Turkey provides temporary protection to Syrian nationals, stateless persons, and refugees arriving from Syria. All persons registered under temporary protection have the right to access free health care services provided by public institutions. However, in some circumstances where the provision of basic and emergency healthcare services and related treatment are involved, you may be required to pay a “patient share” fee whose amount and rate is determined by the Ministry of Health.
In order to access free health care services, you need to have your Temporary Protection Identity Document issued by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management, which bears your foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’. As a rule, temporary protection beneficiaries can access free health care services in the province where they are registered.
If you cannot access health care services in your city of registration despite the fact that you have your identity document issued by the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management bearing your foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’, you may approach the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management office to receive more information.
If you have not registered yet, you may only access emergency health services and health services for communicable diseases at primary health care institutions. To avoid any restrictions in accessing health care services, we strongly encourage you to complete your registration at your earliest convenience.
I have obtained a residence permit. Can I also benefit from free health care services available to persons under temporary protection?
Residence permit holders are expected to cover the cost of health services they receive with their own means.
One of the key requirements for obtaining a residence permit is to have a health insurance policy valid for the duration of the residence permit. Thus, persons who have residence permits are required to rely on this health insurance where necessary. It is therefore not possible for those who have residence permits to benefit from free health care services available to persons under temporary protection.
I have a Foreigner’s Identity Document which has a foreigner ID number starting with ‘98’. Can I benefit from free health care services with this card?
It is critical to have a foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’ in order to access free health care services in Turkey. This number ensures that you are given a provision from the Social Security Institution (SGK). “Provision” is the term that the Social Security Institution uses to denote that you are active in the system. You can obtain this identity number when you complete your temporary protection registration.
If your foreigner ID number starts with ’98’, this means that your identity document is no longer valid. To obtain a foreigner ID number starting with ’99’, please approach the office of the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management in your province of registration. Depending on the province in which you are registered, you may need to book an appointment in advance of your application to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management.
If the Social Security Institution fails to give you a provision due to your invalid identity document, please approach the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management office at your earliest convenience.
Persons who have completed their temporary protection registration are provided a Temporary Protection Identity Document that contains a foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’. This identity document allows you to access free health care services at public health institutions.
You can visit primary health care institutions to receive an initial diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation services. Health centers, maternal and infant care and family planning centers, and tuberculosis dispensaries qualify as primary health care institutions. There are also “migrant health centers” in some provinces, serving as primary health care providers. All of these centers also provide screening and immunization for communicable diseases, specialized services for infants, children and teenagers, as well as maternal and reproductive health services.
You can also directly approach secondary or tertiary health institutions. While state hospitals are considered secondary health institutions, university research hospitals and research and education hospitals are tertiary health institutions.
However, please be aware that with the exception of emergencies, you may not be able to access free services in university research hospitals or education and research hospitals without a prior referral. Referrals to university research hospitals and private health institutions are limited to emergency and intensive care services, as well as burn injuries and cancer treatment.
The cost of health care services is covered if they fall within the Health Implementation Directive. Although the scope of health care services is considerably wide, for health issues which do not fall within the scope of Health Implementation Directive or exceed the threshold set forth therein, you may be required to make an additional payment.
If your temporary protection status ceases or is cancelled for any reason, you will not have the right to benefit from free healthcare services. It will only be possible for you to continue to benefit from free healthcare if you are granted temporary protection status again.
You are not required to have an appointment to access health services provided at primary health care facilities. However, in order to benefit from health services provided in hospitals, you are required to get an appointment. You may get this appointment through the 182 call center. There is, however, no interpretation assistance at the 182 call center. Thus, it is important to have the assistance of a Turkish speaking person when calling this number.
On the date of your appointment, you must get a barcode number before seeing your doctor. It is also important to have your Temporary Protection Identity Document with you when you visit the hospital.
Is it possible to access free health care services in a province other than the province where I am registered?
You may access health care services only in the province where you completed your registration. However, if it is not possible to receive adequate treatment in a particular province, then you may be referred to another province, subject to the health care provider’s discretion. In this case, you need to approach the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management office in your city of registration with the referral form you received from the hospital and request a permit to travel to the province where the hospital you are referred to is located.
For emergency medical conditions, you can receive health care services without any geographic restriction.
If you were referred to a secondary or tertiary health institution, such as to a university research hospital or a private hospital within the same province, please keep in mind that you need to approach the institution during the validity of the referral.
For outpatient services, the validity of the referral is five working days. The validity period of referrals for individuals with chronic illnesses or for individuals possessing a control document is thirty days. You must approach the institution with your referral form. If you miss this period, you will have to seek a new referral.
If you are referred to a hospital in another province, you need to first approach the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management and request a travel permit.
I do not speak Turkish. Are there interpretation services available during the course of health services?
Although there are interpreters in some health institutions providing interpretation services (mainly in Arabic and Farsi and to some extent in other languages), this service is unfortunately very limited. At the Migrant Healthcare Centers which are also primary health care facilities, interpretation in Arabic is available depending on capacity.
The Emergency Call Center that you can contact via the 112 phone number to request medical assistance in case of an emergency will direct you to the Foreigners Communication Center if you request interpretation assistance. The Communication Center for Foreigners is a call center established by the Directorate General of Migration Management and operates in Turkish, English, Arabic, Farsi, Russian and German. Only in cases of emergencies, upon the referral from the 112 Emergency Call Center, will the Communication Center for Foreigners provide interpretation support.
Civil society organizations that provide support to refugees and migrants in Turkey may also provide interpretation services for accessing health care services depending on their resources and capacity. You may contact civil society organizations in your city to receive further information about their interpretation support services.
The call center of the Ministry of Health that you can reach via the 184 phone number also provides interpretation services. This call center provides general information about how to access health care services. You can also share your concerns or grievances about health care services you received via this call center.
We also would like to emphasize that the 182 call center you need to call to get an appointment for public hospitals does not have interpretation assistance. Therefore, while calling this number, it is important to have the assistance of a Turkish speaking person.
You may access free medication, prescribed by doctors and falling within the coverage of the General Health Insurance provided by the Social Security Institution. In some provinces, you may be requested to pay a patient share. In addition, should a difference occur between the prescribed medication and the provided medication, you may also be required to pay this difference.
Prescriptions may be either electronic or in written form. If your prescription is electronic, please make sure that you have the prescription number. If it has been provided in written form, it is important to have this document with you when you approach the contracted pharmacies. Registration is a prerequisite to access medication. Please also make sure to have your identity document bearing foreigner ID number starting with ‘99’ with you when you go to the pharmacy.
Persons who have completed their temporary protection registration are entitled to receive mental health support provided by public hospitals. In addition, you may receive support from centers operated by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services and civil society organizations working in cooperation with the Ministry that offer psycho-social services.
You have the right to access health care services without discrimination, the right to be informed of your health condition and possible treatments, the right to consent or refuse the treatment as permitted by law, and the right to privacy and respectful care. You also have the right to make the final decision regarding treatment, the right to benefit from advances in treatment, the right to receive visits and request the company of another person, and the right to receive safe and considerate care.
If you believe that your rights as a patient have been infringed, you have the right to make a complaint and where appropriate, to receive compensation for physical or psychological damage that you have suffered. To this end, you may apply to the Patient Rights Unit in the hospital where you have received the health care services. In any case, and particularly in cases where you feel that your grievances have not been sufficiently addressed, you have the right to submit a written complaint to the Patient Rights Board under the Provincial Directorate of Health. It is also possible to voice your concerns or grievances through the 184 call center of the Ministry of Health. This hotline also provides interpretation services.