This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update 12/28/2017: The Turkey-US visa spat has been resolved and now Americans are able to easily apply for Turkish e-visas once again.


Early Monday, Turkey halted the issuance of new visas for US citizens — effectively, if you don’t already have a Turkish visa, including an e-Visa, you can no longer enter the country as a United States citizen.

We’ve received many questions from readers over the past 24 hours, several of whom don’t actually plan to enter the country — they’re simply booked on a Turkish Airlines flight connecting in Istanbul (IST). The good news for these passengers is that this new visa restriction will have no impact at all.

In fact, you may even benefit from the change, as many passengers with flights booked from and to the US will need to make other arrangements, and may end up canceling their Turkish Airlines bookings entirely, resulting in lighter loads on long-haul flights. Additionally, if you had originally worked in a Turkey stopover as part of a larger itinerary, as I did for travel in a few weeks, Turkish Airlines has issued a waiver, enabling you to request a refund or change your flights to eliminate an overnight stay.

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 12.48.42 PM

If you aren’t able to fly Turkish without a long layover — due to limited flight options, for example — there’s also a transit hotel available to book. Rates vary depending on the length of your stay, ranging from €95 ($112) for a ~3-hour stay all the way up to €195 ($230) for up to 24 hours, based on single occupancy. There are 46 rooms in the airside area, which are accessible without passing through immigration. Due to the limited availability, I highly recommend booking in advance.

A twin room at the TAV Airport Hotel in Istanbul. Photo courtesy of TAV Airports.
A twin room at the TAV Airport Hotel in Istanbul. Photo courtesy of TAV Airports.

And, if you’re traveling in business class or you’re a Star Alliance Gold member, you can access the fantastic — if oddly named — July 15 Heroes of Democracy Lounge on your extended connection at IST.

Bottom Line

Since there’s no impact to transit passengers, there’s no immediate need to change an itinerary that doesn’t include a stopover in Turkey. That said, I can see this situation leaving some customers feeling a bit uneasy — even though connecting flights aren’t covered by the waiver, if you’d rather not fly Turkish Airlines regardless, it’s worth contacting the airline to see what your options are. My itinerary happened to be fully refundable, for example, but since I simply need to cancel before departure in order to receive a refund, I’m keeping everything as is for now to see how this whole situation plays out.

Are you making any changes to your Turkish Airlines itinerary?

The best beginner points and miles card out there.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.74% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.