An importer needs only a tax number to import all but restricted items, such as firearms, hazardous materials, and other products that may be imported by authorized establishments only or for which approval from relevant GoT agencies are required. Control Certificates are required for certain animals, animal products, and plant materials for production (such as seeds, seedlings, saplings, and flower bulbs) prior to importation.
Turkish documentation procedures require that a commercial invoice, bill of lading or airway bill, packing list, and a certificate of origin, accompany all commercial shipments. Depending on the harmonized tariff code of the product, a control certificate, health certificate, Certificate of Free Sale, phytosanitary certificate, and/or veterinary health certificate may be necessary for food and agricultural commodity imports. A detailed list of requirements by agricultural and food product item can be found in the annual FAS Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Report.
Conformity Compliance (CE Mark)
Companies selling to the Turkish market must submit evidence of a CE Mark for certain products in which the EU has adopted a CE marking directive providing a conformity certificate from a notified body or a manufacturer-issued declaration of conformity declaring compliance with all relevant standards and directive annexes. The declaration of conformity must mention the applicable directive(s), the name of the manufacturer or its authorized representative, the name of the notified body (if involved), product information, and reference to harmonized standards. If the notified body is also involved in the process, the type of examination certificate should also be submitted.
The commercial invoice must be submitted in triplicate, including the original copy, and must contain the complete description, quantity, unit cost, HS code, delivery method of the goods and country of origin, as well as all required payment terms and letters of credit.
Certificate of Origin
A certificate of origin certifying the country of origin is required for certain products by certain countries for tariff purposes. The certificate of origin is to be prepared in duplicate. No corrections are permitted on this document, and it should be in English. A certificate of origin is usually prepared by the exporter or manufacturer and notarized and attested to by a local Chamber of Commerce or a World Trade Center. If not notarized, the Turkish Embassy or one of the consulates of Türkiye in the United States must certify the certificate of origin. One copy of the document must be surrendered to customs authorities at the time of import.
Bill of Lading/Airway Bill
Details in the bill of lading should correspond exactly to those given in other shipping documents. The original bill of lading should be submitted along with three copies.
Pro Forma Invoices
The pro forma invoice must not be more than six months old at the time of application and the words “pro forma” must be included on the document. It must contain an unexpired option (if appropriate), indicate freight and insurance charges separately, and bear the importer’s name as well as the description, unit price, quantity, and delivery/payment method of specified goods.
Special health certificates are required for imports of plants, plant products, live animals, and animal products. USDA’S Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service inspects and certifies that plants, plant products, live animals, and animal products conform to health and sanitary or phytosanitary requirements as mandated by Turkish law. For detailed certification requirements, please see the FAS Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Export Certificate Report for Türkiye. U.S. exporters are encouraged to work with their Turkish importing partner prior to shipment due to the complexity of sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and the need for importers of certain products to apply for certain permissions and clearances from the GoT.
Special Import Requirements
Alcohol can be imported by obtaining a license and permission from the Department of Tobacco and Alcohol, a division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Import Controls of tobacco, tobacco products, alcohol, and alcoholic drinks are regulated by the Communiqué on Import Inspection of Tobacco, Tobacco Products, Alcohol, and Alcoholic Drinks (Regulation on Product Safety and Inspection: 203/19). Non-tariff barriers including arduous documentation requirements and high duty rates continue to limit trade in alcoholic beverages. Cigarettes can only be imported by cigarette producers, which are granted permission by the government under special decree.
Importation of Precious Metals/Stones
Precious metals (e.g., gold and platinum) may only be imported by members of the Istanbul Precious Metals Exchange operating under Borsa Istanbul (Istanbul Stock Exchange). The Istanbul Stock Exchange consists of domestic or foreign banks, precious metals companies, currency offices, precious metals producing and marketing companies, and precious metals refineries. Türkiye is a member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the joint government, industry, and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.
Importing products such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizers, vaccines, hormones, certain animals and animal products, and plant materials for production (such as seeds, seedlings, and sapling and flower bulbs) require a control certificate either from the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry depending on the use of the product.
All documents must be obtained from and/or approved by the relevant authorities in the country of origin. Documents must be submitted in the original language with a Turkish translation. Control certificates must be presented to customs authorities along with other required documentation upon import.
Products requiring after-sales service such as motor vehicles, household electrical goods, office equipment and computers, cash registers, TV and video equipment, heaters, gas-fired burners, industrial machinery, automobiles, and wireless equipment require an import permit from the Ministry of Trade. To obtain such a permit, importers must guarantee that they will provide service and spare parts either by establishing offices or by signing agreements with existing service/parts firms. The number of maintenance facilities required throughout the country depends on the type of product. Some product groups, including vehicles, require a widespread network of maintenance facilities in each of Türkiye’s seven geographic regions. For vehicles, the existing import regime instructs an importer to provide services and to maintain necessary parts for at least ten years following the importation of the last vehicle.
Type-approval is no longer needed for imported telecommunications equipment. Under the framework of the EU Customs Union, telecommunications equipment that have CE Mark and meet certain conditions such as harmonized frequencies in Türkiye can be imported without the approval of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
Importers are required to obtain a control certificate from the Ministry of the Environment for materials considered detrimental to the environment, including hard coal, lignite, pet coke, petroleum, arsenic, mercury, lead sulfides and carbonates, fluorocarbons, other chemicals, and scrap metals.
Risk-Based Trade Control System (TAREKS)
The Ministry of Trade launched a Risk-Based Control System (TAREKS) in 2010 to carry out safety checks on non-agricultural products and quality checks on exported and imported goods electronically. The main purpose of the TAREKS system is to increase the efficiency of foreign trade, to provide safe and quality products to consumers and firms by controlling the entry of “risky” products and traders to the market, and to reduce waiting times at customs.
TAREKS encompasses goods like personal protective equipment, toys, batteries, construction products, radio and telecommunications terminals equipment, medical devices, machinery, elevators, pressure equipment, electrical and electronic equipment, some industrial input and raw materials, and consumer products. It also includes agricultural products inspected for the purposes of quality standards.