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According to Daily Sabah:

While all forms of transportation have currently resumed, there are a number of new practices and regulations in place to be aware of. A HES code will now be required for all intercity travel. HES, which is short for Hayat Eve Sığar (Life Fits into Home) is a mobile application pioneered by the Ministry of Health that tracks the contraction of the COVID-19 virus and shares maps of health services and risk areas. While the app is easily downloadable onto a mobile phone, it is also easily obtainable through sending an SMS to the number 2023 by entering the letters HES, followed by your country code, passport number, birth date and the number of days you want to travel plus seven days, all separated with blank spaces. The same method can be applied by foreigners with residence permits as well as Turkish citizens.

It appears that you can either download an app or text a Turkish short phone number. Texting that number wouldn't work outside of Turkey and the app shows an error if you try to use a foreign number:

enter image description here

Is there another option for people with a foreign phone number to obtain this code? I'm planning a trip to Turkey soon and would like to ensure I can obtain it in advance.

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  • What country telephone number do you have? – Xnero Jun 18 '20 at 0:55
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    Have you tried sending a message to +902023? – Xnero Jun 18 '20 at 0:59
  • Did you try a real phone number? The one in the image is actually invalid. – Michael Hampton Jun 18 '20 at 1:01
  • @MichaelHampton yes, I did – JonathanReez Jun 18 '20 at 1:16
  • @Daniil tried that now, doesn't work from a US number – JonathanReez Jun 18 '20 at 1:19
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The HES code is only required for Turkish citizens, it's not required for foreigners with or without residency. This information is available on the Turkish airlines and SunExpress websites, and I verified it by calling Turkish Airlines.

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    Do you have a source for this info? – Xnero Jun 19 '20 at 11:30
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It looks like the app is badly designed, others are also complaining about the same issue:

Totally useless app which only shows that the Turkish government doesn't care about the thousands of tourists who have been stranded in Turkey since the beginning of the corona pandemic. It's only in Turkish, it doesn't accept foreign phone numbers so you can't even start using it. The question remains: How will foreigners travel by trains, domestic flights and bus in Turkey in the coming days if it's IMPOSSIBLE to use the app for foreign visitors and you can't get a ticket without it ?

Hopefully the Turkish government fixes this soon. In the meantime, maybe you could use the number of a friend in Turkey or rent a a Turkish phone number.

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Your HES code has to be connected to your Istanbulkart (card used for public transportation) and only one HES code per Istanbulkart. You can't share cards anymore like before where you could pay for several people on the same card. There are information offices available near train stations, ferry etc. to assist you in obtaining a HES code and even connecting your HES code to your IstanbulKart. It is a fairly new system so there are some errors and not much information online about it. You can ask someone at wherever you are staying to obtain a HES code for you by texting the number provided (they will already know how to do this they only need your information). They will be more than happy to do that. I traveled by plane between cities not needing a HES code. Traveling by bus from the airport or to the airport in Istanbul (both airports) I also didn't need a HES code. But bus rides in between cities and public transportation in Istanbul you have to have a HES code or you won't be able to get through anywhere your istanbulkart will get declined. Nus-ret Steak house asked us for our HES code in order to check us in and seat us. Walking into malls also requires a HES code. Even if you don't have the app and you just have your code they can manually enter it. The app is working now for American numbers (I can't say for others because my number is american) I was able to sign up without an issue and the HES code I had obtained a few weeks ago on my trip was already in the app. I got away entering some of the malls by just saying I am an american and showing my passport but that will only get you so far. Eventually I had to get a HES code but the information desk in eminonu helped me in obtaining one and they spoke english too. The airports weren't much help. Some people would say foreigners don't need a HES code but towards the end of my trip I realized everyone needs a HES code that it is mandatory no matter what airlines say on their website. If you are renting a car and not visiting big malls you should be able to get away with not getting a HES code but if you do all else I mentioned then get one literally the first day you get there or it will be a major headache later.

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  • +1 and welcome to our community! We hope to see much more of you in the future. However, do you think you can separate this "wall of text" into paragraphs? – user1271772 Apr 16 at 23:25

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