If you want to enter Turkey, the rule of thumb is that you need to obtain a visa. However, as with any rule, there are some exceptions. These can be based on the country that issued your passport, the type of passport you’re holding, or both. In this article I’ll explain the different passport types, who is required to obtain a visa, what kind of visas are available, how to easily get a tourist visa and how much it costs.
Edit: Follow this link for a more up-to-date and more detailed version on Visa Requirements and Procedures for Istanbul and Turkey.
What Is The Difference Between an Ordinary And an Official Passport?
The term “official passports” covers diplomatic, service, special and official passports. Since you’re reading this page, it’s fair to assume you are not sent to Turkey on your government’s behalf. So, you can be pretty sure that you’re holding an “ordinary” passport.
Turkish Visa Types and Countries That Need a Visa
Now we’ve established that you have an ordinary passport, it’s time to hop over to the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Turkish Republic. You’ll see an alphabetic list of countries. Look for the country that issued the passport you’re planning to use. It will say what passport holders are exempt from a visa, and which ones are required to obtain a visa. It will also explain what kind of visa (single or multiple entry) you’ll get, as well as its validity or duration.
Where Can I Get My Visa?
Another rule of thumb is that you should obtain your visa prior to your arrival in Turkey. You can do so by applying for your visa at a Turkish consulate or embassy in your country at least one month before your departure date.
Yes, you guessed it right, there are again some exceptions. When you read your country’s visa rules earlier, did you come across the following sentence: “They can obtain [visa type] e-Visas…”? If so, then you’re very lucky.
This means that your country is on the shortlist of people that can acquire a visa electronically (online) before arriving in Turkey. You can find all the details on how to get your Turkish e-Visa here.
What Happened to the Old Sticker Visa?
In the past you could buy your visa after arriving in Turkey. But as of April 17, 2013, the sticker visa has been depreciated in favor of the e-Visa.
What Can I Do With My Visa?
If you’re eligible for a “multiple entry visa” (müteaddit giriş) then you can travel in and out of the country as much as you want within the validity period of your visa. If they issue a “single entry visa” (tek giriş) for inhabitants of your country, then you will have to buy a new one every time you cross the Turkish borders and wish to enter again.
Important note: under no circumstances are you allowed to work with your tourist visa. You also don’t want to overstay your visa since such fines grow rapidly.