Hayat Eve Sığar Code Istanbul Turkey


The first time I heard about the Hayat Eve Sığar (HES) Code was when entering Istanbul Modern. As I started to pass through museum security, a guard stopped me and asked, “Do you have an HES code?” My somewhat cheeky reply was, “What’s that?” This seemed to startle the security guard a bit, but he didn’t send me away. He said to wait and returned within a few minutes to motion me through. Clearly, someone gave the OK.


Honestly, I forgot about that until yesterday, when purchasing an IstanbulKart to use on trams and ferries. I purchased the card (looks like a credit card) and loaded some Turkish lira. When I tried to use the card at Taksim-Tünel, it didn’t work! After going around in circles a few times (really), a nice café employee who spoke great English patiently explained how to get an HES code number, but not what it was and why it was required.


I went online and entered the info requested (passport number, surname, birthdate, etc.). Then, someone sent a text with an HES code number to my iPhone! Thankfully, this was possible, since I got a local SIM card and had a Turkish cell number. After that, I returned to where I purchased the IstanbulKart, provided the card with my new HES code, and voila, the two were linked and the card was activated, so all is well!

Covid Normalization Process

There was plenty to do to pass through Turkish immigration, so I’m surprised that no one explained the HES code as part of Turkey’s requirements. It was implemented in January 2021, and is important, if you plan to use or access public services and facilities. I learned that the code is part of “Istanbul’s coronavirus outbreak normalization process” – that’s a mouthful.

Taksim Tram


“The Turkish Ministry of Health created the Hayat Eve Sığar (HES) App to maintain measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic and minimize risks encountered in daily life, within the framework of controlled social life”.


Istanbul Ferries – howtoistanbul.com

An HES code “is mandatory and required for domestic travel by train, bus, boat, plane, or private vehicle”. It helps the government track the use of transportation and visits to high traffic areas. Well, that’s creepy – but what can you do?

Public Transportation

Through this application, people exposed to Covid-19 can be prevented from using Istanbul public transportation. The Turkish government plans to expand the app’s coverage to include all public institutions, clinics, and workplaces. Information collected allows authorities to “follow-up on positive cases and determine whether citizens are at risk of contracting coronavirus in public spaces, while traveling, and during institutional visits”.

Turkish Family Photos Beyoğlu Apt
Positive Covid-19 Test Results

An HES code is used for the duration of your trip to Istanbul – roundtrip travel dates and any time in between. If you’re with a travel company, you must share your code with them. Travel is blocked, if a coronavirus situation occurs. Travel companies can restrict your journey, “if you’re in quarantine, don’t have an HES code, are Covid-19 positive, or submit an incorrect number”.

Istanbul Ferries – weekendblitz.com

The beauty of long-term travel is you have time to get “sorted” and recover from stressful situations. With major language differences, acclimating in a foreign country may take longer than you like – a deep breath always helps. Surprises are part of the experience, but hopefully I’m done and can relax and enjoy exotic, captivating Istanbul!

More later…


  1. Garrulous Gwendoline

    That’s very interesting actually. When I commented to you about “complacency” I checked the Turkish vs Australian population versus death numbers and was mildly concerned that not enough precautions were in place to keep you safe. So I’m happy to read about this card, and that you did not know about it on entry to the country simply signifies to me that two different bureaucratic agencies are in charge and they haven’t perfected working together.

    In NSW and most other states, you cannot move around without doing an electronic COVID check-in, check-out (which reminds me, I forgot to checkout from the State Library today – I’ll remedy that). As soon as a community infection is detected (ie outside hotel quarantine), this tracing system swings into action and exposure sights are advertised (NOT the details of who was infected). Then everyone who has been potentially exposed should get a COVID test and isolate until a negative result is received. Meantime the Department of Health is directly contacting those who may have had a critical exposure and sometimes they must quarantine for fourteen days.

    This sounds like a breach of civil liberties to many cultures, but with some radical exceptions, Australians accept this is part of keeping us all safe, while maintaining privacy. Most of our 910 deaths in over twelve months happened early in the pandemic in nursing homes. That is terribly sad for the families involved, and we do not want any other families to experience such loss if there is anything we can do to play our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

    Please stay safe, while enjoying your travels. I will travel vicariously with you.

    1. suemtravels

      Counting on my KN95 masks and covid vaccination. Locals do wear masks, but they’re flimsy and often slip off their noses and mouths, so not sure how much good they do. Masks are really uncomfortable in the heat, especially if you’re walking uphill or using any amount of physical effort! I was concerned about the trams, as they’re often packed, especially during commute hours – a good time to avoid them. Weekends are mad everywhere! Sounds like Australia is much stricter than any place I’ve visited. At home in Oregon, everything fun and non-essential was closed – performing arts, etc. and I don’t use public transportation. I certainly don’t regret this trip, but getting sick would suck! :o( This month Eugene is hosting the Olympic Track and Field finals at UofO Hayward Field. The founder of Nike is from Oregon and attended UofO, so they’ve held the finals many times. Gotta go….

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