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

Last Updated on April 5, 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?

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.

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.

What is the card price?

Istanbulkart’s price is 6 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 3,50 TRY as of 2020.

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

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 70 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
  • Upon getting your HES code, you should visit the Istanbulkart website on (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.

Covid-19 PCR Test in Istanbul Turkey

If you are in Istanbul and want to have a Covid-19 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test, Antigen Test, IgG, and IgM Antibody Test directly at your home, hotel, or any address, as well as by your own pace at the laboratory we recommend on location ( 2 minutes to Taksim Square), approved by the Turkish Ministry of Health, you can make your appointment online via our partner IWC. You can get the results on the same day (next day at 12:00 for afternoon tests).

The Covid-19 PCR Test report is prepared in English, complying with foreign travel procedures, and internationally valid in 190 countries. You can get the report on your Smartphone and show on the border before your departure abroad.

How It Works?

After your Booking you will get all Informations and details in your Conformation Mail.
Show your Confomration mail to our Staff and get access to the Test.

PCR Test directly at the laboratory on location

  • Book the Day Online
  • Visit the laboratory (2 minutes walking distance to Taksim Square, see location map)
  • Show your confirmation email to the staff
  • Take your PCR test
  • Use the QR Code to get the results with your Identdity Card number
  • Get the results and save it to your Smartphone
  • You can show the result from your Smartphone on the Border

PCR Test directly at your address (hotel, home, etc.)

  • Book the Day Online
  • Lab staff will visit you at your address between 08:30 and 12:00
  • Show your confirmation email to the staff
  • Take your PCR test
  • Use the QR Code to get the results with your Identdity Card number
  • Get the results and save it to your Smartphone
  • You can show the result from your Smartphone on the Border

More Info

You will get the results on the same day (next day for the tests made after 17:00 pm.)

The laboratory is approved and certificated by the Turkish Ministry of Health and CE.

Your PCR test results are valid in 190 countries except Qatar.

PCR Test price is €26 (250 TL, same in all hospitals and clinics in Turkey). If you want the test at your address there is €10 additional service fee.

Our website visitors will get 5% extra discount when they book online. Just click the red button below and make sure you see the discounted price on the official IWC page.

Make Your Covid-19 PCR Test Appointment Online

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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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!

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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!

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

  11. 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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