What to do after arriving in İstanbul

What to do after arriving in İstanbul

Turkish Higher Education Policies require that a foreign student, who will be enrolling to a Turkish University, must obtain a “High School Diploma Equivalency”. Therefore, as soon as you arrive in Istanbul, you need to obtain the Equivalency of your High school diploma. For this, you need to go to the Local Equivalency Office (Istanbul İl Milli Eğitim Müdürlüğü) with the following documents:

Documents to present:

  • Original passport
  • Original high school diploma
  • Istanbul Bilgi University Acceptance Letter

Processing time is 2-3 days (more during the months of July-August- Early September)

Adres:Eski Sultanahmet Adliyesi, İmren Öktem Caddesi No: 1 Adliye Sarayı Sultanahmet,Fatih /İstanbul
Tel:+90 212 455 04 00
+90 212 455 04 99

Once you have all the necessary documents ready and have arrived in Istanbul, you will need to proceed with the actual registration to our university at the Student Affairs Office in the santralistanbul Campus, with the following documents:

  • Original High School Diploma (in English or Turkish)

  • Equivalency document for your high school diploma

  • Original High School Transcript (in English or Turkish)

  • Original Passport

  • Tuition fee bank receipt

  • 3 Passport Size Photos

  • Certified copy of an English proficiency test if available (TOEFL, BILET)

For any registration related information, visit our International Student Admissions.

  • SIM card prices vary between 30-70 TL

  • You must register your phone within approx. 60 days after arrival.

  1. Buy a Turkish SIM Card (Three major service providers: Turkcell, Vodafone, Türk Telekom) SIM cards can be bought from their shops.

  2. Register your mobile phone at the tax office (please prefer one that is in a touristic area like Taksim or Şişli).

    • Take your passport with you!

    • Fee is approx. 1840 TL

    • Have the IMEI number of your mobile phone prepared

  3. Submit the tax payment receipt to the shop where you took the SIM card from.

  4. If you have a residence permit card, you can register your phone through the e-Devlet system. You can follow our guide here.

Regarding the dormitories, we would like to highlight that Bilgi University does not own its dormitories. However, there are many dorms that are close to our university, in santralistanbul Campus. Click here to check all the dorms that they are located in Eyüp.

Alternatively, the rents here in Istanbul depend on the region that you will chose to live. If you want a room in a flat you may find from 800 tl to 1500 tl.


  • Please be careful! We advise you to check the room that you want to rent by yourself, sometimes they don't look like in the pictures at all.
  • Also the owners might tell you that you should hurry with the decision, they might want to push you to take a harsh decision and not think about it good.
  • Furthermore, we advise you to tell them that you will stay for a long time period and ask for discounts.
  • Finding an apartment close to a metro station will be helpful for you to move around the city easier.
  • Last but not least, try to avoid areas that they are located "near" or "close" to Taksim, they may be dangerous. We know that they might be good for the nightlife but also keep in mind that you don't want to put yourself in danger.

For your research:

(First link is the ‘Craigslist’ which is the page for internationals to find a room/flat! But please be careful, there are also many offers that are not as good as they pretend to be…)


Furthermore there are also plenty of Facebook groups where people offer rooms or search for flatmates. We highly recommend contacting local students.


Recommended neighborhoods in Istanbul in European Side are:

  • Şişli,
  • Osmanbey,
  • Beşiktaş,
  • Kabataş,
  • Cihangir,
  • Nişantaşı,
  • Mecidiyeköy,
  • and Eyüp.


In Asian side the recommended areas would be Kadiköy and Üsküdar – these areas are nice, lively, quite central and quite easy to reach from santralistanbul Campus.

Keep in mind that we provide free transportation for our students from all our University’s campuses to central points of the city. Therefore, if you would like to search for a shared apartment, we would recommend you to choose the areas where the shuttle buses stop. Click here to get further information regarding the shuttle services.

In order to apply for the IETT student transportation card, you need to collect:

  • 1 photograph
  • Photocopy of passport page (first page with your photograph on it, bring your original passport as well)
  • Student Certificate (in Turkish)
  • 10 Liras
  • YÖK number (can be found on your student certificate, starting with "98")

After you’ve collected all of the required documents please visit IETT office in Beyoğlu/Karaköy. You can find full address below.


İETT Genel Müdürlüğü, Arap Cami Mahallesi, Tersane Kavşağı, No:8, Beyoğlu/İstanbul

Missing IETT Card

If you lose your transportation card, you must firstly call 153 and tell them that your card is lost. In order to apply for it you need to collect:

  • 1 photograph
  • Photocopy of passport page (first page with your photograph on it, bring your original passport as well)
  • Residence Permit
  • Student Certificate (in Turkish)
  • 20 Liras
  • YÖK number (can be found on your student certificate, starting with "98")

We strongly advise you to have a bank account in Turkey. To open a bank account, you’ll need the following documents:

  • Residence permit
  • Passport
  • Turkish Tax number
  • İkametgah (Address in Turkey)*

* This document can be obtained at the District of Population (Nüfus Müdürlüğü) in the area that you are living in. You need to take your house contract, bills and residence permit card with you.

Do not forget that you need to be over 18 years old to open a bank account in Turkey. An associate at the bank will supply you with all the necessary forms to open a Turkish bank account.

The bank will send your ATM card to your address.