If you’re planning to travel to Turkey, whether for business or for a holiday, you will need to have a Visa. Unless you’re a cruise ship passenger stopping off for a day trip, all British nationals will need to apply for a visa before they are able to enter Turkey.
Applying for a visitor’s visa is straightforward. You can apply for an e-Visa online by visiting the Turkey’s official e-Visa website at https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/. You can apply up to three months before you travel and your visa will cover you for several stays of up to 90 days each during a 180-day period.
You can also apply for a visa ahead of departure from the Turkish Consulate General in London. You will also need a visa if you’re planning to work or study in Turkey.
A Turkish visitor’s e-Visa is relatively inexpensive. It costs $20 and the official Turkish e-Visa website accepts payments via debit or credit card.
You should only use the official Republic of Turkey e-Visa website to apply for your visa. There are many unauthorised websites offering help in applying for an e-Visa. These websites have no links with the Turkish government and are not approved by it. They may also charge for their services. Some of these websites have even issued fake e-Visas so they should be avoided.
Make sure you take a paper copy of your e-Visa to show the Turkish immigration officers or you have an electronic copy on a tablet or smartphone in case there are any problems with the computer systems when you arrive in Turkey and they can’t find your e-Visa.
Ideally, your passport should have a blank page available for the visa stamp. If your passport is full, you will be given an “Entry-Exit form” which will be stamped instead. You’ll need to keep this form with you and show it to the border officers on your departure from Turkey.
If you arrive in Turkey without a visa, you can still buy one on arrival at the moment, although that option is being phased out. You should be able to buy a visitor’s visa at any Turkish port for £20 cash (be aware that the Turkish authorities will not accept Scottish or Northern Irish currency). It’s worth making the effort to get your e-Visa beforehand to avoid potential delays.
If you’re arriving at Istanbul Ataturk airport (and increasingly at other airports) you can use one of the self-service e-Visa kiosks or go to one of the Wi-Fi areas to use your own smart device to apply for an e-Visa.
If you want to stay in Turkey longer than the 90 days allowed by the visitor’s visa, you have two options. You can apply for a longer stay visa ahead of your travel or you could apply for a residence permit from the Turkish local authorities before you reach the end of your 90-day stay.
If you want to work in Turkey make sure you have all the correct permits. You can get more information from the Turkish Ministry of the Interior. You risk being fined and deported from Turkey and also banned from re-entry if you don’t abide by your visa’s terms.
Your passport should still have at least six months to run when you enter Turkey and should still have at least three months remaining when you leave. As of the start of 2015, your passport on the date you arrive in Turkey needs to be valid for at least 60 days after your visa or residence permit expires.
If you don’t hold a standard British Citizen passport (eg British Subject, British Overseas Citizen, BN(O) or British Protected Person) you are advised to check the visa requirements before you travel. The Turkish e-Visa system classes these as UK Special Passports. You can get more information and apply for a visa from the Turkish Consulate General’s office.
The British Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey/entry-requirements has all the information you need. It also has links to the Republic of Turkey official e-Visa website and the Turkish Consulate General.