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Coming to Turkey as a Tourist

This guide was written by Başak Yıldız Orkun, Managing Partner at Orkun & Orkun (info@orkunorkun.com) in collaboration with Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 5 May 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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The scope of this guide

This guide is about visiting Turkey as a tourist - which visa you need, how to do it, and how much it costs.

You may also want to watch the video version of this guide or download the audio (MP3) guide.

Introduction

In 2015, 41million people visited Turkey. In 2016, largely as a result of the combination of the conflict in Syria, political uncertainty in Turkey and terrorist attacks, the number fell to 31million. Local reports suggest that tourist numbers have increased sharply in 2017, mainly because of an influx of tourists from Russia and the former Soviet Union.

You’ll be pleased to learn that it's very easy to visit Turkey as a tourist! This is doubly useful as many people who wish to come to Turkey to work, set up a business or retire will first come as a tourist just to check out the feasibility of what they want to do. They will make their plans, return home, and then apply for whatever immigration visas that they might need.

Who can visit Turkey as a tourist?

IMAGE TITLECitizens of any nationality can visit Turkey as a ‘tourist’: somebody who is visiting on a short-term (less than 90-day) basis and who is not coming to Turkey to work. The length of time you can visit Turkey on a tourist visa depends upon your nationality, as the government of Turkey has reached individual agreements with individual countries when it comes to reciprocal tourism rights. Details can be found here.

How can a foreigner visit Turkey as a tourist?

The only requirement is that they must obtain an ‘e-visa’ when they arrive in the country. This ‘visa’ is not a visa in the usual sense of the word. It does not involve any scrutiny of your status or application. It is, basically, a receipt for an entry tax!

You apply for the e-visa via the Turkish government’s e-visa website. This is available in many languages. The whole process of obtaining the visa will, typically, take less than five minutes. You will need to provide information such as your passport number and your parents’ full names. You will also have to make a small payment (by credit or debit card). The amount of the payment depends, again, on your country of origin. It is typically about US$20.

You can apply for the e-visa up to three months in advance of your intended travel date.

How long can I stay in Turkey as a tourist?

Once you arrive in Turkey, your e-visa will allow you to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days in any 180-day period. Unlike many countries, this is irrespective of whether that period bridges a calendar year.

So, for example, if you arrived for a proposed 90 day visit on 1st Sept 2017 you would be able to stay until 30th November 2017 (a maximum of 90 days). If you arrived on 1st November 2017, you would be able to stay until 30th January 2018 (again, a maximum of 90 days). The count does not restart on 1st January 2018 just because you are in a new calendar year.

If you wish to stay in Turkey as a tourist for longer than 90 days, you can do so, but only by obtaining a short-term residence permit. This is fairly simple. See our Guide to Residence Permits in Turkey.

Coming to Turkey as a business visitor

People wishing to visit Turkey to meet clients and/or discuss business matters can do so as tourists. There is no separate ‘business visitor’ visa.

However, if you want to visit Turkey for other ‘business’ purposes, you will need a working visa for which there are various requirements. For example, journalists have a special type of visa, people filming or conducting scientific research have a different type of visa, as do people coming to Turkey for the purposes of teaching, and lorry (truck) drivers. See our other immigration guides.

Conclusion

Turkey is, despite its troubles, a popular tourist destination. People love it for the weather, the scenery, the food and the friendly locals. The fact that it's really easy to visit doesn't hurt!

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
Turkish Residence Permits
How residence permits work in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey as a Student
Visa & immigration information for foreign students
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Work
Visa & immigration information for foreigners wanting to work in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Start a Business
Visa & immigration information for foreigners wanting to set up their own business in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Join Your Family
How do you join a family member who already has Turkish residence?
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Retire
Visa & immigration information for foreigners wanting to retire in Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey via Residence for Investment
The "golden visa"
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey on a "Turquoise Visa"
The special Turkish visa for people valuable to the country
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey as an Asylum Seeker/Refugee
The rules surrounding refugees in Turkey
Click to see this guide

Readers' Comments

 

Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Başak Yıldız Orkun

5 May 2017


 

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