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Our friends over at Allied Passport let us know about a change coming to Turkey’s visa up on arrival process. Right now you can simply fly to Turkey, deplane and queue up at the visa window on the way to customs and immigration and buy a visa upon arrival for $20 in cash for a 90-day tourist entry then simply be on your way.
However, the Turkish government has said that after April 10, 2014, it will not be possible to get a visa on arrival in Turkey. Visitors arriving in Turkey on or after this date will have to obtain an e-visa online before travel. The price will still be $20, and the visa will be valid for 180 days after the date of arrival and for multiple entries.
After you apply and pay, the e-Visa is emailed to you and you must print out your e-Visa, show it to airport officials and customs officers and carry it with you at all times during the travel. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry, and you can only pay with a Visa or Mastercard. You have to specify an entry date into Turkey, but even if you enter after that, your e-Visa is valid – it’s just valid for 180 days after the date you put down. The E-Visa is only valid for tourism or trade purposes. For other purposes such as work or study, you have to apply through an embassy or consulate.
So while it was easy just to arrive in Turkey, get your sticker visa and head to customs, now you have to plan ahead a bit and make sure you have your e-Visa ready to go before traveling. It’s pretty much the same system Australia has for US citizens. I think overall it makes the travel process easier and more streamlined – you just can’t hop the next flight and get a visa when you land, though, so it requires a minimal amount of planning ahead now.
Hopefully those of you who booked Turkish Airlines flights using pre-devaluation United miles are going to enjoy your trips to Turkey, but just remember to get your E-Visa first!