our apologies. On your next trips please double check the pages selling tickets, airports, buses etc. on their official websites as well. And while you did find the ticket price correct (60 TL for 2 person), left the correct amount on your IstanbulKart, but didn’t check the HAVAIST page for payment options.

    • Mine was purchased at 100 dollars, that’s 800TL just the card alone.
      I want to enquire if it’s been sold at that amount

      • The public transport card (IstanbulKart) alone is 10 TRY, about 1.16 USD. You shouldn’t pay for more. You should check internet, official sites, before you buy.

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