Turkey is one of those bucket-list countries that always finds itself on lists of places you need to see before you die. This is especially true of the exotic and magical city of Istanbul, the stunning historical site of Efes, and the otherworldly charms of Cappadocia and Pamukkale – to name but a few. It is a country filled with memorable attractions, world-class cuisine and eclectic micro-climates to ensure that there is always something for everyone here.
It used to be possible to obtain a visa on arrival at the airport, but the powers that be changed this and it has now been phased out. But fear not wanderlusters, as you can still get what you need at E-visums – with just a little bit of planning beforehand. Below you’ll find some top tips for making your Turkish visa application as pain-free as possible.
Do I need an e-Visa?
It will depend entirely on where you’re from, but most nationalities will need to apply. Some countries will be allowed into Turkey using their national I.D cards, but when in doubt you should check directly with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Some sources believe that you can still obtain a visa on arrival at special airport kiosks, but we don’t recommend risking that course of action at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry – nobody likes being turned away.
What is an e-Visa?
Simply put, an e-Visa is an official travel document that allows you to enter a particular country that is running the program. This will be for a predetermined period of time. Turkey introduced this process in 2013, so now you have to apply in advance to be legally allowed to visit for either business or pleasure.
You can apply directly for your Turkey visa online on E-visums.co.uk, so it’s not as troubling as you might think. Once obtained, it is valid for 180 days from the date of issue, meaning you can enter and exit the country as many times as you like within that period, up to your allotted length of stay. Trust me when I say applying for visas in this efficient fashion is a really good thing.
You’re obviously going to need one. You’d be surprised how many people don’t check to see if it’s all in order before traveling through – so you need to make sure yours is still valid. The length of time you’ll be permitted to stay in Turkey will depend on your country and the strength of your passport (most visitors will be offered 90 days), but your travel document needs to be valid for a further 90 days on top of that.
However, it is advised that your passport is valid for a minimum of six months after your date of entry, and it will also need to have at least one blank page. Don’t leave anything until the last minute – make sure you check all these details several months in advance of travel and update anything where required. Passport applications can be a lengthy process.
How to apply
Don’t pull your hair out just yet – the application is really quite straightforward. Have your (valid) passport to hand when you fill out the online form. It’ll take you about five minutes to complete, but ensure you double check all the information thoroughly as mistakes will cause setbacks or a refusal. You can apply anywhere you have an internet connection, 24/7.
You can pay for the visa via PayPal, debit card or bank transfer – you don’t need a credit card to complete the transaction. The fee might vary – once again depending on where you’re from – but when the payment clears and if everything is in order, you’ll be sent an email with your e-Visa within 12 hours. Remember, once obtained, as the visa is valid for 180 days – so don’t let it expire!
Traveling with children
If you’re bringing along your brood then they will all need their own travel documents. Children can no longer be included on the parent’s passport and even the little ones will all need registering on an e-Visa for Turkey. You can apply for a family visa online adding extra travelers from between 2 and 10 people. All those traveling must be from the same country.
Once you have your official e-Visa travel document you’re good to go! You don’t need to print off a hard copy, but it is highly recommended just in case. Customs officials will be able to find your application on their system or visa your smartphone or tablet. But you never know when a computer might be on-the-blink, so erring on the side of caution and having a backup is always a good idea. While you’re at it, print off a scanned copy of your own passport if you haven’t already done so. You should always have this just in case you need I.D but don’t want to hand over your precious travel documents. Sage advice indeed.
As a traveler, having a visa approved is one of life’s little joys. This new process to apply directly for your visa online saves a lot of time and effort, and will have you speeding through passport control in no time. And then the magic of Turkey awaits, truly one of the most beautiful and exotic countries on earth. Nevermind the Turkish e-Visa, you might actually want to apply for a residence permit instead.
All words by our guest blogger Agness Walewinder.