Obtain Your International Student Visa

Before arriving in Turkey, you should obtain your international student visa if it is required for your country. There are different types of visas depending on your nationality and the duration of your stay in Turkey. For details, please visit our Student Visa Page.

If you have any questions regarding the steps for obtaining your student visa, contact us at ico@ku.edu.tr.

Health Insurance

International students are required to have health insurance that is valid in Turkey and covers the complete duration of their specific academic program. Each student must share a copy of the insurance policy in English or Turkish (if obtained in Turkey) with his/her program advisor upon arrival to campus. Students who fail to do so will be de-registered from their program, as health insurance is not only for their own safety, but it is a legal obligation for foreign residents in Turkey.

Accepted Health Insurance Options:

  • International Health Insurance valid in Turkey: Any insurance from anywhere that offers coverage for you in Turkey.
  • Private Student Health Insurance in Turkey: If you do not arrive in Turkey with an insurance policy, you can use this option and purchase insurance by emailing travel.tr@gulfsigorta.com.tr. They offer service in English and can arrange your insurance fairly quickly without a Tax ID (most companies need a Tax ID). Please note: We do not provide assistance or assume any responsibility with health insurance. You must contact the agencies, follow through all transactions, and make sure you understand your policy coverage very well.  
  • Home Country Social Security (based on eligibility): You can use this option if you are coming from a European country that has a Social Security agreement with Turkey. More information is available here.

Student Public Transportation Card (IstanbulKart)

IstanbulKart is Istanbul’s one-for-all (entire public transit system: subways, metrobus, buses, ferries, etc.) chipped card in the shape of a plastic ID. The card fee is 10 TL. It is refill card which allows for refill through automated multi-lingual machines or authorized kiosks around the city. There is a refill machine on campus right outside of Yapi Kredi Bank.

How to get an IstanbulKart:

For new international students, every semester we open up a shared google sheet to collect your information for card application and make your card ready before your arrival. If you would like us to arrange your student transit pass before your arrival, contact us at ico@ku.edu.tr. Pay attention to the instructions on the excel sheet. You will generate an ID number with your passport number, and this number will also be the name of the head-shot picture you will send as an email attachment. The picture can be the same as the one used for university applications, or any recent head-shot. The ID number must be 11 digits for each entry. This ID number will be created with your passport number without letters and adding as many 0’s (zero) as needed. All 0’s must go in front of numbers.

Example: If your passport number is AAW1234, your ID number for the application will be: 00000001234

You will pay the card fee of 10TL during orientation.

Packing Tips (What to Bring with You to Turkey)

  • Think about the climate and the duration of your stay at Koç University. Istanbul experiences all four seasons, so it is advised to bring attire for cold and rainy winters (with mild to harsh snowfalls), as well as for hot and humid summers.
  • How to dress: Contemporary clothing is widely accepted and there are no rules or restrictions; however, in order to avoid unwanted attention on public transportation or in places of religious worship, it it best to dress modestly. If you are traveling to different regions of Turkey, it would be helpful to simply ask a Turkish friend about local customs (including dress code).
  • European Grounded (Schuko) adapters are used in Turkey, so depending on where you are from, you might need to bring an adapter for your electronic devices.
  • Certain items and furnishings such as beds, closets, desks, chairs, refrigerators, etc. are provided in the dormitories. However, students are recommended to bring to their own towels, pillow cases, and sheets. You can check the dormitory website for more details. 
  • It is important to pack essentials, but remember that you can purchase some items once you arrive and are settling into your accommodations.

Stay Informed

Check your email account for any information from Koç University.

Sign up for Koç University’s social media pages for information about events and activities.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Contact the Registrar’s Office and ICO if you have any questions before you arrive in Turkey.

Become familiar with the information provided on Koç University’s website and ICO’s website. The information and resources provided will help prepare you for your arrival in Turkey and on campus.

Do some research about living in Istanbul and Turkish culture. Having an idea about what to expect will make your arrival and transition much easier.

Start thinking about a student budget. There are many useful websites to help with this, like Numbeo.