Precautions Against COVID-19
This section of the website is dedicated to information on precautionary measures introduced by the Turkish government in order to stop the further spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. In this section, you can find a compilation of information on administrative changes as well as rights and obligations during the pandemic.
Because of the nature of the pandemic, the Turkish government is introducing new measures and/or modifying already existing ones. Please check the Refugee Rights Informational Portal regularly for updates.
If you are facing a medical emergency, please dial 112 Emergency Hotline.
For general information about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may call
the Ministry of Health’s Coronavirus Counselling Hotline 184.
For general information about Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Arabic, Farsi, English, Pashto, German and Russian, you can also dial
the Foreigners Communication Center YİMER Hotline 157.
The information presented below is of a general nature. Please keep in mind that there are some exceptions to all of the precautions and prohibitions. If you need further information, you can call one of the aforementioned Hotlines.
You may also seek additional information and counseling from, We currently continue our services remotely for a temporary term and provide information over the phone. You can dial 0549 510 52 02 (Arabic and English) or 0549 510 52 03 (Turkish and Farsi) from Monday through Friday, 10 am – 5 pm. If you would like to communicate in another language, interpretation can be provided upon request. You can also send an e-mail to [email protected] in any language you prefer.
There are various restrictions being put into effect in Turkey in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health. Restrictions on movement are among such measures. In current practice, there is a partial restriction solely with regards to the movement of those aged above 65. Accordingly, individuals aged above 65 can leave their homes only between 10 am and 8 pm every day, they are expected to stay home outside of these hours. From the other side, the authorities may sometimes declare full or partial stay-at-home orders in some cities or on certain dates. There is also an ongoing intercity travel restriction for those who want to travel to another city by public transportation means.
Depending on the course of the pandemic and the ongoing needs, different measures can be put into effect in different locations. We recommend that you follow closely the measures taken in your locality for your own and your family’s safety.
Restrictions have been issued on intercity travel for both citizens and foreigners using public transportation. Therefore, anyone who wants to travel between cities by public transportation means such as bus, train or plane must first receive a “HES” code which is issued separately for every individual in Turkey. You may find further information below on HES code.
Please note that if you are a Temporary Protection beneficiary, or an International Protection applicant or status holder, you need to receive a travel permit (in Turkish: Yol İzin Belgesi) before you may travel to another city. You can request the permit with your foreigners identity number by submitting an online application via the e-government gateway. If you do not have an e-government password, you can receive your password by going to a post office (PTT) with your foreigner’s identity number.
It is important to note that travel permit is not provided to every applicant: it is reserved for critical and emergency situations and is issued for a specific duration. Accordingly, if you travel to another city without a travel permit or if you stay there for beyond the permitted duration, you may risk being irregular and have difficulty accessing services.
HES code is mandatory for all intercity travels taking place via public transportation means and the travelers are expected to provide this code to the service providers before buying their tickets. It has been introduced as a way to more easily track individuals travelling together and prevent the further spreading of the virus. In current practice, those who cannot obtain a HES code or whose HES codes cannot be verified by transportation companies (i.e. because they have COVID-19 and are expected to not use public transportation) cannot travel to another city.
HES code which is a free-of-charge code consisting of separate combination of numbers and letters for each individual can be obtained via 3 means:
- You may send an SMS to 2023. In this SMS, you need to write in order and by leaving space in between: HES (all capital); your 99-starting Foreigners ID number, year you were born and the duration for which you need this code (in days). Turkish citizens and those holding a residence permit in Turkey are expected to write the last 4 digits of the serial number on their respected IDs and permits, in lieu of the year of birth.
- You may use e-government gateway to “HES Kodu Üretme ve Listeleme” in Turkish (meaning, Create and List HES Code) and select “Yeni HES Kodu” (new HES code) in order to learn your HES code.
- Alternatively, you may download the application called “Hayat Eve Sığar” (HES ) and learn your HES code from the relevant section in this application.
Usually it takes only a few minutes to learn your HES code using one of these means described above. In the case you experience any problems in accessing your HES code or in receiving a confirmation of your HES code while buying your ticket, you may contact YİMER at 157.
Please keep in mind that these restrictions and prohibitions have been issued as health precautions. Because the virus can be transmitted among individuals very easily and quickly, such measures are necessary in order to prevent transmission from people to people and thus protect the health of society as a whole. In this spirit, we encourage all of us to stay inside our homes.
If you are facing a medical emergency, please first call the 112 Emergency Hotline.
If no one in your household or community is able to bring you basic food, collect medicines at the pharmacy, or make similar necessary purchases, you may ask for help from your municipality or district governor.
If it is determined that you have left your house in defiance of these provisions, the police will take action against you and you will be fined.
Detailed information on the payment of fines is provided on the paper ticket given to you by the police at the time of the violation.
If you feel that you have not violated the prohibitions and the fine issued to you is unjust, you may appeal this fine. This objection can be made with an application to the Criminal Court of Peace within 15 days from the date when the ticket was handed out or you were verbally notified of this fine. Your right to appeal is reserved, even if you have already paid before submitting an appeal.
If you have further questions, you can contact Refugee Rights Turkey.
First, we would like to remind everyone that the advice of the authorities is to only leave our homes when we are absolutely required to do so. In this spirit, we should try to leave our homes as little as possible.
While using any public transport, the use of face masks has become mandatory in many large cities. For this reason, you are obligated to wear a face mask. In addition, you must obey the rules introduced which require passengers to maintain physical distance from one another while using public transport. Again, these rules have been introduced in order to protect the health of all of us.
You should avoid forming crowds when in public, maintaining a minimum distance of 1 meter with the person next to you and other pedestrians. This practice is not only advised, but also obligatory.
You must follow the precautions given in markets, grocery stores, and other enclosed public areas, including the above-mentioned obligation to wear a face mask and maintain physical distance. In addition, customers may only be admitted into shops one by one. Wearing a face mask in markets, grocery stores and other enclosed public areas is an obligation.
Pharmacies and supermarkets all around Turkey have re-started selling face masks. Accordingly, you may buy face masks at one of these stores.
In line with precautions introduced to stop the spread of Coronavirus disease, PDMMs have also modified their work procedures. Although many of the government offices, including PDMMs have started resuming their usual workloads as of June,
rules and policies may change, sometimes from location to location, depending on local conditions and needs. You may request information via the official YİMER Foreigner’s Communication Center Hotline by dialing 157. Operators are able to provide accurate information in Turkish, Arabic, Farsi, English, Pashto, German and Russian.
If you have further questions on international protection and temporary protection, you may contact Refugee Rights Turkey.
In Turkey, coronavirus disease-related diagnosis, treatment and medication is accessible to everyone free of charge. Therefore, if you are in Turkey and you are suffering from coronavirus disease, you can access health care services.
If you are not able to access health care services, you may call the Ministry of Health’s Coronavirus Counselling Hotline 184 or the Foreigners Communication Center YİMER Hotline 157.
If you have further questions or needs, you can also contact Refugee Rights Turkey.
To receive general information about COVID-19, you may call the Ministry of Health’s Coronavirus Counselling Hotline by dialing 184. If you need this information in another language, you can reach the YİMER Hotline for support in Arabic, Farsi, English, Pashto, German and Russian languages by dialing 157.
If you are in an emergency medical situation requiring immediate medical assistance, you should call the Emergency Hotline by dialing 112 and following the instructions given to you by the operator.
It is important to understand that, because of the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of general health services have been impacted. During this time, it is important to only approach hospitals for health services if your health needs are extremely urgent.
If you are in an emergency medical situation requiring immediate medical assistance (such as childbirth or a traumatic injury), you should call the Emergency Hotline by dialing 112 and following the instructions given to you by the operator.
Non-urgent surgeries and other treatments have been temporarily postponed. Therefore, if you were scheduled to undergo surgery or another medical procedure and your doctor has cancelled this appointment, you should wait to hear again from your doctor with more information. These measures are designed as a precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19 and increase the capacity of healthcare institutions as they continue fighting COVID-19.
To receive more information on non-emergency medical assistance, you can call the Ministry of Health Hotline by dialing 184. If you require information in Arabic, Farsi, English, Pashto, German or Russian, you can call the YİMER Hotline by dialing 157. You may also consult with your Family Physician, if you have their number.
Refugee Rights Turkey is a legal information and support provider, and therefore does not provide any social or economic support. However, you can contact Refugee Rights Turkey to find out if there is any assistance or support available in your locality.
You should be aware that, because of the increased demand for social and economic support due to the exceptional circumstances caused by the Coronavirus disease pandemic, both governmental and non-governmental organizations are receiving a high volume of requests while also working to continue their operations and respond to various needs. You can approach public institutions, muhtars, municipalities or civil society organizations in your locality to receive information about available social or economic support.
If you are already benefiting from any type of social or financial assistance, this assistance should continue. If there is any interruption in the assistance you are receiving, please consult with the organization you had previously been in contact with regarding the aid.
Individuals under International Protection or Temporary Protection in Turkey can benefit from the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), a cash assistance program also known as KIZILAYKART. ESSN aims to cover the basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers. In order to benefit from the ESSN program, you should first submit an application. Your application will be assessed, and you will be informed of the results. If you would like to learn more about the eligibility criteria and application process, please visit the program’s website or call the Türk Kızılay Call Center by dialing 168.
Another important support program is Social Economic Support (in Turkish: Sosyal Ekonomik Destek), operated by the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services. This program aims to support children and youth who are in need of protection, as well as their families. You can submit your application via the e-government gateway. You will need your foreigner’s identification number and your e-government password to file the online application. If you do not have an e-government password, you can get your password by going to the post office (PTT) with your foreigner’s identification number. Please note that not all applicants will receive the support. The Ministry will review your application and notify you if you have been deemed eligible for the support or not. For more information about the Ministry’s support services, you can visit the Ministry’s website or visit a Social Service Center.
The Turkish Ministry of Health has launched a website dedicated to information on the Coronavirus disease pandemic, protection measures, and other critical information. This website contains various informational materials including documents and videos in Turkish. You can access this website by clicking here.
Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has prepared various informational materials covering preventative measures against COVID-19, how to properly wear face masks, and other related topics on their website, available in English, French and Arabic, among other languages.